Where is the Judo Move?

When we are teaching, working with clients or just talking social media with colleagues, we seem to get the same question asked over and over again: “How can I take my social media program to the next level and sell more?” It reminds me of a question that a boss of mine at AMD would ask all of the time, “Where is the judo move in this?” He continually challenged us to find and show him the part of a program or campaign that leveraged someone else’s momentum to help us gain a greater share in the market.

All of this is born out of the judo philosophy of minimum effort and maximum results. Much like a judo expert guides his or her opponent with a throw by letting his opponent’s momentum do most of the work, a social media expert can do the same with influencers and their existing communities.

This is exactly why social media works for marketing and why it is hyper-effective when done correctly. Social media and its effect on all of us is driven by the momentum of influencers working to inform and educate their communities. Your job is to find a way to tap into this momentum and help and propel your company to be greater than the sum of its parts.

The secret of success in social media is to build programs and campaigns that use and feature the judo move as a part of your overall strategy. When done properly, influential bloggers will freely, transparently, and most important, credibly take your marketing and translate it into content that reaches and converts buyers into customers because of their endorsement. Why do they do this? It engages and informs their readers, making their content more valuable as a blogger.

Think of it like guiding the flow of water. You can divert its path with a little effort, but it’s a Herculean task to keep it from continuing its flow downstream. When done right, bloggers, influencers and your customers will take your message wherever they go and actually sell on your behalf– with their endorsement – and all for free.

Conversely, if you focus on exclusively pushing out your own messages via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or any other platform, you are trying to create your own momentum and ignoring most of the power of social media.. This is not an easy task even for the largest companies.

If you want to really know how to take your social media program to the next level, answer the question – “Where is the judo move?”

[This post was originally published 11/04/2010.]

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