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Social tribes

People are no longer happy to just read what's in the newspaper. They subscribe to blogs, they seek out articles that interest them, they share ones that they liked with their friends. They are active participants in the content generation and consumption. They are no longer laid back, gobbling up whatever is thrown their way.

It is the same with music, TV, shopping, advertisements, everything. People are no longer happy just to consume. Now that they have the ability to easily choose, contribute, share and participate in nearly every aspect of their consumption activities, it is a bit of a surprise that we still talk of social as a medium.

Social is nothing like the TV, newspaper or the radio. Even with all three of those converging into one, social brings bigger possibilities with it. By looking at it as a medium, we are thinking of it as a place where we can push content on to customers. All talk of content marketing and native advertising is in identifying ways to engage customers through social platforms.

Engagement is no longer enough.

Conversion of Facebook likes and retweets and blog subscriptions into actual sales (not at that instant, but over a much longer period) is still abysmally low. Yes, these people who are interacting with brand content on these platforms are engaging with the brand. But that has to convert into actual sales bringing in revenue at some point.

Social is not just a medium. It is a story. One that people feel they are a part of and contribute ever so enthusiastically. Brand efforts on social platforms must aim to not just engage customers. That is only the beginning. They must create tribes (hat-tip to Seth Godin) that people will feel part of and contribute to willingly. The efforts are not about coaxing and persuading. But about creating an experience. Creating a tribe.

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