How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy
Common sense is not so common when it comes to social media.“Businesses act too much like businesses online” – Conrad Hewitt
Conrad shares with us why he thinks a lot of companies get it wrong with it comes to social media and their online marketing presence. Running accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram he sees it all right now and from the sounds of it he’s not happy! It’s easy to sound professional and to echo “business jargon”, it’s hard to create a personality that people come to like and trust.
It’s hard to argue against developing a personality online with so many local examples (@ReginaPolice, @KiltedBroker, @Eric_Dillon, @BradWall, @Nenshi). All these folks don’t exactly “follow the rules” when it comes to social and their fans absolutely adore it. Don’t take yourself (or your business) to seriously online.
With the amount of options we all have to buy what you are selling from someone else, you have to figure out a way to cut through the clutter. Being different is now the safest thing your brand can be.
It’s bothered me for a while now. I give people my business card or a lottery ticket, they smile and the first thing they say is, “Oh we can’t be goofy like that!!” Well no $!%& Sherlock!! I don’t expect you to outright copy what we do, it’s the thought that matters. It’s the intention of being a little bit different in a lot of little ways.
The slides I go through in the video are included in the Slideshare below. Some of the images aren’t the highest quality in the presentation, if you want to look at the specific reports referenced, scroll down I’ve included them in this post!
What do you do when someone leaves you a negative online review?
On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.
I love John’s comment about the social media world not being fair. No one police’s it, no one is held accountable, it’s a dog-eat-dog online world. The smart companies are creating an unfair advantage, they’re outsmarting the competition by building a positive online brand. As Mr. Taffer says, if you have lots and lots of positive reviews and fans of your place, a couple negative people here and there will be drowned out by the positive comments.
So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?
1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.
Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone. “But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”. If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.” -David Kelly, IDEO.
2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.
If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.
Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!? Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…
3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.
If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.
*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success.
On July 18 in Regina, we hosted the How to be Awesome Online workshop. A morning of not only learning from the best, but meeting, tweeting, talking and asking questions to a panel of four expert minds on marketing and social media. It was like the world series of Regina’s Twitteratti.
The quotes that were playing throughout the morning:
In a tech economy with four major players (Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple), Fast Company’s Farhad Manjoo describes what Google has as “a coherent, long-term strategy to fight the tech war on every front.” While the other three are leaders in a specific area, Google’s strategy can prevail on three different time horizons: today, next year, and the far-off future.
Amazon has become the online shopping leader, Apple’s iPhone garners 3/4 of the world’s mobile phone profits, and Facebook has, by far, the largest social network. Despite this, as Apple fan and blogger John Gruber puts it, “Google is getting better at what Apple does faster than Apple is getting better at what Google does. Google, despite trailing in mobile profits, Google’s Androids account for nearly 70% of mobile units sold worldwide — a total that has sparked competitive action from Apple in the form of the iPad mini release and talks of a cheaper iPhone. What few may realize is that Google has 330% more ebook titles available than Amazon. Finally, Google crushes Facebook in online ad revenue and, despite possessing a smaller network, collects more data from its users.
How can data-dependent app developers compete with Google? How can other search engines improve at a competitive rate? The fact that Google’s mobile advertising game is unmatched is an indication that, in our increasingly data-driven world, if you’re winning data-mining then you’re well on your way to a sustainable competitive advantage; something hard to come by in a turbulent tech world.
What This Means for You:
For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus on business owners. As a business owner, Google’s strength means two things:
Google’s data-mining capabilities are reflected in its Google Analytics tool, allowing you to do what they do in a smaller way. Google Analytics should be the backbone of any company’s marketing plan. Educate yourself before you spend a single dollar.
Use tools like SEO-Moz to evaluate and improve your search engine optimization. Google’s success and our increasingly referral-based world will have your business’s success depending on where you come up on Google and what people are saying about you. It’s as easy as our mantra: Create, Engage, Share, Measure.
Your customers are changing. Your customers want more, they want different, they want new, the want fully-loaded, and the want minimalism. How will you adapt?
It’s easy to stay with the status quo. A wise person doesn’t rock the boat, the old adage goes. But that’s assuming the sea is calm of course. What if the sea has transformed into a turbulent hurricane and the only way to stay afloat is to rock the boat and embrace the waves?
Business isn’t getting less turbulent, you may think your organization is immune but when it comes time for layoffs, a horrible “I told you so” is going to be the last thing you remember from your obsolete job.
It’s survival of the fittest on a whole new level.
The only constant is change. You must adapt. You must cannibalize your own products. Steve Jobs said this. His rationale was that if you don’t cannibalize your own products your competitors will.
Your core ‘why’ may never change but you’re probably going to change everything else about your product/service offering. Why wait till the market forces you to change? Why not lead change?
Plan to innovate. Plan to get feedback on your innovation. Plan to measure what works and be willing to change the plan based on the feedback you receive.
The organizations that thrive in 2013 and beyond will have a determination to adapt. A willingness to change for the better. They will take calculated risks and understand that the riskiest place to be is standing still avoiding change.
If you add someone without permission what are the odds that person stays subscribed and actually reads what you send? Don’t kid yourself Charlie Brown, 95% of people could care less about your company. Who do you think you are, Cirque Du Soleil? The more you try to pepper people with your boring company “news or current events”, the more you alienate potential customers. No you don’t need to “just get your message across”, this is a major assumption most organizations make. Why do public entities think we want to hear what they have to say?
If you must communicate with customers make sure you ask the most important question you know they’re going to ask, “what’s in it for me?”. Are you going to solve a problem that they have or are you going to entertain them? If you’re not doing either of those two you’re wasting their time.
There are only two reason why people go online; to either solve a problem or to entertain themselves, nothing else.
Think about it, you never just “waste time”, you’re solving a news, banking, work, vehicle, or home related problem or you’re entertaining yourself. Gossip sites, games, the news, all forms of entertainment. Twitter can be both, entertaining and solving a problem. Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, are mostly entertaining but can solve problem for us. E-mail newsletters for the most part don’t solve a problem, neither do they entertain, hence why average open rate for e-mail newsletters is dismally low.