Marketing gurus. Businesspeople. Vegans with MBAs. Social-media bottom-feeders. Picture in your mind a ham sandwich.

What you hold in your head right now is, for me, one of the key concepts to great social media strategy. Not the ham sandwich itself, but the idea that while each of you now sees a ham sandwich in your mind, none of you are seeing the SAME ham sandwich. It’s your “idea” of a ham sandwich. Now, what does that mean in regards to Social Media? Everything.

The Sandwich Multiverse

When we’re engaging with our peeps, or engaging with our client’s peeps, we have to remember the ham sandwich, we have to remember that everyone is seeing “their own sandwich.” Very briefly, the philosophical concept underpinning this idea has been referred to as “Qualia” or individual instances of subjectiveconsciousexperience. The term derives from a Latin word meaning for “what sort” or “what kind”. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky. When you’re sharing and engaging any ideas on social media, you need to be prepared for the “qualia” or the multiple ways your text or links can be interpreted. When we share, we have to engage our brains in emotional and social intelligence. Get these ideas, these deals and these coupons into the social stream, while focusing on the emotional analytics of your content…now what are emotional analytics?

The Empathic Sandwich

People don’t read content in a bubble – they’re reading their News Feeds with their moods, their attitudes, and more sociological baggage in tow. Brought to light by the imitable Stephanie Walden in this article, “Emotions Analytics” is a new field that focuses on identifying and analyzing the full spectrum of human emotions including mood, attitude and emotional personality. When we pump out content, we have to be aware of what emotions we are asking our audiences to engage with, what questions are we asking, how will the reader feel after they’ve given more than a cursory look. So as you engage with these large groups, don’t bank on people “understanding” your knock-knock joke about Shania Twain, or that people will “see where you’re coming from” when you talk about the buzz in the lights while you’re on-line at the Orange Julius in Paramus, New Jersey. These are dead-ends, esoteric wastelands, inside-jokes that will kill your traffic. But this doesn’t mean you can’t be weird.

The Sandwich Unfolds

Back to the sandwich – When I post anything, I try and see the item from as many different angles as I can, before I hit send. I examine my post with the clarifying lasers of questions – “Is this engaging/funny/interesting, is there a trend I’m joining/starting/rebooting, who will catch this, who won’t, who will need extra info to make the connections, who’s gonna be offended, how risque can I get, children, grandparents, orphans…” I refer to this technique as “Unfolding the Sandwich” – Let’s see it in action, and we’ll use our ham sandwich as content –

To some, the ham sandwich killed Mama Cass (Pop Culture) to others it stands as a symbol of religious oppression (Insider Information, Sphere of the Personal/Religious), others may see the ham sandwich and picture those riveters on the Empire State Building (Historical/Educational Signifigance) some may be vegetarian and see the ham sandwich as proof of our inhumanity (Empathic/Emotional Intelligence) and still some may have never even had a ham sandwich and are picturing a large flightless bird (Non Sequiter – Attention Grabbing).

ONWARD

The point is, think long and hard and creatively about the content you share, and when you get responses (Retweets, mentions, Shares, Likes) follow up in the same spirit as the post. Your audience will feel like they’re being talked to, not at – and that’ll keep the billables coming.

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