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Forget the Experts What the Musical Group TLC Can Teach Us About Social Media



Social Media Lessons From the Musical Group TLC...

Social Media Lessons From the Musical Group TLC

Many of us are heavily invested in learning about the emerging concepts in Social Media. However, with so much to discuss and so many ‘expert’ opinions, the dialog has become severely fragmented. Where can we turn for a clear, concise message on Social Media? Music.

Removing the layers of complexity and conjecture I think we can simply sum up Social Media in the song ‘Waterfalls’ by the musical group TLC.

We need to turn to TLC, and other outside references, because of the liberal attachment of the word ‘strategy’ to Social Media. Sure Social Media is new and exciting but we’re inadvertently giving this tactic a pretty big corporate ego; even its once popular digital counterparts (e.g. email, SEO, etc.) are jealous of all the new-baby attention that Social Media is receiving.

So let’s forget the ‘expert’ advice and discover what TLC - Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes - can teach us about Social Media.



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  • Organizations are rushing toward social media…unfortunately for many, ‘dialog’ is not their first priority.
  • I created this chart to objectively measure the boom in social media as a product being sold by Internet/marketing/business professionals. As of November 2010, there have been 851 books published on the subject of social media. That’s a lot of expertise in a very short amount of time.
  • Another look at the publishing velocity in social media; a 42,000% rate of growth over the past six years From 2 books to 851. Who do you know publishing a social media book?
  • Relative keyword search trending; social media interest has over taken ‘email marketing’ and ‘ppc’.
  • Companies in the ‘digital’ industry were beginning to struggle with capital expenditure-level websites. Social media has provided new revenue streams as agencies were losing SEM, website, and email opportunities. Sub-industries like ‘social media monitoring’ are now evaluated by Forrester. Take a look at LinkedIn; over 14,000 people with ‘social media’ in their titles. Wow.
  • Are our ‘success stories’ all beginning to sound the same? A search for ‘blendtec’ reveals 608 different books that list the company as a social media/marketing case study.
  • Guy Kawasaki revitalized his brand by leveraging social media (Google Trends evidence). Sure he could have tried to establish himself as an expert and monetize that effort (as many professionals/marketers have done)…but, in my opinion, saw a ‘new’ medium for returning value (in a very transparent manner) and audiences have responded. CNN leverages social media to engage audiences; delivering content faster and engaging more readily.
  • I love hierarchies for visualizing our approaches in many different business concepts…especially marketing. Foundationally, any social media tactic begins with an appropriate target audience and builds on the factors affecting those groups.
  • My concept for evaluating the potential of using various social media tactics. Are you being honest about why you are targeting this audience? If you cannot return honest, sustained value the community will likely reject your message…potentially damaging your brand.
  • Zappos, one of the first widely open cultures…well matches to their spirit of employee autonomy.
  • A segment of a larger exercise, but a good way to judge how well your organization is controlling the message.
  • Charlene Li, who I regard as a strong leader in the social space, presents this example as social media success. I see it differently…the example starts with a lack of attention to detail. Sure Dell can whip out a revenue-driving campaign via Twitter, but they failed to direct engaged readers directly to the content they were promoting. Sure @DellOutlet saved the day for this one follower, but this exchange could have been completely avoided with proper preparation (and what was the funnel abandon rate for those that did not reach out like sportster_rich).
  • I routinely use this matrix to audit social media engagement and campaigns. By collectively measuring a number of different tactics, you can plot your overall approach to social media. We may say one thing, but when mapped out, the reality of our actions are entirely different.

Forget the Experts What the Musical Group TLC Can Teach Us About Social Media Forget the Experts What the Musical Group TLC Can Teach Us About Social Media Presentation Transcript

  • Social Media Lessons We Can Learn from TLC
    Listen to ‘Waterfalls’ Vs. The So-called Experts
  • 2
    What We’re Going To Cover
    Our Agenda
    Getting Honest About Social Media
    Social Media Counseling from TLC
    Actions and Take-aways
  • 3
    Why Are We Listening To This Guy?
    A Little About Me
    Senior Director, Marketing at Lumension
    Over 14 Years in Internet Strategy and Web Marketing
    Over 10 Years in Executive/Managerial Leadership Roles
    Broad Professional Background: Sales, Marketing, and IT Experience
    Co-author of an Business Method Patent in Internet Marketing
  • Social Media
    A [sobering] Business Context
  • Gold Rush!
    US - Public Domain
    There’s money in them thar Tweets!
  • Social Reading from ‘Experts’
    851 Books
    (106% increase)
    Data Source: Amazon.com
  • But It’s All Relative. Right?
    Data Source: Amazon.com
  • Caught Up In The Rush
  • Reinvigorating An Industry
    Bringing a new product to market
    Capitalizing on Corporate ‘Internet Insecurities’
    New marketplace for experts
  • TLC and Social Media
    Breaking down the song ‘Waterfalls’ to gain some much needed perspective.
  • Waterfalls by TLC
    By Marqueze Etheridge, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Organized Noize
    Don’t go chasing waterfalls,Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to,
    I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all,
    But I think you’re moving too fast.
    Source Wikipedia
  • Social Media Lesson #1Be Realistic, Be Honest
    ‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to’
  • Fine…Let’s Talk About BlendTec
    We are all using the same stories? 608 references to BlendTec on books.google.com
  • Examples of Lakes and Rivers
    Guy Kawasaki
    Used Social Media to share knowledge
    Self-proclaimed ‘un-expert’
    Reestablished personal brand
    Using Social Media as another channel for distributing powerful content
    Authentically engaging listeners, reads, and viewers
  • Defining Your Lakes and Rivers
  • Take Away : Rivers and Lakes
  • Social Media Lesson #2Letting Go Of The Message
    ‘I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all’
  • Social Policies
    Lengthy policies
    Do they limit autonomy?
    How does the fear of ‘disciplinary action’ affect ‘social’?
  • Truly Organic
  • When It Makes Sense
    Customer Privacy
    Spirit of Social Media
    Private Communities
    CarePages (healthcare)
    Source: Yammer.com
  • Take Away : Your Way
    External Measurements
    Look at our analytics
    Privacy Policy/Terms Use
    Page Size (kb)
    Length (pixels/print)
    % Visitors to the page
    Time on Page
    Advanced segments
    Where do they go?
    Exit rates
    Internal Measurements
    Look at our teams
    Survey Employees
    SM Usage – Why
    Who maintains?
  • Social Media Lesson #3What Value Will You Return
    ‘But I think you’re moving too fast’
  • It Won’t Happen To Me Again!
    Organizations social move is motivated by fear to avoid another slow Internet-adoption debacle.
  • Marketing-Driven Value (?)
    Opportunistic competitors not welcome by community.
  • When SM Success…Isn’t
    Begins with failure; forces audience to find advertised content themselves
    Twitter Examples: Charlene Li | SXSW - Open Leadership
  • Take Away : Moving Too Fast
  • Let’s Discuss
    Vehemently Disagree?