I was meeting with a business colleague recently – a company that I would love to work with. As I was discussing things with the head of marketing, I was explaining what Scorch specializes in and how we might be able to help. Almost immediately, he said, “I know, I know, social media is the place to be.” The person was trying to assure me that, even though they had no money budgeted for social media, they understood the importance of it. I believe in it, too – I would not be at my dream job without it.
However, just “being” on social media misses the mark. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are just tools. They are not the magic elixir, or the secret password to get into the exclusive nightclub. They themselves don’t make good things happen. They’re just tools. They are tools that came on the scene, and they will eventually go away or be supplanted (Myspace and Friendfeed, come baaaaack!)
It’s a much bigger deal than just using social media. It is this: no matter what kind of company you are, LET YOUR HAIR DOWN. This is the challenge facing companies and brands today. It’s not about registering a Twitter account and handing it to the summer intern. Great, you opened a Twitter account – here’s your cookie! (*cookie not included). What are you going to do with that account now?
Well, if you shotgun blast buy buy buy messages from it, prepare for disappointment. If your tweets look like they went through “Legal,” that won’t do. If your company has a policy of not engaging people on Twitter for fear of potential negative publicity (yes, there are companies like this), you’re completely missing the boat.
Companies do not need to embrace the idea of talking about their products. They’re already way too good at that. Every company thinks they have the most awesome product ever. I am just as guilty here! My tees and Scorch’s product offerings are so great! So what? No one will care unless you engage them, entertain them, inform them, and help them. Traditional marketing sometimes entertains, and sometimes helps. Letting your hair down by using social media allows you to easily do all four.
Radio, TV, print, direct mail, sponsorships, and billboards = traditional media. Come on, let your hair down! Grab a Flip Cam and interview your employees about what it’s like to work for you, and put those videos on YouTube and embed them on your site. It will help with recruiting, and no, you’re not selling anything at this point. Volunteer in your community AND blog about it. You’re still not selling. Share your expertise in the form of a regular blog series (video, podcast, or the written word. Or all three!). You are still not selling, and yet people will be sold.
Best yet, try to do something as freaking amazing as Old Spice. Their now-famous series of 200 near-real-time Youtube video responses is, from a marketing logistics perspective, completely shocking. Try to picture their agency Wieden + Kennedy pitching this idea to a conservative consumer products company like Proctor & Gamble. Pampers, Tide, Bounty… these are huge venerable family brands that P&G has to protect. ”So you want to stick a muscular dude in a towel – our now-famous spokesperson – and shoot 200 YouTube videos and blast them out on this Twitter thing? We don’t get it.” Instead, they said “Go for it.” Proctor & Gamble let their hair down. Frankly, so did Wieden + Kennedy. They’re in the business of creating high-budget knockout 30 second TV ads, and here they made 200 slightly lower budget ads in two days. Does this cheapen their high-budget 30-second ad offering? Who knows, it might! But they went for it anyway. Huge kudos to Proctor & Gamble and Wieden + Kennedy.
What do you guys think? Can architects, CPA firms, law firms, and the like let their hair down and engage, inform, help, and entertain people in a way similar to Old Spice? I encourage you to comment below and let me know what you think.