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Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

Hypothetically speaking…

If the real Jesus Christ were logged on to Twitter today, what would he “tweet” about?  Would you follow him? Would he follow back?  Would he engage or just “broadcast”? Clearly, nobody knows for sure, but it might be fun to speculate.

Heresy?

I know I’m on dangerous ground, so let me preface this by saying that there are no heretical intentions here. I am a believer who tries to live by “The Golden Rule”. My mind simply works in strange ways, and I just thought this particular twist might capture more interest than a piece on “Best Practices for using Twitter Hashtags”. I don’t speak for Jesus Christ and he did not approve this message. My goal here is to inspire creative thinking about social media and make a few people smile in the process. I may go straight to hell for many other reasons, but this post will not be one of them!

Any social media “gurus” interested in this job?

OK, with eternal damnation (temporarily) averted, let’s think together. Assume that Jesus Christ, or “@therealJC”, has decided to open a Twitter account (despite being all-knowing and therefore having no need to do so). What would his strategy be? Who would he target? What would he say? Would he use Tweetdeck to categorize his followers? How would he measure the ROI, or results of his campaign? Again, we can’t possibly know, but I challenge all the social media “gurus” out there to think about how they would help @therealJC grow a following and spread his positive message.

I don’t claim to be a “guru”, so I have no intention of creating a campaign in this post, but I do have some thoughts to share.

I BELIEVE that @therealJC would:

  • “get” the general concept of social media
  • see the benefit of  “going viral”
  • love the testimonials and retweets
  • use many “best practices” to grow his following
  • take the time to engage followers individually
  • inject some humor and personality into the conversation
  • retweet good quotes and links to positive articles and videos
  • follow people who offer “value” and are “real”
  • give lots of #FF “shout outs” to good people and non profits
  • share GREAT CONTENT!

I BELIEVE that @therealJC would NOT:

  • @spam
  • just preach or “broadcast”
  • only talk about Himself (or his Dad)
  • Link to the Bible on every “tweet”
  • pay to get 15,000 new followers
  • purchase teeth whitening products
  • keep following anyone who “auto-DMs” Him
  • tweet excessively
  • follow any politicians (none of them “get it” yet)
  • be negative (He might DM the spammers and false prophets though!)

So what might some of Jesus Christ’s tweets look like?

(forgive me Father, for I may be about to sin)

therealJC Just talked with @DAD. We’re cool now. I saw the big picture and got over the tough assignment. #forgiveness

therealJC @porngal272  FYI…you’re beautiful, but no need for you or anyone else to show me hot pix…nothing I haven’t seen or created before.

therealJC @susanboyle You go girl!

therealJC I still cry every time I watch “Brian’s Song”…how about you? Great movie!

therealJC Love you all, but @chrisbrogan is really a great tweeter! #socialmedia

therealJC #FF shout outs to every community group that helps kids at risk! You know where its @!

therealJC RT @DAD “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

therealJC @lazarus You’re welcome. Nice comeback! #gratitude

therealJC RT@Job “Patience is a virtue!”

therealJC @Judas @Pontius @orneryatheist All is forgiven.

therealJC Went to a party and they ran out of just about everything. Problem was solved…no harm done…good time had by all. Who needs a caterer? LOL!

therealJC Do you treat others as you would like to be treated? #goldenrule

therealJC @Job — recommend you connect with @CubsFan and share. #sympathy

therealJC Look past the teeth and $– @tonyrobbins makes some great points!

therealJC Want inspiration? Check out http//www.thebible.com (New Testament section is an easier read!)

therealJC Who is @ashtonkutcher and why is everyone following him?

therealJC about to experience a fantastic meal with the perfect wine pairing– “heavenly” –tweet you later! PEACE! #food #wine #happiness

Summary/Apology/Last chance for Redemption

So, having not yet been struck by lightning and not wanting to overtweet on behalf of @therealJC, I end with this. I don’t presume to know what Jesus Christ would tweet. I wanted to use an unconventional method to trigger some creative thinking. If anyone is offended, I apologize. But this blog post was more about #comedy #Twitter #Web2.0 and #socialmedia than #religion.

Sixteen years of Catholic school down the drain. I hope it was worth it. If you read this, feel free to comment…and pray for my soul!



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For those who are seeking elective office these days, social media is all the rage.

Candidates are rushing to build Facebook and Twitter followings to facilitate fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Combined with personal calls, “Robocalls”, street signs, traditional media, networking events, e-newsletters, direct mail and old fashioned “shoe leather”, they see social media as another important communication tool at their disposal. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that very few politicians understand what makes social media effective, and I have yet to see a single campaign utilize Web 2.0 “best practices” to maximize results. I contend that those candidates who finally “get it”, and make the commitment to execute properly, will gain a huge competitive advantage over their opponents.

So, why would politicians not use a potentially winning resource to its fullest potential? Here are five reasons.

1. This is still relatively new.

I’ll start by cutting everyone some slack. There is clearly a learning curve that needs to sort itself out. I don’t expect politicians to “get” the nuance of social media right away. Social media can be counter-intuitive at times, and if you haven’t studied it, your traditional mind set will set up barriers to exploration and discovery.

2. Experienced Consultants

Most candidates consult with “experts” who have run successful campaigns before. This makes sense–go with what has worked in the past. Unfortunately, the internet was not around during the Eisenhower Administration, so that “seasoned” consultant may not even know how to check email, let alone plan and implement a social media strategy. This is not a knock on veteran campaigners–they are still critical–it’s just that non-traditional communications need to be approached in a way that is foreign to them. It’s a different strategic process.

3. Time Sensitivity

Many campaigns get off to a late start. A non-candidate often pull papers when he or she sees an opportunity. This adds to the urgency of building a volunteer “army” and raising money. Consequently, the goals of all communication efforts are focused on these necessities. When the goals are limited, the action plan is limited. Building, nurturing and engaging a following over time through commonly accepted Web 2.0 “best practices”– target audience research, personal interactions, great content, humor, etc.–becomes difficult at best. There is simply not enough time to do it right, so candidates invariably become broadcasters and salespeople rather than participants and value providers.

4. It’s all about “ME”!

Social media has been referred to as a giant cocktail party. People will follow you if they think you add value to the conversation and are “real”. Do you want to make friends with the guy at the cocktail party who introduces himself, hands out a business card and immediately asks you to buy his stuff? Of course not. But that’s exactly what politicians are doing on Twitter and Facebook right now. “Look at my photos…Donate to my campaign…Hold my signs…Make some calls for me…Tell all your friends…Join my followers…It’s all about  ME!” This is just as obnoxious as the guy at the party–and exclusively self-centered social media approaches will only alienate prospective voters in the long run.

5. Resources

Even though it’s free to start, effective social media takes time, commitment, strategy, creativity and expertise. Most politicians are understandably event focused and time constrained. They delegate or subcontract specific duties to volunteers and paid consultants. Budgets and staffs are often limited, but candidates want to get on board with this new marketing phenomenon somehow. Unfortunately, tasking interns to broadcast their every move on Facebook is a poor substitute for a fully integrated social media campaign.

Free advice to political candidates

Given “the nature of the beast”, some broadcasting will always be necessary. With that said, it’s clearly time for a mind set change. While traditional campaigning still works, social media efforts, planned and implemented properly, will yield tangible results–money, volunteers, “trust” and votes. So bite the bullet, even if it’s out of your own pocket and the election is right around the corner. Hire Web 2.0 experts. Work with them and try to understand the key strategic differences between old and new marketing.  If your message is compelling and you are perceived as a decent human being, the return on investment will be astronomical.

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I have met with many business owners over the years, and one of the most important questions I’ve asked them is: Who is your target audience? Unfortunately, the answer I have most often received is: “Whoever will buy my stuff!” This response is both insufficient and dangerous.

Targeting is a crucial element to any advertising, marketing, PR or HR campaign…especially in difficult economic times, when resources are limited. If they are to survive, companies need to focus expenditures on the right prospects in the right areas. They must identify need, “pain” and price points. They must analyze margins on specific goods and services and gear their communications toward attracting the customers to these profitable items. In short, they must do their homework.

Targeting is both art and science, and effective targeting requires research and effort. It’s not enough to hang a shingle and hope people will come to the shop. It’s not enough to build a web site and wait for orders. Well before the “grand opening” (preferably), businesses must KNOW who their ideal customers are, why these individuals need their products or services, why they are different or better than the competition and how they plan to reach and influence key prospects over time.

Targeting, repetition and exposure are the keys to great communications and recruiting campaigns. If a business fails to perform its due diligence on the targeting component, the entire equation is skewed–this will lead to wasted time, energy and resources…and eventually to another vacant storefront or unvisited web site!

Most start-ups fail. Data varies, but the numbers generally exceed 80% within the first three to five years of operation. Why does this pattern hold true in good times and bad? Business owners tend to know their own product or service, but generally have NO MARKETING EXPERTISE. And when they find out what business consultants or agencies charge, they balk immediately and choose to skip the most important meetings they will ever have.

Strategy must precede tactics. Do your homework. Get some help from experts if you know how to make a pizza but have never written a business plan. Identify your real target audience and have a well researched, cost effective strategy to reach them in a way that is consistent, memorable and persuasive.

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Many business clients want to “try things out” in an attempt to grow their companies. I hear things like:

“Let’s run an ad for a month and see what happens.”
“What if I did a video–would that be a good idea?”
“What do you think of  ‘Constant Contact’?”
“Should I join BNI?”
“I need better web site content–can you write something up for me?”
“Should I pay for search engine optimization?”
“How about Facebook–could I get some business there?”

While I certainly can help with specific tactics, and will charge for my time, I prefer to give my clients a chance to succeed so they will recommend me to their friends! That’s why I provide a complimentary initial consultation and a strategic analysis of current communications. I then formalize this “back to basics” approach with a framework called “B.R.AC.E.”, which stands for Budgeting, Research, Action Plan, Communication and Evaluation. Absent this type of exercise, clients tend to waste money on poorly targeted initiatives that are difficult to quantify.

How much money have you budgeted for external communications?

What about staff?

Are you reaching and engaging the right people (and how do you know)?

Do you make a compelling argument for using your business?

What are your short and long term goals and objectives?

What’s your plan and how will you decide if it is working?

A cost effective communications plan is well researched, repeatable, flexible and measurable. And, particularly in difficult times, it is absolutely essential.

Using “B.R.A.C.E.” as a foundation will simultaneously reduce your costs and increase your market share.

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