Nobody has time to investigate every social media app or stream every second of the day. But I’ve fallen in love with Tumblr, Instagram and Gifboom, here’s why. Sheer impact. Like an asteroid aimed at Earth, these images give you pause. They tell stories that captivate your imagination and heart instantly. You either dig it or hate it.
More than 90 percent of the way we receive communication is visually driven.
One snapshot on Tumbler, Instagram or Gifboom slaughters words and blogs with instant, creative visual messaging. Take any of these social media streams for a ride and you will instantly fall in love with strangers who echo your heart or twist your mind in pictures.
I’m in love with ridinggirl10 on Tumblr. She sees horses the way I want to see them – big and bold. Tumblr is more interesting than Pinterest because it forces you to focus on the image. Pinterest overwhelms you with images: like a shopping spree you can never afford.
On Gifboom, I’d like to see more sophistication. Too many teens on Gifboom are stripping and posing. Gifs and photos on Tumblr are more sophisticated and provide little bookmarks in history that capture a moment in time. They allow an intriguing pause on life. I dig it when I can.
When you are forced to tell your story in pictures, you witness a new narrative you never knew existed. It’s more emotional, spiritual and grounded in what you love the most. What you choose to share in pictures is very different than what you share in words. And that’s an adventure worth having.
I’m a social-media binger. I jump on the merry-go-round of social media and then jump off to clear my head and stay focused on strategy and objectives. But my No. 1 objective when I jump on is to listen.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are still my preferred streams, easily managed through Hootsuite. They help drive the conversations and constituencies of my clients and their brands. I have explored Google+, Pinterest, Feedly, Storify, Paper.li, Youtube and others. While lots of them are equally fun and engaging, I have to eliminate the streams that do not enhance the volume of relationships and feedback necessary to deliver the biggest results for my clients.
It’s easy to rant and rave on social media. I’m profoundly good at it. It’s much harder to shut up and listen. When you close your mouth and open your ears to a targeted group of people, you can identify obstacles that divide you from future relationships and business.
Social media is a free focus group for every constituency whether it’s a consumer or potential client. Listen to what they are saying about you. Listen to what they are saying about your competitor. Listen for praise, listen for rants, listen for complaints, listen for suggestions and listen for ideas. By listening, you help inform your research, marketing, media outreach and overall market position.
When you say “I don’t have time for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn” you’re essentially saying you don’t have time to listen to the people you need to succeed. Those people will simply shift their attention to the people who do.
I posted a photo on Pinterest of a salad I made. The photo of the salad lied to my tastebuds. Nobody on Pinterest cared. It was too pretty.
The salad was visually stunning. The caption read: “Strawberries (substituting for a bad watermelon), Feta, red onion, toasted almonds on a bed of crunchy Romaine.”
The salad was beautiful to look at, but sucked when I ate it. That did not stop Pinterest followers from re-pinning it. On Pinterest, beauty trumps truth.
Pinterest is not about foodies and fashionistas. Pinterest is really about social-streaming a message visually. The human brain is wired to receive 90 percent of all messages visually first. We believe what we see. That’s why my bad salad is still popular. Feta and strawberries do not agree on the tongue, but they agree on the eyeballs.
I’ve spent the past week on Pinterest to see how easily family, clients, friends and strangers are manipulated by its beautiful pictures.
Pinterest allows users to create board themes with visual proof points uploaded by users like you and me. It’s the ultimate “love it or hate it” message board. If you love tattoos, horses, macaroni, Obama, Paris, French-country flowers and savvy quotes, Pinterest allows you to define your brand, style and life philosophy in a visually compelling palette of images and photos organized by the boards. You can re-pin images from followers and friends or upload your own and define a new trend. It’s fun, easy and addictive.
In one afternoon, I created a spectrum of images that define my business, my life, the life I don’t have and want, and the life I fight for.
1. All pictures of my two German Shepherds taken by my cousin MollyDillphotography.com are getting re-pinned by the hour.
2. None of my client’s political opposition has caught on to this trend. This is short-lived because they are reading this blog.
3. I also discovered through my uploads that I’m not the only person who loves whales, German Shepherds, Obama, Cannon Beach, Absolutely Fabulous and earthy, weather-beaten housewares.
Pinterest requires you to be connected to Facebook and conversely allows you to “like” your pins to Facebook to broaden your reach. It’s where the poster boards of witty quotes and vibrant photos on Facebook are now born.
I am mostly amazed at how much the foodies dominate the stream. If you were born on another planet, you’d think we all are starving for pretty food.
People like me are coming to Pinterest with bigger motives and agendas. We are plotting and planning to fill your brain with our ideas and our vision for the world. Consider this visual plug for my friend Gael Tarleton, a standout Democratic candidate for state representative in the 36th Legislative District.
My vision for the world has lots of critters, good food and pocket reviews of my favorite movies, TV shows and preferred political candidates. It also includes signage and images for a better world that can be realized through progressive engagement, voting and thinking.
Pinterest is destined to become deeper and more philosophical as more people catch on to its power. Pinterest will compel all of us to visualize the world we want with the images in our brains or on Pinterest. I can visualize my children’s future on Pinterest. And that makes me happy.
Jumping into social media streams can be like inhaling a cloud of gnats up your nose. How do you screen social media content for value? And how do you create it?
I recently attended Seattle’s Interactive Conference #SIC2011 where the top social media gurus and brand managers gathered to highlight what’s working and what’s headed our way. I walked away feeling validated by one repeated theme – social media is not a marketing strategy, but a tool.
It’s clear that people tune social media out when they are besieged with useless content. People follow trusted brands of truth that cut through the noise.
The frenetic output of social media can never match our personal ability to consume it. So at the end of the day trusted brands of truth prevail.
I screen social media like a mother eavesdrops on a teen-girl slumber party. Amid the hailstorm of useless chatter, I’m listening for what I want to know and what I need to know: “I hate her, I love Muse, I’m failing biology and Matt is a brat.” The same rule applies to the marketplace. Who loves who? Who loves me? Who hates who? Who hates me? And why?
Consumers and brands operate with motives. Know your motive and know the motives of your target audience. Tools for communication may change, but rules for strategic communication remain. Here are tips from #SIC2011 that stuck with me:
Social media is not a brand/marketing strategy. It’s a tactic.
Embrace ALL third-party testimonials – the good and bad. Don’t abhor, ignore or delete them.
Adopt transparency to create credibility. People scan for trusted sources.
Speak concisely and with relevance. Edit like an umpire.
Know why you’re in it. Answer this question: What’s my home run?
Respect social media tools. Hiring cheap labor to manage your social media communities is like asking frat boys to plan a wedding. (Inspired by Louis LoPresti @RedPantsMeme)
Metrics for social media must be tied to a marketing strategy and goals – brand lift, allegiance, buy-in, transactions, market share, customer service and referrals – not just increased traffic.
There are no substitutes for good products and content. Have something worthy to sell and say.
Consumers and clients are your best brand ambassadors. Celebrate them.
Shut up and listen. What are your social media streams telling you?
Facebook less and book more face and your social media marketing will flourish
Connecting with people on a personal level is direct marketing at its basic and best. And it makes your work life happier and more productive. If you have 500 connections on Linked-In, but only have lunch with targeted peers and clients twice a month, put the smart phone down and find somebody to take to lunch.
Meeting with people in person is the most powerful and effective strategy in marketing and media relations. There’s simply no substitute for your face, your laughter and your personal anecdotes over lunch. Everybody loves a story and a human being behind the story. And everybody prefers to meet with people they already know because it’s less awkward. When you genuinely know the people you connect with on social media, it also reduces tension when you have to reach out to clients, peers and allies in tough times. And you discover ways to help each other.
So in order to diminish your awkward quotient, you must meet with more people more often. If you feel intimidated by the intimacy of a one-on-one lunch, invite somebody to go with you. Lunching in threes eases the performance pressure some people feel when presented with a face-to-face meeting. Know who you are and address it head on.
And if you’re concerned about running up a big lunch bill, then meet people for coffee or a walk. Lots of people, especially in the Northwest, love the idea of going for a mid-afternoon walk to break up their sedentary time in the office. You both create a shared experience while improving your health.
I make it my business to ensure my clients, peers and professional allies know me as a human being first. This builds trust and confidence in our relationship, especially when faced with a difficult situation that may put us at odds. Building this kind of trust can turn a crisis situation into a bold opportunity.
My No. 1 recommendation for building market share, referrals, allies and friendly media is to develop a direct outreach plan for the year. And this includes meeting with allies and adversaries if you want to dominate your professional universe. Ask yourself this question: How often do I have lunch or coffee with a client or professional peer each week? If you have lunch or coffee just once a day, five days week with one targeted client or peer, you are potentially generating 20 “referral ambassadors” a month. Clearly, with whom you choose to meet can dramatically increase that referral number if you are smart about it. Meeting with people who are savvy, high-traffic networkers is key. You should make clients and prospective clients your first priority. Adversaries and problem partners are second. Vendors and business partners are third.
People who know their friends and enemies simply get more things done for their clients. They see bridges, not walls. They build a strong social media network that brings real value to their business. And they book more face.