Social Media Aikido

When reading What is social media marketing (sparked by Peter Kim’s post Defining Social Media Marketing), I remembered a previous post on my blog in swedish, and the change in mindset needed in this new media landscape.

Aikido is a japanese martial art which uses the force from the opponent and use it for own advantage. From wikipedia:

Aikido techniques are normally performed by “blending” with the motion of the attacker, rather than directly opposing the attack.

The fonder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, wanted to create…

…an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

To me, it sounds wonderful, and when I thought about social media some time ago, and the fear many companies feel when thinking about entering this new landscape, I came to think about Aikido.

Today, we see more and more channels become digital, and more and more of these digital channels are also becoming social. Comments are allowed, blogs are linked, communities are formed. There is more and more power in social media, which might be frightening maybe. But, with the right mindset, the right strategy and the right techniques, a company can, just like in Aikido, use this force for own advantage. It is also to the customers’ advantage, as they will get better products and services over time, as the company learns to listen, interact and implement what customers want and need.

I don’t want to call consumers “opponents” – on the contrary. They have immense power, and companies that take advantage of what they know and want to learn from them can move fast forward, hopefully a lot faster than the competitors.

But first, learn the techniques. With the right mindset and attitude it’s a lot faster. For the ones who dare to take the leap, the environment is a lot less scary than first thought. Critisism isn’t uncommon in the beginning. Neither are uncomfortable questions or situations. But, no one talks bad of someone who’s in the same room. And over time, the welcome is often that of a friend.

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