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.)
The Social Sherpa helps you define your company's online goals, then guides your every step in the achievement of those goals.