What is more important, the method or the task? For some, a grandiose vision of conformity is the total rule, with creativity and gumption hanging in the balance. Human nature never changes, and as such there will forever be a portion of otherwise talented and experienced folk who will always be ‘better’ than us. Indeed, they walk among us.
At one time or another you may have been accosted by someone who exudes the character elements of a superior being, always ensuring that we are held in our place. Perhaps it’s a person who is of a superior intellect or a professional who insists that their pedigree be mentioned with their name but regardless of the means, the end result gives us a feeling of being stuck in steerage. However, if our self-image can weather the storm, the image and/or words are as water to a duck. Are you too good for social media? Have you been told that there is no ROI or it’s just a passing fad, worthy of schoolyard kids? To some, this is still the perception, but the reality is that businesses big and small are benefiting like never before.
The Truth And Nothin’ But
If social media did not have seaworthiness, then why are there so many professionals getting involved? Looking at it another way, can you honestly say that the brands that you favor dismiss the power of the social listener? Considering the product or service that is in your ‘top 10’, how many of them have a YouTube channel, Twitter account or Pinterest page? Perform a poll on your own television set, and in the commercials that follow the program you enjoy, how many of them include social icons? If you believe that they are just playing around with social and that there is no purpose to what they are paying for, then this is simply being ignorant of the facts. Here’s the skinny:
Wells Fargo, one of the first financial services firms to get on Twitter goes far beyond the instance of having a social account for ‘contact’ purposes. The bank has over 80 different segments of business, making the number of keywords and phrases challenging to capture. They could have easily furnished the excuse that they were just too big to analyze the large word-count and rely on red tape, but instead seized on the opportunity to use creativity. In addition to using engagement software and tools, Wells Fargo has developed their own technology to understand the meaning of what their audience is saying so they can quickly take action. An example of this is a hearing-impaired client who sent a twitter message to @Ask_WellsFargo, informing them that the ATM audio input jack was faulty. Through utilization of the software they designed, technicians were dispatched and within minutes, the issue was resolved along with a message of thanks back to the customer.
McDonald’s Answers Twitter User, Shows How To Make A Big Mac
McDonald’s is big business with big profits and big budgets, but did you know that much of their marketing is based on education? McDonald’s understands that many of their clients are already ‘sold’ on the food that they produce, and while there will continue to be traditional advertisements emphasizing the Big Mac, they have also devised a creative ‘grassroots-style’ video channel on YouTube. By answering questions from real people who have posted concerns and feedback from various social networks, McD’s has gone against-the-grain by giving facts to overcome stereotypes. Instead of hiring actors, actual employees and executives deliver the message back to the original messager in a fun and low-key medium which makes you think twice about the company. Some of the topics addressed include videos of Chicken McNugget ingredients, why their advertisements show food that is different than what is in the restaurant and if they use ‘real eggs’ in their Egg McMuffins. In thinking outside the box, McDonald’s has humanized themselves in a manner which fosters repeat business and brand loyalty.
PYT restaurant is known for great burgers, such as the Braised Pork Belly Burger, but a big part of their success is due to their clever use of social media. Utilizing the location check-in service FourSquare, PYT (Pay Your Tab) provides its patrons with a free beer if they check in to their establishment. While some may scoff at a business who appear to lose profits by giving away suds for a simple check-in through a smartphone, the truth of the matter is that these same patrons have become repeat customers and more than pay for the promotion through their delicious fare. The restaurant has ‘FourSquare’d’ over 10,000 free beers, but the promotion has more than paid for itself in food and loyal clients.
One doesn’t have to look too far within the web to find clues that social media is changing the way business and clients interact. However, there will continue to be those priggish folks with ‘superior knowledge’ who will try to convince you otherwise, even with years of documented successes to point to. You may even be tempted to fall for subtle phrases like “the Web2.0 train has moved on” or “The ones who have capitalized already on social were lucky” but this is a cop out, or rather, a miscalculation of epic proportions because in reality, social media has only just begun.
A good dose of truth is needed to quash the naysayers, and to put the final nail in the coffin for any hint of leeriness, we need look no further than the example of the world’s largest social network. Many think that Facebook was an overnight success, but it took 8 years to become a public company. They did not start out having the growth they have today, and though they now have hundreds of millions of active users, it took almost 4 years to get to 50 million, and this was with a lot of work, planning and preparation. Were they lucky? Indeed… they were lucky they didn’t listen to the ones who knew everything about social media, but did nothing with it.
If you are ever in the midst of the know-it-all, or find yourself exhibiting any of the qualities akin to the lover of red-tape, it will be in your best interest to erase these traits from your conscious mind, as no resourcefulness lies therein. Nothing takes the place of work, creativity and persistence, and while knowledge is a factor, it pales in comparison to effort and truth.