Businesses wanting to tap the Social Web for marketing often face a crossroads in the design of the central strategy that guides their social media program. Do they join an existing community built around a point of interest relevant to their customer base, or build their own community around a specific brand, product, or service? This chapter explains how to accomplish either, and why ultimately your approach to social media and business needs to serve the interests of the participants involved to be successful.
What Is a Social Object?
A social object is something that is inherently talkworthy, something around which people will naturally congregate and converse. In the current context of social media— after all, social objects have existed since humans began socializing—a social object forms the link between participants at the center a conversation. Social objects anchor the online communities in which its conversations take place. Simply put, the social object is the “what” that people talk about
Social objects include things that are as small or as granular as a blog post, a photo, or similar piece of content. People will certainly discuss any of these in a social setting. Think of Twitter and Flickr, for example, both of which are applications built around basic social objects such as short posts or photos, respectively. On Twitter, for example, one member posts something and then ten others talk about it.
As a business or cause-based organization, however, your business objectives are more likely rooted in connecting people and the passions that they have with the properties of your products and services that enable them to excel, to fulfi ll their objectives. This generally means that you’ll be building or working around larger social objects— passions, lifestyles, and causes—and using them in ways that will facilitate engagement (collaboration) with your brand, product, or service.
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