Finding the Bigger Idea

Mack Collier just posted this really nice slideshow. It doesn’t sound at first really like Sunday fare, but take a closer look (and chances are you won’t see this before Monday morning anyway).

Collier, Mack. What Rockstars Can Teach You About Kicking Ass With Social Media!

Here are his main points:
1 – Rockstars are fans themselves
2 – Rockstars look for ways to shift control to fans
3 – Rockstars find the ‘Bigger Idea’
4 – Rockstars embrace their fans

Into this he folds ROI, making mistakes and what to do, and all kinds of other useful concepts. The point that was most helpful for me was his “Find the Bigger Idea” bit. I haven’t been saying this very well, but keep trying, and now he has given me a way to explain it better.

I’ve been saying have conversations, talk to people in your community, get to know people, but I’ve been having trouble explaining just how to do this. He gives some lovely concrete examples.

“Kodak doesn’t blog about their cameras, they blog about photography.”

“Instead of posting about how to use LinkedIn … show readers how to use LinkedIn to find a job.”

So to be part of the conversation, think about what you care about, what your customers / clients / community care about, and talk about that, sharing information that matters to them, and connects back to what you are doing. More examples.

MITOpenCourseware works so well because they are sharing content people want. They aren’t saying, “MIT is a great school, you should come here.” They are giving videos, lectures, images and more, and you just know there has to be more you could get out of it if you were only there yourself.

Museums are putting out of copyright or creative commons pictures in Flickr and other photosharing sites. People love this, and want to see more or talk with the curators.

We found this here at the University of Michigan libraries as we moved into digitizing large portions of our collections. When we put older materials online, use of the same items in the library skyrocketed. People wanted to hold the real book in their hands.

Tonight during the HCSM meeting in Twitter, people were talking about how to get certain healthcare populations to engage with social media. Well, it has to matter to them, to their day-to-day lives. Patients aren’t having any trouble at all finding or creating social media spaces for their communities. We’re looking at something similar with trying to reduce barriers to adoption of social media for clinicians and research scientist (more on that later). Basically, how do you show it is useful, and how to make something so useful that they will want to use it?

The same type of question applies to most topics and communities. Find the big idea, what’s important to them, and give them what they want. Mack Collier uses rockstars as his example. I am remembering an old Fats Waller tune, in which one woman advises another on how to keep her man faithful to her. It starts out sounding rather puritanical, then slips into a bit of bump and grind, saying, “Find out what they want, and how they want it, then let ’em have it just that way … ”


2 responses to “Finding the Bigger Idea

  1. Thanks for viewing my Rockstar deck, glad you enjoyed it! The main question I had with this deck was ‘Why do Rockstars have ‘Fans’, and Companies have ‘Customers’? Because at the end of the day, both Rockstars and Companies are selling a product to people. It’s just that how they view these people and how they interact and react to them is often different.

    I think that the idea of tapping into the Bigger Idea is a key way to transform customers into fans. The ‘Bigger Idea’ is a customer-centric approach to your marketing, not company-centric.


    • You are really on to something here. I know in libraries we have had debates about whether the refer to the people who visit the library as customers, consumers, users, or patrons. I love etymology, and patrons comes from a word for friend, which I like much better than the context of customers, consumers, or users (especially the last!). But this is a pretty subtle concept and hard to communicate. Your examples are great, but I would like to see a lot more examples to help people find ways to apply this in their own environment. Bravo! Brilliant idea!


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