Ever feel like you are just playing on the same team as everyone else? In social media in many ways, we are. We share articles, we retweet words and we give praise – mostly to those that are our competition. Sounds crazy but think about it. Sure, some may say that Chris Brogan, Darren Rouse, Brian Clark or even Hubspot are not really their competition but then you are saying that you will not be creating and selling an ebook, not looking to keynote, creating webinars and consulting with clients as Hubspot does in social media and SEO.
Batting for the Same Team
We can say this about a lot of industries. If social media as a whole is thriving then there *should* be many successful consultants, agencies and coaches. This is not always true as many are going after the same crowd and not necessarily developing a niche for themselves. The niche some say might be tougher as while the competition in numbers is less so are the number of businesses available to work with. In the restaurant business, each restaurant is trying to attract customers to their establishment. It would be naive to think that regular customers do not go to other places. There is the differentiators of the cuisine, fine dining vs casual dining, the ambiance, the food quality and of course the customer service. Restaurant business that is not very touristy is rough. You are vying for the business of pretty much the same people that your neighboring restaurant down the street is. In certain ways you want them to be busy as if each restaurant is busy then the industry as a whole in your area is healthy and thriving however, we know that you prefer them to be at yours more than theirs (it is ok, we expect that).
Time to Change Teams?
Change teams? WHAT! I know, how could I? You read the advice, created your goals and strategy, implemented and are seeing some results. Your followers are growing, your traffic is increasing and your engagement is definitely pushing you in the right direction. This is great however then you have to come to the realization that there are hundreds if not thousands of others who are experiencing exactly the same results. Now what? You have to change teams. You have to find that new way to differentiate yourself. Do something that makes people slap themselves in the head and say “why did I not think of that?” and want to copy it. How? A lot has been done but you can take it and expand upon it, make it better and make it yours. Again, how?
How to the Tools are Being Used
Each industry is different and how the tools are used in each industry needs to recognize this. There is cross over as far as the using the tools similarly of course. The generalist that has emerged in the social media tools has been a one size fits all and that is not going to work for everyone. You have to agree (at least a little bit) if you have gotten this far in this article. So how do you change teams? What is going to be so different that is going make you rise above?
Let’s take baseball. I love the METS, that is no secret. The MLB has a tight leash on the teams as each team has to have the same website however when it comes to Twitter, there is no real consistency at all (this despite Ozzie Guillen being suspended for post game tweets) The players do not have a set way of identifying themselves with the team. Some say their position and team, others do not even identify themselves with the team (and Josh Thole from NY METS, before he quit Twitter, did not even capitalize the M in Mets; the teams are not watching; but I am and so are YOU). Not one team had any consistency. I repeat NOT ONE team.
How to Change Teams
Ok, I get that the players are participating under their own free will and their tweets are their own. However, as a team wouldn’t you want some consistency in how those on the payroll identify themselves and not have ridiculous mistakes of not using proper grammar and capitalizing the team name? If their avatar shows them in uniform, it is pretty clear that they are a part of the team and simply requiring them to identify their position and team so that the fans can find them seems like a smart idea. Why? Fans are the buyers. Fans associate with a player and a team and it creates participation and extends the loyalty to the team. The fans are now connected to a player and the fame of the player comes into play.
What was also interesting was that, from what I was able to research, is that no team (and unless I missed it in the MLB rules and regulations) had a live chat during the game. Now, there are fans that have chats but not one team has a team sponsored chat. Does this matter? Maybe. The excuse that comes to mind is that this would give the fans an opportunity to say their team or a player sucks. Um, news flash, they are saying that already! The teams would be able to find out so much information about their fans and would be able to interact with them.
The Cleveland Indians come the closest to promoting social media as they have the Tribe Social Deck where fans can apply to sit in this section. This is a great idea but they can take it a bit further. A live tweet, the player of the week or bi-weekly, promote deals on apparel for that player, etc. It is about the fans and Cleveland has the right idea with the section and rewarding fans with tickets but that is ONLY for those that are able to go to the games. What about those that live out of state? They are being left out. A live tweet for every game seems overwhelming and being that the games can last 3 or so hours however, the fans have already created the hashtags and are tweeting. Imagine a tweet showcased on the jumbo tron? Talk about introducing the chat to a large niche audience! This will give the team an idea as to how may fans are on Twitter, are willing to follow a player and which ones are at the game, are mega fans and will tweet during each game, where they are watching (ie home, bar, etc) who they are with, etc. So much information is being left on the table. Oh yeah, it also gives the bars in the area to promote and participate which brings people to the bar as tweeting alone when you know a bunch of people are together is no fun!
Another example of using a live chat to promote and bring people together is restaurants. A restaurant can have a lunchtime chat. Think about it. Take a section of the restaurant and have a tv (to show the live tweets) and create a short hashtag. Why would this work? It brings the local community together and makes them a part of it. It has others who have visited the restaurant chime in, it draws attention to the restaurant. It can be once a week. It gives insight into which of your customers are active on Twitter, brings them together to engage with you and one another and allows you to introduce the restaurant Twitter and invite your customers onto Twitter as well. Brilliant!
How the Tools Can Be Used
These are just two examples and while they are both chats, it is showing how two industries can take advantage of the social media tools and make them work for them. Both of these will introduce the fans/customers to you socially, bring them together to be a part of something/include them/accept them and make them feel important and an integral part of the social media success. And while these seem so simple, I have not seen them being done. Chats are not the end all as it has to be set up properly and not looked at opportunity to only self promote. If you are unsure of the power of chats, you may want to check out the stats on #CMChat from last night. The chat was promoted on Monday only. It was a brand new chat that was run by @JessicaNorthey, @DabneyPorte and @TobeyDeys and was directed to Country Music lovers, singers, media, radio talent .. a niche group and with 1.5 million impressions and a reach of over 200,000, I’d say that the numbers speak for themselves and chats in a specific niche are effective.
Everyone asks the question “what should I tweet?” Well here are two industries that I have just answered the magic question of what to tweet. There is a whole lot more that can be done but they and you have to stop batting for the same team.
So where do we go from here? Well if you are a restaurant or have a connection to a MLB team, you need to look at this and say, wow, we need to hear more about this. We need to
steal hire this agency as if they are willing to throw this out there for free, what ideas do they have that they are not giving away for free, plus how on earth do we implement this? That is the one problem with stealing ideas, you have to figure out the implementation and look into the crystal ball and see the vision/strategy. That is your choice but really it is easier to reach out and just simply say, “we want to hire you!”
What do you think? Is it time to change teams or is batting for the same team garnering great success?
photo credit: ▌ÇP▐