5 Tips For Creating a Viral Social Movement For Your Ministry, Service, or Product

social movement (apple)

Here is the issue at hand:

Everyone you and I know wants to either lead or join or follow a social movement. And most of us want to do all three at once.

What is a Social Movement?

A social movement could be something like feeding the homeless people in a medium-sized town, or teaching Christian after-school programs for elementary students, or even helping to raise money for married couples who want to adopt overseas children but don’t currently have the financial resources to do it. Or maybe your social movement is a collection of first-world women attempting to eliminate the discrimination of women in third-world countries.

Social movements are popping up everywhere and all the time. It’s all about people like you.

[Click to tweet this quote]

Today, you can have a wide social movement or just a localized one. The scope of its size is somewhat within your control. Your social movement can be known and shared by people at a local church, by hundreds of people around a community, or millions worldwide. What you must remember is that the size of the social movement is really not the issue at hand. What is most important is finding, attracting, and empowering the people around you to join your tribe.

Social media is designed to connect people. That’s what the internet does. Social movements take digitally connected people and make change happen.

What people like you and me are discovering is that we can set a micro-movement aflame and then add fuel to the inferno by doing little more than connecting the people who choose to embrace it. Frankly, you have unlimited potential at your finger tips when it comes to fueling your ideas.

The key elements in creating a social movement consist of four things to do and five principles to follow:

1. GO PUBLIC WITH YOUR IDEAS.

Nobody follows or supports or tweets unclear objectives. We need information if we’re going to support the idea and devote our lives to it. We need to know and understand the goal, the audience, and the intended recipients of your social movement. If we don’t understand it, we won’t bother to support it. Tell me your motto and give me a fresh way of looking at the world.

2. MAKE IT EASY FOR US TO CONNECT WITH YOU.

We are your followers, so where are you taking us? How can we interact with each other? Nothing will destroy a social movement faster than lack of communication. Fan the fire of enthusiasm by keeping us informed of your progress, how things are working out or if they’re working out at all, and if we’re on target. Social media is about being social, after all. (Tweet that last sentence)

3. MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR FOLLOWERS TO CONNECT WITH ONE ANOTHER.

The very best leaders figure out how to make these interactions happen. If someone in the tribe has succeeded, tell us about it. Please, give me details about:

  • The woman who was able to make her husband fall back in love with her again.
  • How the man who works 60+ hours a week can still find time to serve at his church.
  • How the mom of five kids is able to cook, clean, homeschool, and still maintain her sanity, Monday through Friday.

Inquiring minds want to know. We want to know. Help us to connect with one another so that we can share the successes, failures, and how-to’s of your social movement.

4. REALIZE THAT MONEY IS NOT THE POINT OF SOCIAL MOVEMENT.

If you’re in this endeavor to cash in, we’ll smell it. And when we do, we’ll walk away faster than you can imagine. We’ll unfollow you, cease purchasing your wares, and we won’t visit your blog in the future. Look, we don’t have a problem with you earning a living or making a buck, but we want to know that you care about us. We’re kind of selfish like that. I want to know how you can help me. If your product or service or widget isn’t designed to first and foremost help other people, you’ll fail. Trash cans, garage sales, digital recycling bins, and spam folders all around the world are filled with self-serving noise.

Principles Needed to Make Your Social Movement Thrive

1. TRANSPARENCY.

We’re not impressed with veiled attempts at perfection. You’re just like us, so stop trying to paint a false facade. Let me see you with all your wrinkles, failures, love handles, and bad hair days. The more I see myself in you and what you’re trying to accomplish, the more likely I am to follow you. After all, there was only one perfect Person in history. And rather than coming to be served, He served other people, even to the point of death. That’s the kind of leader or social movement I want to follow.

2. THE SOCIAL MOVEMENT NEEDS TO BE BIGGER THAN YOU.

Please, change my life for the better. I don’t want yet another boring option of how to do something, I need your “whatever” ┬áto revolutionize the way I’ll do that task from this day forward. Bring your best game or don’t come to play at all. The world is blaring its noise into our ears, and offering your widgets of mediocrity will only add to it’s out of tune chorus. Be bigger than that!

3.  SOCIAL MOVEMENTS THAT GROW MUST EXPAND.

Whatever your pitching to us, it needs to be able to manipulate its shape, transform itself, and edit on the run. “Established in 1902″ may have once been something to brag about. Today, however, we want to know when was the last time you reinvented yourself. Where is Circuit City or Blockbuster or Blackberry today? I’ll tell you where: They are either out of business or one poor quarterly report away from bankruptcy court. There is a reason why Apple has fanatic fans who won’t buy anything from Dell or Microsoft or Android.

Question: Does the social movement you’re proposing have the potential to expand and grow?

4. EXCLUDE OUTSIDERS.

If your product or ministry or movement is designed for everyone, then you’ve really created something for no one in particular. If what you’re promoting is supposed to be for everyone, please don’t bother us. We’re too busy trying to support, share, and be evangelists for what truly matter to the people we care about most. Exclusion, it seems, is a powerful marketing strategy.

5. A SOCIAL MOVEMENT OF BUILDING YOUR FOLLOWERS UP.

We don’t like name callers. Sticks and stones do break bones and names will always hurt. We don’t have time for people who advertise with the mindset of demolition, rather than edification. Don’t get me wrong, we know that there are times when you’ll need to highlight a competing products deficiencies in order to explain how your widget/ministry has solved the problem, but you better be short and quick and not defamatory. People who do those sorts of things leave bad tastes in our mouths, and the only thing we know to do get rid of that taste is to spit you out.

Does all this make sense?

QUESTION: What ministry or service or social movement do you know of that is doing the right things? Please comment about it below because we want to check it out!

* Image credit: Wallpapers Wide

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the encouragement. This post is a great reminder of why we even do what we do. I agree with all 5 of your Principles. However, I really connect with #5. It is amazing what people will say on Twitter, Facebook, comments, and their own blogs. We need more people in the “cyber-space” who desire to better our followers. It doesn’t matter what it is we write about, you wouldn’t write if you didn’t truly believe that you had something to say. I don’t write to start arguments! In fact, NO ONE would follow me (at least not for long) if I spent my time bashing/degrading/downplaying others. Which leads to the last part. Since we write because we truly believe we have somthing to add to the lives of others, we MUST make sure what we are saying is well studied, has meat behind it, and isn’t filled with “fluff.” Thanks for this post.

    • Charles Specht says

      Derek, thanks for this note. #5 is what I connect with most also. Negativity breeds negativity.

      Have you written on topics like this in the past?

    • says

      Thanks, Skip.

      Yes, if done correctly, I believe exclusion is a powerful tool. It let’s people know they’re missing out, and it gives the tribe a feeling of unity and “team.” It just works.

  2. Ben Blonde says

    Charles,

    Huge fan of #4 and #3. No one can be everything to everyone and one must learn who is their target audience and how best to communicate with them.

    #3 is the item that I see most people struggle with organizationally and personally. Complacency can set in easily and it is easier for people to stay the way they are. We have to learn to accept change for what it really is – growth. We can never move to a new level or change the experience until we change ourselves first.

    That so for the post. It was a great read!

  3. Rigo says

    Charles,

    Thank you for #5, it speaks volumes! I have learned that the only time to look down on someone is to help them up. It’s about edifying and speaking life to others.

    Thanks

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