Social Media Marketing Matters

Image result for social media icons mediumTechnology can be like that classic Dickens’ novel: the worst of times and the best of times, all at the same time. Take social media. Depending on who’s talking, social media is either transforming the planet in all sorts of positive ways, from social organizing and crowd sourcing, or causing a drastic decline in literacy and civility.

The truth – like most things – probably can be found somewhere in the middle.

That’s certainly the case when it comes to social media and business marketing. An interesting piece in Harvard Business Review by Douglas Holt makes the case that “companies have sunk billions of dollars into producing content on social media, hoping to build audiences around their brands. But consumers haven’t shown up.”

Holt is the founder and president of the Cultural Strategy Group and a former Harvard Business School and University of Oxford professor. He believes that social media “has transformed how culture works and that digital crowds have become powerful cultural innovators.” He calls this “crowdculture” and while it makes it difficult for companies to compete for eyeballs online, Holt says the way forward is for companies to collaborate with crowdcultures.

He cites successful examples of “cultural branding,” including Chipotle, Dove and Axe. Why? Each of these brands tapped into a larger cultural trend and then provided online content to piggyback on existing psychological trends. These companies, of course, enjoy the luxury of multi-million dollar marketing budgets. If you work for a mega company doing marketing on that scale, I strongly urge you to read Holt’s HBR article, “Branding in the age of social media.”

If you’re like smaller and growing companies, a more down-to-earth approach to social media makes marketing (and financial) sense. For Intertech, this has meant growing our online presence by providing content that offers business value. We give away our expertise online but we gain by building trust in our brand. From blogs and white papers to webinars and participation in technical chat rooms, Intertech lets people know we’re here and we have something valuable to share. That’s invaluable!

Having a solid and predictable online presence also lets potential customers know you’re real and you’re here for the long-term. Even something as seemingly trivial as how many Facebook likes your page garners speaks volumes about how your company is perceived in the marketplace of your peers. Let’s face it, a thousand or more “likes” beats 50 any day of the week!

Building a respectable online presence takes time and effort. I recommend some advice that I believe originated with Winston Churchill, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” If you’re a small shop or solo consultant, maybe your best strategy is to write one blog post each month and to comment on other blogs related to your industry or area of expertise.

It’s better to start slowly and remain consistent over time rather than to burst onto the scene with all social guns blazing only to peter out a few months later (it happens!). But if you do decide to tackle multiple social media platforms simultaneously, be sure to provide different, fresh and valuable content for each platform.

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

Did you like the movie “Rudy”?  The coach gets the team psyched by acknowledging challenges and sharing the plan to overcome them.  In business, this works too.  In fact, professors at Texas A&M studied motivational language theory (MLT).

In a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article they share “most winning formulas include three elements: direction giving, expressions of empathy, and meaning making.”

Here’s a succinct summary of the three elements:  Direction giving – People want to know what’s expected of them.  Empathetic language  You’re talking with a human… act like it.  Meaning-making language – Answer why this is important.

 

Meeting Madness!

In a recent article from HBR, we learn that meetings are:

  • 65% = Interruptive
  • 71% = Unproductive
  • 62% = Miss opportunities (to bring the team closer together)

Meetings are supposed to improve creativity and productivity—but they do the opposite when they’re excessive, badly scheduled, and/or poorly run.  Here are some additional points from the article:

  • Companies with “dysfunctional meetings were associated with lower levels of market share, innovation and employment stability.”
  • Declaring “meeting-free periods” and enforcing those time restrictions resulted in fewer wasteful meetings
  • “Meetings do not have to be a trap; they can be a conduit for change. . . In the end, better meetings –and better work lives—result.”

 

 

 

“5 Lessons Most People Learn Way Too Late in Life”

Alyssa Satara wrote “5 Lessons Most People Learn Way Too Late in Life.” It appeared on Inc.com.  Below is her list with some of my thoughts:

Perception is reality.  This is true for our view of the world and other people’s views of the world and us.  Perception can create bias or make us miss what’s happening (how someone feels, a potential opportunity, …).

Everything is temporary.  Life cycles.  Whether it’s personal, business, or family, life’s not linear.  As Satara notes, enjoy the highs and know the lows are temporary.

The importance of being present.  I have nothing to add here as the article quotes Lao Tzu “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

Do what you love, love what you do.  As the saying goes, we’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.  Life’s too short to not do what’s enjoyable and fulfilling.

Being happy takes work.  My favorite book on happiness is What Happy People Know.  In the book, the author notes to be happy, we need relationships, purpose, and appreciation.