The Fan's Perspective
"It takes an outsider to see what is beautiful or interesting in someone's life." - Malcolm Gladwell
This statement might not always be true, but I think this is true a lot. It is one of the reasons people hire me.
Be it bands or businesses, so many have trouble seeing all of the fascinating aspects of what they do. What has become mundane to them is really interesting to the rest of us.
Part of what I bring to the table is the outsider's perspective, the fan's perspective.
Customize The Experience
Clients The Fabulous Thunderbirds do not use a set list for their concerts. Most bands do. Most bands decide what songs they are going to perform ahead of time and that list of songs is printed out and taped on the floor next to each musician.
A number of artists will use the same set list throughout a tour, changing out a few songs here and there.
Not The Fabulous Thunderbirds though.
Kim Wilson, the lead singer, takes the temperature of the room and calls out what the next song will be based on how the audience is responding. The next song could be fast, slow, blues, rock, one of their own tunes, or a cover of someone like Muddy Waters. The band doesn't know until Kim shouts it out.
That customized show is one of the reasons it is worth it to see The Fabulous Thunderbirds not just once, but again and again.
It is also a nice reminder to customize the experience for your customers whenever you can.
Get Better At Looking Around
Bill Gibson of clients Huey Lewis & The News once told me that when the band travels, people often recognize Huey, but they don't recognize anyone else in the group.
As a result, Bill has often been on an airplane seated next to people talking about Huey and not realizing that the band's drummer is right next to them.
Bands and businesses often do not know what to talk about on social media. But most likely they are surrounded by interesting people, information, and stories. They just need to get better at looking around.
There is a new way for scammers and spammers to target your audience on Facebook.
Facebook allows visitors to suggest edits for the About sections of public pages. Apparently someone at the company thought, "Let's give the general public some control over other people's online properties. What could possibly go wrong?"
When a change is suggested, it is up to a page admin to accept it or reject it. But there is a huge flaw with this.
One change visitors can suggest is a different website address for your page to link to. So the scammers and spammers go in and suggest their own websites, hoping you will start sending traffic their way.
This would not be a big deal, but as it says in the Facebook Help section, "Keep in mind that changes may be applied automatically if you don't act on them."
That's right. If you do not notice a suggested change, Facebook might just push it through without your knowledge.
Thanks to this brilliant bit of programming, a Facebook page for a charity organization could suddenly link to a website that looks like a charity but is really just a scam to steal people's money.
What to do:
Every so often, click on your page's "Notifications" and select the "Request" option. Here you can see what suggested edits have been submitted and accept or, more likely, reject them.
Take The Time To Do It Right
The other day I set up a post for a client that required tagging a few other public pages. I did this on four platforms and one website. It took about 20 minutes because I customized each post for the platform it was running on.
A lot of people would have set up the post on one platform and had that pushed to the others. And it would have looked good on the first platform and would have been a mess on all of the others.
None of the tags would have worked on the secondary platforms. And depending on what was used for the primary platform (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), the posts on the secondary platforms would have been cut off mid sentence, the photo would not have formatted properly, and either the post would be missing some key hashtags or it would have been filled with hashtags that were useless and just added to the mess.
I see that kind of thing all the time.
An Introvert Does Sales
I am not a natural when it comes to sales, much like a fish is not a natural when it comes to piloting commercial aircraft.
I am shy and introverted. I have trouble maintaining eye contact even with household pets. Seriously, our cats have stared me down.
But since I want to grow my client roster, I have to sell.
Various people told me I should pretend my company is much larger than it is. They said clients would only feel comfortable hiring an organization that appeared to have multiple offices, a helipad, and more people than the entire country of Sweden.
But really I have found that clients are fine with the fact that my company is small. They like that the guy who answers their questions about the services is also the person who is going to be doing the work.
Commit To The Content, Not The Platform
They are predicting the decline of Facebook… again. Reporters and analysts have done it before. I think it is becoming an annual tradition.
This might be how Thanksgiving was started. Colonial analysts predicted the pilgrims would die. Now every year we celebrate that the experts were wrong with turkey, stuffing and that one marshmallow dish that looks like insulation foam.
I remember analysts predicting Facebook was done years ago. Since then its active user base has doubled in size.
Additionally this particular article I read said that teens and tweens are flocking to places like Snapchat. Meanwhile about a week ago there was a report stating that Snapchat has seen a big drop in user activity.
In the grand scheme, it is not a big deal. The medium is not the message. The content I create with my clients can work pretty much anywhere: Social media, websites, newsletters, even a parchment scroll if things go really retro.
Lessons From A Marketing Expert
I read a magazine interview with a lady billed as an expert in social media marketing. Most of her advice was fairly generic.
Still, I pulled up her Facebook page. Maybe there was something I could learn from her content.
It turns out she is a strikingly beautiful woman and every post features a professional photo of her in a bikini. Some photos were of her in evening gowns, most of which I would describe as formal bikinis. "For your next state dinner, we recommend just pairing high heels and fringe with black underwear."
It also appeared that her hair and make-up had been professionally done, even for the beach pictures. To be fair, I'm sure a lot of people do that right before walking into the ocean.
The text for each post focused on one of two insights:
> She loved everyone.
> If you bought her calendar, you could see "hotter" photos.
I should point out that the magazine touting her as a social media marketing expert was a business and finance magazine. It was kind of like reading in the Wall Street Journal, "To make the most of your Roth IRA, we recommend taking selfies in a thong."
For me the big takeaways from this expert's content were:
> Be a beautiful woman. This may require surgery, especially if you are a man.
> Every post should feature a photo of you in a bikini or formal underwear.
> Make sure your posts tell people that if they buy your calendar, they can see hotter photos. I believe that's how Warren Buffett became so successful.
I find that I get the best content out of my clients when I get them away from their screens.
Social media is a great tool for the distribution of content, but it is not a great environment for content creation. The people I work with have some fantastic insights, but those really only come about when they are in an environment conducive to thought and reflection.
And social media is not that environment.
Just as standing on a stage in front of thousands of people is not the best time to try to write a song, being in the thick of your social media feed with comments, images and videos flying by is not the best time to create material of quality.
Yes, there are some people who are good at live video. However, even that material is infinitely better when it is reposted later after some editing.
Data Driven Content
A number of social media companies brag that they create data driven content. I'm not sure that content creation should be data driven.
Data analysis was never going to lead to Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On".