James Hanington, CEO at Stiff, this evening spoke to a public affairs and communications class at Carleton University on the misconceptions of social media. “Social media is not a broadcast tool,” he claimed to fourth-year students. “It is not a part of the internet, it’s the next step in the evolution of communications. For the first time ever, people aren’t just agreeing to receive your message, by interacting with you on social media, they elect to become a part of your world.”
Social media works because as humans we are more social than we’ve ever been. Formality is replaced with intimacy, intellect with inclusion. Social media is hard. It takes a lot of thought and a sizeable amount of planning for what is supposed to be a spur-of-the-moment medium. A strategic plan is important to have to get the thinking out of the way; to coordinate campaigns months in advance so the day to day monitoring of trends and topics, metrics and reach will be done easily without ever having to worry about what to post.
Social media isn’t about followers.
It’s about cultivating a community of people who want to interact with you. It’s about becoming part of their daily life, their daily routine. It’s about having these people ready to be mobilized to spread your message, to respond to your calls to action and to live their life on behalf of yours. You must create an environment that people want to belong to and a group they want to be from. Followers are great, but unless their engaged to feel like they advocate for you every time they engage with you and share your content, they are just a number.
About the speaker: James Hanington, CEO at Stiff
James runs Stiff. He spent five years running their Asia office in Shanghai, and has since worked to develop Stiff’s social, digital and branding practice. With a strong background in developing brand experience, James has a keen eye for brand strategy and a talent for getting into the minds of a client’s prospective audience then creating a strategy that will motivate them in the way only the most current, best-thought-out brands could.