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3 posts from May 2011

05/31/2011 Your Mother Was Right: Be Nice!

Dan Zarella at HubSpot just released a report showing that people who ask others to “Please Retweet” get four times as many retweets on Twitter as those who don’t ask.  Even when you shorten retweet to RT, the number of people passing forward your tweets increases.

Let’s break this down: Asking people, in a nice way, to do something, or to help you delivers higher results than not asking people. I think there’s another corollary Dan should test: the difference of saying “Please” or not.

Nice helps. It helps online and offline, especially in customer service. Staffers who are nicer to customers have a better chance of defusing touchy situations as well as delivering positive experiences people remember.

I’ve got to dig around to find more data around this. I think the data will show that asking nicely helps. If anyone knows of any, post it on the comments. From a social media standpoint, it’s a no brainer.

It raises the question:
How much of advertising asks us nicely?

If nice works, why don’t companies use it more? Do they think it’s boring?

Or are all advertisers and brands just modern day Leo “The Lip” Durochers who think, “Nice guys finish last?” (And remember, that’s coming from someone who managed the Cubs!)

I think our mothers were right: Be nice. 


05/27/2011 The Godfather was wrong

"It's not personal. It's business."

That was always one of my favorite lines from the movie "The Godfather." It implied a cold, rational way of dealing with the world, a way not meant to bruise feelings or to act wildly. 

Of course, "it's not personal" opens the way to some pretty egregious behavior including everything from terrible customer service to improperly treating employees to killing people (at least in the Mafia)!

Nowadays, it seems that everything is personal. We want brands that treat us personally, with respect, interest and as individuals, not just as another number or drone. When brands don't do this, they quickly feel the backlash on social channels. When brands respond back "It's not personal, it's business" they find that people don't want to do business with them at all.

We're seeing more of that in the business world too. Bosses who lack the ability to create some sort of personal and professional bond with employees find that the best employees either leave or underperform.

And in business-to-business relationships, choosing people to work with, as partners or vendors, is based as much on personal chemistry as on "hard" business decisions. 

The reason why all of this IS personal and not just business boils down to one thing: Trust

Can you trust your brand/boss/co-worker/vendor to do the right thing? Can you count on them to act in ways that are not completely self-serving? When push comes to shove, will they chip in or turn tail?

The Godfather's world was one based almost entirely on personal relationships. It was all personal. The same is true of business today.

05/13/2011 Social Media really IS like high school

A recent report shows that luxury brands, while having Facebook pages, don’t engage people and for the most part act highly unresponsively. For these brands, Facebook is simply another broadcast channel. It’s not so much different than how the best looking girls in high school act toward the people around them. 

Think about it: luxury brands spend tons of money on glossy and classy print and TV ads. They’ve built up their brands with the help of impeccable stylists and image-makers. These brands focus on their looks with the promise of an “ultimate experience.”

And what they want is a lot of people who to aspire to be them, who long to be around them, and who simply want to associate with them that the hope that the brands’ beauty and coolness rub off on them. At least a little.

It’s the same behavior we saw with those beauties in high school. They didn’t have to be nice, smart, engaging or funny to have a gaggle of boys and girls tagging after them. The good-looking kids just needed to BE; it was enough to garner success. For some of the other kids, it was enough just to be seen in the company of or to exchange a few words with these high school stars.

The problem is that most brands and organizations look nothing like luxury brands or spectacularly looking people. Most brands are a little funny looking and quirky and mostly average when you get right down to it. Most brands haven’t spent a ton of money in traditional advertising glossing up their looks.

Like people in general, brands need to work on relationships to attract and keep people around. That applies to how they need to act in social media as well. I wonder if brand managers and marketers will look at that report and come to the conclusion that, since luxury brands ignore their customers in social media, other brands can do the same.

When it comes to brands and social media, most don’t look like luxury stars. They need to work on their personalities and looks, instead.


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