How To Market in the Social Sphere

How To Market in the Social Sphere

Most of our friends know that at ROBYN, we are focused on honing our marketing skills... And we enjoy sharing what we have learned! To this end, we are thrilled to introduce a side project we've been working on: The 7 Minute Smarketer.

The premise behind the podcast is to sit down with innovative marketers who are experts in different disciplines and give them 7 minutes to make us smarter. The podcasts are hosted on the 7 Minute Smarketer website, which you can hear by clicking the button below...


7 minute smarketer          bill handy


Brian Blake:  Hello, everyone. This is Brian Blake with "The Seven Minute Smarketer." Today our guest is Bill Handy. Many of you probably know Bill or at least have seen his name. He's the co‑owner of H3 Strategic Communications and has over 15 years experience doing just that:  developing strategic communications, improving public relations, and social media engagement. Bill also introduced the iPad pilot program to OSU last year. Please welcome Bill Handy.

Bill Handy:  Thanks so much for having me.

Brian:  So, Bill, we've talked. You know how the "Seven Minute Smarketer" works. The premise is you have seven minutes to make us smarter marketers about your topic or you owe me a beer. Having spoken a couple times before and stalking, I mean following you, on Twitter the last few years, I have no doubt there'll be no exchange of beer today. You're a college professor and you get paid to make people smarter marketers.

Bill:  [laughs] I'm sure there's an argument in there somewhere. First of all, I want to clarify for everybody listening... First, hi mom! I do go by the pseudonym "Bill Handy." A lot of people don't realize that. I hide behind that, "Bill Handy," online. I think it's important to have a secret life. So they can find me there as well. You start. Do you have any questions? I mean, you'll listen to me but what's your question?

Brian:  I do. Let me get my handy dandy clock started.

Bill:  OK. On your mark. Get set. Go!

Brian:  OK. We're rolling. Today you spoke with the Oklahoma City chapter of the American Marketing Association and had some great things to say. A lot of it dealt with online social media. Let's just start at the beginning. When a company asks you for help navigating these waters where do you start?

Bill:  I wish everybody would ask me that question because it's a real easy entry into what is probably the most important thing to talk about when working with an organization which is research. That's where we always start. Let's really figure out research on the side of what are we truly trying to achieve. People come to you and they say "I want a Facebook page" or "I want a Twitter account" and that's not what they want. They want a solution to something that is currently ailing them like increased sales or reduced expenses. All of these can be leveraged with electronic communication platforms. They're not always Twitter and Facebook. So that's the first thing we need to identify.

Then, we'll start researching and figure out all the different variables that are so critical to the decisions you make with regard to what platforms you land on. The culture of the organization, the culture of the customer base, what their abilities are, what budgets their are. We just collect as much information as we possibly can. At that point, we're still just scratching the surface on research.

Once we get all that information then we can start doing deep, in‑depth research. I wish I could just say "This is the kind of research that you need to do."

Brian:  "This is how it's done."

Bill:  This is a technical term that I use probably more now than I ever have before in my life, "It depends." I use it all the time. It's true because every variable is different. Back in the old days when you had "Well, I want to reach our customer" there's television and radio and the newspaper, and fliers. If you're really kind of out there, fliers.

Brian:  Which one works best?

Bill:  Right. Or fax machines. That was the big disruptor of the '80s. So that's where we start.

Brian:  OK. You mentioned Twitter and Facebook. I first bumped into you on Twitter about three years ago.

Bill:  Sure. Back when Twitter was cool.

Brian:  I was going to say back then social media was cool. It was a shiny new toy. That whole toy thing has worn off. This is the real deal.

Bill:  Yeah.

Brian:  How do you...

Bill:  I'm going to stop you for just a second. I'm going to count this toward my seven minutes. This is what my premise is. We've had social media around since 1994. Social media is not new. It's evolutionary, not revolutionary. I would argue that the reason why it became so interesting to people is because media figured out that it was interesting, that it was a way to perhaps more effectively communicate. The reason why they were looking is because media is dying because information is free. So you have this perfect storm to draw attention to why is social media so cool. It's not cool. The premise that it's new or that there's a certain way... It'd be like having an argument over how to use a telephone. Give me a break.

I didn't mean to interrupt you. I just wanted to clarify that. I think it's an important element to understand. I'll tell you what. Anybody who looks at you and says "Social media is revolutionary" put your hand in your pocket. Watch out. So, that's just my take on it.

Brian:  Is that a guru? Is that what a guru is?

Bill:  Yeah. [laughs] Somebody with clout, spelled K‑L‑O‑U‑T, I guess, has that idea.

Brian:  When you mentioned Twitter and you mentioned Facebook, those are great for some things, not great for everything. So what are the other things? What else are we looking for?

Bill:  I guess somebody will probably say, "Well, there's Google+." That's an interesting thing.

Brian:  Actually, I have a note here that says "Google+. Go!"

Bill:  Talk about Google+. Google+, it's revolutionary. It's going to change the world. Again, I'm going to get technical on you, it depends. Do you want to talk to just your own employees? There's some great platforms to do that. Do you want to talk to them at length where you can capture the information or do you just need a quick way to share information back and forth? We can be looking at something like Yammer for micro‑blogging or we'd be looking at ... I'm blanking on the name. It's a micro‑blogging service that actually collects all the conversations that then become searchable.

Those are the things that, oftentimes, people don't think about.

"I need a way to communicate to my employees very, very quickly." That's easy. Did you need it to be private or public? "I want it to be private." OK. Do all of your employees have the different tools to be able to receive the information? "Yes they do." Do you want to be able to pull that information back later on? "Yes we do."

Well, now we're talking about a completely different ballpark than just DMing all your employees or sending it to some kind of a feed that then gets generated out through Yammer or something like that.

Again, it depends. What are you trying to achieve? I would argue that the moment that we know what an organization is trying to achieve, what the real objectives are, we can identify platforms that are going to be within their budget, fit within their culture, and that can be integrated with the right amount of communications, effective communications, to do that.

I assure you "If you build it, they will come" does not work, except in a great movie. I love that movie.

Brian:  It's a good movie. We've had a lot of success with content marketing, working on blogs.

Bill:  Sure.

Brian:  We shoot some video. We're doing podcasting.

Bill:  Yeah.

Brian:  You threw out a number in the meeting and it referenced the Library of Congress.

Bill:  Sure.

Brian:  How much data is being put out on a yearly basis right now?

Bill:  Yes. It's 70 exabytes of data. For anybody who's interested, that's about the equivalent of 518,000 Libraries of Congress.

Brian:  A half million Libraries of Congress every year.

Bill:  Yeah, exactly.

Brian:  This year.

Bill:  I should say that that was actually last year's stat. I don't know what this year's stat is.

Brian:  We're way past that.

Bill:  I know. I'm old school. I'm talking 2010, not 2011. Yeah. It's quite a bit of information.

Brian:  In that sea of information, how do Smarketers get found?

Bill:  Did you say "Smarketers?"

Brian:  Yeah. This is "The Seven Minute Smarketer."

Bill:  [laughs] So there's smart marketing?

Brian:  Exactly.

Bill:  I think that this is the interesting thing. The question is, how do marketers get found?

Brian:  Right.

Bill:  I think the answer to that is they don't anymore. There are things that we can do to help people perhaps trip over them. But in a world that allows for such an easy two‑way communications, I think that a marketer is better off listening. I'll give you an example. This is not a good example but I think we can use it at the moment. I had somebody who asked a question on Twitter. I tend to follow topics, not people, on Twitter. I saw that this person asked a question. I said "I've got an answer for you. Come over here. Go to this link, it's over there." They would have never found that except for that human element of being able to market one to one and because I was listening.

I took care of that person, that company's job for them. I'm not going to do that next time. I'm going to leave it up to them to do that. That's their new job.

I think that's the real question. How is it that marketers start listening more effectively to the needs of current as well as future customers and then respond to them at the moment of need?

Brian:  There's a term, an acronym, called ZMOT. It's called the Zero Moment Of Truth. I think that's exactly what you're talking about. It's being there when the customer needs you.

Bill:  Yeah. We live in a world of dialogue. I think that's such an important, but often misunderstood, concept. We're always talking. We're always communicating. We do it in a broader range than we ever have before. The ability to be there for somebody is so much easier now than it ever was. It doesn't matter if you're half a world away. I can be there.

Brian:  Love it. Well, it looks like we're out of time.

Bill:  I know. And you owe me a beer.

Brian:  I owe you. That's exactly it. You're certainly off the hook. Bill, thanks again for joining us.

Bill:  My pleasure.

Brian:  I look forward to seeing you online again soon.

Bill:  Or listening to me or hearing me or reading me... Thanks so much.

Brian:  That too. Thank you.