What is the dragonfly effect? – Part 2

Let’s look at the first wing of the dragonfly approach to social media which requires you to focus intently on the one single outcome you wish to achieve. So, how can you find yours? Simple: the goal you focus on must adhere to the so-called HATCH rule.

First of all, your goal must be humanistic: it must be based on understanding your target group. Start by getting in touch with the people you want to affect and find out what drives them and how they are connected to your cause.

An example of this approach can be seen in the way companies like Procter & Gamble develop their products: increasingly, they are working to understand the needs of end users and using them as a jumping-off point for development.

Second, your goal must be actionable. So while you want a visionary long-term goal to strive for, you also need to break it down into smaller, actionable and easy-to-understand goals.

Thirdly and fourthly, your goal has to be testable and clear, meaning that you can set unambiguous milestones and measure your progress. This motivates your audience as they can celebrate the small wins and feel the momentum picking up.

Finally, your goal must be such that your audience is happy to work for it. In other words, it should not be meaningful just for you, but for them too, so you need to explain to them why they should support your cause.

Today, we’re inundated with a never-ending stream of information: emails, text messages, tweets, Facebook status updates and banner ads on your favorite websites.

With all these messages vying for our attention, it is little wonder that it’s very hard to actually get anyone to listen and to take action.

So, what’s the solution? You have to get creative.

First of all, you need to be personal: if you’re inviting people to an event on Facebook, for example, you’ll surely evoke more interest if you add a personal message to each recipient instead of just sending a generic invite.

Similarly, if you customize the message about your cause so it feels personal to your audience, they will be more likely to pay attention.

Second, your communication should be somehow unexpected and surprising. This is because people tend to spend most of their time in a kind of autopilot mode, without really actively paying attention to any of the vast amount of messages that cross their screen. To shock them out of this trance, you need to surprise them. As marketing guru Seth Godin said, you need to create “a purple cow” that will stand out and grab people’s attention.

Third, you should always “show rather than tell.” Instead of long-winded explanations, synthesize your ideas into simple imagery, like photos and videos. Studies have shown that people are far better at remembering what they see than what they hear.

For example, consider one Japanese charity that fights obesity and hunger. It was successful largely because it simply had a compelling logo – two lunch tables: one full, the other empty – and a creative name: “Table For Two.”

Finally, if you really want your campaign to be remembered, include an emotional connection by stimulating the other senses too, like hearing or taste. For example, choosing the right background music for a video can evoke powerful emotions.

It’s not necessary to be rich or highly influential to bring about meaningful social change. Today’s social media technologies enable virtually anyone to share stories in ways that can mobilize people all over the world to take action. A little change can effect the world in a big way.

Check out my related post: Do you have skin in the game? – Part 1

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