Bits & Pieces?
We here at Jigsaw are extremely excited to announce our newest client relationship, with Dirty Girl Mud Run.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run series debuted in 2011 to a sold-out field of over 6,000 women in Wisconsin. The inaugural year also featured overwhelmingly successful events in Colorado and New York. In 2012, Dirty Girl is expanding to 12 cities. Dirty Girl differs from others in the increasingly-crowded field of mud run competitors in that it is specifically designed to be fun and accessible for women of all ages and athletic abilities.
In addition, Dirty Girl is very socially conscious. A portion of all proceeds from Dirty Girl registration fees is donated to National Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2011, Dirty Girls helped donate over $50,000 to help win the race against breast cancer. In each city of the 2012 tour, 250 cancer survivors will receive complimentary registration and special recognition.
In the two short weeks since our partnership with Dirty Girl began, we’ve completed several projects, including a home page redesign and creation of materials for promotion visits to Dirty Girl race markets, such as postcards, posters and vehicle signage. We’ve also begun collaborating on social media and blogger outreach, while planning additional ways to build registration, particularly in new markets for the race.
Jimmy Gohsman, Dirty Girl Race Director, says:
“From the first time we met with the Jigsaw team about possibly doing business with them up until now, our expectations have been exceeded time and again. They took the time beforehand to learn about our business, what we are trying to accomplish, how we are trying to accomplish it, and understood it right off the bat. Their passion shines through in their speedy and remarkably high-quality work, and it’s been fun working with them. It’s very obvious that their goal is to help us succeed by working collaboratively with us, which is very important to us. We are looking forward to a long term relationship with Jigsaw both personally and professionally.”
I, personally, cannot wait to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run here in Milwaukee (Hartland, actually) on August 18th. I haven’t run since my son was born over six years ago (gulp) so it’s going to be an interesting, challenging Spring and Summer.
Check out the Dirty Girl race locations and schedule and Go Dirty Girl!!!
People frequently ask: “How we can quickly and easily build our social media fan base, especially on Facebook?”
A quick Google search will give you all kinds of advice on tactics for doing so, like this one, 21 creative ways to increase your Facebook fan base, some of which is legit (like embedding a Facebook widget on your website) and some of which is garbage (like linking your Facebook account to your Twitter).
Yes, we too can give you tons of tips for how to promote your presence. But for that promotion to get any real traction, you have to have a meaningful, purposeful presence in the first place.
According to one recent study reported in this recent E-marketer article, only 9% of Facebook users even like brand pages, so the bar is high. Other studies have reported higher numbers; however, social media users are not really seeking friendship from brands. And with all of the millions of brands they can potentially choose to give their time to, why should they choose yours? If you don’t have an answer to that question, you’re jumping to tactics without having a strategy. Take a step back, and roll up your sleeves to develop one.
So what’s a brand to do? Well, you can do a promotion to grow your fan base – become our friend for a chance to win X – as so many brands do. Chances are you’ll get a bump in your fan base…among people who don’t really care. So, what’s the point? You want to connect with people who DO care, right?
According to that same E-marketer article, “marketers would do better to focus on being there (on Facebook) to answer questions, provide customer service support and broadcast promotions.” That’s one valid answer. (Research also shows that ongoing deals and discounts are one of the primary reasons that people friend brands.)
Another answer, and the one I generally prefer? Build your community one relationship at a time, by getting truly involved. Get up to your elbows in your community. Last week, Addy wrote about the experience economy and the growing opportunities for brands who want to become part of people’s lives instead of just push messages. I think that is a fantastic way of thinking about it. Steven Wold has referred to this as “roll-up-your-sleeves marketing,” which I also think is brilliant.
Let’s use our recent FoodFightMKE campaign as a quick example of how solidly built relationships can help a chain reaction of participation occur. I know Tim, who I met on Twitter, and helped create a fundraiser for. Tim knows Lori, who writes a food blog and cares about food-related issues like hunger. Lori knows me a little bit because I’ve been involved in community events. Lori writes about the campaign for OnMilwaukee, because she cares, and passes it on to other bloggers with whom she has relationships who may want to get involved. Lori also passes it on to Kris, who is starting a hunger fundraiser event, who asks if FoodFightMKE wants to get involved. This, in a microcosm, is how social works best. It is about people and relationships and caring and participation…and not just promotion. It also illustrates why having an experienced community manager is so important. Sometimes, even brands that ARE highly engaged in their communities seem to have trouble translating that to online interactions, so you may need to take a look at that.
There’s no easy button for building social media community. There just isn’t. Yes, by all means, have your promotional tactics in place, but, in the context of a larger strategy for how you will be valuable enough that people want to connect with you in the first place. In other words, get less hung up on the number of fans that you have; focus on providing value and the rest will come in time.
Often, building community starts with this simple question that I will ask you: How can we help?
Last night I spoke to a strategic writing class of seniors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee about how social media has changed marketing for the better. (In other words: I’m old.)
We talked about how the balance of power has shifted from brands to social media users, the birth of real-time marketing, the new marketing funnel and how to activate a brand’s fan base, and the power of video and blogging, among other things.
In my opinion, all of this has made marketing and creativity much more fun and interesting; it’s a great time to be graduating college. It’s also a total win-win for both users and brands. Users get brands that offer better experiences and are more responsive. And brands GET BETTER.
I shared some of Jigsaw’s social media work for BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Alverno College and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. And I pimped our super-awesome internship program, OrangeAid, that allows students to work as a socially-driven agency-within-the-agency.
I hope the students enjoyed it and learned something; I know I did. Here are the slides:
Ever come across an organization that wants to “do social media”, but really just isn’t built to be social? Yeah, I thought not ; ] Humanize, the new book by Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter, is the perfect prescription. In a sea of social media books, Humanize stands out by abounding with advice of real, actionable substance.
The premise behind Humanize is this: “Our organizations have for centuries been modeled after machines…as the Internet has become more central in our lives, we have begun to witness a revival of the importance of being human.” Social media taps into fundamentally human desires – connecting, belonging, sharing, creating – and many businesses are challenged with fitting these human practices into their existing corporate systems. Makes absolute sense, right? This explains why many of us feel like we are “hitting a wall” when trying to encourage an organization to adopt social practices…because we ARE hitting a wall. Hence, the brick marks on our collective foreheads.
Social media alone, as the authors explain, does not a social, human organization make. It requires a new kind of leadership, and not just in the sense of traditional, individual leaders, but “leadership that is accessible to everyone and that can develop the whole system’s capacity for growth. Leadership that leaves space for crowdsourced ideas, innovation, transparency…courage to admit failures, and diversity of thought and experience.” In an open system, that leadership can come from anywhere. This means YOU. And ME. And anyone else with the desire to make their company an incredible, human place to work.
To develop this type of leadership, the four traits which the authors suggest develop are being open, trustworthy, generative (capable of creating value for themselves and the system as they grow) and courageous. This makes me want to stand up and do a little cheer. (And I’m not exactly the cheerleader type; I tried out once and thank God that it was before the days of the FlipCam.)
The chapter on “How to Be More Open”, in particular, rocks one’s world, as it is a prerequisite for the rest. It discusses how to decentralize culture, implement systems thinking in processes and create ownership in individual behavior. “How to Be More Trustworthy” deals with creating a culture of transparency, processes that lead to truth and authentic individual behavior. “How to Be Generative” discusses building a culture of inclusion, collaborative process, and building individual relationships. And “How to Be Courageous” lends insights into fostering a culture of learning, processes that allow for experimentation, and individual personal development.
Humanize asks you to think about whether your organization “walks the walk”, and I think that’s central to the whole discussion. Who is encouraged to make decisions, to speak up in meetings, to post on the company blog? Do employees really have a voice? Do the “official” leaders demonstrate that the employees’ voices really matter, or just pay lip service?
The best part of this book is that it really makes you think deeply about whether you have the culture that you *think* you have (aka snap out of a state of denial). As the book points out, “Too many organizational leaders make up their minds about what culture they want and feel that they can somehow declare it into being.” Too true. So often, an organization thinks its employees know what it stands for, but it’s never been clearly and simply articulated, beyond a corporate-sounding mission statement slapped on the wall.
I absolutely love this retail/service marketing example of humanization, openness and courageousness that the authors share. For many years, they say, Nordstrom gave each new employee a single 5×8 card as its employee manual. It said:
Welcome to Nordstrom. We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgement at all times. There will be no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
That’s it…the employee manual. It sounds human. It demonstrates the values of the company simply and powerfully. It walks the walk. It’s a rallying cry. Every service marketing company – EVERY company – including Jigsaw – needs this, whether it’s a 5×8 card, a commissioned work from Hugh McLeod (WANT one for Jigsaw please) or something in between.
There’s so much more juiciness in this book that I can’t begin to touch here. The inherent limitations of prescribed “best practices.” The need to give up control while inspiring commitment to lead in others. The importance of freely sharing information, ongoing/organic strategic planning, creating time to innovate, willingness to take risks and acceptance of failure. The need for a culture of learning, real relationship-building, facilitating full truth-telling and managing conflict instead of ignoring it. It’s all there. You’ve just got to read it. Well, and do it…and to make it even more doable, the Humanize website has downloadable worksheets that accompany it.
I thought I was reading Humanize to share with our clients. In the end, it also forced me to think long and hard about the Jigsaw culture. Anyone who knows me knows I love Jigsaw; I left and came back because the values of the culture here can’t be beat. That said, there’s always room for improvement, and things that happen in any organization at times that make people feel limited, constrained, uninspired. Which is the polar opposite of what we’re aiming for. I am really looking forward to having more candid, open, courageous conversations about our own culture and how we can make it even better.
How can YOUR company (take some ownership!) be more open, trustworthy, collaborative, decentralized, generative, courageous, truthful?
From my very first days on LiveJournal, Hi5 and MySpace, I’ve always used social networks to stay connected to the people and issue I care about. Of course, some of the platforms I use have changed and some of the people/issues I care about have somewhat changed, but the reason why I, just like everyone else, used and will keep on using these networks is to maintain relationships. Every piece of content members of my personal networks share is a small piece of their stories: from major milestones such as being accepted to the London School of Economics, getting engaged or moving to a foreign country, to more minor things such as discovering a new favorite restaurant or a new band. Social networks have always been about the multi-dimensional stories that we are allowed to experience even from thousands of kilometers away, made even easier with Facebook’s timeline.
And then brands joined all these networks and somehow every bilboard idea that didn’t get executed ended up in our news feeds: “Our new shoe collection is here.” “Check out our new shoe collection.” “Here’s our new shoe collection.” “Have you seen our new shoe collection?” with a link to the same landing page and with the same few pictures/videos used with every post for six months until the next shoe collection is released. And then it starts all over again. Of course, the most common response to this activity is unliking/unfollowing the page/account for two reasons.
- No one likes repetitive content. With the exception of films and books deemed masterpieces, very few of us will go to a website or buy a newspaper that has exactly the same content every day, so why bring repetitive content to Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks?
- Our friends have set the bar high. We expect multi-dimensional stories told in unique voices with unique content every day and repetitive content doesn’t contribute to an interesting and multi-dimensional story. You make shoes and you sell them. That’s not a very appealing story that keeps us glued to our small screens waiting for the next few lines of the script.
I am well aware that brands are much less interesting than people. I am well aware that content development isn’t easy or cheap. I am well aware that to be able to tell a multi-dimensional story, a brand has to stand for something other than just making money. The reality is that most people who don’t work in this industry don’t care about any of these reasons. If a brand wants a spot in my news feed then it should stop with the billboard messaging approach to social media and start creating and curating content that is as interesting and relevant to me as the content shared by my friends.
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