- August 15, 2008
We’ve all been there. You are sitting in a stadium watching your favorite team (Go Blue!) and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells that originate from the 107,000 or so people invading your personal space. Then, either fueled by boredom or booze, somebody in your section gets the idea to start “the wave”. You either A) pretend you don’t notice and wait for the buzz to die down, or B) wait for the count of “three!” and throw your hands in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care.
What does this have to with Social Media? In both cases, a coordinated effort by a few proactive participants can set an amazingly powerful social force in motion simply by encouraging a small number of people around them to follow their lead. If done properly, the wave can make normally passive fans into active fans. A well-received social media campaign can accomplish the same for your brand or products.
Five Simple Steps to Social Media Success
I found an interesting guide on eHow.com that outlines how to start a wave at a sporting event.The article outlines five simple steps that are eerily similar to how I would go about starting a social media campaign (italicized comments are mine):
- Make certain that there is pause in the action on the…court. The wave cheer will die out quickly if there is action on the court that fans will not want to miss. Is your target audience paying attention to you or are they distracted? Social media campaigns should add value to users’ online experiences, not distract them.
- Ask others in the seating section to participate in wave cheer. The wave needs more than just a few people to start it to make sure it will have the appropriate impetus. Even a passionate person gains credibility with a few like-minded supporters.
- Determine which direction the wave will go. The wave cheer can go either left or right. Some have tried to do the front to back wave but this cheer is not popular especially considering the configuration at a …game arena is suited for the left or right wave. Where a person is sitting in his or her section will determine the best direction for the wave. If a person is close to a large seating gap the wave cheer will work better going the other direction. Spend some time thinking about how to reach the most receptive audience that will also carry your message to their networks. Don’t bother aiming your message at empty space.
- Notify the other wave participants that the wave cheer is about to start. Let the other people in section know a couple of minutes ahead of time so they can properly prepare others. Take advantage of your immediate network to help build momentum. People are more likely to participate when they perceive that others are already involved.
- Start a countdown to the wave cheer at a…game. Usually just countdown from three or five and then yell wave as you stand and raises your arms. Do not be disheartened if the wave does not take off the first time. Just try to start the wave cheer later during the…game. Launch with a bang. Make yourself heard and do whatever it takes to “stand out from the crowd”, even if it means leaving your comfort zone or repeating yourself.
Online marketing professionals can learn a lot by understanding the crowd dynamics (herd mentality) that people exhibit online and offline. Pay attention to large groups of people and how they respond individually and as a group. You might be surprised how a little “seeding” can help launch your social media campaigns to a much more receptive audience.