Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking in New Orleans at the First Data conference. It was a fantastic event and the other speaker was Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, who said something that struck me deeply. He put a sentence up on screen, which said, “Change is not the triumph of technology, but the triumph of humanity.” I completely agree, and while I have talked and written a lot about this through the We First lens, when it comes from someone like Biz who has shaped the social media world, it is that much more persuasive.
Too often, companies make the mistake of seeing social media as an end in itself, when in fact it is really just another channel through which to emotionally connect with your customer. As Biz explained, the Arab Spring revolutions and the Occupy Wall Street movement are driven by human nature and emotion, and the technology simply provides the connective tissue to give people with shared values a voice. The same is true of your company and brand, and the benefits can be enormous.
When you frame the role of social media in terms of humanity and the emotional connections that unite us, you can have a profound impact on your customers, employees and the world at large. With your customers, you can bring your corporate purpose to life in a way that makes your brand more meaningful to them, inspiring loyalty, goodwill and ultimately profits. You’ll also motivate them to become partners in telling the brand story, co-creating the products and services that will drive your bottom line success.
With employees there are just as many benefits when the role of social media is framed in terms of humanity rather than technology. When you bring your purpose to life inside a company, you’ll connect with your employees on an emotional level. This will give you the ability to attract top talent, to maximize employee retention and productivity, and to inspire your employees to use their own social media channels to be ambassadors for the brand.
Finally, by framing the role of social media in terms of humanity, you can impact the world at large. By taking actions to bring your company’s purpose to life and demonstrating your commitment to your core values by supporting causes such as the environment, education or healthcare, you can not only shape the future of your company, but the future of the world at large.
So this perspective on social media offers both professional and personal benefits. On a professional level, you will be able to build a community of brand ambassadors with your customers and employees and have a positive impact on the society and economy on which your company’s success depends. On a personal level, you will find deep satisfaction that will inform your relationships at home and at work, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
Do you believe most brands do a good job of using social media to celebrate humanity, or do you think they still apply an old mindset that is only concerned with the bottom line?
Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.