Tag Archives: social media marketing

What Yoga Can Teach Us About Social Media Marketing

Namaste!

Early last year, I discovered #yoga when I decided to tackle my usual “lose weight” New Year’s resolution in an unusual (for me!) way:  by committing to forty days straight of yoga.  HOT yoga, no less!

Forty days sped by and yoga practice quickly became an integral part of my life.  Even during the subsequent long stretches of time away from my mat later in the year, the principles and gifts of yoga stayed with me and manifested in some really unexpected ways throughout my life – including in my approach to and understanding of social media marketing.

The values and lessons of yoga can help make social media marketing a more zen-like experience.

The values and lessons of yoga can help make social media marketing a more zen-like experience.

Here are six ways in which yoga can positively influence your social media marketing – and your life:

1.  Be still and listen to the breath
Connecting to your breath through silent observation is one of the key tenets of yoga.  Similarly, one of the earliest and most impactful activities of the social media journey for any company is listening.  Before you set up snazzy social profiles, before you get caught up in the content marketing cycle, before you send a single Tweet – stop, be quiet, and listen.

Using keywords, your brand name, and other relevant / industry terms along with tools like Sprout Social (free to try / subscription), Mention.com (free to try / subscription)  or a host of others – and applying a bit of patience and analysis you can uncover a wealth of critical information.  Find out who’s talking about you, where the conversations are taking place, who in particular is having the most conversations- as well as the most influential conversations, based on the size of their own audience  – and what else is of interest to those who are talking about you.   Like the breath in yoga, the things you learn through social media listening are a guide: in this case,  to what you should say, to whom, and where – all very fundamental questions which need answering as part the foundation of any sound social media strategy.    This information is critical to getting a solid start on your social efforts – and seeing them lead to success.

2.  Set Your Intention
At the beginning of a yoga class or session, yogis are encouraged to set an intention for their practice.  Similarly, you must have goals for your social media activities.  These goals should be relevant to the key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your company in general, so that there is a meaningful way to measure the success of,  or the need to optimize your program.

Social goals should be specific, so they can be measured.  “Drive brand awareness” is a good goal, but difficult to measure due to lack of specificity.  However, when stated more concretely, such as “increase share of voice in social media by X percent (ensuring of course that “X” represents a challenging but achievable number) – that’s a target that can be aimed for and clearly hit.   “Provide better Customer Care” is better expressed in terms of goals as something along the lines of “increase our Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores by X percent by increasing Customer Care activities in social media” =, as you can actually measure your success against that ideal.

3.  Be Authentic
In yoga, acceptance of yourself just as you are is an enduring theme.  Whether you’re struggling to hold a twisting pose or trying to stay steady in a handstand, where and who you are is exactly where or who you’re meant to be in that moment.  This allows you to simply be, and is profoundly liberating.

Similarly in social, knowing who you are (as a brand) and then remaining steadfast to the spirit of that voice is the path to social enlightenment.  Notice I said to the spirit of the voice.  The truth is, too much rigidity with regard to voice, while it may make for a certain desirable degree of consistency, can be stifling to meaningful interactions.  After all, no person or entity can truly be one way all the time.  Sometimes a more compassionate, or more humorous approach is demanded by circumstances – and is fine if thoughtfully and appropriately applied.

4.  Open Your Heart
Remember – everyone you deal with:  leads, existing Customers, returning Customers, angry Customers, happy Customers, influencers – they’re more than just the sum of their usefulness to you – they’re PEOPLE.

As such, they like to be made to laugh (when it’s appropriate); they appreciate it when offered truly useful content that will help them out, or even just make them look cool/smarter/funny/edgy/clever in front of their social friends; they want to be helped out when they’ve got a beef with you, and they want to be treated like PEOPLE.   So, make them laugh.  Write or find/share with them TRULY useful content – the kind you’d like to see from the brands you follow yourself.  Treat them well, with respect, kindness, and the highest regard at all times.

Remember the spirit of “namaste”  – which literally means, “I bow to you” – or, as is commonly expressed, “the light in me recognizes the light in you”.    Recognize the light in everyone you meet through your screen, and don’t be afraid to share just a bit of your heart with them as you do.  Not only does it enhance their social experience and bond them to your brand – it’s good for YOU, too.  Some of the most personally fulfilling points in my social media career to date have had little to do with engagement rates, number of shares or even sales driven; they came when I opened my heart to the person I was dealing with and made a true and lasting connection with them by sharing a laugh, or offering helpful tips, or working with them personally to resolve the issue they were having – and they expressed  a deeper affinity for the brand as a result.

5.  Live In Gratitude
One of the things I love about yoga is the recurring concept of gratitude.  Even if you missed several poses, or couldn’t get into your handstand, there’s no beating yourself up over it in yoga – you’re just grateful you made it to your mat and you resolve to try again the next time you find yourself there.

Gratitude plays into social marketing as well, particularly when you have the good fortune to enjoy the presence of strong brand evangelists in your social communities.   These wonderful folks – often former satisfied Customers, but sometimes just people who for whatever reason, like you – frequent your social feeds with their positive, supportive messages directed not just at you, but at others spending time in your communities as well.    Be sure to thank and celebrate them periodically with public callouts, freebies / small gifts if possible.  Not only do they deserve that appreciation, but doing so will encourage their feelings toward your brand to remain positive and the bond strong.

Additionally, even in the most painful moments in working in social media – whether it’s a crisis, or dealing with an especially tough customer on your Facebook page, etc. – there’s always something to be grateful for.  Either your skills are sharpened, or you learned something new – or hey – maybe you’re just grateful the experience is over and you’re still excited about your job in spite of it.

6.  Don’t forget to breathe
Anyone who’e ever done this job has felt the weight of its importance to the business we represent – after all, a company can spiral into major crisis if you tweet the wrong thing to the wrong person (as our friends at US Airways just learned).   And although working in social media can be filled with joy, it can also be crushing in its stress or volume of work at times.  

Yoga teaches us that it’s when we most want to hold our breath that we most need to breathe.  So when things get tough – take a breath.  Step away from the screen.  Stretch.  Walk around.  And breathe!

How about you – has yoga, or any other sort of discipline in your life imparted lessons that can be applied to working in social media?   Comment below and let us know. 

Namaste,
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#SoInspired: Let’s celebrate supportive marketing

We’re all about marketing which does more than just make a sale. Particularly when social media enters the mix, marketers are empowered with unparalleled access to audiences more vast and varied than ever. We believe that comes with an incredible opportunity to spread a positive message that uplifts and adds value to the lives of consumers.

It may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s highly doable – and very beneficial to a business.  In this article from Social Media Today author Martin Jones cites a 2010 study from the Wharton School of Business which confirms something we at Inspired Social have always known, despite the objections of the previous fear/greed/vanity driven marketing status quo:

“The study presented a number of key takeaways including the following:

  • Negative content tends to be less viral than positive content
  • Awe-inspiring content and content that surprises or is humorous is more likely to be shared
  • Content that causes sadness can become viral but is generally less likely to
  • Content that evokes anger is likely to be shared more. In fact, the study demonstrated that the strongest forecaster of virality is how much anger does the message evoke.

Interestingly, while conventional wisdom is that people will share negative news more than positive, the results of the study indicated that overall, positive news is actually more viral.”

Toward our goal to encourage and celebrate this type of marketing we’re launching the #SoInspired hashtag and blog series.

soinspired

Tweet about your favorite example(s) of positive, supportive marketing. We’ll be watching, and we’ll provide regular round-ups of inspired marketing rockstars.

Meanwhile – tell us – is there any marketing you’re developing which can be injected with some positive inspiration?  Need ideas?  Comment below and let us know.  Let’s light a spark!

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P.S.  The note from the article quote above about from anger-evoking content being the strongest indicator of virality is interesting.   The study did cite two specific examples of content (both articles about fraud/injustice in American economics) which suggests to us that anger-inducing content such as “What Red Ink? Wall Street Paid Hefty Bonuses” is shared as much out of a feeling of empowerment about spreading the word of those injustices as it is pure anger.  That is to say – we believe people share anger-inducing content in an attempt to bring about resolution of the injustice through public awareness which they themselves are facilitating.  Therefore, there is still a positive intention and end to sharing even the most anger-inducing content.  What do you think? 

Let’s light a spark! Announcing Inspired Social Media Services

Well, it’s time. Time for the idea that’s been rolling, sizzling, bouncing and interpretive dancing around in my head for well over a year now to make its grand entrance.

I’ve started a company – Inspired Social. My mission is to  help businesses drive both their own –  and their Customers’ – success.

I’ll never forget the day a mentor of mine told me that the most successful products appeal to people’s fear, greed or vanity – and so those negative tendencies should be stoked, where possible, in marketing efforts. I remember feeling so deflated. Do we really have to poke at people’s pain points to make a sale? Can’t we instead try to lift them up while affording them the opportunity to benefit from our products and services?

Unfortunately, that’s not the norm in business – and there’s much evidence that goes back quite a number of years to support that sad strategy.

Enter social media.  It took a few years, but before long uplifting and inspirational content like this:

bigger opportunity for growth

Image by Karen Salmansohn, notsalmon.com

flooded many of the networks.  Several years after that trend emerged, it’s showing no sign of stopping.  It’s such a force, that ome have even created robust businesses around creating and distributing/selling (in various formats, both on and offline) these uplifting sentiments – Karen Salmansohn, above, and BeHappy.me are just two examples. (Karen also publishes wonderful books in the “self-help for people who hate self-help” market).

And major brands have jumped on the bandwagon, adding more what I’ve come to think of as “supportive marketing” (make the sale, but do some GOOD for the customer in the process) as part of their marketing mix.  Here’s one example I just love, from Fruit of the Loom:

fruit of loom

This was posted with another great connective strategy – humor – “Fruit for thought.”   Not only do they reinforce their brand, they make you smile and then hit you with an uplifting image and quote.  Nice work!

This type of supportive marketing has come a long way but it’s not yet the norm. Marketers still turn to igniting our baser instincts to get our sale.  I truly believe that if more businesses engage in supportive marketing, the business world would be a much better place – and more sales would be made.  There can be a new, more positive norm in marketing and I want for me – and my clients – to be a driving force in making that happen.

It may sound ambitious, particularly from a lone social media manager whose brand new business (born with THIS post!) as yet has NO clients.  But I will, and I’m excited to work with others who understand – or at least are open-minded about – the idea that if your business has a purpose (beyond making money), and you create an experience which not only communicates that but also supports your Customer’s sense of purpose in their OWN lives – you can’t lose.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “YES! I want to do business this way!” then drop me a line and let’s put the power of inspiration to work in your business. Let’s light a spark!

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Lori Lewis
lori@inspired-social.com