Beacons, Cascades and R(0)s how to improve the performance on your social media messaging
In 1803 the threat to the security came from Napoleon. In order to mobilise defence forces in the event of an invasion from France, a system of communication beacons was established. In the event of an invasion, men guarding each beacon, keeping watch with a telescope, would light their own beacon as soon as the adjacent beacon fired up. It is one of the first examples of message relay system. Efficient but slow, with social media we can move a whole lot faster, especially when it’s raining! The principal remains the same but speeds have increased a lot!
A Cascade Communication Process, ensures decisions and messages of great significance are communicated to as many people as possible, at every level, in a given population using the chain of command. Cascade communication, a top down process, drives clarity and alignment.
In Coloroll as we developed the business, our workforce grew from 500 to over 10,000 in ten years. We used “Team Briefing” to ensure the messages were relayed throughout the workforce. It was and is a great way to communicate and spread messages quickly. With social media we can move a whole lot faster but the principal remains the same.
In Social media we are able to capitalize on the inherent speed of process to relay messages quickly. We can spread the message using Beacon and Cascade techniques. We can also accelerate the rate of propagation by improving the R(0) capacity of the message. So what do we mean by R(0)s?
In epidemiology, the basic reproduction number is denoted as R(0) say “r nought”. The R(0) of an infection can be thought of as the number of cases one case generates, on average, over the course of its infectious period.
This metric helps determine the speed at which an infectious disease can spread through a population. Generally, the larger the value of R(0) …R(1) … R(2) … R(n), the harder it is to control the epidemic and the more quickly the disease or virus will spread. So with social media, the larger the R(0) viral value of the message, the greater the potential for faster and more widespread communication.
Beacons? Cascades? R(0)s? understanding the concepts will take your Social Media strategy to the next level. Here are some of the ways you can develop the Beacons, Cascades and R(0) concept to enhance your Twitter communication strategy.
1 Create your own beacons …
Identify people who will RT for you and further on your tweets without prompting. Within pro-manchester we now have almost 200,000 followers across our major product groups. Our managers are our beacons.
2 Establish Cascades …
Develop a chain of people who forward your tweet on to other people automatically. In pro-manchester, managers and members form part of our cascade network.
3 Enhance the R(0) value …
Create content with interest to others. Create content with great viral value. It’s like word of mouth marketing with speed enhancement.
4 Use Hashtags, Handles and Hooks …
Hook up to the Twitterers with a large number of followers. Include their handles in your message or RT where appropriate. They will then spread the message to their highly engaged followers. Include hashtags to maintain conversations and themes. Hashtags, Handles and Hooks!
5 Keep your Tweets short …
140 characters is not a lot to play with and asking for increased brevity may be a challenge! By leaving approx. 15 – 20 characters spare, you are allowing potential Beacons and Cascades to include a comment in a Re Tweet. It’s easy to click the RT button. People still like to comment on the message they are passing on. Space allows them to do this.
6 Mention the right people …
Including key people in your tweets will help the message picked. For example, if you are at an event, use the Twitter handle of other attendees and presenters. Choose the right people. Those with an active Twitter presence and a large following, will allow you to cascade your message amongst their following.
Communication is a two way process. Make sure you reciprocate. RT their tweets and interact with them on a continuous basis, not just when you need help cascading.
7 Don’t ask for the RT …
Asking for a RT looks desperate. If your content is good, people will RT. If your content is relevant, people will RT. Telling someone ‘You should RT this because it is interesting to you’ will have the opposite effect. Let your readers decide for themselves if it is interesting – and do your best to make sure your content is of interest!
8 Be prepared …
Prepare a list of people who will be your Beacon, help you Cascade or accelerate the R(0). Take this list with you to events, networking functions, meetings – you can then tweet quickly and easily, propagating breaking news as it happens – not five minutes later when you have finally managed to trawl Google and find the right person’s Twitter handle. Use the event # as well. You will certainly be RT'd.
9 RT the stars …
Identify the Twitter stars and thought leaders in your areas of interest. Identify, the ones with the larger following. RT some their recent work. Include them in a Tweet if this is of particular interest to them.
10 Create Conversations …
Create conversations. You want people to spread your messages to create debate, conversations and engagement. This will only happen if you invite people to join you. We talk of the 3Es - engage, equip empower. Engage your followers in the conversation, equip them with the key information to engage in the debate, empower them lots of different ways to talk and share ideas.
So with all your social media messaging, stop and think! Am I considering all the Beacons and Cascades available to me. How can I enhance the R(0) value of my message. Just how good is my content, how viral could it be!
I hope this helps. Mike, We have been developing our strategy for some time now. Beacons, Cascades and R(0)s ten ways to improve the performance of your social media messaging.
I will be in touch next week with another letter in the series ... Using Social Media to boost your profile and your business ...
Letters to a friend on Social Media, Dimensions of Strategy from John Ashcroft and Company, Economics, Strategy and Social Media, experience worth sharing.
friend of mine recently set up his own business. He asked for some tips on
using Twitter. Here’s the letter
(well an email actually).