Not another article about Social Objects!! Who cares if you’re into music, golf or heaven forbid….MOJITOS!!
The fact is that social objects are “the fuel of the social web” as Social Media Today puts it.
They are the things that people like to share, like and comment on within their networks. A social object can be an announcement, a piece of music, a picture, a compelling video, an idea, a question, a quote… Literally everything can be a social object. As long as it’s in any way relevant for the audience. And as long as it triggers interaction.
We heard about this back in 2007 by Hugh McLeod – his artwork was a clear example of social objects –
too bad his blog only returns 404 errors ….maybe he should think of creating redirects into his gallery ….but I digress. **Hugh’s blog was fixed today and has no more 404’s.** I’m glad Drew gave us his take and some examples here in Geek Estate of how some in our industry are using these.
So how can Social Objects help your business and brand in any way?
If you’re smart, you can bank on the impact of the connection these social objects generate, but you can only achieve this with strategy. Please don’t misconstrue this to mean that you should create and develop an artificial connection with your audience. Achieving a real connection via a social object is not easy and if overdone, can be interpreted as superficial and fake.
I realized Mojitos were my social object when I was speaking at an Inman conference a few years ago about my lucky mistake (some call it intuitive intelligence, but the truth is that I paid attention to the reaction). The presentation was about taking on-line efforts off-line and how as REALTORS we need to get off the computer and complement our online marketing efforts with face-to-face interaction. I announced at that time that my goal was to create some sort of “top of mind awareness” where anytime you would see a mojito, you would think of me.
Hello!!! Knock knock – beginning of conversation, ice-breaker, inadvertent promotion of my business, my brand and my city << BAM!
The first step is to identify that common element you have with your audience and elevate that to the next level. It does not have to be a tangible object either, it can be a concept or an activity. Interestingly enough, it may already be working for you and you haven’t even identified it yet. Think of your daily interactions – flickr, blip, shopping, foursquare, food …. Example: If it’s a photo, don’t just think photographs are your social object, go deeper and analyze which type of photos generate more conversation and entice your audience to talk to you.
The next step is not as obvious and will take some introspection – how can you exploit the connections made to achieve a purpose?
I’ll give you one brilliant example in Miami by Craig Agranoff. Craig, aka @lapp, has monthly pizza tweet-ups where he gets restaurants to provide free pizza and refreshments to a group of “social media aware individuals”, who will Tweet, Facebook, Instagram and spread the word about the establishment. Craig is not a foodie, he is not a pizza expert (although one of his websites is worstpizza.com), he is really a tech correspondent and a social engagement consultant. After going to a few of his tweet-ups I regard him as a powerful connector and would consider him first when it comes to consulting about social media strategies, and doesn’t hurt that I think about him when I eat pizza.
And lastly – think about the message you communicate, the opportunity these bring and how your execution of that message will evolve over time. I can honestly say that my mojitos have taken a turn through the years, but the process is never-ending and it’s why I love this medium so much. You need to constantly analyze, tweak and adapt to your evolving market.