What I learned from… Jared?

In light of this whole blog thing. I might as well share some learning’s from two of my most favorite teachers; Amber Naslund & Radian 6. On Tuesday, I was in a webinar with my colleague Lucas. I’m not usually excited about webinars partly because I have the attention span of a three year-old in a sandbox. This webinar was different though – Amber has been a hero of mine ever since I read this. I took some really great things away from it, things that I have since shared with colleagues in meetings and discussions; and that I would now like to share with you.

I posted the summary of my live-tweeting that you can see here.

First point: You have to have a social media policy, don’t just wing it.

I could not agree more with her here. I work in a large organization, and the need for roles and responsibilities are vital. People can’t function without them. Employees  People need to know what they can and can’t do, where do the limitations lie? If you don’t have a policy in place, people will wind up getting upset and/or too comfortable with what they are allowed/not allowed to do. Like any other element of your company, there needs to be a certain element of structure and rules. Moving on…

Point number two: Businesses need talent they can trust

This point is something that often goes unthought in many companies and organizations. Did you ever think about why you are not allowed to say something on the good ol’ world wide web on behalf of the company you work for? Well, simple. You can’t be trusted to represent the brand. An excellent point that Amber made here, is that this is not a social media problem, this is a hiring problem. In the world of social media – anyone can have an opinion, even your employees. Companies should be empowering ALL of their employees, not just marketing & public relations folk. As a business you really need to step back and think to yourself: why can’t my customer service representative be trusted to talk to people on Twitter? I trust them to talk to customers on the phone… so what’s the difference if they speak on behalf of my brand in Twitterland?

This leads to the third point: We worry about people complaining about our brands. It’s going to happen, don’t use it as a reason NOT to engage.

Another thought that has made me ponder since my humble beginnings in social media. What’s so bad about people complaining? I complain about stuff all the time. Sometimes I hate my Blackberry. Sometimes it freezes, and it never seems as cool as the notorious iPhone. So I may say via Twitter that my Blackberry sucks. This does not mean that I’m never going to use my phone again. This also does not mean that the next phone I buy won’t be a Blackberry. So what would be so wrong with @Blackberry giving me a tip on how to stop the freezing, or a recommendation of a cool app to download, no matter how profane  my twittertalk comes across? I think it would be kind of cool, actually.

Up next… The power of listening.

At work, I use Radian6 everyday. If you don’t know what it is, than I suggest you find out. It basically is the “big brother” of social media. For brands like us, we can listen to the conversations people are having about us even if they are not talking to us. As Amber pointed out, we can now eavesdrop on the conversations about us and be better informed about what’s working and what’s not. It is the best, and most personal, research panel I have ever seen. We no longer need the infamous Marketing Persona’s. We now have real people. I think I’ve made my point here.

And the most important takeaway from this webinar: Tell stories. Humans connect with stories about other HUMANS.

This is probably my favorite point during the webinar. No longer are the days of “Marketing videos” that feature scripts and voice overs. Maybe a nice dancing graphic & you’re good to go. Flashy. Wait a second… what about what the consumers want? They have a choice now you know, and more than ever… they yearn for that human relationship. How you facilitate these stories is limitless. Most of the time, they tell the stories for you… does no one else see the value in this? Harvest & spread stories about you, your customers, your employees, your history. Sharing stories leads to creating human conversations.

To end this, I will give an example of the above point that Amber used (which also opened up my eyes). Remember Jared? The Subway dude that lost a lot of weight by eating a lot of Subway sandwiches? Ya him. Now remember the ‘6 under 6’ (this may not be entirely correct naming, sorry!) Subway campaign? Anyway, the point was that they had sandwiches that were 6 inches long, & had 6 grams of fat. This meant that they were a healthy choice, and you could potentially lose weight by eating them. Well these are the same campaign. Think about it. Exactly the same, but which one are you more likely to recall? Jared, right? That’s because Jared is a person. A real, live, breathing, human being. And I am more likely to relate to Jared’s story than Subway’s sandwich.



  1. Amber Naslund · June 17, 2011


    I’m so glad I won over the sandbox! Kidding. But I’m so grateful that you not only took out the time, but that you found a few valuable things in there to boot.

    I think I’m probably most passionate about point number two than anything else, actually. Find the right kind of talent that’s rooted and framed within your culture, and so many thing manage to shape themselves.

    Thank you so much for posting, and for sharing what you found valuable. Keep fighting the good fight. 😉


  2. Pingback: Good, Better, Best – Practices « Thoughts of a Ninja

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