5 Takeaways From Mark Zuckerberg’s 5-Point Community Plan
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Technological globalization and social media are making the world increasingly connected. But as Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg recently asked in a 5,700-word letter, “Are we building the world we all want?”
“Progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community,” wrote Zuckerberg. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with over 1.85 billion users and thus has immense influence on shaping global culture and business. In alignment with Facebook’s mission, Zuckerberg outlined how the online platform is working to foster a Supportive, Safe, Informed, Civically-Engaged and Inclusive community.
In essence, technology is changing the way communities form, interact and prosper. This offers an amazing opportunity to leverage your brand’s purpose-driven mission to not only grow your stakeholder network, but also to engage in global cultural movements far greater than your business or industry.
Based on Facebook’s 5-point plan here are five ways you can strengthen your community and build your brand:
1) Engage Community Leaders: Zuckerberg’s first point in the letter addressed the global need for Supportive Community. While social media allows us to form networks that transcend physical barriers, an impassioned leader is often the backbone of actively engaged communities. Facebook plans to change the “Groups” function in its platform to support regional leader-driven organizations that will perform in a similar fashion to the “Pages” function. This will give specific individuals greater ability to organize people both on and offline. The critical takeaway for your business is that you must engage brand ambassadors who can use your products, services and initiatives to provide real value to others in their communities, which in turn will organically expand your network.
2) Join Global Organized Action: Zuckerberg’s second point focused on creating Safe Community. The social network already includes disaster alerts, a “Safety Check” feature, suggestions on where affected people can find food, shelter and other necessities during crises, and capitalize on their far-reaching platform for fundraising. In 2015, for example, Facebook was able to crowdfund a record $15 million for victims of the Nepal earthquake. The key takeaway here is that consumers are eager to support brands that have a positive social impact on pressing global challenges. Proof of this support is abundantly clear in today’s news as consumers have been particularly supportive of brands that took a stand against the recent immigration ban. Ultimately, we’re learning from today’s consumer habits that stakeholders will reward you with word-of-mouth advertising, goodwill and sales when you contribute to pertinent global movements.
3) Find Common Ground: Zuckerberg’s third point concentrated on creating an Informed Community. Although Facebook’s founder was primarily referring to the validity and bias of posted content, informing your stakeholder base is critical to building a successful business. While it can be difficult to change someone’s behavior or point of view, it’s a lot easier if you find common ground and build from there. And that goes for anything from convincing someone to purchase a different shoe brand or vote for a political party. The lesson learned here is that you must find out what your target audience’s preferences and values are then focus your communications on touching upon what you know they already want and like.
4) Encourage Stakeholder Dialogue: In his fourth point, Zuckerberg touched upon the need to foster a Civically-Engaged Community. Facebook’s CEO pointed out how political candidates that frequently inform their constituents and encourage input typically prevail as community favorites. While Zuckerberg was referring to politics, his message can easily be translated into business strategy. Just as political candidates with the most engagement often win elections, brands with the highest engagement rates earn consumer trust, loyalty and sales. Essentially, if you want to increase consumers’ emotional resonance with your brand, which will awaken consumer goodwill and buy-in, you must invite them to offer their input and participate in a dialogue about issues they care about.
5) Customize Consumer Experience: Lastly, Zuckerberg’s fifth point discussed how Facebook is working to create an Inclusive Community that enables users “to participate in community governance.” Specifically, the social media platform will increase content filter options that will give users more agency over how much controversial content they see. While Zuckerberg is addressing issues of censorship and freedom of expression, the notion of inclusive community can easily translate to business policies. In essence, everybody has different preferences and it’s impossible to satisfy everyone with any one rigid product or service. The key takeaway here is that in order to maximize consumer satisfaction you must give your customers options that make them feel like your products and services are designed specifically for them or, better yet, allow them to make their own designs.
Zuckerberg’s core message is that now, more than ever, we are globally connected. In order to build the world we all want, we must welcome diversity and promote a culture of acceptance. If you are able to inspire stakeholders to value your brand as a core thread in the fabric of global community evolution, you will be rewarded with consumer goodwill and purchases and, more importantly, the fulfillment that comes from contributing to a higher purpose.