Lately, I’ve been reminding myself of some of the basics that have served me well in my role as a communicator. Thought I’d share a few here. Hope you find them beneficial.
* Repetition. Someone shared a study with me years ago that has proved to be a truism — you must repeat a message seven times to just build top-of-mind awareness. People are busy and their attention is distracted by bombardment with competing messages. You can’t expect to just say something one time — in one venue — and have them “get it.” A helpful slogan is “it takes repetition to achieve penetration.”
* Patience. Another key learning was about the diffusion process — the steps such as awareness, interest, research online, discussion with friends, trying out mentally, test-driving… You need to help people go through the process to achieve your ultimate goal.
* Process. Guess this ties into patience, but I read something recently that described the Diffusion of Innovations by Tungsten. It shared these percentages of the population when it comes to diffusion of innovation — Innovators (2.5%), Early Adopters (13.5%), Early Majority (34%), Late Majority (34%), Laggarts (16%). I’m usually in the Early Adopters crowd and get frustrated at times with the Late Majority and Laggarts. It’s helpful to remember that it takes time for a good percentage of the population to move ahead with innovations.
In this time of real-time, I-want-it-now communication, it’s good to pause and remember to be strategic, plan, take things one step at a time, and keep moving ahead.
I really like the view from my office window on the edge of downtown Cincinnati. It reminds me to get away from my computer, join the human race, and connect in person with my many online friends and associates.
The world of blogs, social networks, message boards and the like has linked me to a vast network of amazing people. We share information and ideas literally every day. We ask and answer questions, post photos of cool places and people, and generally get to know each other better. We already have some knowledge of our backgrounds, perhaps even a close bond, when we finally meet in person or reunite.
Since creating a Twitter account four years ago, my “networking” has gone on steroids. Instead of just connecting at PRSA meetings and conferences, I now trade handshakes, smiles and hugs with all sorts of folks at organized meetups of groups such as Cincinnati Social Media, New Media Cincinnati and the Social Media Health Network. I enjoy conversations over coffee or lunch with lots more people than ever. There’s just not enough time in the day to attend all of the great conferences, bootcamps, workshops and the like where I finally get to see that person I’ve only viewed in photos or, perhaps, videos.
So, I encourage you to do the same, if you haven’t already. Get out there. It’s not just about fostering online relationships. It’s about meeting great people in the flesh.
Last month, Jay Baer — co-author of The NOW Revolution — 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social — shared some great insights at a jam-packed coffee house. Cincinnati Social Media sponsored the event, which attracted a number of PR, marketing, IT and social media enthusiasts.
Fortunately, I had read his book before the talk — and liked it. (And so had the person next to me on my flight back from the Health Care Social Media Summit in October, at the direction of her boss, who owns an East Coast PR shop!) Jay underscored all of the key points in the book in an engaging talk given from the top of the steps overlooking the group. Here’s his PowerPoint, which he wasn’t able to use due to technical issues.
Here are some highlights:
* We are living in a real-time world, where every customer is a reporter. If you have a negative experience now, you let the world know on Fourquare, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs… Complaint letters are quaint practices of the past.
* Companies have got to become faster, smarter and more social. You don’t have much time to verify and contemplate. You’ve got to be quick on your feet.
* Organizations need to empower their employees to make the right decisions. That’s about culture, not about training.
* Businesses must hire for passion, train for skills.
* If your company sucks, Twitter is not your problem. Social media does not create negativity. It puts a magnifying glass on it.
* Social media is measurable. The last quarter of the book is about metrics. There is no linear relationship between Facebook Likes and business success. 84% of Facebook followers are current customers. As a general rule, you want to measure behaviors.
* How do we as companies get more social? Thank You and I’m Sorry. If you do that, you’ll be in really good shape. 70 % of customer complaints on social media go unanswered. Name the people who tweet on behalf of companies.
* Sales, marketing, customer relations and operations know what is going on. It never gets to PR and Marketing. Use Yammer and e-mail to harvest.
* In social media, you earn the right to promote by being helpful first. The more you sell, the less you sell, in social media.
* Capitalize on real-time opportunities. This requires more people in your organization in social media. Decentralization. It’s OK that every employee is potentially in marketing. The people will make you successful, not your official Facebook page.
* Every company is going to have to be social. Customers will demand that you interact with them in new ways. They’ve got to be faster, smarter and more social to win.
* We will see much more data segmentation. What do our best customers say about us? Etc. Drill down.
I highly recommend that you read the book for more details. Exciting stuff, as we move ahead in this new world of real-time communication.