Brian Solis, Harvard Business Review, on new Marketing Frequency: RRS

Solis seems to be onto something with this ‘keep it alive in the stream’ talk. This snippet is from a recent HBR post, but appears to be part of a post series Brian is share – mostly from the book Engage! – worth a share. …

Amplify’d from

Social Media’s Critical Path: Relevance to Resonance to Significance

If social media warranted a mantra, it would sound something like this, “Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back…it’s how you got here and it defines where you’re going.”

To understand this model, it’s important we define the base unit for social media: the “social object.” What are social objects? They take the form of our tweets, posts, updates, videos, pictures, etc. that are introduced into social streams. The social objects serve as the catalyst for conversations and engagement.


The first (and perhaps most important) step on this path to social media success is to make sure your social objects are relevant to your constituencies. And how do you do that? Just as in any offline conversation, you have to listen. Listen to the conversations that are already taking place, either directly around your brand, or in other affiliated areas. Pay attention to the nuances of these conversations. Play the role of anthropologist here — what cultural components do you observe in these exchanges? What do you see the participants valuing in these exchanges? Until you understand what kinds of conversations are taking place, who is in them, and what they value, it will be hard for you to attain this first critical step of producing relevant, shareable social objects.


The popular concept of KISS, which once stood for Keep it Simple, Stupid, can be shifted here to Keep it Significant and Shareable. Social objects rich with recognition and reward resonate with individuals and encourage sharing from person to person. Each exchange increases the lifespan and reach of an object.

Sometimes strong resonance is referred to as something “going viral.” It’s a perfectly fine term, but not a good motivation for companies. In my experience, the social objects created solely with the goal of “going viral” will consistently underperform and reduce the likelihood for earning relevance and resonance. Those objects incentivized by thoughtfulness, value, and perhaps even empathy, will gain traction and encourage response and sharing, transitioning from relevance to resonance. And, the ingredients for resonance are readily available for those businesses that pay close attention to the recurring themes in customer conversations, actions, and reactions.

If we were to break down the concept of RRS into a simple formula, Relevance + Resonance would equate to the overall significance of a brand in these digital communities (R+R=S).
Consistently demonstrating relevance over time and continually striving to earn resonance will contribute to the level of significance of any businesses in the long run. In the social economy, businesses that “pay it forward” and actively employ generalized reciprocity as part of baseline engagement and communication strategies increase the value and social capital of the brand in each network.

Loyalty, advocacy, and action inspire the online/offline behavior that serves as the hallmark of Significance. As such, social media’s critical path of RRS serves as a blueprint for companies to construct a successful social media legacy.



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