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“Are You Passionate?”: How to generate and harness passion through social media

What are you passionate about?

When most people answer this question they tend to err towards the typical responses of family, friends, music,  peace, war, politics and so on. In Neil Young’s 2002 song “Are You Passionate?” he asks “Are you passionate? Are you livin’ like you talk?…. Are you loving it?Can you ever get enough of it? Is it everything?” Of course this song is not about passions generally (it goes on to talk about war) but those few lines give a nice overview of what passion is to people. If you’re passionate about something you’re actions will reflect your passion and you’ll want to share it with others. I don’t want to go so far as to say that passion consumes people’s lives entirely and can be “everything” to them; but sometimes when people are passionate about something it can become a main factor in their life. For example how some people feel about a particular charitable cause or political injustice often plays a major role in how they live their day-to-day lives.

Passions can play such a large part in people’s lives. So how can we as communicators get people passionate about the products or services of our organization through social media channels so that they share their passion with others?

The latest podcast post on Managing the Gray deals with passion. C.C. Chapman, recently gave a presentation about passion and how to best use it in a social media context. I like the example he gives about the latest movie you’ve seen and how it’s likely you were swayed into seeing it probably because of a friend’s recommendation more than the print ad. Passion is contagious and that is why it is important in social media.

He speaks about how to leverage social media and how to get consumers to be passionate. His recommendations include:

  • Asking fans to share their thoughts instead of waiting for them to respond
  • Keep it simple- you want the portal to be accessible to as many people as possible
  • You cannot buy passion but it can be fueled- hold an event, offer incentives to get consumers’ opinions
  • Listen to the consumer and what they’re saying about your product and the competitors (tools like Radian 6)
  • The more voices you get the better the story is going to be
  • If there are people within your organization who are passionate about it, get them to share their stories too
  • Let consumers tell their own stories, don’t try to translate it to corporate speak to fit your messaging
  • Give it time to grow

I agree with Chapman that passion has great potential in the world of social media. I mean, isn’t it true that the reason most people start blogs is because they are passionate about the topic they blog about. For example, my roommate blogs about her vegan cooking and follows several other blogs on the same topic. I like the suggestions he gives about harnessing such passion to the benefit of an organization but I feel like it doesn’t really address how to create such passion in people but rather how to address it once it already exists.

Any ideas on how to get people passionate about a brand or product?


May 24, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | 3 Comments