Archives for March 2014
We’ll admit it: We got a little verklempt when we watched the (now viral) video of Stanford physicist Andrei Linde get word of a major confirmation of his Big Bang research. Imagine working on a theory back in the 1980s, never expecting to live long enough to receive validation of your idea, only to have it knock on your front door. In shock, Linde asked his colleague delivering the news to repeat it (twice) and still, like a good scientist, only allows himself the barest of hope that the results could be real. After all, that’s what we want in a physicist: A daring combination of dreamer and skeptic, searching for evidence until the very end, more interested in adding knowledge to man’s understanding of the universe than in proving himself right. Guys like Linde spend their lives striving to contribute a tiny drop of truth to what they know will require oceans of effort over hundreds of millions of years (assuming humans are around that long).
That’s one helluva long game. And it got us thinking: What do we hope to add to that ocean? True, not everyone can (or should) be theoretical physicists. We’re not all going to unlock major secrets of time and space. But each of us is here for only so long, and each of us has a unique set of experiences and talents that, when combined, produce insights. At least, they can produce insights when people carve out enough time to read, reflect and just… be. Some of those insights might lead to a new level of achievement at work. Others might lead to a work of art. Still more might lead to a breakthrough in terms of understanding and supporting a loved one — or even understanding and accepting ourselves.
Regardless of what your personal insights produce, they’re not going to happen by themselves. They require intentional investment of time and energy over months and years. But time is a luxury that so few of us have anymore. Today’s culture of immediacy rewards action rather than reflection, breadth over depth and speed above all else. The dominance of emails, texts, blogs and social media as our preferred forms of communication prove that we’ve become all about the short game. Naturally, insight-building time gets pushed aside unless insulated from such attacks.
So each of us has a choice: How do we want to spend our lives? If you’re interested in adding your own tiny drop of truth to the ocean of existence, it’s time to take stock of how you currently spend your time and delegate the distractions. And if you’re in charge of your company’s marketing or public relations, a great place to start is to hire someone else to deal with your social media management and blogging. Why? Because very few tweets will go down in history. Cute though they are, emoji-filled Facebook comments can’t advance our knowledge of humanity. We’re even willing to bet that no LOL cat meme will ever be pointed to as the turning point in a political revolution. In other words, don’t you have better things to do with your time?
We don’t know much about the Big Bang or about the intentions, if any, of a creator-type figure or force in our universe. But we do know that a life lived with intent is crucial to developing life’s long game. And we do this stuff for a living — not just so that you don’t have to, but because it’s where our unique blend of talents and experiences led us (sigh). We like doing it, and it shows in our timeliness, our spot-on copy and our creative tie-ins — all things atypical of social media and blogs run by people who would rather be doing something else.
So when you’re ready to leave the social stuff to us and start working toward your own insights, call us. We’ll jump right in and inform your audience about your products or services (with or without LOL cats per your needs) and leave the big thinking to you.
Today, we’re going to talk about how turning up the transparency volume on your social media channels can help your business get and keep more customers. After all, that’s why you’re reading this blog. (It’s OK… We know that’s why you’re here. Full disclosure: That’s why we’re writing it.)
It all boils down to one word: Authenticity. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube and blogs may be unique platforms, but they’re all part of the social media movement, which is about consumer-to-consumer interactions rather than top-down messaging. Sure, you have some static content on these channels, but the great majority of the work your company does on social media is via interactions with customers and potential customers. You’re mostly answering to them rather than pushing out information. And that key difference is what sets social media apart from other forms. Word of mouth, ratings and comments play a huge role in this part of the world, allowing potential customers to feel as though they’re getting the straight scoop. Social media also provides a public forum for your company to get credit for the amazing customer service you do, day in and day out. (You do have an amazing and transparent customer service platform, right? With eighty four percent of consumers telling Nielsen that they trust word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know, and social science proving that customers who have a bad experience will tell five people but those who have a good experience only tell two, it’s clear that the cost of going the extra mile to make a customer happy is far less costly than not doing so. If you don’t have such a system in place, see to that first and get back to us.)
Transparent social media interactions also are key to establishing personal relationships with potential brand ambassadors. Let’s say you manufacture dog toys. Your Facebook wall serves as a platform for your brand enthusiasts to spread the love (Fido LOVES his toy!) or report a problem (The toy broke). The first case is easy: You thank the fan for their enthusiasm, throw in a specific reference to their post so they don’t feel like they’re getting canned corporate speak, and everybody goes home in a limousine. The second case is slightly harder — but it has way more potential for converting that customer into a true brand believer: When a customer comes to you with a complaint, resolve it above his or her satisfaction in a polite and straightforward manner. Treat them like people, because they are (and you are, too). Simply doing this sets a company apart from its competition faster than any Olympically-expensive advertising campaign can. Solve their problem and reaffirm their belief in the human race and suddenly you’re buddies! They’ll do anything for you, including help you build brand awareness among their inner circle.
One last word for those of you still not using social media (or only occasionally checking in as an afterthought): As more and more traditional and new media advertising vehicles get filtered, spammed, do-not-call listed or otherwise avoided by your target market, businesses have fewer opportunities to inform their publics. If you don’t have the kind of time necessary to devote to relationship-driven, transparent social media practices, hire someone who does. Full disclosure: We just happen to know a few.
Some of our clients already know how to write great web content (and if you’re not sure, take the “So What?” test here.
But once that great content gets noticed, it’s not long before it brings in new business as well as demands for more such great content. And that means less time to create it in the first place.
This is a common, though nice-to-have, problem among successful marketers. In fact, two-thirds of business-to-business marketers recently surveyed say they can’t keep up with content production demands. If you’re in this position, you have three choices: Delegate the writing, continue to hope the writing will somehow magically get done or resign yourself to the notion that the writing will not get done any time in the near future.
So, you’ve decided to delegate, then? How smart. Here’s how to proceed:
1. Choose a writing partner — Ideally, you’re looking for one or more individuals (perhaps even a firm) with a history of effective content creation and great client references. When you interview prospective partners, be sure to ask how frequently they hit content deadlines (we’re still at 100% here at Brandsplat!) and how they adapt their writing style to match your needs. A good copywriter will listen to the words you use to describe your work and jot down notes as you’re talking. He or she will ask questions about any jargon your industry uses and present several potential blog topic ideas based on your conversation. A great copywriter will have done research before this meeting and come armed with a myriad of additional questions, including our personal favorite: “What land mines are out there?” This helps the writer know where NOT to step — politics or religion or a weird industry deference to flamingos… Whatever it is, great copywriters know the wisdom in asking ahead of time.
2. Conduct a brain dump — Once you’ve chosen your writing partner, they will want to sit down with you for anywhere between 10 and 60 minutes to discuss your audience, previous attempts at connecting with them (what worked vs. what didn’t and why) and basically get a feel for how they can step into your shoes. When you’re busy, the thought of finding another hour in your schedule to bring your writing partner up to speed can seem daunting, but remember: That’s the last hour you have to spend worrying about how little writing you’re doing! You’ll be officially off the hook.
3. Sit back and relax — Totally kidding. You’ve still got that huge to-do list waiting for you, and it’s getting bigger by the minute! But now that you’ve delegated the content piece, you have freed up your schedule a bit more and can get down to business. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Whether you or someone you love needs help with delegating their content writing, we’re here for you. Give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or drop us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com and let us take some of the pressure off.