The 5 Greatest TED Talks for Social Media Insights

The 5 Greatest TED Talks for Social Media Insights Lucy Hitz Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

TED Talks are the gold standard when it comes to inspiration and learning more about the world we live in. While some TED Talks center around marketing and social media explicitly, other TED talks focus on topics like creativity and shifting perspective. These talks can be just as effective when it comes to generating ideas and forming a well-rounded understanding of social marketing strategy.

Social Marketing Planning & Strategy Kit

Here we’ve curated our favorite TED Talks for social marketers and pulled out some social media marketing-relevant highlights from each video.

1. Lose Control

What It’s About: Marketer Tim Leberecht offers three big ideas about accepting loss of control and planning for it in the digital age.

The Highlights

  • “Hyperconnectivity and transparency [ahem, social media] allow companies to be in that room now, 24/7. They can listen and join the conversation.In fact, they have more control over the loss of control than ever before. They can design for it.”  
  • “Give employees and customers more control…collaborate with them on the creation of ideas, knowledge, content, designs and product.” 
  • The ultimate empowerment of customers is to ask them not to buy.” 
  • Research has shown that giving employees more control over their work makes them happier and more productive.” 
  • At the end of the day, as hyperconnectivity and transparency expose companies’ behavior in broad daylight, staying true to their true selves is the only sustainable value proposition.” 

2. Everyone Wants to Be Heard

What It’s About: StoryCorps founder Dave Isay discusses the power of storytelling and listening to varied human voices.

The Highlights

  • In many ways, ‘I exist’ became the clarion call for StoryCorps, this crazy idea that I had a dozen years ago.” 
  • You know, a lot of people talk about crying when they hear StoryCorps stories, and it’s not because they’re sad. Most of them aren’t. I think it’s because you’re hearing something authentic and pure at this moment, when sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s an advertisement. It’s kind of the anti-reality TV. Nobody comes to StoryCorps to get rich. Nobody comes to get famous. It’s simply an act of generosity and love.” 
  • I’ve also learned so much from these interviews. I’ve learned about the poetry and the wisdom and the grace that can be found in the words of people all around us when we simply take the time to listen...” 

3. Change Your Perspective

What It’s About: Magician and Interactive Speaker Brian Miller outlines how to understand
different perspectives in order to create illusions and connect with an audience, and shares
how you can use the same technique to make better, more meaningful connections.

The Highlights

  • “The real secret of magic is taking on different perspectives and different points of view.”
  • “Magicians have a unique dilemma. The magician is the only one who cannot see the magic.” 
  • “How do you do perspective-taking? First you need to understand the difference between visual perspective and emotional perspective.” 

4. Who DOES Care?

What It’s About: Author Seth Godin explains why bad or unusual ideas are more successful than boring ones.

The Highlights

  • “We are living in is a century of idea diffusion. That people who can spread ideas, regardless of what those ideas are, win.” 
  • Consumers don’t care about you at all; they just don’t care. Part of the reason is — they’ve got way more choices than they used to, and way less time. And in a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff.” 
  • Every week, the number one best-selling DVD in America changes. It’s never “The Godfather,” it’s never “Citizen Kane,” it’s always some third-rate movie with some second-rate star. But the reason it’s number one is because that’s the week it came out. Because it’s new, because it’s fresh.” 

5. Creativity Is Essential [No Matter What]

What It’s About: Author Julie Burstein shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt, and loss.

The Highlights

  • Raku is a wonderful metaphor for the process of creativity. I find in so many things that tension between what I can control and what I have to let go happens all the time, whether I’m creating a new radio show or just at home negotiating with my teenage sons.” 
  • Artists also speak about how some of their most powerful work comes out of the parts of life that are most difficult.” 
  • I want to leave you with another image of a Japanese tea bowl. This one is at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. It’s more than a hundred years old and you can still see the fingermarks where the potter pinched it. But as you can also see, this one did break at some point in its hundred years. But the person who put it back together, instead of hiding the cracks, decided to emphasize them, using gold lacquer to repair it. This bowl is more beautiful now, having been broken, than it was when it was first made, and we can look at those cracks, because they tell the story that we all live, of the cycle of creation and destruction, of control and letting go, of picking up the pieces and making something new.

Which of these talks inspired you? Let us know on Twitter and check out our Social Marketing Planning and Strategy Kit if you need a little extra boost.



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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Content Marketing Manager here at Simply Measured. I manage our blog, produce longform content, head our co-marketing initiatives, and host the Simply Social podcast, among a few other things. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.