Social Media, Kindness and Culture

So here’s an interesting debate for you. Could social media be used to change a culture? This was the question, and idea posed by Grant McCracken, in his article ‘Could a Social-Media Tool Increase Kindness.”

In the article Grant uses Boston as his example. Speaking from his own experience, and in his own words:

“I was surprised by how standoffish everyone in my apartment building was. We would see each other twice a day in the elevator, but we’d rarely exchange a word of greeting or acknowledgment. It was so bad, I remember thinking to myself at one point: Maybe this building is in the witness relocation program, and people are afraid they’ll be recognized.”

He went on to say; “Normally, I’d say the situation was beyond our individual or collective control.” And then goes on to explain from there about his findings through a couple of guys who set out to prove him wrong – with social media.

As it turns out, these couple of guys are on the verge of launching a social media tool called Thank Bank, which I believe is a network designed to help people express their appreciation.

There are two points that spring to mind when reading this article:

  1. What makes Thank Bank different from pressing ‘like’ on Facebook? Could a social network specifically for expressing thanks be enough..? And do I really want to sign up to another platform without good reason.
  2. Surely the increase of kindness comes from an individual, or group decision to do something – and not a social media tool. If this were case then, I’d suggest we have much bigger problems at hand…

Personally, I am all for the idea of social media encouraging social good and increasing kindness. Social media is a powerful aid, which I fully support and salute the good work it has already done for individuals, family life, and business. I just believe that we must be careful not to mistake the different between our actions and the assistance of a tool in a world that has become so dependent on such smart technology.

In any case, I also believe that is more than possible to change a culture when a group of people together make a decision. On our own, I would agree with Grant, it is impossible. However, I believe there is power in a few.

To quote Margaret Mead, and American cultural anthropologist:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Read Grant’s article in full, here. Please let me know what your thoughts are on this by, posting your comments below, or connect with me on Twitter here.

Two core principles of social media for your business

We don’t expect a guy or girl to just jump straight into marriage, (at least most of us don’t) do we? So why would we then, expect anything different when it comes to business and more importantly social media.

Consumers connect with brands they trust, love and enjoy – There is just way too many options out there in the cyberspace of choice.

So what should be our priorities then? Making sure we are on Facebook? Making sure we tweet twenty times a day?

Regular tweeting is good, I believe. However; ultimately I believe the ‘quality over quantity’ principle plays a crucial part.

Build relationship first, and loyalty will follow.

Now, you could argue that given the vast number of options we have to choose from today that this could be an ambitious statement. That surely it’s impossible to keep a group of customers for more than 64 years, (yes this was actually achieved by some of the long standing companies) which is almost the span of a person’s life – In this day and age.

I believe it is possible. At least to reach beyond the ‘average’ and succeed more than… If you think I’m crazy then, I will save this post and dig it back out on the day this statement comes to fruition. It just requires wisdom, skill and a little faith.

Like with any lasting relationship, loyalty is a quality that is grown over time. If you can provide a reliable solution that solves the consumers problem, and have the right marketing mix then, why not.

A customer will respect a brand, client, or product that carries integrity, consistently.

What I will say though, is that it is much easier to throw out unopened magazines and email these days; and that is why we must be willing to put in the hard yards at the beginning – And build relationship first.

 

The power to share

Never underestimate the power of one tweet!

Like any relationship, our response and actions within certain situations can have a positive, or negative effect. In world of social media this does not change; excluding the level of exposure, of course.

As scary, and as dangerous as this may seem too many, we must not lose our nerve and shy away from fear of exposure.

We should not worry about gaining a negative response from a comment, post, or plug made (within reason). Instead, I would suggest it is far more important to understand, know and respond well in these events. Always make sure you that when you do respond, respond in a manner that is appropriate, firm and professional.

The power of sharing is much more than simply the share of information. It has the potential to go the extra mile when building relationships; to share experiences both bad, and good. Building something of greater strength, and value – a friend for life.

Make yourself at home

Make yourself at home… In my culture, this is an endearing phrase used to welcome guests into ones home.

I wonder how many British businesses in total have truly grasped this concept of making their consumer feel right at home? After all without the consumer, there is no business. It’s not enough to set up shop, and demand money from your customers anymore. For too long chain stores have got away with pocketing our hard-earned cash without so much of a smile, or a thank you for your custom in return – and what’s worse is that for a long time, we, the British public put up with it!

…It’s worthwhile stating that when I say, at home, I mean at home in your shop, website, or office. The line between virtual, and physical presence has become a blur over the years, and what you put on the front-page of your website matters just as much what you put in the display of your shop window.

How are we making our customers feel at home? Technology, and the way we interact online has changed our culture in such a big way that we cannot afford to bombard our websites with forced speak, technical information, and confuse our customers with false advertising.

The way we communicate with our customers is a vital as communicating with your friend, or spouse. If we get things wrong, then we should be man enough to step up to the mark, and be honest enough to fix our mistakes.

Where more and more chains are folding on the high street, this is a perfect opportunity for smaller businesses to rise up to the challenge and really go the extra mile for the consumer. Not only will you build brand awareness, but you will build a growing customer retention, just by making them feel right at home.

Here are a few suggestions that will help us stay in business.

1. Say “Hello” with a smile – Whether in person, or via a 30 second video clip. Showing our white pearly teeth is a great way to let customers know that you are a business that values their custom.

2. Be clear always – Businesses that are built on this principle will stand the test of time. Transparency is key to the success of your tomorrow.

3. Be reliable –  We must say what we do, and do what we say. It’s as simple as that. With the shifting posts of government illustrating a perfect example that people lose faith in something that cuts deep corners, and doesn’t deliver. With lack of care and attention, consumers lose interest, and businesses fail.

The great thing about all three is that they can be applied across the board, from social media, to the shop floor. This is a friendly house keeping post for all business, and marketing departments.

If you would like help with developing a social strategy for your business, assistance in training, blogging, or help transforming your brand communications, then look no further. Get in touch with a freelance social savvy copywriter, right here, or leave your thoughts below.

Make it personal

I woke up to this beautiful video note from Starbucks today. Check it out:

This is both a lesson, and an illustration on where business is going in 2012 and beyond. Watching this video left me with rather large smile across my face, and a refreshing sigh of relief that someone is catching on to the customer matters truth that many brands still seem to think is a myth.  When you watch this clip you get a real sense of the Starbucks message. People see through fake campaigns, it’s not enough just to say you do something, people must experience it to believe, and to keep coming back.

If you want to make your business successful in 2012, make it personal. Re-engineered tweets just won’t do. People want to feel special, and accepted by their brands in the same way they seek from relationships with their friends, partners or family.

From gadgets, to social media, and everything in between make sure you make it personal.

If you like many struggle to manage your social media, or blogging for business, then why not call in the armed forces for help!

With experience in SEO Copywriting, blogging, social media training and consultancy I have strategized,  managed and participated in multiple projects social media/SEO projects from vast number of industries. If you would like my help on any of the services above, or simply have a question you would like to ask, then please find me on Twitter @leemac85

Having a big heart

 

 

You may wonder why I’ve included this video in my blog today, I honestly believe that if we have heart and understanding for this message, our businesses, lives and social media marketing campaigns will flourish so much more. If you want to know the ROI in social media, it will be much more than figures. It will be the personality of your brand, and how genuine you are as a business. That means the attitude you have towards your consumers matters. People smell fake, documents tweets a mile off, and it may seem like a time-consuming activity, but it’s one you can’t afford to miss out on.

It’s not good enough to have a computer spit your tweets out on a clock either. At least not for the majority of us. Like I’ve said before, we need to be ready for those opportune moments.

Of course the other reason I am sharing this video with you is I wanted to share this with you, in the hope it touches you as it has me. It’s too easy to switch on the news to remind us of the world that we live in, WE LIVE IN.

The reason we are alive, which is for SO  MUCH  MORE than making money. Having the dream to be successful as a singer, business person, whatever; is not a bad dream to have. Might I suggest though that we consider the impact of our dreams, and that we will get more out of them when they include others, rather than exclude.

If you want to find out more on the practical steps of social media marketing, or anything else then feel free to come chat with me on Twitter @leemac85

Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting we must fix the world in this blog, or that we do anything that doesn’t have heart in it. I’m just suggesting that when we remind ourselves of the bigger picture, and what is of true value in this ONE LIFE we are given. The rest I believe will take care of itself, as we are faithful with what’s in our hand.

Golden nugget: Google+ is an extremely valuable platform to be on for any business. If you are not on it yet, get on it now. Stop waiting for people to join. If you want to know more about how many tweets you should be posting, or find out more on how social media marketing can help your business then leave a comment below, and I’ll be sure to reply.

Here’s an idea: There are lots of amazing campaigns, and groups of people doing something to really make a difference. From Tom’s shoes, to A21, to a sisterhood of girls gathering together to play their part. As a business you can lend your hand of resources, or support in lots of ways, all shapes and sizes. Not because you will get something out of it, although you will undoubtedly, but because your human, and we all live in this big planet called earth that makes us ALL responsible for something. What’s your part?