Archive for December, 2008

You’ve Got to Treat Her Like a Lady

I was prepared to write about brands on Twitter. I was going to argue that brands definitely should be on Twitter (based on a recent discussion that I read on MashableExhibit A, Exhibit B). While I still support brands on Twitter and other social media, I have seen so many bad examples, that I need to air my grievances about fellow marketers who are rushing to use this shiny new toy they heard about (for fear of being left behind) called social media. And, in doing so, are treating it like advertising, and tainting the landscape for everybody. 

Ahh – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – you were so wise when you wrote “Treat Her Like a Lady.” You and many other romantics truly understand social media. We marketers should pay attention to those beautiful songs to have an equal understanding of how to interact in social media.  

Some marketers are like that guy who is verbally or physically abusive to his girlfriend. Sure, she trusted him at first – she may have even believed she could change him. But, what he did was jade her toward other men; perfectly good and well-intentioned men who just want to talk or listen. But she has every right to be jaded. Why should she trust you, or me, or any other guy (brand) from here on out? Why welcome them with open trusting arms, only to be blasted with abusive, one-sided messages, and unwanted garbage? 

Do you see what you did, jerk-faced marketer? You’re ruining it for the rest of us! We could be good for her. We could give her what she wants and needs out of a relationship. But you ruined it! Here’s what you did wrong.

YOU ACTED LIKE AN ADVERTISEMENT.

Yes, that is shameful in the social media arena. The one thing that SO MANY marketers (be they agencies or independent) forget is that social media is really quite simple. Lean in closely as I tell you the secret to unlock the true power of social media…

TREAT SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE A GENUINE, TRUTHFUL, CARING RELATIONSHIP. (sorry for the all-caps again, I’m getting irritated)

I know that for many of you, maintaining a relationship is one of the most difficult endeavors you’ve ever encountered. If that’s the case, you can use this blog post to improve your success in social media, and in your love life. You’re welcome. 

Treat her like a lady

Treat her like a lady

1. Offer some value to the relationship. What do you offer her? Seriously, think about that question. Don’t tell me periodic discounts and links to your blog, Casanova. What does she get out of the relationship? Is the relationship all about you – all about what you can get out of her? For shame! Do something for her without concern of how it benefits you.

2. You must listen to your lady. This is HUGE! Would you want to stay in a relationship with somebody who just talks and talks and talks about themselves? Hell no. Nobody does. You aren’t that interesting – admit it. This is another example of a one-sided relationship. Listen to her talk about her day. And don’t listen with an eagerness for her to finish her sentence so you can talk about yourself again. Listen with genuine concern, because you care about her and you care about what’s important to her. Then talk to her about the things that are important to her. 

3. Let her get to know you. Be a person, not a character. Open up – let her know what makes you tick. Let her know what makes you happy and sad. Share your life with her. Be vulnerable. Be sincere. It’s easy to act like you care for somebody when you actually care for them. She will love you for it. She will be loyal to you.

4. Do something nice for her, just because. Unexpectedly, do something nice for your lady. The pre-requisite here is that you’ve listened to her, and you know what she wants. Trust me, this gets you a long way for a long time. But you can’t give some thoughtless gift, like that little stuffed teddy bear holding a heart that you grabbed at the gas station 5 minutes before you got home. 

5. Never think you’re better than her. Do you really think she should be grateful to simply be with you? You’re God’s gift to her, huh? Nope. A relationship is about mutual respect and understanding. A relationship is about love, trust and openness. If you want her to think you’re special, treat her like she’s special to you.

6. Continue to court her. Once she says she’ll date you doesn’t mean you’ve locked her in, and can do what you want. It will be much harder to try to get her back once you’ve lost her. So don’t lose her – keep showing her how much you want her. 

7. There is no blueprint for romance. Romance is about knowing the other person, knowing what is important and special to them, and knowing what will excite them. If you don’t know that, you’re not in a strong relationship.

So, remember, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like are not new billboards for you to place your ad. You don’t have a right to be with the people here. But, you can be here. Be a person first (brands can be people with attitudes, feelings, convictions, etc), then seek relationships. If you can prove that you’re here to foster relationships, rather that extort them, you will be welcomed with open arms, and you will be loved. But don’t you dare make the mistake of thinking you can keep a relationship here without putting in the time, effort and care that any real-life relationship require. That’s right, a real relationship. And this time, make sure you treat her like a lady.

Good example of a BAD BRAND on Twitter

Good example of a BAD BRAND on Twitter

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You Oughta Know (Inbound Marketing)

This is a fun little video put together by HubSpot‘s Rebecca Corliss about inbound marketing vs outbound marketing. Her disturbed lamenting is set to the tune of Alanis Morissette‘s “Oughta Know.” It’s not the coolest, most impressively produced video – don’t worry about that. Yeah, it’s kinda corny and gimicky – don’t worry about that. 

As I watched, I thought – OK, how are they going to end this thing? What’s the call to action? I expected to see a URL. But, no. We are given a shot of somebody entering “inbound marketing” into a Google search bar. 

I had to do it. Sure enough – the top result is a post on HubSpot’s blog called Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing. I love the switchup from simply putting a URL at the end of a video. Plus, it completely proves the point that Corliss was making about the importance and potential of search. Well done : )

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Pulitzer for Bloggers?

According to their press release, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced that they have officially expanded their award criteria to include online journalists (ie – bloggers). Well, sort of. You’ll have to write for a U.S. newspaper that publishes content at least weekly and that is “primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing stories,” and that “adheres to the highest journalistic principles.” They will still exclude printed magazines and TV news media that publish content on the Web. 

A couple of years ago, Pulitzer allowed online content from newspapers. However, the big news this year is that they’re also allowing newspaper content that is exclusively online. 

This is a big step in recognizing online journalism and the shift in communication… new media. I suppose all bloggers aren’t quite getting full billing yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. I have to believe that it is only a matter of time until bloggers, citizen journalists, and the like will be eligible for a Pulitzer Prize – even if they don’t write for a newspaper.

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Measuring Your Online Personal Brand

Ever Googled yourself? If you haven’t, don’t get all high and mighty, thinking that only narcissistic people would do such a thing. Today, you need to be aware of your online presence, and your ability to be found. I strongly suggest that everybody be highly aware of their personal brand, but things rings especially true if you have any interest in being a thought leader in your industry. When somebody searches for your name, what kind of information do they find first? That helps dictate your personal brand. When somebody searches for the kind of things you know about, will they find you? You should want them to.

Google is the best search engine to use when evaluating your ability to be found online. Why? They dominate the world of search. According to Hitwise, Google occupies approximately 72% of searches in the United States (although most stats I see put them in the 60-70% range). Yahoo is second with about 17%. There isn’t much else to go around after that. Google gets several hundred million searches each day. You need to have a presence.

We can talk a little bit more in another post/conversation about how to increase the chances you have of showing up on these Google search engine results (SERs), but it should be clear that your personal brand is affected by how you fare in Google SERs. 

Today, I was turned on to another evaluation tool (I know there are some people who abhor evaluation tools, but I see value in them, so deal with it). Phil Barrett wrote a post about the Online Identity Calculator – a tool that asks you a few questions (really only takes a few minutes) and then leverages Google to evaluate your online identity and measure it by placing you in one of four quadrants.

You know I like these kinds of evaluation tools – anything that you use to track/measure/evaluate your personal brand?

Here are the results of my Online Identity Calendar:

Mike McDowell's results - Digitally Distinct

Mike McDowell's results - Digitally Distinct

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Good for Goodness Sake

 Lakresha Moore is overcome by emotion after being handed a $100 bill by a Secret Santa  

 

Lakresha Moore is overcome by emotion after being handed a $100 bill by a Secret Santa

I came across an article today that really made an impact on me. It is about pure giving because it is the right thing to do. 

Here is an excerpt from the article:

At a suburban Goodwill store on Friday, Theresa Settles selected a large, black comforter to warm her family until she can raise the money to turn the gas heat back on. A petite woman approached, her face obscured by dark sunglasses and a wrapped winter scarf, and handed Settles two $100 bills stamped with the words “secret Santa.” “The only condition,” she said, “is that you do something nice for someone. Pass it on.”

Apparently, this is the doing of a gentleman named Larry Stewart, who died of cancer a couple of weeks ago. He had been “street giving” for the past 30 years or so, and asked that his tradition be carried on. And so it was. 

This is a pretty inspiring story to read in a holiday season when people are really hurting financially and need to lean on the kindness of fellow human beings. The reason to give was simply to give. The reason to be good was simply to be good. This guy, Larry Stewart, has nothing to gain (I don’t think) by giving so much of his money. 

I have to admit, when I first read this article, I thought: This is a great guerrilla idea. How can I use this idea for one of my clients? How can I help brand them as community servants?” But, I had to turn off the marketer’s part of my brain and simply realize that the real impact of this story is NOT the fact that people were being given $100 bills, but the fact that it was done without regard for credit. It was done without need for recognition or a newspaper article. (However, I then wondered how they got a photo and got this article to the AP… hmmm…). The impact of the give could not be leveraged if this was a planned give with planned coverage and a PR pitch – you kill the essence.

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Twitter for Business

I have read a TON of articles about using Twitter for business. Most of them pretty good. I think it is a brilliant tool for the businesses that are willing to participate. That keyword needs to be repeated – PARTICIPATE. Use Twitter like it isn’t just another outlet for your promotional message. Are you the kind of tool who goes to a dinner party and tries to sell something to everybody you meet? That’s how some businesses use Twitter. BUT – the businesses that treat this like an opportunity to have a conversation and a relationship that is valuable to its followers, they WIN.

Below are the slides from an Ogilvy Twitter for Business presentation. Not brand new, but a good collection of tips for businesses that want to use Twitter to engage their end users and to listen to unfiltered conversations about their brands. 

Ogilvy Twitter for Business

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