How To Nail Social Collaboration

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social collaboration

At Social Media Week in NYC a brillant man named Ferris taught a course called, “Frameworks of Collaboration” in which he underscored the importance of social collaboration.

Milton Freeman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, often argued “cooperation without coercion.” Is it possible to achieve this feat; to work together for a common goal without pressure or persuasion?

I think with social media it is possible. All things are possible if we have a plan.

You don’t have to agree with Mr. Freeman’s ideals or theories to understand that great achievements have come, and will continue to come, from individuals breaking free from the norms and creating something new.

The Lone Man’s Dance

This video, which I was sent years ago as a LOL, is the epitome of cooperation without coercion:

I know it’s funny at first (or if this is your first time watching it). But think about what it means to be able to persuade people to join you in your mission without command. No pitches. No hard sells. No mass marketing messages.

I think the video itself is the lesson. It’s what we need to do with our social media marketing, and when collaborating with our partners, clients, consumers and otherwise in the social sphere.

The lone man has three things working for him: He’s being seen, he’s doing something that people can emulate (if they so choose) and he’s doing something that people WANT to emulate.

social collaboration

Social Collaboration & Marketing

I’ve talked to you about about originality a million times, and it’s the main ingredient needed to make social collaboration work.

So you can either keep arguing about whether “social selling works or not” or you can put your Lone Man dance pants on and start to create an environment in which people want to work with you; clients want to hire you; people want to spread your mission and message all on their own.

There are three main ingredients that make this happen. What we do must be:

  • Observable
  • Copyable
  • Create desire or want

Change & Disruption

So … do you see the pattern?

You must become/be the Lone Man (originality) to move into a space conducive for REAL social marketing and collaboration, which will then cause the change and disruption we so desperately seek.

You’ll know it’s working when it’s “cooperation without coercion” – or it’s organic.

Thoughts? Arguments? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and social media customer care agency. She's also the author of Conversations That Connect -- a book all about social listening and social media customer care. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on the socials!
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4 Comments. Leave new

  • This just made my morning! Perfect analogy I’d say! I will also be snagging the phrase “lone man dance pants”! Thanks for always providing great tips with a great story!

    • Thanks, Judy. It’s funny watching the video again after thinking about cooperation without coercion. The song in the background, “I’ve got to be unstoppable…” and then at the end you can hear someone behind the cameraman say, “How did he do that?!” It all kind of lends to this original, organic thing. It’s pretty awesome to think we can all be the Lone Man in our own way. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Shannon Baker
    April 10, 2013 3:14 PM

    I LOVE the video! It’s great for your post because it truly shows that collaboration can’t be forced but if you stay true to who you are, others will join in. Originality is what social media is all about and that’s why I love it!

    • Thanks, Shannon! I LOVE that video, too. I truly watched it in a different light once I started thinking about the collaboration (without coercion) process. Originality and uniqueness are key. 🙂


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