Social Media: Control Is An Illusion
In our post about social media trends we predicted that marketers will understand: the audience has the control. It takes time and I admit that feeling of ownership often gives me a sense the I have control. Ain’t so…
Today I thought that I will organize an event for one of the communities I lead. I thought that I will do it this way and that. Then I realized that I do not have any control over it. I can suggest or I can plead, but that’s it. If I try to force my views they will leave and gather somewhere else without me.
I have met with people who have a brilliant idea that let’s make a Ferrari (or any other big brand) page in Facebook and sell it to them. The thing is that there are hundreds of Ferrari pages on Facebook. One of them has more than 700,000 fans and another with 200,000 fans. I don’t think these are the “official” Ferrari pages. And that’s not all there are several Ferrari pages that have tens of thousands of fans.
The Coca-Cola fan page with more than 4 million fans was created by fans. Coca-Cola understood that this is something you need to embrace. There are still dozens of other Coca-Cola pages on Facebook, many of them have tens of thousands of fans. Right now the company supported page has the most fans. The fan pages created by fans pop up everywhere for brands large and small.
If the brand would start to wrestle for control with the fans then the fans may turn around and become uninterested. I looked for “I hate X brand” pages and there really aren’t many brand haters out there. This choice between being fan or inactive should be good news for marketers who are afraid that the brand will be doomed if they screw up.
So, in a sense managing social media is like kung fu, you channel the energy of others and look for openings, that would give you the best results. You can’t attack head on with cease and desist letters or intimidation.
Control is an illusion and if you think you are in control, you are missing something.
Image credit Ferrari fan page with 357,765 fans
Posted on: January 6, 2010