There’s so much noise in social media today, it can be deafening to the outside observer. Looking in from the outside, the social landscape can seem like a crazed bazaar of people fighting for attention. However, for anyone actively participating in online communities, they find solace inside silos of their choosing. From selective twitter streams, customized news aggregators to content specific blog, people are tuning into what interests them and congregating as groups. Noise outside these silos is of little importance to the community member and the collective mind acts as a shield, protecting from unwanted intrusions and posers. There’s a proven process to gaining entry that relies on the scientific method, and if you want to get inside, you have to get real.
Before breaking into a group, you have to understand the landscape as a whole. The social-scape involves countless silos that group members by interests and demographics. These silos are interconnected and can overlap, with members being active in community subsets and unrelated groups. If you’re reading this blog, I’d be willing to bet that you’re an active member of the silo that is social media marketing. You enjoy learning more, and though you may not be a content curator yourself, you reward enriching materials with your endorsement via likes and retweets. Likewise, I imagine you do the same in other areas of interest such as food, news, sports or even something as marginal as renaissance fairs. As a whole, the members of this group spread out and interconnect with nearly every other silo imaginable. Keep that idea in mind as you target an online group to develop a voice within.
Now I mentioned the collective mind earlier, and it relates to the dynamic within online silos. What I meant by that phrase is the notion that everyone is working together to place a value on what exists online. Though value is hard to pinpoint, it has a way of precipitating from the volatile dynamic of the web. Notice how Google has built an empire around a code that determines value related to a search. You determine what you value through visiting certain websites regularly, giving you stamp of approval each and every time. And how do those websites keep your eyes returning to the page? By providing value of course.
Within each and every silo, there are means to determining worth and as the worthiness is determined, certain voices become the leaders of opinion. In order to become a leader from within, people have to validate what you have to say with their endorsements. So how can you develop your voice within a targeted silo? The process is very simple, but don’t confuse it with being easy.
- Listen and Observe – Before you rashly draw any conclusions or ideals, take the time to see what is happening already. Who are the voices of opinion? What are they saying? What are people saying in response?
- Hypothesize – Before jumping in blindly, strategize how you are going to add to the conversation. How are you going to test your effectiveness? How will you determine what works and what doesn’t work?
- Experiment – There is only failure when you don’t try. Begin playing with different tactics to develop a voice within a silo. Engage with others. Toss them the conversation ball and see what happens. Create content that’s related to the group and do you best to make it visible. If it’s value-adding, people will take notice and results will happen.
- Review – Are you becoming an active participant? Are people talking about you? What are they saying? Are your activities paying off for your cause? There’s an abundance of data with digital silos, so use it to your advantage to review your effectiveness. Knowledge is power.
- Fine Tune and Repeat – Opinions and digital content are short-lived. For true, lasting value, this has to be an everlasting process or the fruits will eventually die off. Don’t act like a company trying to game for the next quarter at the expense of future sustainability. Have a real plan for sustained engagement for long-term benefits. Be agile in your approach, constantly observing the trends and playing along. You can even take it to the next level become a trendsetter. You are only limited by your imagination and dedication of resources.
Digital media should be about the long term goals that are supported by the short-term wins. You can succeed, but you have to stand out from the noise and earn people attention through adding value all the time. This isn’t about gaming the system or going viral- It’s about real brand building in the 21st century.
So tell me, have I cracked into your digital silo yet?