PostSecret is a social network with a twist. Started in 2004 by Frank Warren as a community arts project PostSecret has become a worldwide phenomenon with books, exhibitions, tours and an enormous online following, with over 350 million page views on the website that is updated every Sunday.
PostSecret offers individuals the chance to anonymously share their hopes, fears, desires, weaknesses and goals with the world. Anyone can fill out a postcard revealing their secret and post it to be published online. There is a discussion forum where people can chat and offer advice and the website also links to helplines and support networks.
PostSecret is unusual in that some of the content could be considered quite depressing, even the stiffest of upper lips would wobble at certain postcards, yet it is hugely popular and captivates the audience. There is a real sense of community here amongst the confessions of strangers.
Its success lies in the simplicity of the idea and the fact that the audience have an emotional reaction to the content. The reaction could be positive or negative but the connection is strong enough for the audience to share it with their social networks. The latest blog has been shared on Facebook 106 thousand times and the Twitter account has 385,475 followers.
Any business using social media should be aiming for the audience to care enough to share its content, to recommend their brand, promoting it to their peers, friends and family in a positive light. Marketers who run “RT to win” competitions on Twitter have a short shelf life in my opinion, it’s so boring!
Be original, focus on the customers need, provide thought provoking content, inspire people, make them laugh, make them feel something and you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors.