The Dark Side of Social Media

The Dark Side of Social Media

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – Isaac Newton

Social media is no different.

 

The weekend of October 17th showcased that to its fullest thanks to college football. College football brings out the most passionate fans and while the majority have a sense of right and wrong about their passion, there’s a group who have to limit.

 

Let’s start with this –

 

So how does the end of a college football game have to do with the dark side of social media? Well, let me introduce you to Blake O’Neill. Blake O’Neill is the punter for the University of Michigan, you know, the one who fumbled the ball in the video above.

 

Now I present exhibit A of the Dark Side of Social Media (and the only one necessary) –

blakeoneill

Image Source: Saturday Tradition

 

To be honest, the minute I saw (or at least when my husband told me what happened while we were sitting in the stands of our game) I knew what would ensue online. Working in social media, you just know when things like this are going to happen.

 

Now it’s time to get on the ol’ soapbox.

 

What kind of idiot “fan” would make threats like that against a college athlete? He’s just 20 years old or so. This is the dark side of social media. It’s a place where people (trolls) sit behind their screen of choice – laptop, smartphone, tablets, etc. – and hurl insults and threats they would not dare make in person. I dare each of those ones in the picture above to say that to his face, but you know what? They won’t do it.

 

Social media has given everyone the ability to hide behind their screen and say things they wouldn’t ever say in person. Bullying, death threats – they are all there. If people are going to do that, they need to grow a pair and do it in person. But wait, they won’t do it because it would cause them to actually get out of their mom’s basement and do something and put themselves at risk. Blake O’Neill isn’t the first person this has happened to and sadly, won’t be the last. College football has passionate fans. Soccer has them. The NFL has them. Every sport on earth has fans who take the social media airwaves to air their grievances. Yes, even I have criticized our school’s quarterback on social media, but it wasn’t anything I wouldn’t walk up to his face and say. Hurling death threats and such is another matter entirely. That is crossing a line.

 

What it is going to take for this dark side to go away – or at least shrink?? This is an issue that transcends sports – it’s cyberbullying, insulting others to make you feel good, even displaying a false image of your life online. For every negative post, there should be at least 3-4 good ones to make up for it. Cutting people down to make yourself feel better or in Blake’s case, taking your hurt and frustration out on a player because of one mistake (other than that fumble he had an amazing game) and how it made you feel is never okay. Ever. I know the world is full of mean people and trolls who will always be there, but we all need to speak up stop this. If you can’t say what you post to someone’s face, then why post it at all?

 

Stepping off the box now.

3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Social Media Reach

3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Social Media Reach

If I had a dollar for everytime someone asked me how they could extend themselves online, I’d be super-rich. Well, maybe not super-rich but definitely rich.

Every business, when using social media, wants to get the most return on their time. Once you’ve established the basics and have that rolling, there are other things and areas you can branch out into to keep the growing exposure going. When you get to that point, and you will, here are three actionable ways to extend your social media reach –

Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great and easy way to have more if your posts found. Just be careful and not use more than 2-3 hashtags in one post. You don’t want to be the one to overkill it. Using a hashtag will make your post searchable and if you happen to use a popular hashtag, you’ll see more traffic to that post and your account. Hashtags are also a great way to hold social media contests, brand your posts and communicate with others. #HashtagsRock

Participate in Tweet Chats.

Tweet chats on Twitter is an amazingly great way to connect with new people and extend your brand on that platform. There are tweet chats for just about every topic under the sun. They can move fast, but are always centered around a hashtag (see above). Whenever I’ve participated in a tweet chat, I’ve always walked away with more followers and more exposure to my brand. The best site to use when participating in a tweet chat is www.tweetchat.com.  To find a chat to particpate in, check out Tweet Reports, Twubs, or this Google Spreadsheet.

Collaborate with Other Businesses.

Finding a like-minded and focused business to partner up with can expose you to a brand-new audience. Of course, make sure it’s not the competition, but finding a business that targets who you want to target can open new doors. A no-brainer example would be photographers and florists. Doing joint blog posts or sharing each other’s social media posts will put each of those businesses in front of each other’s audiences, thus extending their reach to a whole new fan base. Business partnerships like this can usually be mutually beneficial. Just make sure you’re not doing all the work.

You can put as much or as little time into each of these three ways as you want. Each of these will extend your reach on social media and expose you to brand new fans.

Have you tried any of these and had success? Comment below and share your experience!

 

This post was written for The Southern C and has been republished with permission.

Why Twitter Needs to Keep Their Share Counts

Why Twitter Needs to Keep Their Share Counts

Oh Twitter, how I love thee – let me count the ways…or on second thought, let me rethink that.

 

In the past week Twitter has announced that their share counts will no longer appear with Tweet buttons AND third-party direct access to tweet share stats will be curtailed.

 

This is a HUGE mistake.

 

Warfare Plugins wrote a brilliant article about this issue expressing their opinion on the matter and why Twitter should change its mind. They brought up three situations/consequences we’ll face –

 

  • If you’re a blogger, your Tweet button won’t show visitors how many times your latest post (or any post) has been shared – Could lead to fewer shares and less interaction?

  • If you’re an online pro who gets paid big bucks for helping promote brands, you’ll lose a primary way of showing advertisers how popular you are with the online masses – Social Proof. That could put a dent in your bank account

  • If you’re a third-party app developer, you may be in deep waters – without access to Tweet share counts, your app may lose a critical part of its functionality, and you may lose subscribers

 

The one that really resonates with me is social proof. Social proof is big y’all. How many times do you look to see how many times an article has been shared before you share it or reference it? We all place value in how many times a piece of content has been shared – I know I do. I’m more likely to reference/share something that’s been shared several hundred times already over a piece (of the same age) that has less than 50.

 

Social proof is used in validating not only content but people. Influencers are measured on their social proof (even though I in principle disagree with some of that). If Twitter takes that component out of the equation, what are we to base it on? Facebook and who has the most money to spend to get their content seen? Small businesses cannot do that.

 

Here are two effects they mention that we may see if this indeed happens –

 

  • Access to “vanity metrics” will be sharply reduced – other social media platforms may follow suit and cut off easy access to their analytics data

  • Many social media third-party app developers will be hit hard – some may shut down entirely for lack of affordable access to information

 

I would really hate to see great companies fall away or eliminate Twitter access because of this. That would make the lives of us social media strategists/managers/marketers a lot more chaotic.

 

Warfare polled 15 “social media power influencers” (I do not agree with who is on their list and do not consider a few of them influencers in any way) and there were six reasons that came out as to why Twitter may be doing this –

 

  1. Twitter wants to generate more revenue!

  2. Twitter wants to cut expenses by no longer playing (free) host to share count queries.

  3. Twitter hates that Facebook share counts generally make Twitter share counts seem paltry. Removing share counts may prompt other social platforms to do the same.

  4. Twitter knows the future of computing is predominantly mobile and wearable devices – where there’s not much room for share count displays

  5. The move makes no business sense whatsoever. Twitter is “throwing away dollars to make pennies.”

  6. Twitter wants to force users to login to Twitter.com, rather than use third-party apps as the primary access point. That will give Twitter more marketing capability. They can sell more ads and get more commissions.

 

I personally think numbers 1 and 6 are on the spot. It’s all about the money. Facebook went public and now 2 or so years ago and now you have to pay to get your content seen. Twitter went public not too long ago and… well, you can see the picture or what the picture will be. When you go public you have shareholders to answer to – not the people actually using your product. Bottom line – make money. I believe this is a driver in making this move. It also goes along with number 6 – if you log into Twitter.com you will see the ads, you will have to use them as your primary access point. Not Hootsuite or Buffer or Sprout Social anymore, but Twitter. And with more eyeballs on Twitter, the more ads they can sell and the more money they can make.

 

This, in my opinion, truly comes down to a business decision to be able to generate more revenue. They (Twitter) don’t care about social proof or validation. They don’t care about moving content and making it ignite. They quite frankly don’t care about us users and what we want. They care about money, just like Facebook did. I LOVE Twitter – it’s my favorite platform by far and I don’t want to see it develop into the love/hate relationship I have with Facebook.

 

If you are with me, join the hashtag #saveoursharecounts.

 

What are your initial thoughts about this?

5 on the 5th Interview - Mojca Mars

5 on the 5th Interview: Mojca Mars

This month I want to introduce you to someone I was recently introduced to, Mojca Mars of Super Spicy Media. Fellow social media peer and friend Ian Anderson Gray introdiced Mojca and I via Twitter. She is located in Europe and doing some awesome things on that side of the pond for businesses and their social media. I have enjoyed getting to know her and you will to!

Name: Mojca Marš

Title: Social Media Consultant

Company: Super Spicy Media

Website/Blog: http://superspicymedia.com

Twitter handle: @mojcamars

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

Because I was good at it and I saw that the demand for good and effective social media managers and consultants was high.

At that time I was still working at the advertising agency, that was, before I got fired. I saw big companies creating their own Facebook pages and they suddenly needed someone with different skills to run that for them. Our agency didn’t do social media management so when I got fired, I started writing my own story.

Before I got laid off I was already helping a friend who had an ecommerce site manage his Facebook page. The results were good beyond belief. We were soon competing with bigger companies in the same space and that’s when I got hooked and been hooked ever since.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I read, discuss and test. I read an enormous amount of articles about social media, books about it, watch videos. I also discuss about social media with my colleagues if I get the chance. What worked for them, what were the results? But the most vital part of educating is testing. I truly enjoy testing different approaches on social media, observing results and making conclusions. I publish those conclusions on my blog and educate others on that topic.

It’s hard to balance out the educating and working part, but both has to be done if you want to stay at the top of your game.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I absolutely love the fact of how social media has changed the marketing landscape. Companies and brands can now connect with a user on the other part of the world within a few seconds. Even the smallest companies can achieve major successes on social media if they choose the right approach. I love to teach companies and brands on how to achieve that and go beyond the goals they set up for your business.

But what bothers me the most is industry’s lack of tracking social media analytical reports. A lot of social media managers rely on their gut feeling and create content without any insight into analytical reports. I’m definitely not saying that everything should be created based on analytical data (if that were true, we would probably all sound like a bunch of robots), but data shouldn’t be as ignored as it is today. It plays a vital part on a successful social media strategy, we need to accept that.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

I mean … I had clients leave me at the beginning of my journey, I had to let clients go, I was dealing with late payments, I dealt with failed campaigns but I don’t think this would even qualify as hard. I perceive these situations as different tests. All of us are going through situations like this, the winners are the ones who will persevere.

Maybe I have a problem of taking these situations too easily. I always take a step back, acknowledge that things aren’t as hard as they may look at first and solve problems efficiently. I don’t want to spend my time thinking about the problems, but I find a solution and move on.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

Charge more. I have read so much content on charging more by Brennan Dunn and that changed my perspective and business in a way I couldn’t imagine. After constantly reading his content I decided to make drastic changes in my business. Based on the results clients were getting from my work I realised I’m seriously underpricing my services.

I completely changed my business after it. I created different packages, my proposals got an update, I started communicating differently and that enabled me to double my income in just a few months. The best thing of all? I attracted even better clients and even though I raised my prices significantly, they were a lot happier than previous ones.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

Steve Jobs. Because he was a badass.  

 

Why List Minimum Requirements Should be Banned

Why List Minimum Requirements Should be Banned

If I had $1 for every opportunity I had to pass on or get turned down for because I don’t have a bazillion people on my mailing list, I’d be rich.

 

I’m going to lay it out there – email subscriber list minimums totally suck.

 

Let me explain before anything gets burned down. I get lists and why some companies and individuals put a minimum as a requirement – they want visibility of their event or whatever they’re promoting. Nothing wrong with that, but I believe they are discriminating against a whole group of people that I happen to fall into.

 

I know it’s preached that our money is in our list (and I’ve even wrote about it – sigh) and it could be if used regularly and for the right reason. I get it, but for me personally, it’s not important. Yes, I have somewhere around 500 on my email list (not ashamed to admit to that) and I love each of them and appreciate them, but I’m not going to exploit them by bombarding them with emails about an event I’ll be at or to register for something. I just won’t do it. Those who have subscribed to my blog posts or my emails do so because of the content I’m publishing and I’m very protective of that.

 

Back to the list minimum thing…

 

List minimum requirements really puts a glass ceiling on so many social media pros and other business owners. I know so many worthy social media pros who would really do well for various social media marketing-related events, but because, like me, not having a bazillion subscribers immediately disqualifies them. The smallest list requirement I’ve seen is 3,000. True story – I had one event organizer ask me if I could get the 2500 or so I didn’t have in a matter of 2 months so I could participate in this one social media event they wanted me at. I told them that wasn’t going to happen unless I bought a list and that’s a line I will not cross. Needless to say I never heard back.

 

For me and my business, building a massive subscriber list just isn’t a priority. Those who follow me will subscribe if they want, but I would rather publish quality content across my social media platforms and let that and my work speak for itself.

 

I’m sure some of you right now are thinking “is this woman crazy? That totally contradicts a lot of what’s out there! How can she make it if she’s not actively promoting something to subscribe to???”.

 

Let me let you in on a secret – you can be successful without a massive email subscriber list. It’s about quality, not quantity. I’d rather have 500 people who receive my blogs and emails and have them find value in that content and share it than 5000 people who could care less (and maybe 100 find value in it). I’d be curious to see the open rates of the emails some of these ones who tout over 10,000+ subscribers. It’s probably much lower than you think.

 

So what can we do get around this list requirement for events and online seminars? Until they (the organizers and those in charge) change their thinking and approach, not much unfortunately. There is a glimmer of hope – your social following. I did have one waive the list minimum because of the number of followers I had on social media. I believe having a strong social media presence and following circumvents a having a certain number of email subscribers. Afterall, these are people who are actively following you and reading your content (like you are right now!).

 

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think list minimums should go away? I’d love to hear your view on either side of the topic!

6 Ways to Improve Your Communication in a Changing Culture

6 Ways to Improve Your Communication in a Changing Culture

It’s about 7:00am you wake up to your alarm blaring, you reluctantly slunk out of bed and begin to get ready for the day. Before you even finish brushing your teeth you receive two texts from your friends about lunch plans, and by the time you walk out of the door with a granola bar dangling out of your mouth your inbox is jam packed full of promo emails, spam, e-newsletters, and the occasional important email from your boss. As you turn on the radio you catch the end of the traffic update, and begin to listen to the news of the day. Finally to top off the morning your mother calls you to inquire about your siblings, and if you heard about Aunt Myrtle. It is nearly 9:00am and you feel like you have had your fill of information for the day.

Our society is on communication overload. We are a part of a selective, on-the-go, plugged-in community. The root of our cultural change: technology.

Technology has made it possible to access bookoodles of information, and simultaneously made it extraordinarily easy for us to ignore it. So how are organizations able to communicate to audiences that won’t even venture a glance at what they have to offer? The answer is more effective, strategic communication.

Communication is essential to connectivity, without connectivity an organization can not thrive. These six tips can help you improve your communication and form connections with your audience.

Take the time to listen: People love to talk about themselves and their opinions. The trick is actually listening to what they have to say. Analyzing and acting on the feedback you receive can transcend your communication strategies.  

Be smart on how you release your information: Who is your audience? When and where are they more likely to be receptive to your messages? Throwing out a story on Facebook at noon because it’s convenient for you does not necessarily mean it is convenient for your audience. Investigating when they are most active on social media, and on which platforms they are most active will improve your reception.

Choose what information you want to communicate carefully: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something,”–Plato. Don’t be a fool. Plan out what information needs to be said, and what information you want to be said. Differentiating between the two is critical to the success of your messaging. You may be under the impression your audience won’t know the difference, but they do. Don’t become a slave to that fallacy.  

Keep it simple: People do not have time to sit down and read a 10,000 word article about the environment of fire ants in the Deep South. Keeping your communication short, sweet, and to the point gives you an advantage when reaching your audience especially if they are immersed in technology and social media and constantly on-the-go.

Be Transparent: No one enjoys being lied to or not being told the whole truth. Being clear and honest with your audience is invaluable when earning their trust and loyalty.

Be Creative: Being creative in how you deliver your information will capture the eye of your audience and you will more than likely gain their respect causing them to return.

 

Implementing these communication tactics will improve your reach and will equip your messages when wading through the information sludge.

Connecting with Customers & Clients via Social Media

Connecting with Customers & Clients via Social Media

Pinterest just hit 100 million users. Instagram tops 300 million. Facebook boasts over 1 billion. If you think you don’t have an audience on social media you’re wrong. If you’ve been told that social media just won’t work for you – you’ve been told a lie.

You do and you can.

Recently I gave a talk at a University of Georgia Small Business Development seminar about connecting to customers with social media. This is a frequent question that comes up when they consult with smaller businesses.

In my talk, I gave them 16 actionable ways they can connect, starting right now –

  1. Use Twitter Lists.
  2. Use Facebook Interest Lists.
  3. Use Mention or Google Alerts.
  4. Tag people and/or businesses in your social media posts.
  5. Start the conversation.
  6. Don’t fear the non-response or negative response.
  7. Be in it for the long-term.
  8. Don’t broadcast.
  9. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  10. Support the businesses you are targeting.
  11. RESPOND.
  12. Share your warm & fuzzies.
  13. Make use of white papers/webinars/free resources.
  14. Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.
  15. Look up local events and opportunities on MeetUp.
  16. Advertise on Social Media.

Also included were 2 case studies – JetBlue Airways and Denny’s. View the Prezi below for the full presentation.

What other ways would you add?

5 on the 5th - Jenn Hanford

5 on the 5th Interview: Jennifer Hanford

This month I want to introduce you to someone you may already know, one of our writers, Jenn Hanford. Jenn and I have known each other for a few years, having first met through the disbanded Social Solutions Collective. She has written on this site for over 2 years now and is just a fabulous person. She shoulders being an entrepreneur, mom, writer and community manager. So read on and get to know Jenn!

Name: Jennifer Hanford

Title: Senior Community Manager, B Squared Media, LLC; Freelance Writer

Company: B Squared Media and j+ Media Solutions

Website/Blog: www.jplussocial.com

Twitter handle: @jennghanford

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I’ll confess…I have been an Internet junkie for over 20 years now! I remember spending hours upon hours meeting and “talking” to people from all over the world, back when AOL chat rooms were really popular in the mid-90’s.

I didn’t get hooked on social media right away though. I joined Facebook in 2010 and Twitter in 2011 – only because I wanted to make sure I got on there before my kids did! Once I finally got started, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long! I felt like I had been living under a rock, and it was great to finally be part of the 21st century.

Career-wise, I was in the right place at the right time. My enthusiasm for using social media and online networking – coupled with an interest in blogging and writing – helped me get my first role as the online marketing director for the company I was working for at the time. It was within this role that I began learning about using social media for business purposes. It’s also where I began my business blogging journey. I saw how firsthand how social media and content marketing can help businesses grow, and I knew I had found my calling.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I feel my education in social media and blogging has always been – and continues to be – an “on-the-job-training” experience. I read and curate many social media, digital marketing, and other relevant blog posts and articles every day. This helps keep me informed for my own writing, as well as keeping my online audience up-to-date.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

What I love the most about working in this industry is the ever-changing landscape of social media. I think that might be one of the things that bothers some people, but I personally enjoyed seeing how platforms evolve and become easier for people and businesses to use.

What bothers me most? Can I be honest and say SEO? As much as I like the changes in social media, the constant Google updates (Penguins & Pandas?!) and concerns about first-page rankings are tough to keep up with sometimes. I cope by writing as well as I can – and relying heavily on the SEO by Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

In the short amount of time I’ve been in business for myself, I had to make tough personal decisions for the livelihood of my family, myself, and my business. With those choices, I ended up having to dissolve 2 separate business relationships, which was only made harder because I considered them friendships as well.

I learned a lot about how to toughen up as a business owner during the process of “breaking up.” As well, making each of those tough decisions has led me to my current career situation, which I truly love. I am happily doing the type of work that I enjoy the most, with three different teams and some awesome clients.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

My best business advice I’ve ever been given – although it applies to all aspects of my life – is to always be myself, no matter what. That advice came from my father, who was also an entrepreneur.

It was when I finally started taking his advice that everything good started falling into place. Funny how that works.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

I am truly unable to come up with only one person…I admire so many people from the past who possessed great talent and knowledge, and who have contributed so much to the world as we know it.

But..I have always had a fascination with the “Roaring Twenties” – like they portrayed in The Great Gatsby – with the carefree and decadent lifestyles some people enjoyed before the Great Depression.

I like to think I would have made an awesome flapper…I adore their hairstyles, their clothes, and especially their independent attitude.  

 

5 on the 5th - Ian Anderson Gray of Seriously Social

5 on the 5th Interview: Ian Anderson Gray

This month I want to introduce you to Ian Anderson Gray. Ian was someone I saw start popping up in my Twitter news feed via other people I follow and so of course I started following him! I got to know him via many Twitter conversations and admire what he’s doing in the UK. Read below my interview with Ian and then go follow him on Twitter!

 

Name: Ian Anderson Gray

Title: Founder of Seriously Social & Partner of Select Performers Internet Solutions

Company: Seriously Social

Website/Blog: iag.me

Twitter handle: @iagdotme

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I’ve always been fascinated by technology and used to write my own computer programs on my ZX Spectrum computer as a child. However I originally studied music at University and trained to be a classically trained singer at music college. Soon after I graduated, whilst I was singing professionally and being a singing teacher, I decided to set up a web agency with my dad (he had recently retired from his job). Originally it was more of a hobby and a part time job, but having kids some years back changed my focus and I decided to jump into the mad social media and marketing world with two feet. I also had the realization that I love social media and technology and I love helping and teaching people. Being a consultant as well as training and writing about a subject I love and having the flexibility to spend time at home with my family is just wonderful.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

It’s a tough issue in most industries, but particularly in the fast moving social media and technology world! I’m not a fan of the word “expert” or “guru” because we’re constantly learning, and there will never be an end to that process. I can’t remember who said this, but it could have been a scientist towards the end of his career that said that his “ignorance now had some kind of structure to it”. I also loved what Mark Schaefer said at this year’s Social Media Marketing World – “I’m not an expert, I’m a student”! So, firstly I give myself permission to not have to keep up with everything. I’ve tried that and failed miserably! However, there are some ways that can help. Firstly, I couldn’t do without Feedly. I use Feedly to keep on top of all my favorite blogs and news sites. I get notified whenever there is a new article and I tend to add it to my reading list by sharing to Evernote or Pocket. I also have a nifty IFTTT recipe that shares my Feedly reading list to my Twitter followers via Buffer (I am a geek after all!) As well as that, I keep a close eye on articles shared by people on my main Twitter list, my Google+ circles and another favorite tool, Triberr.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I love the community of people. I’ve met the most amazing people in the blogging and social media communities- many of which have become great friends. I love the openness and the ability to help each other move forwards.

The flip side is the problem or money and the value in what we do. It can often be taboo to talk about money, but it can also seem perfectly acceptable to ask to “pick someone’s brains” for free. Being a consultant can be hard because we are putting a price to our thoughts and our brains and for a quality service! But you’d never ask if you could pick some apples for free in your local grocery store!

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

I admit I’m not good at confrontation. Thankfully I’ve not had to deal with it very often in my business. In the past when a customer treated me very badly, I just walked away as I didn’t want any hassle. These days, I’ve learnt that good communication, structures, procedures and documentation are all vital. However, at the end of the day I’ve tried to learn to make decisions as a business and not to take things personally.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

The best advice I’ve received isn’t totally business related, but it certainly relates to professionals and business owners. It’s the battle of resistance and obstacles to creativity. I was recommended by a number of people (notably Mike Stelzner and Mark Traphagen) to read the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. Whilst I don’t personally enjoy the writing style, Pressfield does articulate the constant issues I’ve had with growing my business. Whenever I’ve known I should be doing something (whether that’s writing a new blog post or launching a new webinar series) I find myself battling against the idea and moving on to something far less productive. The same thing happened when I was speaking at a conference recently – feeling like I wanted to run away! In all these cases, once I saw the resistance, I battled through to the end and found that the rewards were so worth it. Mike Stelzner said something like this recently- that the experience of fear when you are about to do something is usually a good indicator that you should be doing it. It’s like a big green light saying “Go, dog go!”

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

There are so many choices- one of Jesus’ disciples, a famous scientist, an athlete and more. However, I think I’d like to say the baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. Probably not your usual answer, but I love his music- I could listen to it all the time. Being able to have music flowing from your brain to your pen like that and being able to see and hear his music being performed every day would be amazing.

 

Why Marketing & Advertising is Storytelling

Why Marketing & Advertising is Storytelling

You can primp and polish almost anything to make it gleam and glimmer, but making something beautiful doesn’t make it unique and doesn’t make it effective.

 

The same can be said with advertising and PR. You can devise the most astounding campaign that implements every creative tool in the book and then some, but if your message doesn’t resonate with people, you have lost.

 

This summer I had the privilege of attending the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where I absorbed the knowledge and advice advertising and PR professionals had to give about the ever-changing field in which they work. In the seminar “Nailing Jelly to a Tree & Other Wild Goose Chases” Dr. Itiel Dror joined Nir Wegrzyn to discuss how to make your advertising messages stick with your audience and have the effect that you desire.

 

Dr. Dror, a cognitive neuroscientist, stressed three points: making your messages into memories, encode those messages in the appropriate parts of the brain, tell a relevant story and tell it well. All of these components combined make it possible for us as advertisers (or aspiring advertisers) to divulge into human insight and to connect with our audience in a transparent and effective way.

 

Every day our minds take in thousands upon thousands of images filled with information. Whether it be on television, the Internet, social media, outside, or in magazines, everywhere you go there are advertising messages. There are so many that most people find them intrusive and choose to ignore them completely. At what point do we as advertisers realize that we can’t just splatter information across a page?

 

If I were to ask you to tell me your most vivid memory, I bet you could tell me everything down to the smell of the room and the clothes you were wearing. This is what advertisers must do. We must be strategic in our messaging strategies to not only catch the eye of the audience, but keep the eye of the audience and make our messages memorable. To do so we must tell stories. Not just any stories, stories that transport audiences into a setting or situation that is not part of their everyday lives, but that holds a connection in their brain.

 

My favorite books are the Harry Potter books, yes I am 100% aware they are meant to be children’s books, but I love them nonetheless. What makes this series so wonderful is that each reader becomes engrossed in the story of this boy wizard who suffers just like you and me. He struggles with love, friendship, life and death, good and evil; it hits almost every literary theme that relates to the human experience. Stories that people can relate to are memorable and effective. Take a page out of the world’s greatest authors’ books (literally) and you will see just how effective, creative, and memorable your messages will become.

 

What are you doing to make your stories (campaigns/messages) memorable?

 

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