Category Archives: Understanding Social Media
Article by Mila Araujo Google Profile+
Its time for a new age and a new approach.
Business “as usual” exists no more. As business owners, executives and upcoming professionals look to make sense of the current environment, Mitch Joel‘s latest book could not come at a better time. Ctrl Alt Delete reviews the essential aspects of what businesses must focus on to succeed and excel through this transitional time which he labels “purgatory”.
Mitch provides a valuable introspective that will benefit anyone, but perhaps the audience who will benefit most are those CEO’s and business leaders who are struggling with reservations about online investment, or those who do not “get it” at all.
This is not a book about social media, Facebook and Twitter. It’s about real business concerns. The stuff in the trenches, the stuff that produces profit and dollars. It’s serious.
At a time where the next steps seem unclear to many this book puts forth compelling examples and clarifies concepts as to why focus must shift for business to survive.
Mitch Joel is an author, podcaster and President of Twist Image – one of the largest independent Digital Marketing agencies in North America. He is known as a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert and community leader. When I heard about his upcoming book, I expected to delve into Mitch’s brilliant marketing mind, but the book was far richer and focused on the essential mindset shifts required for business leaders to succeed in our evolving “business-scape”. This is not a book about marketing, this is a book about success, about adapting and understanding what it takes to serve the modern consumer. It is well suited to entrepreneurs, professionals, business owners and anyone looking to strengthen their business to respond to the needs of consumers in this ultra connected time.
Utilitarian Marketing is Sexy
Everyone wants to know what the next big thing will be. When it comes to marketing, Mitch discusses the need for businesses to embrace a “kind” culture and focus energy on looking for ways to enhance their consumers lives through their marketing efforts: give them something they need. In the video below, filmed during his presentation at 140 Montreal in May 2012, Mitch highlights one of the stories found in the book. It supports a key concept that he presents as Utilitarian Marketing.
If businesses can find ways to make their customers lives easier, remove the friction from their experiences, while keeping things as simple as possible, they will succeed and move forward through this “purgatory”. An important take away is the fact that people have moved from multiple screens to “One Screen” and that the majority of the consumers are on mobile, the key strategy needs to be to create something that the consumer must have. Taking advantage of the potential reach to the mobile consumer, companies will be fighting for valuable digital real estate, the app on their consumer’s phones.
A key piece of advice: It doesn’t have to be complicated.
The book warns people that perhaps too often, businesses have gotten so mixed into things that the levels of complication they have created are what hinder them. The answer: review, revise and keep it simple – do one or two things great. Reboot!
On Leadership & Charting The Path For the Future
Going into the second half of the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, however I was pleasantly surprised. This section addresses a critical area of need in most businesses today: mindshift . As with any strong business approach, Mitch dissects the core of what is at the heart of any business: the individuals working within it. Although the book’s basis is in marketing, it doesn’t take long to realize that what is really needed to succeed in today’s environment is a complete switch of mindset to what he refers to as a digital first posture. A switch that must take it’s roots in the leadership of any organization and extend through to every single player.
From a personal perspective, having had numerous conversations with many leaders in the community and business owners from across Canada and the US, Mitch couldn’t be more on target. I’ve discussed similar concepts in previous posts here and here. We see this challenge every day, people who are resting on the laurels of how business was always done, not realizing that the consumer is changing. Pockets of people who stay away from our technological advancements, leaning on the excuse that “face to face” is the only way to go, are sadly misguided not realizing that indeed there is no substitute for face to face conversation and relationship building, but what the consumer is demanding, and where they are connecting and feeling value is through the little things that help them in their day to day lives.
Utilitarian marketing is not about taking away “relationships” and replacing them with computers, it’s completely separate. It is about reaching your consumers where they are, and giving them something they need. Tell me this is not where the core of value will be.
For those still on the fence, and not knowing where to go next, Mitch invites you into a personal dialogue and conversation via Ctrl Alt Delete, he takes the time to share with you many case studies, examples and even personal stories that help switch the reader’s perspective to understand what the implications are of the changes we are seeing in society. Clarifying what it will take within organizations to make that jump out of purgatory and into rolling success.
I strongly recommend this book, and look forward to hearing your comments and insights below.
- For those of you who are lost, pick this up for direction.
- For those of you who work for an organization who do not work on culture and think sales gimmicks or Facebook alone will save the business, pick this up and give it to the CEO. Not only will they thank you, but you’ll assure yourself a better work environment with an innovative culture for years to come.
- For those who miss the boat, or who wish to stay in the dark, enjoy the slow ride downwards because while others will reboot, adapt and shine, you’ll be left behind and as you look at your cell phone wondering why the lines aren’t ringing at your business you may look back and finally realize it’s because you chose to look another way.
For more insight from Mitch, you can subscribe to his weekly podcast here or follow his blog here. Ctrl Alt Delete is available on Kindle and through order on Amazon here, pick it up and start rebooting your business and your life. It’s time to move into the digital age with some solid leadership and innovation, this book maps a solid path and is a must read.
- Go…now & prosper.
Stay tuned for my post appearing this week in the #BEALEADER community where I focus on the leadership aspect of the book & the benefits of being “Squiggly”. You can also check out the articles below, as well as Mark Schaefer’s post from today: Carving a path through leadership “hell” with Mitch Joel.
Oftentimes when you give a formal name to something, the initial concept which it is based on grows into what seems to be a heavier, more complex issue. Content marketing is a huge case in point. The term has become so important in online marketing success, that people are often intimidated by the concept.
- What are we going to write about?
- What kind of “content” can we use?
- We don’t have the time, how on earth will we figure this all out?
What does it take to be engaging?
The answer is simple, it doesn’t come from hours of sitting around meeting tables writing content topics and editorial calendars. It comes from taking the issues and interests of your target population, listening to your employees and your customers and simply extending responses to the online world.
Java U, a Montreal based coffee shop had an awesome example of “real” content that makes for great community engagement. Aside from having great coffee, the staff who works at the Ste-Catherine Street location are always friendly, and quite “engaging”.
They smile at you, they remember your favorite drinks, and when you talk to them, they are genuinely interested. They make it pleasant to come and see them. They take the time to know you. Does this sound the the recipe for success when managing a brand online?
Brilliance & Authenticity Come Naturally
A few months ago I noticed something new at their cash. Instead of having a simple tip jar, they started putting out two tip jars, and on each one they would write something different. What they chose to spotlight often allowed for some expression of personal taste or style. The first one I really noticed was “IronMan” or “Batman” (see photo in the collage below).
Where did this idea come from? Was it a long meeting where the top officials at Java U sat down and drafted hundreds of options? Or had a long discussion on how to come up with some “engaging activities”? Was it out of a marketing book? The idea has been in the franchise for years, and the weekly topics come from Phaedra, one of the Java U employees who so obviously cares and loves her job. With simple execution and leadership values that not only allow for but appreciate & encourage creativity at work, this totally fun and easy idea keeps clients smiling.
I asked Janet Lane, inspiring leader and General Manager for all the Java U stores about the initiative, here’s what she had to say:
“This is why I love hiring artists in the cafes – they are always full of creativity and know how to spark customer relations…..Phaedra who comes up with the weekly ideas is awesome!” She also added, “Bimal Das, is doing an awesome job of managing that store and always comes up with customer centric ideas, like keeping the loyalty cards on the wall so customers who don’t want to carry them around, always have them nearby.”
Sometimes the best examples of strong content marketing & outstanding service come from the simplest ideas.
So what’s the recipe for success in business which also carries through online? It’s simple:
- Hire people who care
- Create an environment where creativity is not only appreciated, but encouraged
- Spotlight your employees and your customers (notice how Janet attributed all this success to her awesome barista & store manager?)
- It doesn’t have to be complicated, if it makes your customer smile – you’ve won.
- Encourage participation with your efforts – but don’t make people go out of their way! The tip jars show clients you car about their opinion, their choice – yet don’t ask them to do anything out of the ordinary.
- Provide light entertainment and a possibility for discussion.
- Be consistent. The tip jar topics change every week. I for one look forward to seeing what Phaedra comes up with! It always makes me smile. Do something that keeps people coming back and having fun.
Yes, there is a lot more to content marketing than just one campaign, but the lesson from this very simple idea is as solid as they come – it doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to relate to your clients and give them some value.
Next time you are racking your brain struggling to think about what you can write about, take a moment, look around ask the people on the front lines of your business what they think. Take the pressure off – a little creativity and fun might just solve all your problems and win the hearts of some new fans.
Giving that little extra:
Want to be inspired by what some other businesses do to make their customers feel special? Check out Stan Phelps’ excellent book: “What’s Your Purple Goldfish: How to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth“ The Ebook is free on Amazon, today only and a great place to get inspired.
It’s the little things that often make the biggest impact.
What do you think? What kinds of small gestures or ideas have you come up with in your business that yielded high engagement or results?
The term social media is largely misused and misunderstood.
You can’t have one social media strategy, or just decide to “do social media”. You have to realize what the term represents, that’s the first challenge I see when I speak with most people considering social for their businesses.
The Basis of Media
When you are speaking about using social media as an outreach tool in the general public the first thing you have to realize is that none of those people are reading “these” articles – the dialogue we all have about it on-line , its of no interest to them.
The people you are trying to reach are living their lives. Reaching them becomes marketing – just as you try and do in magazines or radio ads or newspapers. That’s the media part of the term.
In turn, from a business owner’s stand point, making decisions about social media use has to come from understanding deeper objectives and being in touch with your organization as a whole. Social media is not a new marketing strategy or sales vessel. It’s not a substitute for customer service. It’s not about broadcasting a new logo or flooding a channel with messages, it’s about a mindset.
What is the “Social” Really About?
Social is about this ability for consumers, employees, and all people to be connected. People using the on-line space to further their knowledge, interact with others, do research, play games, express themselves, grow, laugh, be entertained and of course throughout all this to share… The social part is about where you are reaching them and it’s the entire basis of all these pillars of social marketing success.
I think sometimes businesses, people looking into social and marketers forget the why of why you have to be genuine, or why the goal is
The most engaging network? It’s a bold statement, but I think if we walk through the important aspects of engagement, you would undeniably agree, this app & network is about everything that works in engaged networks.
- Being genuine
- Feeling listened to
- Keeping open communication
- Sharing moments & emotionally driven messages
The catch? It’s only for two.
The benefit? Finding time in our increasingly digital worlds, and busy lives to make time for the important people in your life.
My friend and Social Media Consultant, Linda Bernstein came up with a good question on her Facebook status, she wanted to know if people friend people whom they do not know. It’s a great question that many people have varied perspectives on. Some people think of Facebook as a place they are building a community, whereas others keep it simple including only “real life” friends, in some cases, colleagues and co-workers.
Facebook is a very particular social network, and the way one handles it, should be different in strategy as compared to a Google +, Linked In, or Twitter.
Who will you let into your inner circle?
In this post, I am going to focus on the Facebook question as it pertains to individual accounts and not pages.
The first thing I want to clarify here is that Facebook has privacy settings that allow you to keep your information private. Facebook also allows
Your World Isn’t “The World”
If you want to know the value of social media and social networking for business, you need to be able to agree that your world is limited. That without social media, you live “in a box” – maybe it’s your box, but a box nonetheless. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
You need to understand that to be the best at what you do, you need to be educated and knowledgeable about what is happening in your field, in the world, with your consumers and your competitors. Surely, you agree with me here.
Take a few moments with me right now, in this post I am going to share with you exactly why social is critical to the leaders in your company. Why taking advantage of the opportunities in social media is critical for you. I am not going to discuss the marketing aspect here. What I am talking about here is personal development, innovation and the tools to always stay on top of your game.
Blogging effectively takes a lot more than just writing.
If I asked you what the top most important things in blogging are, what would you say?
I’ll bet you’ve heard those all before. What if I told you, yes thats important, but that being sharable and creating the easiest ways for people to interact with you and follow you are important factors to building your audience and having an impact?
I have been using social tools in the workplace for several years now with my team. It all started with the question, “What if employees were as engaged with their work as people are with online games?” As I prepared to head to the Impact99 HR Summit this week, to present my experiences using social in the workplace, I thought I would share my original 12 Most article with you here.
A knock came at my door about an hour ago while I was having a good and valued discussion with my daughter… My daughter went to look to see who it was, coming back to report she thought it might be some religious group. I got up to check for myself – I don’t really appreciate people knocking on my door – mainly because of special times like this, having a good discussion – then someone tries to just step in.
Usually I would have ignored it, but when I saw the girl on the other side, I could tell it wasn’t a “religious intervention” visit, and thought, let me see what she wants.
The Impact Equation by New York Times bestselling authors Chris Brogan & Julien Smith is set for release on October 25th. I was thrilled to get an advance copy for review and am so honored to be able to share my experience in reading it with you here.
First things first, a little Q&A on who should read this book. In case you’re wondering if this book has something in it for you.
Q1: I’m just a business person, not a social media expert, is this book right for me?
A: Yes. It’s perfect for you. No social media mumbo-jumbo here. Just practical, real life information that you can understand and apply to your life and business right away.
Q2: I’m in the field, I’m already a “social media expert”, why would I read this?