THE BIG, BURNING QUESTION ABOUT BRAND FROM OUR ROMANIAN CONNECTION...
Yes, the weekly screed has a reader from Romania.
It would be more remarkable if he were actually in Romania.
But he lives in Atlanta.
His name is Petru.
We could call him Peter, the anglicized version of his name, but staying faithful to his mother tongue is more fun.
And more on-brand.
Petru, in asking the Big Burning Question, indirectly points out that even if you are a faithful reader to the screed, you may not have been immersed in the ways of Slow-Burn branding think.
His question is also a reminder of a perennial problem...
WHEN IT COMES TO BRANDING, MANY "EXPERTS" HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT
So, we're going to circle back to a brand basic.
If you're a long-timer who's been here for the 12 years we've been doing this, it's a refresher.
If you're a newbie who's never been indoctrinated, this'll be new stuff.
Really important stuff.
You're going to learn something so insanely simple yet so deeply complex that almost nobody really gets it.
People working at big advertising agencies, working on some of the biggest brands in the world, don't even get it.
IT'S CERTAINLY GOING TO BE NEW STUFF FOR DOMNULE PETRU
("Domnule" is Romanian for "Mister." You've just witnessed almost the extent of my Romanian.)
Anyway, Petru says:
I am still confused on what
I need to do when helping a
business to "brand" itself.
Many people say that small
businesses should only do
direct response marketing
and no branding at all.
Is there any process/system
that would help me figure
out how to brand a
This is Petru's zi norocoasa. (That means "lucky day." That's about the rest of my Romanian.)
And based on how he cues up that question, he needs a three-part answer.
But first, I'm going to start by answering two, unasked questions.
THE FIRST UNASKED QUESTION
Since Petru at one time had his own agency, this one is worth knowing. When you have an agency, people always ask it.
"What kind of businesses do you work with?"
At Slow Burn, our answer is simple: We work for people with whom we'd look forward to having dinner.
Yes, there are a lot of specific kinds of businesses we like to work with. Lawyers are one of our favorites.
But we realized early on that we really have to work with people we like and respect and enjoy.
Life is too short to be shackled to someone who's difficult or who doesn't get it.
It's also much easier to do good work for someone who really enjoys and appreciates your expertise.
Be picky about the people for whom you'll work.
That's the answer to the first unasked question.
YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW THE SECOND UNASKED QUESTION
"What is brand?"
Just to make sure we're all on the same page here, we need to get that out on the table.
Brand is the ONE way your CORE CUSTOMER should FEEL about your business.
Breaking that down: ONE because focus is essential. Nobody focuses on two things at once.
CORE CUSTOMER because once you define the individual to whom you're speaking, you then know how to speak to that person. You can give your brand a voice.
FEEL because emotions are central to the process of decision making.
All righty. Now, to answer Petru's three-part, explicit question.
We're going to start with Part #2 first, as it's relevant to every small-business owner
SMALL BUSINESSES SHOULD DO NO BRANDING AT ALL--ONLY DIRECT RESPONSE
What I'm about to say, I say as a lover of good direct marketing. Both the Fabulous Honey Parker and I have worked on killer direct marketing campaigns with huge ROI.
The directive to not do branding, only direct marketing...
Makes us crazy.
It's like saying, "In football, you should do no training at all, you should only do the inside run."
A football player trains to be stronger and faster on the field.
The inside run is a play, an execution, a tactical decision made in the moment.
THEY ARE TWO, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS
One has zero bearing on the other--except that a stronger player is more likely to execute a better inside run.
Training is a kind of preparation.
The inside run is execution that benefits from that preparation.
Branding is preparation.
Direct marketing is an execution that benefits from that preparation.
LET'S SAY YOU HAVE TWO EQUAL BUSINESSES
They are the same in all ways.
Except...Business One understands its brand and infuses all of their marketing with a customer-focused brand attitude.
Business Two just sends out, "Yeah, me too, we do that" marketing materials.
A great example from our own client roster is a guy in a very commoditized business.
Matt was an unbranded house painter.
He was tired of the struggle and decided he needed to brand.
So he came to us.
WE HELPED HIM DEFINE HIS CORE CUSTOMER
She's an upscale, status-conscious housewife who drives a Range Rover.
He renames his business for her. Instead of just being Matt Wolf the house painter, he becomes Wolf Custom Finishes.
Matt, who'd never had a logo before, gets a new, arty, sexy, upscale logo. It's in the same league as the logo for a luxury car dealer or an art gallery.
Matt's tagline is, "It's not just paint. It's how you look."
And if you call him to get an estimate, he looks good, too.
He shows up wearing a sport coat, and brings fresh bagels and coffee.
Matt has the exclusive, elevated brand of an artist--which he is.
So, speaking to an upscale, status-conscious housewife who drives a Range Rover, speaking to her with a name that says, "custom," showing her a very arty, sexy, upscale logo, telling her this job, "It's not just paint, it's how you look," showing up wearing a sport coat, and carrying fresh bagels and coffee...
DO YOU THINK SHE KNOWS HE CARES ABOUT HER HOME?
You think that all resonates with that affluent woman who cares what people think about her?
What chance does the unbranded guy have?
The guy has a logo featuring a clip-art painter rushing along with a bucket and a ladder.
His tagline says, "For all your painting needs."
He shows up for the estimate in a paint-spattered outfit stinking of BO from the job he just left.
This guy treats his craft as a commodity.
Matt treats his craft as an art form.
AND IT MATTERS TO THE CORE CUSTOMER
In the first year after he rebranded, Matt doubled his revenue.
He changed his brand and changed his life.
He's in a better mood all the time.
He has better clients who treat him well.
Who in their right mind would tell this man that he should ignore branding and just do direct marketing?
But you can be sure if he does do direct marketing, it's consistent with his brand.
He doesn't offer to paint three rooms for the price of two.
He offers to upgrade her lifestyle with the emotional power of color and style.
His marketing stays right in line with the idea that painting your house is about your status.
IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK
And how you look is related to your brand and how you make other people feel.
That affluent housewife's house is part of her brand.
It represents her and influences how people feel about her.
Matt Wolf's brand is also about her house, and how people feel about her.
And this is all about feelings.
The decision process is inextricably linked to emotions.
Neuroscience has proven it.
Damage the emotional center of your brain, and you cannot make even simple decisions. Your life goes off the rails.
Branding is about feelings. It helps people like you and decide to buy you.
A small business is better off with brand than without it.
THUS ENDETH THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND PART OF THE QUESTION
Next week, we will look at answering the easier, more functional part of the question posed by our Romanian friend in Hotlanta.
We'll talk about how to brand a business.
And while there isn't exactly a system for it, we'll talk about some super-secret resources to help you do it.
Happy New Year.
Glad you're finally back in the saddle after the holidays and working on a kickass 2017.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
YES, THERE ARE STILL BURNING QUESTIONS FROM LAST YEAR
Believe it or not.
There are faithful readers out there who sent their burning questions at the end of Q4. They're still waiting for your relentless scribe to answer them here at the end of Q1.
Since I've received no Constant Contact unsubscribe notices bearing their names, I assume they're still reading.
And today's question comes from a man whom I've known professionally for many years.
When we first began our professional association years ago, he was a Copywriter & Production Manager.
Today, he is a Business Manager.
THAT LATTER TITLE ALONE WOULD TERRIFY MOST COPYWRITERS
Which leads one to believe, this man is destined for bigger things than mere copywriting.
He may even be destined to be a boss of copywriters.
During my career, I was occasionally offered gigs that strayed away from grappling with the blank page to managing people and details and hardware. I've been a coordinator, manager and producer. And I was pretty good at it.
But NEVER would I ever want to be the boss of copywriters.
That's not a job that requires herding cats.
It requires herding rainbow unicorn cats with a bad attitude.
HE'S A BETTER MAN THAN I AM
And his burning question stems from his need to manage people.
His job description requires him to "boost morale in many ways."
Which seems to feed right into his query: "How 'bout tips on motivation" when it comes the sales staff writing radio commercials? (Fear not: we will make this apply to you, too.)
This is a very, very dangerous question to be asking me.
The first thing I'll say is that the sales staff shouldn't be writing the commercials.
THE SALES STAFF SHOULD BE OUT SELLING AIR TIME AND MANAGING CLIENTS
No account rep ever said, "Boy, I want to write me some advertising!"
They say things like, "I want to go out there, wrangle clients and make a pile of money!"
Indeed, some account reps don't fit this paradigm.
But by and large, sales people are extroverts motivated by going out and making money.
That's at odds with the introverted, intellectual task of writing scripts.
That's not to say they don't want to do it, or can't do it.
Some do and some will.
BUT THERE'S NO EARTHLY REASON A RADIO STATION DOESN'T HAVE A COPYWRITER ON STAFF
Except that they're cheap.
Many corporate bean counters can figure out some way to justify eliminating a fulltime copywriter.
I know because I've seen it happen. National award-winning, ROI-producing, failure-reversing, published copywriter working for half the going salary of his position gets canned because a bean counter up the chain doesn't understand how to measure the results that keeps advertiser on the air--and it's the advertisers who keep the lights on.
Radio is like any business (not yours, we hope) that has turned sad because of a poverty mentality and inability to understand the value of soft assets.
But I digress.
The sales staff are required to write their own scripts.
How does a business management guy keep them motivated? How does he inspire them to be creative, and write things that are better than the standard announcer-driven rip & read yawn fest for "all your fill in the blank needs"?
And how do I make it relevant to you, the non-copywriter?
I HAVE NO IDEA
Because trying to motivate anyone to do something he has no interest in doing is a really bad idea.
However, that answer doesn't help anyone. It will not earn me my pay on this fine Tuesday morning in early spring.
So all I can do is offer a couple of tips that work for me personally, and hope they can be adapted in a way that piques the interest of an aggressive, extraverted, money-motivated sharpie in a designer suit who really has no interest in sitting down and negotiating with himself over single words and comma placements.
So, the first place I always go when looking for motivation?
THE AWARD-WINNING COMMERCIALS
Frequently, I sit and listen to the commercials that won the big awards, especially the Radio Mercury Awards.
In fact, early in my career, the idea of winning a Mercury was an huge motivator for me.
This is the Oscars of radio advertising.
There are also huge cash prizes.
They are not easy to win.
In the main, Mercury-winning advertising is really well executed from concept to completion.
Sadly, while they're always creative, they're not always good advertising. Whoever is using them as motivation needs to understand the difference.
LOOKING AT OR LISTENING TO INSPIRING WORK IS A GREAT MOTIVATOR
It doesn't matter what business you're in.
If you see work that raises the bar for your industry, using it as a yardstick for yourself can improve your own work.
Whether you're writing radio, building a website or opening a retail store, look at the someone who has done it really well.
Look at the success stories.
Then say, "How can I make that better?"
That doesn't mean copying it and then changing the color from green to pink. That's lame.
INSTEAD, FIND A PRODUCT THAT MAKES YOUR HEART BEAT JUST A LITTLE FASTER
Find a version of what you do (or want to do) that makes you envious.
Then say, "OK, how do we improve on that?"
Or, "What can I take from this to apply in my own work?"
In writing, it can be as simple as hearing a ballsy conceit in a radio commercial, like insulting the advertiser for a big payoff, and thinking, "Wow, I want to be that edgy."
The man who submitted the query had suggested that maybe it was about getting a rep to write a two-voice spot instead of a one-voice spot.
COUNTING THE NUMBER OF VOICES MISSES THE POINT
What are you doing with the voices that are in the commercial to begin with?
Are they interesting?
Are they engaging?
Are they saying something that makes the listener say, "Tell me more!"
That can happen with a single voice.
And those criteria can be applied anywhere, no matter what you're creating.
Is what you're doing interesting, engaging and leading the horse to water?
Say you're opening a casual restaurant. You like the interior decoration motif of Chipotle.
Does that mean you should copy Chipotle?
OF COURSE NOT! THAT'S LAZY THINKING!
But it should lead you to ask, "What have they done, and what can I do that's similar but different?"
Maybe you think, "I know, my restaurant is going to look like the original Banana Republic! We're going with a military surplus motif, and all of our meals will be served in old tin mess kits! And the place will look like the inside of a M*A*S*H tent."
Yes, it sounds really stupid.
But maybe it would work.
The point is, you're looking at the creative topology of something that inspires you (Chipotle) and looking for a different conceit that is equally unique and makes the customer feel something.
A restaurant experience is theater. What play do you want your customer to feel like they're in?
OKAY, MAYBE WE'RE GETTING A LITTLE FAR AFIELD HERE
Now I'm going to have to start saying things like, "No, I didn't mean it's literally a theatrical experience. That's a metaphor."
Experience has taught me that anything that isn't direct, literal and simple really throws someone who is direct, literal and simple.
Like, a fellow copywriter once came to me for advice. I said that it's useful to look for inspiration in poetry you enjoy, and handed the writer a book of verse by Andrei Codrescu, a Romanian immigrant who's a former Mac Curdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and an NPR commentator and very funny.
That copywriter never, ever asked me for any advice ever again.
Some people have a very difficult time coloring outside the lines they've defined for themselves.
And frequently, those lines are chokingly narrow.
THE OTHER WAY TO LOOK FOR MOTIVATION
REQUIRES A NUT
When I was working in Los Angeles radio, there was a production director who was a lunatic.
If I had a germ of an idea that needed fleshing out, I would go to him.
I'd say, "We have a new client with a swimming pool cleaning service. I'm thinking a story about a homeowner who has a chronic problem with alligators in the pool."
It wasn't even necessary to finish the thought before there were a dozen different ideas about the alligator problem and how the advertiser solves it, ranging from big steel nets on cranes to hand grenades and tactical nuclear weapons.
Did that mean I ended up writing a commercial about a pool service that provided a tactical nuclear weapon service to remove alligators from the pool?
BUT THE FEW MINUTES SPENT WITH THE NUT PUSHED THE STORY WAY OUTSIDE THE LINES
It gave me new ideas that completely changed the way I was approaching the creative problem.
And it often inspired a new and reasonable solution that made for a better advertisement.
And again, this method isn't limited to radio advertising.
Whenever you're looking for new inspiration for a creative challenge, it can help to talk to someone who isn't immersed in the challenge and can bring crazy outside ideas into the equation.
And it can be a surprising motivator for doing better work.
It sparks excitement and propels you to create.
Whether any of this will be of use to our business manager, I have no idea.
But across the board, no matter what business you're in, it helps to have outside inspirations, inside inspirations, and a willingness to stray outside the lines to create better work.
Just make sure that ultimately, you're creating the new work for the person at the other end of the communication. Because if all you're doing is entertaining yourself, you're doing a disservice to both yourself, your client (if there is one), and whoever is supposed to be receiving the message.
YOU THOUGHT I'D FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOUR CARDS AND LETTERS, HADN'T YOU?
Not so, dear reader.
There are still several of Q4 2015's burning questions to be answered.
It's just that other, more urgent topics had gotten in the way.
Like, the idea of flying to the British Virgin Islands for elective plastic surgery, and slaying the vile beast that is Puppy Monkey Baby.
But here now, we are returning to answer yet another burning question from the trenches.
THIS ONE COMES FROM ONE OF THE RELENTLESS WEEKLY SCREED'S MOST RELENTLESS READERS
This is a man who is entirely too smart to even be here. Why he hangs around is a mystery.
Besides being an enormously talented engineer, voiceover performer and web designer, he is also notable for having toured the world as a sideman with some of the classic stadium rock bands.
He has recently retired from a job where he was warping the minds of America's youth at a hugely expensive university in Southern California.
You can understand how one might be humbled to find that this professor/engineer/musician not only reads but actually pays attention to this wretched drivel.
So, for The Professor, we now address his Burning Question--which (unsurprisingly) was stated in the form of an essay.
"I'D LOVE TO SEE A SCREED OR TWO ON SOCIAL MEDIA USE BY SMALL BUSINESS ADVERTISERS...
"...particularly solopreneurs, and especially on Facebook (and to a lesser extent, Twitter).
"We've all seen VO talent (and some companies!) who think they're helping themselves by posting their current projects, successes, and more on social media, where they primarily reach...
"...wait for it...
"Obviously there's no positive ROI to be had there.
"So shall the solopreneur just blow off social media altogether and focus on some other channel? Is it as simple as eschewing FB? Or Twitter?
"Or is it all about the content, and the targeting, and it matters less where it goes than what it is that's going there?
"(I suspect I've answered my own question, dammit!)"
THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!
Yes, a greater smartass than myself would sign off here.
The reason that's not happening is I feel The Professor's pain.
This is a challenge that has dogged me for years.
What professional traction is there to be gained from using social media to be social with your competitors?
And what is the solution?
So really, we have two burning questions. More, if you really drill down. So maybe the overarching question is...
WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE?
First, let's talk about the idea of reaching competitors versus prospects.
What is it that you're trying to accomplish with your social media presence?
Both the Professor and I know a voiceover performer whose social media reaches primarily his competitors.
And while he talks about his "current projects, successes, and more," these posts do something really useful.
They help establish him as an authority within his peer group.
This man is monumental.
Not to mention humble to boot.
REACHING HIS COMPETITORS HAS BEEN USEFUL IN BUILDING A FAN BASE AMONG HIS COLLEAGUES
A different example, and perhaps even simpler to grasp: there are ad agency copywriters who are primarily about reaching their colleagues on Facebook and Twitter.
There's one of several copywriters I follow on Twitter. He posts things such as:
"Albacore is tuna that Jessica Alba has rubbed on her tummy."
"I'm having a really hard time convincing myself to eat a box of soup instead of running for fast food."
"Minestrone is an Italian word that means 'explodes in microwave.'"
He obviously has a penchant for humor, creative thinking and vivid imagery.
How is this useful?
Because in the advertising agency world, agency copywriters often end up getting hired by other agency copywriters.
COMPETITORS, YES--BUT ALSO COLLEAGUES
Proving one's worth to one's professional colleagues can be extremely valuable over the long haul.
It can also be especially useful if, as part of your livelihood, you sell information products and consultations to those colleagues.
But going back to the original question, how does posting "current projects and successes" benefit the social media user?
It depends. If it serves as social proof of one's authority, it can help build the brand.
But what if you run, say, a yoga studio?
Does it make any sense to reach other yoga studios?
Perhaps. It depends what your studio is about and what you post.
Should you be reaching ONLY other yoga studios?
No, that would be silly.
But reaching other yoga studios makes sense, because a) you should know what your competition is doing, b) you should be able to establish authority, and c) other yoga studios attract other yoga students-who might eventually be attracted to you.
And who doesn't want to maybe attract the competition's customers?
THE BIGGER QUESTION IS: WHAT'S YOUR BRAND STORY AND ARE YOU STICKING TO IT?
If you have properly defined who you are as a solopreneur or a business, you should have no problem standing out in social media.
If you understand the one way your friends and followers should feel about your business, sticking to that line and continually offering material to support that feeling should be a piece of red velvet cake.
Should your competitors know about your successes? Sure! Whether you're a yoga studio, a copywriter, a high-end audio store or an electrical engineering firm, it's all about PR.
It's about continually defining who you are.
It's about letting the marketplace know how and why you matter.
DOES THIS ENGENDER PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY?
But jealousy is a small-minded emotion and not worthy of consideration. To borrow from the famous Robert Heinlein, "A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity."
Posting current projects and successes (assuming you don't brag, of course) helps raise your profile, both with your friendly competitors and with your customers.
For example, I recently posted about a VO session I did with Leo Burnett.
That's certainly unusual and vaguely interesting.
SOCIAL MEDIA COULD REALLY BE CONSIDERED A FORM OF ONGOING MICRO PRESS-RELEASES
Or an ongoing tradeshow.
Or an ongoing business networking function.
Yes, there should be an ongoing effort to reach one's customers.
But there is no problem with also reaching competitors.
There are certainly times when I've recommended my competitors to do work for which I'm not right.
(This is especially so when someone's looking for female voice talent, and my one female voice impersonation is inappropriate.)
COMPETITORS CAN BE A GREAT SOURCE OF BUSINESS
Referrals and recommendations form a collegial social media base can be immensely valuable.
LinkedIn is especially a place where this kind of interaction happens.
Yes, you might be competitors today, possibly even vying for the same job.
But tomorrow, one of you could be looking for a person who does exactly what the other one does.
And the better you've defined your brand, the more likely you are to be top of mind in such a situation.
The alternative to reaching competitors with social media is to be invisible to them--which is of little to no benefit.
In the long run, it's "all about the content, and the targeting, and it matters less where it goes than what it is that's going there."
To borrow from The Professor and super genius who started this ball rolling, maybe he did answer his own question.
AND MAYBE ALL I DID WAS ELABORATE ON IT FOR ABOUT 1,000 WORDS
At least I'm smart enough to recognize when someone smarter than me hands me a gift and lets me run with it.
Because really, that's what I do for a living.
Sometimes, that gift is buried beneath tons of other material.
But branding small businesses is about uncovering the small business's gift to the customer, then figuring out how to help the business put that gift on display.
And whether it's seen by a customer or a competitor makes no difference.
Ultimately, it has the same effect: it makes one person feel one way about your business.
And therein lies the power.
Yes, we're back into the Burning-Questions screed series.
Today, we're combining portions from two Burning Questions from two fired-up readers, because they are fundamentally related.
One part of this comes from Canada, where your faithful scribe is apparently very big. (I was once huge in Nova Scotia for about 15 minutes. Amazing what Twitter can do for a guy.)
The other part comes from Ohio. I think that counts as the heartland, but I'm not sure. (Apparently, they have internet there.)
Our Canadian brother says, in part, "I would LOVE to see your thoughts on 'social media marketing...' that 'free' panacea being pedaled by self-professed 'experts.'
The pro from Ohio asks, "How critical is SEO? Is it more important to build a brand or an SEO strategy?"
Both queries went on much further.
And we'll look more deeply into what they were asking later on.
But right now, right here, it's going to be about these two questions, why they matter and how they dovetail.
IT ALL COMES RUSHING BACK TO A BIG HOT, WET KISS FROM (YES) BRAND
Sorry to have to be like the branding version of Poe's raven.
Quoth the raven, "Everbrand!"
In answering the above questions, it's key to understand that both social media and SEO hinge on the brand.
After a business has an acute understanding of who they are and why they matter to a well-defined core customer, then EFFECTIVE social media and EFFECTIVE search engine optimization become possible.
Understand, I am not in any way an expert on either social media or SEO.
That said, Slow Burn uses them both.
And even a vaguely astute marketing watchdog can look at the digital landscape and start to understand how brand influences both social media and SEO.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHY DO YOU MATTER?
Moreover, how should your customer feel about your business?
OK, this is probably going to be redundant for you as an astute and dedicated reader to the screed.
But undoubtedly, somebody out there has forgotten: ALL decisions are made emotionally.
Not just buying decisions, mind you. EVERY decision.
When the brain's emotional processing cores are damaged, it becomes virtually impossible for someone to make even the simple decisions that make everyday life possible.
So, it follows that the old sales trainer's chestnut, "Customers buy emotionally, then justify the decision intellectually," is really not just about sales.
It's about life.
But if you really want to have people buying what you sell, you still have to understand how to resonate with them on an emotional level.
Here comes the list. Ready?
"I'm lovin' it." "We'll leave the light on for you." "Just do it." "We try harder." "You are now free to move about the country."
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE FOR A BRAND TO HAVE POETRY LIKE THAT--
--without first understanding who the customer is.
Then, what is the emotional position being taken on behalf of the customer?
In social media, if the brand doesn't understand all that, it becomes very difficult to say anything that matters.
Social media is a vast sea of pointlessness with occasional brightly lit buoys that leap off of the page.
Those bright spots are invariably the brands that Get It.
Social media is like any other medium (including radio, for all your radio hounds out there).
If you don't go into it with an understanding of the medium and the desired outcome, it simply doesn't work.
AND THE "SELF PROCLAIMED EXPERTS" WILL TELL YOU AS MUCH
It's easy to tell who's really an expert and who isn't.
The experts actually have documented results to back up their assertions of expertise.
Just like radio experts.
About half of the radio "experts" I used to know really had no idea how radio works.
They just threw stuff against the wall and hoped it stuck.
Often, it did.
And just as often, it did not.
If you're in radio, think how many times you've heard people say, "I've tried radio and it didn't work."
If it didn't work, chances are pretty good that somebody in the equation didn't Get It and refused to let good radio happen.
I'VE GENERATED ROI AS HIGH AS 2,000% FROM A SINGLE RADIO COMMERCIAL
With cred like that, I should be able to make it work every time, right?
I've also been party to radio failures.
And usually, it was because there was someone in the mix who fought against proven tactics and strategy.
Occasionally, it was because the world simply wasn't ready for the message.
Social media is no different.
As it happens, one of the radio stations that I used to work for does a bang-up job in social media marketing.
Their station Facebook page looks completely on-brand. It shares a high degree of material that is obviously part of their station promotions. It shares other material that speaks to the heart of the listener.
It is all emotionally relevant and resonant.
IN EVERY WAY, IT IS A TRUE, ON-BRAND REFLECTION OF THE ON-AIR PRODUCT
We're talking about the official station page here.
But what about the individual on-air personalities?
Their Facebook pages are equally on-brand, on-message extensions of their on-air personae.
"You like me on the air? Here's more of me on Facebook!"
There's no reason it shouldn't be like this for any business that does social media--assuming they first understand social media.
And no, social media is not "free" and it is not a panacea.
Social media is a time suck.
It requires thought and persistence and consistency and more thought. That costs time. It also costs money if you're hiring someone to do it.
Yes, there are plenty of thoughtless social-media efforts by businesses who've bought into the if-you-build-it-they-will-come model.
That model doesn't work.
IF YOU BUILD IT, YOU HAVE TO THEN WORK IT
Social media is like anything else.
Do it half-baked without understanding it, and it simply doesn't function.
There is also no such thing as a panacea.
Silver bullets exist only in fiction.
And social media is like anything else in marketing: it should be part of a synergistic media mix.
And that media mix is going to work like department-store magnate John Wanamaker's advertising.
Half of what you spend is going to be wasted.
And you'll never know which half.
WE'VE BEEN HARPING ON SOCIAL MEDIA--WHERE'S SEO?
Let's go back to the core thought: without brand, you have no foundation for marketing.
It's necessary to lay the foundation before building a marketing house out of media blocks.
And among other things, social media is going to fuel SEO.
Done correctly, every social media effort is going to help raise a business's authority with search engines.
And "done correctly" includes understanding what social media platforms make sense.
Where is your core customer? What platform does she use?
You don't use Pinterest yourself. But does she?
Also, most people never even think of YouTube as a social media platform.
There is no better SEO strategy than YouTube videos done correctly.
Execute a YouTube video correctly, from metatags to description to views and likes, and that baby can get to the top of Google page one faster than anything else I know about.
AND LIKE ANYTHING ELSE--IT REQUIRES UNDERSTANDING IT
We're talking about weapons of mass communication.
Every weapon requires an understanding.
In the hands of a skilled user, any weapon can be deadly.
In the hands of an incompetent, it can backfire.
See also: Wyle E. Coyote time.
Understand your brand.
Understand your medium.
Understand your tactics and strategies.
Understand your goal.
Do all that, and social media and SEO all matter.
Do none of it, and it's all just whistling into the wind.
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.