This is a guest post by Ajay Chavda.
Social media is capable of changing you, your business or your perspective overnight. It is important that we understand the social media before jumping on the social bandwagon. Tweeting, Facebook sharing and video making is only a miniature subset of the entire social ecosystem.
History can teach us a lot about social media. In fact, history has known to be the very supporting pillar of social interaction. Various events spread across the timeline in history can teach us how to successfully derive, build strategy and effectively tackle a business solution.
Every now and then, we see people using history and strategies to tackle various sporting competitions. We can take ancient events to understand and implement a strategy in social media.
Let me give you a few examples which provide useful insights to leverage your output from social media.
Barbarization of the Roman Infantry
The Roman army was successful in most major battles because of its ability to adapt. Romans were quick enough to seize the forts and copy (or adapt) to the type of arms their opponents were using. This provided them an ample advantage in carrying out further ambition.
However the later “Barbarization” of the Roman infantry did weaken the force. It should have been amply clear that the barbarian tribes had to adapt to the Roman ways and organization, and not the other way around. Adapting and blending with the barbaric tribes led to a tragic decline in rigor and severe roman disciplinary methods. This eventually declined the overall strength of the Roman army.
The Social Context
Always know who your real competitors are. Adapt and keep a close eye on your competitors. Make sure that the change to your company or its services is governed by your consumers and not your competitors. If you follow the Roman analogy of “Barbarization,” chances are you will in effect decline your own services. The social pattern might indicate change, but the social action is should be governed by consumers.
The Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is indeed the biggest and the most insightful lesson for social media. The Greeks built the horse in three days and a single soldier was strategically placed outside the horse to convince the Trojans that the Greeks had left.
When the Trojans took the horse inside their fort and danced around it with joy, the horse filled with Greek soldiers brought the Trojan to their demise.
Virgil’s Aeneid details of the incident include the most striking lines: “Somewhat is sure design’ d, by fraud or force: Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.”
The Social Context
Most businesses and service providers have jumped onto the Twitter bandwagon sending out tweets for their brand. While a lot of them are small businesses capable of change, large organizations and multinationals require a lot of momentum before making a simple change.
Twitter is for consumer-provider interaction. Interaction may lead to a consumer providing valuable feedback and product improvements suggestions leading to a change that the company requires in order to win some more consumer loyalty. While some feedback could be constructive, but a company may not always like what it hears. A multinational may not have resources or be in a position to bring about a change in its product line based on feedback.
Twitter or Facebook may indeed turn out to be a Trojan Horse, best left unopened for larger multinationals. If a company does really want to tackle the Trojan Horse, it does need to have a solid social strategy and response plan.
Alexander Meets Porus
Alexander had already conquered half the world. The meeting of the two great warriors has been widely debated. The most common and persistent belief is that Porus severely disabled Alexander by killing a lot of his infantry. Alexander’s horse Bucephalus also died during this battle, and Alexander himself was injured through darts.
Would Alexander have done better by applying a better strategy than courage? Did Alexander’s own presence bring about his demise? Was it in Alexander’s own interest to not underestimate his opponent?
The Social Context
We have all read and seen how Microsoft called Zoho the “fake office.” Although it is a good idea to believe in your capabilities, belittling or underestimating your competitors can be social suicide (unless you’re as big as Microsoft and can recover from it).
Engaging or providing your competitors a chance to speak or act is indeed a bad strategy. The modern publicist believe that “there is no bad publicity.” Talking badly about the capabilities of your competitors may actually provide them with the momentum they need to turn the attack back onto you.
The Moral of the Story
Social media can dramatically bring you results. However striving simply towards a goal of millions of followers is just not good implementation of a social media strategy. Social media may aid your buzz, but without a story to tell you are just another social failure waiting to happen.
You Social Media History Lessons
Can you think of other ways you could learn social media lessons from historical times? Share your ideas in the comments!