This week I traveled down to Louisville, KY to the Louisville Digital Association’s event. They had Jay Baer, (@jaybaer) the author of Youtility speaking about his vision of marketing in a social media culture. There was no doubt I was going to enjoy it, he was among the first people I had heard say what I have been saying for the last several years, not exactly – but similar concepts. However, I had no idea how valuable this little trip was going to be for me and our clients.
If I had to summarize Jay’s message it is this – “Youtility is marketing so useful, people are willing to pay for it,” and we have to be “playing the long game” in today’s fragmented world. Attention spans are shrinking and the world is noisier and shiner than ever. What are you doing to capture the attention of your intended audience?
In his book he puts it this way:
“Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and customers.”
One of the examples he gives of this hyper fragmentation is the fact that is 2006 there were approximately 35,000,000 blogs and today we have over 175,000,000 – and it’s not showing any signs of slowing.
Think of this example Jay uses in his book:
“In 1977, the number one television show in the United States was Happy Days. In 1977 Happy Days did a 31.5 rating, meaning that 31.5 percent of Americans living in a household with a television watched the program.
Ten years later, in 1987, the number one show was The Cosby Show, which did a 27.8 rating. Ten years after that, the number one show was Seinfeld. It did a 21.7 rating. And ten years later the number one show was American Idol, which did a 16.1 rating.
In 2011, for the first time, the number one show wasn’t really a show at all. Sunday Night Football did a seasonal average 12.9 rating as the number one television program in America”
What can be concluded is you have smaller and smaller targets to hit with your messaging. Add to that the difficulty brought about by the collision of commercial and personal messages in social media and you realize, as Jay said, “Your message is competing against EVERYTHING!”
So how do you create Youtility?
This year is the tipping point, 57% of cell phones are smart phones now with widgets, apps and browsers which means that nearly 60% of your audience is walking with the world’s information in their pants. (What a contrast from the set of Encyclopedia Britannica that mom and dad bought for the house circa 1972.)
People have questions and are constantly looking stuff up. Answer those questions. Marcus Sheridan of River Pools in Warsaw, VA has over 859 pages indexed with Google…most of them answering questions, NOT PROMOTING. The value to your business is this:
i. Questions create doubt
ii. Doubt creates friction
iii. Friction keeps people from taking action
Don’t be afraid to give knowledge away, some will use it for their own purposes, yea verily, some competitor may even use it…so what! Is your world so small that if you miss one to two you’ll go out of business? The great likelihood is you don’t have the capacity to serve every potential customer in your zip code, much less your market.
Right now someone is tweeting someone’s secret right now. Truth comes out today, more than ever so you may as well get used to doing business in a public spot-light. Learn how to make mistakes publicly and fix them publicly. (for an example of this, here is how I responded to a poor Yelp review for my 14 year old daughter’s dog sitting business)
Real Time Relevancy
Jay advises to “market sideways” by introducing your brand into the life of your customers outside of your specialty. What do people need? Go find it and provide it. BTW, the best way to find out what people need is to…well…ask them.
This is a terrific book and a must read for anyone trying to compete in the age of social and ever fragmenting media
Question: What 2 things could The Social Sherpa provide you? What do you need? (We’d really like to know.)
Hashtags are getting a great deal of attention recently. People ignore them, people swear by them and others swear at them. So what’s the hashtag hubbub Bub? What’s all the fuss about anyway?
Let’s first define what a hashtag is and how you create one. A hashtag is a # symbol followed by any unbroken string of characters; unbroken being the key. If we wanted to hashtag our company’s name it should look like this - #thesocialsherpa NOT #The Social Sherpa. In the first example, we have a successful tag and in the second I have a successful tag of the word “THE” which is just a tad too generic.
Think of #hashtags as bookmarks of sorts but the author is bookmarking their content to be found at a later date.
How do people use hashtags
Users of social networks leverage hashtags to find the content their looking for and/or follow online discussions. If you did a Twitter or Facebook search for #socialmediatips, you would find ALL posts or tweets available where that hashtag has been used. Once you have gotten all that information in front of you, simply peruse at your convenience.
Currently these are the networks using hashtags, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, Orkut, Fluidinfo, Catch.com and FriendFeed. (Do not panic if you haven’t heard of some of these, its okay) The ones you should be most concerned with are the first five on the list.
It’s important to simultaneously stand alone and in the crowd, so I’m a two hashtag kinda guy. I use one hastag that is focused on our brand, such as, #SherpaApproved which is sort of our USDA seal of approval on other’s writings and ideas. It tells our followers that we’ve read it and found it worth reading and on track.
Well, let’s face it, we don’t have the social media cred of a Jay Baer (@jaybaer) or Mari Smith (@marismith) so we need to tap into some other hashtag that is more generic and has greater likelihood of being found WITHOUT hijacking a hashtag. Hijacking a hashtag is when you use one created by someone else for the purpose of getting caught up in their trending…booooo, very bad form.
So if we lay our #SherpaApproved tag on a retweet about, say hashtags, we might put the generic #hashtag on the retweet. Now if someone sees the retweet and finds value, they may want to see what else the Sherpa has approved and now we have a new follower.
So we are both standing alone (#SherpaApproved) and in a crowd (#hashtag) at the same time.
Take Your Shot!
Now that you know a little more, take your shot. Do a search for hashtags on your favorite social platform and see if you can come up with one that is unique to you and your brand, then find the most closely matching generic and start using hashtags.
What is the best use of hashtags you’ve seen? Lord knows, we want to encourage good hashtag use, so here’s your chance to toot your horn about someone. Likewise we need to #shame #into #submission #those #that #abuse #the #hashtag. What are your worst examples, present company excluded please?
The Social Sherpa helps you define your company's online goals, then guides your every step in the achievement of those goals.