the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn.
I was listening to the Audiobook Blink by Malcolm Gladwell a few weeks ago. In the book he discusses a relationship expert who can, after watching a 15 minute video recorded discussion by a couple, predict with a very high level of accuracy whether that couple’s relationship would ultimately end up in divorce.
While there were numerous emotions that could be seen when the video was analyzed frame by frame, the most definitive emotion that correlated with divorce was contempt. (see definition above) If this expert saw contempt in someone for their spouse, that seed would ultimately spell the demise for the relationship.
I have seen the same thing happen in other types of relationships that are not husband-wife. I have seen it in siblings, between parents and children, and between a company and its employees or customers. As soon as contempt enters the relationship, the chances of it surviving long term in a healthy way are dramatically reduced.
In the business context, whether that contempt is how the customer feels towards a business (for example, after a poor customer service call), or whether that contempt is how the business feels towards it customers (for example, a sales or engineering team mocking or insulting its customers. “Our customers are idiots!”)
When trying to build a healthy relationship, contempt must be replaced with respect. Acquiescence, subservience or deference is not the antonym of contempt, respect is. It is the only cure.
After handing out a Christmas time cash bonus, a former boss of mine would say “Don’t thank me, thank our customers.” I liked this. To me, this seemed to put the proper relationships in place. Our job was not to respect and appreciate the boss necessarily, it was to respect and appreciate the customer.
Think of the relationships you manage in your life. Work, Church, Family, Friends. If you find you have contempt for the other party, or if you think the other party has contempt for you, then the chances of a healthy relationship are small unless contempt can be removed from the relationship and can be replaced with respect.
I was invited to speak at Altitude Summit – SLC yesterday on a panel with three women who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. The title of the session was: Growing Your Community with
Below are the comments I made as my part of the panel, focusing my comments on Vacation Races success on Facebook.
Ok, I look at all social media as being one big party, kind of like the one happening tonight. Lots of different rooms, each with unique offerings. Different people with different favorites. So if your Facebook page is your party room, there are three things to think about
- Get everyone in the room
- Entertain them, and don’t scare them away, slowly build a relationship
- After you have a relationship with them, you can ask them for favors
You will hear a lot of people say, “You have to build great content and people will just come”. That is like throwing a great party each week, invite a few friends and hope that through word of mouth, a lot of people eventually come. There is nothing wrong with this, but I am too impatient.
We didn’t have time to grow organically, so we used Facebook ads. FB ads are your flyer to come to your party. It’s how you lure people in. You can speak to their emotional needs, or you can leverage the most popular kids to get everyone else there, or you can give stuff away. Here are some examples:
We studied our market we found that many of them viewed these race events as a reward for their training. So, one of our most effective ad copy was “You train hard. Reward yourself by running the Zion Half Marathon in March. You deserve it.”
You can also leverage existing relationships. The most powerful ads are like the ones you can see here. Big pretty picture, and it says they one of my friends likes this thing already. You are getting halfway recommended by a friend. If your friend texted you and said, “Hey I am at this party.” You might ask is it any fun. But you would probably just say cool, I’ll come check it out!
You can do giveaways too, but I’ll talk about that in a minute.
There are lots of things you can do with Facebook ads, but it is an extremely effective way to target your audience. The best ads focus on a very small group of people with precise interests. Your blogs are probably very niche oriented. Facebook makes it easy to focus your ads only on the niche that cares.
We have spent about $.40 per like on, and to use we figure a Facebook like is worth at least $.50 cents. Depending on how your blog or site makes money, you need to figure out what a like is worth to you.
Every day, Facebook is finding new ways to take your money. It is very much a pay to play thing. We get lots of comments likes and shares, and we still regularly have a page with 24,000 followers and we put out a quality post and only 700 people will see it. We can show it to everyone but we have to pay more to do it, which can get expensive and frustrating.
It comes down to how big you want your following to be and how quickly you want people’s attention.
Ok, so once you have everyone in the room, you can’t scare them away. I love the scene in Elf where Buddy has known his dad for a day and immediately wants to do all these things and then snuggle. You don’t do that.
Facebook put this graphic out years ago and it’s useful for all relationships, online and in real life.
A relationship is built with small interactions over time. You have to give your readers lots and lots of value before you can ask them to respond, or click on a link, or share a post or buy something from you.
We try to follow the 80/20 rule where we talk about the overall destination of our events, what to do where to stay, trivia, and 20% about our events. Find the mix that fits the relationship your audience wants to have with you.
Now, it used to be that your social strategy would follow a hub and spoke model like you see here. Your blog holds all the content, and you use each spoke as a channel to deliver the content. In fact there are still countless automation tools that let you share identical content across channels. I think that’s a bad idea.
We have tried to parlay our Facebook success into getting followers on these other channels, and have failed. As we are figuring out, if we want a following on these other channels they need their own unique offerings. We can’t just share links to Facebook on our twitter feed. If people wanted to see our Facebook feed they would follow us on Facebook. If they are following us on twitter, they are looking for something else.
Now, we do a lot of giveaways. We want our runners to think of us as generous. So giving away stuff fits the relationship they want and what we want. We just did a giveaway on Monday and we got in front of 65,000 of our followers without having to spend any extra. It can be a very effective way to engage with your audience if it fits your relationship.
If you think it fits your relationship too here are a few tips.
1 – Have a purpose to the giveaway. If you want likes then structure it to get likes. If you want to collect emails, then structure it to get emails. If you just want the message to be shared, then do that.
2. Keep the giveaway short. We have tried week long giveaways and the interest goes to zero after about 36 hours. We only do 24 hours giveaways now. This brings me to my last tip:
3. A series of giveaways works great. If you can do a different giveaway three days in a row, it will suck in your diehards, and will pull in those on the fence who may have missed day one or two.
Lastly, you have to train your followers. There are studies that show that on average most people expect a response between 30-60 minutes. And most companies take 17 hours. I think people notice that stuff. We try to comment or like every comment that hits our wall. Some that go more viral we can’t keep up with, but we are pretty good.
At our first race last year, the day before the race when everyone is getting checked in, we had several people come up to me and say “I have been telling all my friends how awesome this race is. This is the best race I have ever been a part of.” And again, this is the day BEFORE the actual race. Because we had all this great interaction beforehand, and it met some need that people were looking for.
You have to pay attention to the relationship people want and make sure it’s a relationship you want.
Anyway, you ultimately have to decide if a Facebook type relationship is one your readers wants to have with you and you with them. It’s not for everyone. But it can be super effective if done well. Thanks.
If I had to pick the single most important nugget of knowledge I picked up while getting my MBA, the Lean Startup concept would probably be it. The “Lean” startup process applies a very scientific effort to starting a business and eliminates a tremendous amount of risk by forcing the entrepreneur to actually engage with his/her market way before any product is built much less finished or polished. Below is a summary.
Step 1: Identify a problem you think a large group of people has.
Step 2: Come up with a solution for that supposed problem.
For many of you reading this blog, you probably find problems and solutions several times a day. It is easier for some than for others. If coming up with great new ideas is not a problem for you, then you are off to good start. What I was missing, until I went back to school, was what to do next.
The old model was to take the problem and solution, find money to invest into the project (your own or someone elses) and build out a finished solution that you can then launch and sell. If you got it right, you would make money. If you got it wrong, you would lose it all. Here is the better way to do it.
Step 3: Go out immediately and talk to 5 people who are in the group you think has the problem. Ask them if they actually have the problem you think they do. More often than not, you will be wrong. Either you will have misdiagnosed the problem, or the problem exists but is not nearly as painful or pervasive as you thought. In the off chance that you do get the problem and who has the problem correct, go to the next step.
Step 4: Ask them if your proposed solution would solve the problem.Again, your chances of success here are slim to none.
Step 5: Change one or more of your assumptions and repeat step 3 and 4.
In less than 10 minutes you could go from an idea to a solution to testing it out on 5 potential customers. Based on your potential customer feedback, you then need to either change your market you think has the problem, your problem you are trying to solve or your solution. It is likely you got one of those three things wrong. Once you change one or all of these then you go out and talk to 5 or more people in the market and “test” out the idea with them. Below is an example that I actually did for a class.
Market: Mom’s with kids
Problem: Grocery shopping
Solution: Grocery delivery service
I went to the grocery store and talked with 10 Mom’s with kids. I found out most actually liked to get out and shop, but dragging the kids along was a challenge. So I changed our problem and thus our solution to:
Market: Mom’s with kids
Problem: Grocery shopping with kids
Solution: Babysitting service at/next to the grocery store
When I talked to Mom’s about a babysitting service I got a very positive response. But when I asked about price they would pay for such a service, and did the math, I quickly figured out that the opportunity was small. The problem of shopping with kids did not hurt parents enough to pay much money for. So I went back to original problem and change the market to:
Market: College kids
Problem: Grocery shopping
Solution: Grocery delivery service
Surprisingly to me, the college students I talked to faced numerous challenges when shopping for groceries including lack of a car and lack of time which validated the problem. It also introduced a new potential market as parents could easily guy groceries for their kids in school, rather than just sending money.
The semester ended and I had bigger ideas to work with, so I abandoned the project, but I hope you can see the value in all of this. Upon having my first idea, I could have asked friends and family what they thought of it. I probably would have gotten a lot of “that’s a great idea!” and “you should totally do that!”. All of this positive feedback would have likely come from people who are not potential customers. I could have spent millions on creating a delivery system that included every store in the country and bought huge warehouses to house the groceries and vans to deliver it. I also would have lost millions of dollars. See Webvan.
All one needs to do is to get out and talk to their potential market to realize where problems actually exist and where they do not. Doing this, reduces the unknowns of starting a business to really low levels and increases ones chances of success.
Below you can see me and my company following the process.
- the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
The internet and social media have enabled people and brands to connect with their customers in a way that has never been done before in the history of the world. Too often, I see companies and brands not understanding the relationships their customers want to have with them. Depending on the business, a customer may want to show off their association with the brand (think Mercedes). In another instance, they may be less proud about their purchases (think McDonalds). In some cases, a customer may want nothing more than an occasional transaction with a business (think gas station). In other cases, they may be willing to give a brand their email or even engage with the company on social media (see Vacation Races).
For the past 7 years companies have rushed to social media in a mad rush to gain followers. Few of these brands have taken the time to really understand the relationship their customers want to have with them. If a brand or company is trying to force a relationship that its customers do not want, it can get uncomfortable pretty fast.
I will be showcasing examples of companies who get it, and companies who don’t. I will also teach you how to understand your customers, and how you can strategically connect with them so that both you and them benefit. After all, both parties should get something out of a relationship.