SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS HAVE POLARISED/ UNITED OUR WORLD

While in the midst of a worsening pandemic in India I am seeing the worst side and the best side of social media.

In our school alumni group I found there is very strong polarisation for and against political points of views.

This is true globally we saw the same recently in the US . We see different flavours of the same across the world.

The problem gets bad when positions are so strongly held that each is not able to see the other side of the story that the situation reaches a breaking point in long relationships.

And it gets worse with manufactured truth to fit ones world view . The fallout is violence as we saw at the Capitol Hill , it could sow distrust in communities and groups with opposing view points.

Every hour the trends on Twitter change based on the two view points , further adding to bitterness and division.

The hate created is so deep that it has forced platforms to ban certain handles from using their platforms for good.

Is social media responsible for dividing our world?

I remember a time in our early childhood when there was no social media there was lesser polarisation , friendships were not so bitter.

Then again I have not seen any better example of how social media is being used in the worst time during the current pandemic where ordinary people are seeking help and are getting helped by strangers .

Twitter , WhatsApp, Facebook have become a way to reach out and ask for help real time , people who need oxygen or a bed in a hospital or medicines turn to social media.

And they get helped by complete strangers !

Few celebrities have leveraged their social presence to amplify the message of those in need.

Many are using social media to raise funds for oxygen cylinders and concentrator. So many lives have been saved because of social media.

Social media is a double edged sword on the one hand it can divide us as a society on the other hand it can unite the world for good.

Unfortunately politics plays a role , fake news can be easily spread to divide for motives. Those on the edge can be converted with constant visual content.

Interestingly platform algorithms show you more of what you want to see . That is how AI and ML gets smarter. The ultimate objective is to hook you to the platform , to get you spend more time on the platform.

How can we stop hate being spread through social media platforms ? Is there a way out ?

Has social media become a Frankenstein monster that is now difficult to control?

There are no easy answers , there are powerful vested interests.

I would yet say there is enough good about social media which is why it needs to exist . It brings people together, it connects people and hearts .

It is the one thing that has kept us sane in prolonged periods of lockdown.

It is for us the users of social media to keep the balance on the side of good , on the side of humanity and guard against hate and spread love and compassion.

FACEBOOK HAS LOST THE PLOT

We went to Facebook to check out on our friends and family.

To share our life with friends and family.

Do build deeper bonds.

Or be part of like minded communities and support groups.

It was light , fun global social gathering.

When I go to my feed now I only see content and advertising .

The Al engines have me mapped.

Algorithms throw up content and advertising to keep me hooked.

I see more of the same .

I noticed I hardly see my friends and family posts.

I hardly see my group posts showing up.

Something is wrong.

In the commercial run , Facebook has lost the plot .

The original purpose has vanished.

It’s become huge distraction of content pulling me in .

Whatever happened to the idea of building a social community.

While I do understand the need for monetisation.

Nothing comes for free.

Yet the amount of content and advertising on my feed puts me off.

I only am there now to observe as a marketeer.

No wonder people have switched off from Facebook to other social platforms.

But this game is getting on every social platform slowly.

There is an opportunity to disrupt.

But who can do that.

The platforms have become big , very big and powerful.

Anything that is pure is bought over.

The disruption I see will begin with consumers.

As they find the platforms less and less Tele, they will switch off.

Something new is bound to emerge .

Sanjay Mudnaney

I WANT MILLION FOLLOWERS

One of my prospective clients said “I want to have a million followers on social media ”

The internet , social media and the smart phone changed our world . Today anyone can own a personal media company and broadcast their message , there are no gatekeepers. Daily millions of messages are being broadcast from personal social media accounts, a few of them get followed and a few of them get followed again and again a over time a few start getting millions of followers.

They all have million followers

The Dalai Lama has over 19 M followers on twitter , Industrialist Anand Mahindra has 7.8 M followers on twitter , Jay Shetty has 6.2 M followers on Instagram , Marie Forleo has 6.5 M followers on YouTube , Sadhguru has 5 M followers on YouTube , GarryVee has 2.72 million followers on YouTube, Simi Arora has 35 k followers on Linkedin and Puru has a few hundred followers , “who is Puru?” you may ask , I will tell you in a while .

What is common amongst all of them ?

1.They are all passionate about what they do

2.They did not chase followers , their tribes are built by value they add to their followers

3.They are out to change the world in their way

4. they are focused

5. they are persistent

They begin with passion

None of them began by chasing millions of followers . They began by being passionate about their craft in whichever field they belong to . And they mastered their work with years of hard work and practice , whether it is as a spiritual guide or a business leader , coach , actor or an influencer it has taken them years to get there.

If anyone tells you that there is “get rich quick , get a million followers in days , he is selling snake oil , run”. There is no substitute for passion , focus and persistence .

I spoke to Simi Arora , she gave up her corporate job to become a full time life coach because she figured out that is what she is passionate about , her own experiences in life going through depression , her struggle pulled her towards her calling as life coach. She has been guiding her tribe with a thoughtful message a day on Linkedin over the past 3 years.

They begin with a question “what can I change in the world ?”

Their passion is the driver , they connect it with their idea to change the world , Mr Anand Mahindra being an industrialist and a business tycoon shares stories of inspiration and support to small entrepreneurs on twitter , Rahul Subramaniam has been lighting up the world for his Linkedin followers during lockdown with his comedy series ‘building uncles’. Each one in their own small way is changing the world . It could be making people smile , find inner peace in troubled time , getting to live a health life , helping them reverse disease , entertaining their fans , teaching healthy cooking , they all are out there to make a difference with their passion.

The question to ask is not “How will I get a million followers?” but “what difference can I make in the world ? ”

But I am no leader

Puru works at Decathlon cycling division at R City mall , Mumbai, he is a passionate cyclist himself and cycles to work . He is passionate about helping other cyclist . He created a WhatsApp cyclist group and organises weekend cycling rides , he supports cyclists . He does not sell , he guides you to take the best decision . he enrolled me on the cyclist group when i visited Decathlon to buy a cycle , though I purchased a Trek bike , he has kept in touch . He even did a video call to help me set up my home trainer at 9 pm in the night and the next day though me how to change home trainer cycle tyre.

Every organisation would love a Puru , He is indispensable for Decathlon. He is not even in any leadership position , but yet he is a leader and he understands building tribes . He brings smiles to cyclist and those exploring cycling. He has a few hundred followers.

I saw a traffic cop recently in Pune , he was different , he danced while managing traffic and enthralled the people , made their day with his moves , one sees so many traffic cops this guy was different , he was not a leader but he had his followers , the day he is not at that junction he will be missed . He is passionate about his job and he is out there changing the world , making the world a bit happier for the motorist who pass by near him.

Puru , the traffic cop , the influencers no one began with the goal of having millions of followers in mind , they began with with their passion and desire to make the world a better place with their gift.

Be Authentic

Whatever is their idea or belief tribe builders are authentic . What they do and follow is not a fad or the ‘in thing’ , they do it because they believe in strongly. Milind Soman a model turned fitness brand ambassador is a avid bare foot runner he is a iron man and puts himself through the grind to stay in shape . It is hard work , this is not just a camera moment , fitness is his life. Only then when he builds a movement around Pinkathon it works because he has credibility , hundreds of women join the fitness movement for a cause.

Stay Consistent

The Dalai Lama has been spreading the message of peace all his life , Punit Rao has been sharing his fitness tips on Instagram for many years , Simi has been adding value to her tribe on Linkedin for over 3 years ! Be regular , share your gift with your tribe . One of the problems I see with Non Profits I talk to is the lack of regular effort to build tribes . This cannot be a sporadic exercise to connect with your tribe , it needs frequency to keep up the engagement.

Anyone can build a tribe , you have free access to your own broadcast channel on social media . Are you ready ? Stop now and ask the question “What am I passionate about ?” , “What do i want to change in the world ?” !

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

BUILD YOUR TRIBE

One man or a woman can change the world , begin a movement , build a tribe . Begin Now !

You have an ‘idea’ , ‘product’ or a ’cause’ you are passionate about , ask the next question who is your tribe ? In the 1980’s Beatles created a different kind of counterculture music rooted in skiffle , beat and 1950’s rock and roll , their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop. The group revolutionised many aspects of music industry and were often publicised leaders of the era’s youth and sociocultural movement .

They changed the game and built their tribe , rather the tribe already existed , the youth who believed in counterculture , they provided the leadership to connect the tribe with different kind of music.

Facebook recently launched its Facebook shop to help small businesses to set up their digital stores and get found on social media . I had an idea on similar lines a few years back ,as a Co-Founder of a digital payments startup I built a social commerce platform on top of the digital payments solution , it was an end-to end solution from setting up a digital store to checkouts and digital payments . The idea was as simple as click-share-sell .

One of the first customers to the platform was Nainital Bikers , who as the name suggests was into bike rental business in Nainital a scenic tourist location . He had a big challenge of getting travellers to book his bikes and make the payment before they travelled , many times they would call and book the bike but then if they did not travel , he would end up making a loss of day in and rental revenue . He came to know of our service through a story we had shared on Facebook. Nainital Bikers was the representative of our tribe , small business owners across small towns of India who wanted to expand beyond their geography and were looking for an end to end solution to quickly put up their online store and get bookings and payments online . The tribe for the solution we were building was out there we had to reach them .

Know the persona of your tribe

One of my clients is in healthcare , I spent a lot of time initially meeting the existing customers , listening to their stories , understanding their pain point and more importantly observing things they said and also did not say . This is one of the qualities I learnt early in my career as a marketeer and it ‘Empathy’ , I would get into the shoes of my clients and feel their pain .I have been told I am highly anecdotal , I gather stories . I feel this is an important trait for anyone in marketing or for that matter in business , one needs to have the ability of keen observation and story listening.

Even if you are leading a cause you have your tribe , those that believe in your cause . PAWS is a small charity organisation run by Nilesh Bange, he runs his NGO with volunteers from campuses , he does this by reaching out to those who have soft corner for animals , similarly he has managed to get celebrities who care for animals associate with his cause . He does not have big budgets but he is very smart with identifying his tribe and connecting them with his cause.

Know who is not your tribe

One of the biggest mistakes businesses do is include everyone into their definition of tribe . Coming back to the example of the healthcare client it was clear that our tribe needed to be well educated as some of the concepts covered in the program that needed to be followed required deeper understanding of the principles, so we dropped those who did not meet the qualifier as our tribe. We would have wasted marketing effort on someone who would finally not pick up the service and if they did , would not be a satisfied clients.

For Nilesh who runs PAWS it would be wasted effort to try and enrol those who are passionate about the cause of environment or children education , he would rather focus on engaging his crowd of animal lovers.

Focus

Your business cannot be everything to everybody , it is highly inefficient , yet initially it seems difficult to say no and this can be one big mistake that gets you off track in building your tribe . Yet this is the most important thing to do , stay focused. The healthcare client I worked with did this thing brilliant right, they focused on the diabetes segment and worked on constant innovation and improvements in supporting lifestyle changes and medical support to patients , though the end result was also weight loss for many and that too is a big segment , the focus was never lost , it stayed sharply focused on diabetes. This allowed the team to master a narrow niche and carve out brand reputation as being experts .

Also the client had multiple programs aimed for the same segment this too was streamlined . What do you stand for and what you offer has to be a narrow focus. This also allows for sharper communication and targeting on social media.

There is a temptation to keep adding the list of services , this defuses the idea of a tribe. Also it does not help build sharp mastery of the subject.

Add value

In the passion economy your passion is the value you add and you need to be good at your game . If you are not adding value , you are not valuable. Your passion must add value to your tribe for you to build your tribe. The Doctor I work with in healthcare is passionate for getting patients off medicines by following a healthy lifestyle and he puts out a lot of valuable educational content free on his YouTube channel. Few of my friends are passionate life coaches who freely share knowledge that would help their tribe and they have been doing this for years . One of them has built a strong following on Linkedin, one of them who is in fitness has built good number of fans on Instagram.

From a sales perspective this could be seen as a funnel , starting with free offer , leading to small paid trial and then subscription or purchase .

How would this work for a cause ? There seems an imbalance between the giver an receiver as if the giver is on a higher pedestal , but if you connect with those who identify with your cause the engagement adds value to their soul. they want to be associated with the cause as it nurtures them . I have also found that volunteering for a cause develops leadership skills in people . If you ever face depression or anxiety one of the best ways to find perspective is to engage with those that are going through challenge , the experience can change you.

1000 Raving fans

There is another model one can work on and that is of 1000 raving fans. If you have been regularly adding value you could build 1000 raving fans , this is not an exact number but it gives you a order of magnitude . You don’t need millions of followers to succeed at what you do, it is fine to build a tribe of 1000 raving fans . This is a different way to build business , you need to work more deeply and add value to 1000 individuals. It is these 1000 fans who could subscribe to your service paying a substantial fees worth your time or become your core volunteers to spread your idea . But be sure these are fans who you engage and add deeper value.

Spiritual tribes understand this well , there is an inner circle , those that are close to the Guru , the students who believe it is their duty to spread the word .I had seen some employees in organisations I worked in give up their comfortable jobs and careers to support such spiritual tribes , they were completely convinced about the work and became champions for the teachings and adding tribe members.

Be Authentic

Your differentiator is you , if you are in a crowded market place where there are hundreds who offer the service you offer , you need to be authentic and find your niche . Don’t try to copy , build your style , do something that is different , that is you , that comes from your passion , find your unique niche . Don’t chase money , chase your passion , add value , be authentic , build your niche, money will follow.

One Man can change the world

So can a woman , a tribe is a movement , the movement could be getting people live a healthier lifestyle , listen to a different kind of music , run marathons after 60 , live an abundant life , drop materialism and simplify life with minimalism, become financially free with value investing , make everyday giving an habit , volunteer to teach , live their passion .

Don’t chase money add value to your tribe every day. You need to be persistent, tribes are not built overnight , you need to be out there consistently adding value , learning , improving , making a difference to your tribe.

Yes , one man or a woman can change the world , begin a movement , build a tribe . Begin Now !

#passionproject

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject is an idea to share my over three decades of marketing experience and work with some of the most passionate business and social sector leaders to help ignite and passion in individuals , businesses , and causes. I believe in the idea that “you are the creator and creation is within you”.