With all the focus on social media it’s easy to forget that helping members of your target audience get together “IRL” (in real life) is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing and communications toolbox. Barack Obama proved this during his campaign that encouraged, and provided tools for, people to organise their own meetings with neighbors. The campaign also provided ways for people to share what came out of those meetings online (i.e. mybarackobama.com now Organizing for America)
Face-to-face meetings are powerful for two key reasons:
1) they send the message to people that their views matter
2) attending a face-to-face meeting requires more commitment and emotional buy-in then participating online so people are more inclined to share the results of those meetings – if given easy ways to do so.
I attended a powerful example of a face-to-face meeting last night and wanted to suggest that organisers encourage people to share what they got from the meeting – and some ways they could help people do so.
The meeting was a feedback session after an amazing one-woman show by actress d’bi.young anitafrika. Her play, Blood.claat, tells the story of Mudgu SanKofa, a 15 year-old girl in Kingston, Jamaica, bridging the gap between innocence and maturity, through a number of vividly rendered characters portrayed with “wit, charisma and power.” The “charisma and power” part is an understatement. Anitafrika’s performance was riveting from the moment she took the stage until the powerful conclusion an hour and a half later.
She could have ended it there but, instead, took the unusual step of inviting people to stay after to discuss the play – and people did. They did because, today more than ever, people want the chance to contribute. People shared comments and suggestions about the play and asked questions – including some tough ones. Anitafrika answered them all with the same intelligence and passion she showed in the play.
This was great content that should be shared – if only to market the play. To do this, in their intro to the feedback session, organisers (who I hope are listening and will comment) could encourage people to:
- share what happens in the feedback session by live tweeting it (they could create a hashtag like #bcfb [for Blood.claat feedback]);
- write about it on social networks they frequent;
- check in at the Great Canadian Theatre Company on the mobile social network Foursquare and add a tip about the great play they just saw; and
- if they allow it, encourage people to record the feedback session on their smart phones and share it.
Face-to-face meetings leveraged online are powerful additions to any marketing and communications mix and organisations that understand this will win.
Are you leveraging face-to-face meetings online? Could you? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.