My six year old ask a lot of questions. Most questions start with “Why?”. The reason children ask why a lot is because their minds are geared to learn why things are the way they are and why people do the things they do.
A lesson we can all learn from the minds of children is that asking why is a good question to ask about anything and eveything. However the older we get, the more educated and the higher position we have in a company we assume we know the “why’s” about a lot of things and in reality we really don’t know why but we pretend we do.
When I look at how brands and people use social media it becomes obvious that they never have asked them selves why before they started using social media. How can I tell this? Because what they use it for and how they use it isn’t connected to why people use it.
We must understand why people use social media so we can better define why we, as individuals and organization, should be using it.
Why Do We Communicate?
In an earlier post titled “Again, What Is Social Media?” we said that fundamentally social media is a system of communications. The process of social media involves:
- Use Of Technology
- Identifying and providing valuable conversations
- Distribution of conversations to appropriate and relevant markets
- Methods and messages that create pull an engagement
- Building and sustaining an audience (relationships) of listeners
- Continually feeding the audience with conversational currency; value they can use
Now if you agree with our definition of what social media is and the process of use then the answer to “why” is relevant to thinking about why and what you communicate to the market of conversations. However to determine why you or your organization should use social media it is best to understand why others do first.
So Why Do Others Use Social Media?
I am a consummate student of social media. I call myself a student because my primary motivation for using social media is to learn how “the market” is using it and what methods create what results and why.
The word study means : a state of contemplation : application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge : a careful examination or analysis of a phenomenon, development, or question. Notice the last word in the definition, question. If you haven’t noticed 99% of my post start out with a question and the reason is I am seeking to know why. I learn why based on what others do and what the system is meant or enable us to do.
People and organizations are producing varied results from use of social media. As you can imagine there are numerous methods being used and because most view social media as just another marketing channel they are getting the same results as other marketing methods, terrible.
When you study why, what and how the crowd of sincere “people”, not institutions, are using social media you’ll find different methods and different results. What I’ve noticed about this group is that the primary reason why they use social media is centric to learning or in other words the acquisition of knowledge. Whether it is learning about new tools and the application of use or simply answering questions about anything, everything and anyone people find utility in learning from others.
The results from learning are much different than marketing. Learning pulls people which enables and enhances relationships. Marketing pushes people and is not centric to relationship building.
Learning has always been and will always be a powerful force that draws people. Whether an individual or organization the answer to why leads to another question. What can you communicate that enables people to learn something of value they can use and share with others how they used it? In order to find out why you must listen to the markets needs and wants. Your response to the wants and needs may not have anything to do with your own product or service but it has everything to do with building market relations. The results of doing so will surprise you. Get it?
What say you?