Okay, the truth is I have a vague sense that #WOOT! is an exclamation of supreme online happiness but its use in this instance is completely relevant. I am going to #shoutout a remarkable personal branding social media achievement today – pay attention dear readers as everything I write below has consequences for B2B and B2C engagement as well.
I met my never-laid-eyes-on friend Ken over a phone call two years ago. We had the distinction of having both served as the Chief Marketing Officer for start-up social SaaS firm (I inherited the role from him, he was a co-founder of the company). We are marketing and communications professionals of very different ilk but have enormous respect for the others’ skills, experience and achievements. Last night, by any social media metrics or conventional communications standards, he hit a pretty remarkable milestone – 60,000 followers on Twitter. Let me repeat, Ken has SIXTY -THOUSAND followers on a global basis on Twitter!
Imagine, no real ‘product’ to sell (though besides being a C-level executive he also writes a weekly tech column, shares the microphone on Wednesday afternoons for a widely listened to Internet radio program and is an expert contributor on emerging social media technologies in books and other media outlets) yet possessing global reach and numbers enviable to any corporate entity. What is his ‘personal brand’ that attracts so many to include and engage with him during their own online presence? That is it – he is many things to many people, but he is always INCLUSIVE!
He sends out THANK YOU tweets to everyone who replies to him, mentions him, and retweets him EVERY SINGLE MORNING. He tweets during social media ‘rush hours’ (tied to United States’ eastern time zone even though he makes his home in California). He actively follows other tweeps who post about marketing and communications (putting them in manageable lists to keep track of them and their tweets) and adds to their social media influence by re-tweeting their best content. (“Best” content being highly subjective here as he has tweeted pictures of my various home baked good treats with the hashtag #FoodPorn.) He also recognises that just because Twitter allows for 140 characters that, like any messaging that is going to resonate with its constituent audience(s), the shorter the better, so he stays UNDER 120 characters which also encourages retweets. These are baseline best practices for Twitter but the ideas behind them are universal in their application in creating cohesive, engaging, successful communications.
I mention this (at all) because far too many companies are stepping into the realm of social media in hiring dedicated staff assuming digital nativity (a.k.a., youth!) infers competence. Familiarity with a technology platform does not make anyone a skilled user of it – in creating resonance and amplification communications will always require heightened craft and strategic vision; this also why outsourcing online engagement is a very bad idea if you are intent on protecting the integrity of corporate identity, employer branding and internal morale.
What’s more, regardless of how big your brand may be, remember former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famous words “all politics is local” applies to all relationships. If your brand is global, understand that localisation is still as important to embrace in social media as it (still) is in the creation of press releases, collateral material and websites. “Just because” English is the dominant language for business does not mean that a brand can ignore their Asian, European, African or South American audiences. The flattening of our world demands more of the old adage ‘treat others as you would be treated’ so use their languages as part of your social media communications.
So #WOOT! to Ken and all communicators everywhere whose responsibilities carry the weight of social media engagement and embrace Raymond Chandler’s words: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”