There is so much to be said about this past Saturday. General questions like, “Didn’t they know that the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT had major glitches that have scared even the most seasoned of race car drivers?” Or, “How could a trained race car driver just lose control of a car?” None of these questions matter. What matters is the legacy that Paul Walker left behind with his fans. What matters is that he was able to create a community that had everyone in it feeling like they were good friends with him, even though they had never met him. What matters is how personal his loss is to every one of his community members.
This is not to take away fromt the fact that Roger Rodas also lost his life. But, we didn’t really know Roger, did we?
Everyone that follows my blog knows I’m a huge Fast & Furious fan. I follow all the actors on Facebook and Twitter, watch the videos posted by Sung Kang, and own every movie in the series (except Fast 6. It’s not released here until December 10). The one thing that always stands out is the family aspect to this group. They aren’t just co-stars, they actually appear to be just like the closest of families, and that draws us in even more. It draws us in so much that we feel like we’re part of the family too.
When we found out about the car accident we were at a fundraising event with at least 300 other people. I can’t begin to tell you how the mood changed when everybody found out that our friend, Paul Walker, had died. First, we all declared it an internet hoax, then more and more reputable news outlets started reporting it. So. Much. Sadness. in that room. Our family just laid to rest a grandmother and a mother, I felt just as sad about Paul’s death as I did theirs. Here’s my point, the whole cast of Fast & Furious are incredible marketers. They all include us in their family and make us feel welcome. They are so good in fact that we seem to have lost all sense of reality and bought into their marketed reality like we’ve been travelling 0-60 is 2 seconds. They are marketing geniuses but, more importantly, they are people.
We know that Paul Walker was so much more than Brian O’Connor and the other characters he played in his many other movie roles. He was more than that “hot guy” on the big screen all the girls were, and are, posting and tweeting about. He was a son, a dad, and a friend. He was an adrenaline junkie, car enthusiast and self proclaimed gear head. Most of all, Paul Walker was a human being and we thank him for carrying the second and third installments of the Fast & Furious franchise so that it could be what it is today. How the franchise will carry on without him, we don’t know. We thank him for teaching us all a lesson in what it means to truly engage with your community, to share with others and make them feel like they are a part of something big and something special. Thanks Paul for making us all feel like your friends and a part of your community. Thanks for the ride, it was awesome.
We are inundated every day with claims all over our social media feeds. It seems like every third friend we have on Facebook knows how to get shared. Our 30 second life span twitter feeds have at least one follower that gets retweeted thousands of times. Let’s not forget the amazing and clever Pinteresters that know how to maximize the exposure to all our backlinks. The best part is they’ll share all they know with us for just a small fee. Before you go rushing out to write that cheque, ask yourself when the last time was that you or someone you know made that huge deal over Facebook.
It’s not that it can’t happen. Justin Bieber got his big break thanks to Youtube. That could really inspire us if we could sing or dance, especially at the same time. There are a few Vines that have gotten mentions and acknowledgements along the way too. For the most part though, most of the people that seem to be “making a living” off social media actually made a name for themselves before getting recognized on the feeds. Take Scott Stratten for example. Love him or hate him, the guy is a marketing genius. Really, what do cats have to do with QR codes? The fact is, he used his books as marketing fodder to gain the social media audience he has today, not the other way around. If you have children you may know of the Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh. Josh Peck, guess which character he played, is now on Vine and has quite a following. Technically, he was already famous before Vine was even a creative thought. Another testimony to the power of the “Already Celebrity” making it big on social media is the Fast & Furious franchise. We hardly doubt the movies would be as big as they are if it hadn’t been for the pure marketing super geniuses behind them. Of course, it didn’t hurt to throw in a bunch of already recognizable faces and some serious eye candy for pretty much everyone and anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re more into people or cars, there’s something for you to look at in every movie. Hopefully by now you understand what we’re getting at here. Just in case, the point here is that, for every one person that finds their fame and fortune on the internet there are thousands that either already have it fairly well established or that just don’t find it there at all. Why? Because generally we don’t make our buying decisions based on our social media feeds.
Let’s put this another way, how many different car brands pass you on the road each day? How many times do you have to see one particular insignia before you just have to run out and buy that brand of vehicle? Don’t you just get excited over looking at logos and stuff? What a great way to decide how to best spend your money! Of course we’re being completely sarcastic. If you’re anything like us you probably have some specific criteria you look for in a vehicle before you decide to put down that $40,000.00 (or more). Chances are there is a current copy of Lemon-Aid by your side, you visit showroom after showroom gathering information packages about every car/truck/van/suv that catches your attention and fits your needs (if you’re one of those practical type people). You ask people you know that drive, or have driven, that make of vehicle what their experience with it has been. What about customer service? Do they honour warranties? What do parts and service cost compared to the other car brands in that category? What finishing packages are available? And so on and so on. You’re making a huge financial decision and you want to be sure it is the best one possible. Does it really matter how many times you see a car insignia pass by you on the road?
Okay, there is something to be said for “top of mind” strategy. If people are thinking about you they are likely talking about you (take that as good or bad). Social media is a great place to engage your audience and get some word of mouth going. If you want to sell, have something to sell. Create product you can market, do workshops and public speaking, do whatever you need to do to provide value to your audience. Don’t buy Twitter followers, don’t spend hours on Facebook and wonder why there’s no money in the bank. I know this seems like strange advice from a media, marketing & PR company but honestly, social media is a really just a great supplement to a solid marketing plan. See, purchasing decisions should be more about what’s under the hood (performance, cost, maintenance schedule, company reputation, strength/power) than how many times you see something referenced it or what colour it comes in. Big numbers don’t necessarily equal big sales. So ask yourself, what does it really means to your company and its growth to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to learn how to get retweeted?
Tags: Book, business, car, Facebook, Follower, Instagram, Lemon-Aid, Like, Likes, logo, marketing, media, product, relationships, service, social, solutions, speakers, suv, truck, twitter, value, van, vehicle, Vine
November 26, 2013 Study: Facebook Messenger still reigns in the U.S. but other countries look to WhatsApp
Facebook(s fb) may be the world’s most popular social network, but when it comes to social messaging, other apps are usurping its dominance. Facebook Messenger is still the most popular smartphone social messaging app in the U.S., according to a survey conducted by On Device Research, but polls in four countries in different regions of the world found WhatsApp and WeChat are the reigning services.
Systems – it’s sad but true – everything runs on systems. You might think that limits creativity or opportunity to change but, believe it or not, systems actually help facilitate change. When we can break our processes down into parts and monitor those parts for efficiency and effectiveness we can more easily and more quickly diagnose issues and plan to make our systems better.
Take the carburetor for example. Once upon a time is was a much needed mechanical component in our cars. Without it the right amounts of air couldn’t mix with the right amount of fuel which means the engine couldn’t run properly, or even at all in some cases. It was useful and essential to have a carburetor at one time. What happened to them? Well, engines evolved. Carburetors were essential but they were also complicated. They included five different circuits and eventually required the inclusion of the catalytic converter to see to the growing concerns of auto emissions. This system required oxygen sensors to monitor the amount of oxygen in the exhaust and report that information to the ECU (Engine Control Unit) so that the ECU could adjust the ratio if needed. This closed loop control was pretty much impossible with the carburetor.
What were car manufacturers to do? Cars need fuel and oxygen to run but the emissions controls were too much for the current system to sustain. Say hello to muti-port fuel injection. Okay, so it didn’t go there right away. At first there was a system developed called throttle body fuel injection. They fairly much just bolted in where the carburetor used to be so proved to be an easy transition. No major modifications needed. But, the systems were still slow and not that efficient. Basically, they worked so they served the purpose. Now we have these super efficient, lower emissions systems known as multi-port fuel injection. There is a direct spray to each intake valve which makes the system fast and efficient.
Why am I sharing all of this engine information with you? Well, because, just like the car engine marketing is evolving too. Every so often, we recommend every three years, we need to take a look at our marketing plan. If it was created and implemented well in the beginning, we shouldn’t need to completely rebuild it. The car manufacturers didn’t need to recreate every aspect of the engine in order to remove the carburetor and install fuel injection, neither should we. There will be things we find in our systems that will need to be removed or modified though. How many new marketing arenas have opened up in the last 3, 6, or 9 years? Our systems accommodate for growth but we can’t make plans for things we don’t know will exist. Do the new sites, techniques, and strategies fit our platform? Do the old sites, techniques, and strategies still fit our platform? Where and how can we make our systems more effective and more efficient?
Here’s the scene, your in your car sitting at the line. The car next to you is the same one you’re driving. Sure the color is different, the interior isn’t the same as yours and neither is the sound system but, under the hood, it’s a match. The most distinct difference between you and the car beside you is…the driver. Even the best of drivers need a little help. Imagine the go signal is about to go up, you’re sporting Pirelli P Zero Neros and driver 2 has some kind of Firestone. Which car would you rather be driving at this moment? I have to admit, as an import fan, I prefer Toyo or Yokohama but I figure, if Pirelli is good enough for Lamborghini then I’m okay with them too.
As business owners we have to recognize that sometimes what sets us apart from the competition is a very small margin. Maybe we have slightly better customer service, maybe they have shorter wait times. When we use what makes us better to its maximum potential, it likely will be enough to give us some extra traction to get ahead in the race.
We need to be aware of the season our business is in. It’s great to be sitting at the line ready to launch our businesses ahead and make it to our goals. That’s going to be hard to do if there is snow on the ground and we’re running summer tread or all season tires. It won’t matter a bit if we do have Pirelli on our car, if driver 2 has winter tread chances are they win the race. Even if they’re Firestone. So, we’re probably best to switch to Nokian WR G2 if we want to be serious contenders.
The point I’m trying to make here is that knowing your business and it’s personality isn’t enough. We also have to be aware of the factors around us that affect how our businesses run and progress. See, even with the invention of the rubber tire we still have to make choices about which brand, tread, width, and rim will support the best ride possible for the vehicle we have. Making the wrong choice could cost us in maintenance and fuel efficiency. Different treads for different seasons, different rims for different models, and the list goes on. Even while I type this there are tire manufacturers developing the next best tire. The same goes for our businesses. We need to be continuously adapting our practices, products/services, and marketing to meet and engage the changing consumer landscape. We have to be prepared to switch out old practices for new ones that are more effective and efficient, even if the old ones are still “working”. All season tires will work when it’s -40 outside but, let’s face it, winter tires would work much better in keeping us on the road and progressing toward our destination.
Have you ever had such a nuclear episode in your life that you thought you would never reclaim the territory? We don’t often think of fall out or melt downs as positives. That doesn’t mean they never are. Take this situation for example; you’ve been invited to speak at a youth conference about social media and promotion. You’re excited and start preparing instantly, possibly the only time you’ve ever really prepared to this extent ever. The best part is, these youth are already leaders in their communities. They’re Philanthropists nonetheless. How fun will it be to tell them about using social media and promotion strategies? You enter the room ready to give your presentation and, to your shock, see a group of young people with pen and pads of paper to take notes. Holy Hannah! Have we entered a time warp?!
Among the many mishaps and awkward moments that day, this happened. They didn’t know anything about social media or promoting outside of Snap Chat, Instagram and Facebook, most of which they used to keep their friends updated on the weekends with. I asked them, “How and where do you promote your events or ask for donations?” They told me Facebook groups. They invite their member community to a group and promote there, to people already involved in the project. Wow…what about LinkedIn and the local business community? Response: What’s that?
Here is my point. If you don’t know who to ask or where to find them, how do you ask the right people? When you are actively trying to build a business, support an organization, or promote an event you have to know your target market. You have to know where your target market is. You have to know how to engage your target market and build relationships within their community. You can’t expect them to come to you. Do your research. Be open minded about attending events or finding Meetup groups that might not be your typical gathering. To be effective and successful in business or philanthropy you have to know who to approach and then go and build those relationships. There isn’t really anybody that is so good at sales that they can sell a dog leash to a fish owner. It just doesn’t work that way.
Oh, and a secondary point might be, don’t make assumptions about your target group either. Make sure you actually know who they are and what they respond to. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a very awkward situation feeling completely unprepared and overwhelmed despite having an excellent opportunity to learn a valuable lesson or two for yourself.