So why does this matter?
Let’s say you have a passion, some enterprise or project, that you’re trying to make happen. You offer a unique solution to a problem that a lot of people want help with and you’re inspired to help them out. You’re super talented at what you do and you know that in order to succeed you need to build a following – a community of people who engage with you and your work.
Sound like you?
All you need to do now is teach people about what you offer. As soon as they learn all about your product, your features & services – they’ll start hiring you or buying your thing – right? Well, not exactly.
This is where the problem is.
Take a look at the landscape of how almost everyone (whether a small business or a single freelancer or a social entrepreneur) lets people know about their work.
They end up making me feel a lot like I’m back in my high school history class. Their teaching (read: marketing) is all one way – and it’s all about them. There’s no relevance (to me). (I’m thinking, “Why should I care about this?” and “Why should I pay attention?”)
“But,” you say, “What about social media? Surely having more ways to connect and so many more connections gives us more chances for engagement, right?”
If anything, social media has only made things worse. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have turned us all into one-way broadcasters – creating a fire hose of endless information – that’s all about us.
Here’s the brutal truth: when it comes to the great work you do – nobody cares. People don’t want to hear from you about you. What they care about is their own stuff – and the problems they’re dealing with. If you want to engage with them – building trust and getting them involved with the thing you’re most passionate about – there’s only one way you can do this.
You need to give them the experience of getting the solution they’re looking for.
It doesn’t matter if your passion is dog grooming or design or dealing with climate change – if you’re going to build a following of people who share your passion and who want to work with you, you need to provide an experience of getting the solution.
After all those formative years as a student, I moved to the Pacific Northwest where I became an experiential educator. I developed an outdoor program that eventually became part of the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School. The methodology was all about learning by doing. And it involved building trust and engagement and helping groups of young people work together towards a common goal.
All good lessons for today’s entrepreneurs…
Case Study: Geordie Wood and Fader
In the video above, made for FADER and Visual Supply Company, Geordie Wood, photo director for The FADER, shares how Visual Supply Company’s new ipad app, Journal will allow more people to see, view, and contribute to photography as a whole. But Wood doesn’t talk about Journal so much as he talks about his own process as a photographer – and what he sees as the value that Journal provides to photographers (and photography lovers) everywhere.
Welcome to experiential engagement
This is the first of a series of posts I’ll be writing each week to explore the methods, tools and best practices for what I’m calling experiential engagement. To be completely transparent, this is my passion – and I intend to engage as many of you as possible. 😉
In true form, this will be experimental and I hope the process will provide you some experience of how to create engagement and build community for that thing that you’re most passionate about.
Action – Try this:
Join my Facebook Group and introduce yourself by telling us about your most passionate project – so that we’ll care. (hint: start with the problem you’re solving)