The personal, ubiquitous and indispensible perception of mobile phones has created the “best social network in the world”, said Chris Brogan at #SMWF this week, with SMS and email contacts still representing the gold standards for marketing.
“The laptop is no longer where we live and die,” he told a packed keynote theatre on Tuesday, emphasising the importance of the mobile channel. “Smartphones are the new smoking – and QR codes are not the answer.”
In a far ranging, engaging presentation that stripped away much of the marketing babble and cut everything back to common sense, Brogan, president of Human Business Works, said that businesses were still not utilising social media as a tool for listening, both to existing and potential customers.
We caught up with Brogan immediately after his keynote to get some of his thoughts on leveraging Google+ and how social media is changing the way we work. (Excellent video work by www.videotrends.co.uk)
He doesn’t work in social media; he was keen to point out, but in business. Social media is just a group of tools and technologies, like any other tool or technology, he said.
“They become useful when people use them in a way that is beneficial.”
Back to the keynote, and Brogan talked abotu how it is was amazing that so few businesses are using social media as a listening tool. There’s an opportunity for the digital shopkeeper, he insisted. But yes, you have to have a pretty good idea what you’re listening for.
For instance, when someone’s laptop breaks, they might tweet about it. But they won’t tweet any of the search terms you see on the top of a laptop repair business’ website. They’ll tweet, “My F*****G laptop just keeled over”, or some other expletive, presenting an opportunity for a laptop repair business with an insightful ear out for that kind of tweet to respond offering a solution.
Consumers respond when it’s obvious that you’ve made a personal effort, though it takes time and money, admitted Brogan, but done correctly, it’s inherently scalable because it’s a revenue generator.
Social media marketing and PR specialists are an endangered species, he claimed. You need to be doing everything, these disciplines don’t sit apart from each other in your business, and social needs to be applied across the business. “Social tools aren’t just the marketing department,” he said. “They’re like the phone on your desk. You wouldn’t just have a phone on the marketing person’s desk.
“The guy who thinks he’s in the PR department only is my new barista next week,” he quipped.
People understand that digital needs to be part of the mix these days. They get it, he said, though simply showing up doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. User expectations have changed, and crafting a personalised relationship has reached a new level of importance.
“The opportunity of social media is to try something engaging,” he said. “The end goal is to try and build a relationship. Make your buyer the hero.”
Building relationships, not contacts
Failure to segment your distribution audiences proves only one thing; that you don’t really care about their individual preferences. Bad email marketing is dead. In fact, sloppy email marketing represents the rudeness you would expect from bad marketing, said Brogan.
“Don’t send your email from a @do_not_reply,” he said. “Does that look like a beautiful relationship experience waiting to happen? Why not enable the ability to reply?”
“One call to action per email,” he said. “Embrace brevity. If it’s too long for you to read on your mobile, it’s too long.” If you have too many options, you have the conversion-hammering ‘paradox of choice’.
No one really cares about how amazing your html emailer looks, how beautifully it mirrors your website design; what they need to know is, ‘what do I do next?”.
“If your website has no intention of converting, then you shouldn’t have a website,” he added. “If I can’t squint from across the room at your site and know what to do next, your site is poorly designed.”