We all have that friend or colleague. You know the one. That person with the social media profile shot that doesn’t exactly match their actual appearance.
Or, to be more blunt: their social media profile shot looks nothing like them.
In some cases, it’s a profile shot from 10+ years ago—making the person look younger.
In other cases, it’s almost like a “Glamour shot” (I know I’m dating myself with that reference)—which essentially is a “best self” shot.
There are many reasons people take this approach—and, in most of those cases, I don’t actually fault them.
People gain weight (mostly, as they get older).
People get wrinkes (again, age is a factor).
People lose hair (I can attest to this!).
I mean, I get it. Many of us don’t always love our appearance. And, as we get older, that’s only accentuated.
But here’s the thing. Social media is designed to be, well, social. And, that means you’re often using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Insta to get to know other people—as authentically as possible (at least, that’s what I would think).
When you start developing that new relationship with what amounts to a phony head shot, you’re not starting off on the right foot and building trust.
I had one friend who said she went to meet a person she had met on LinkedIn for coffee. She sat down, waiting for the person to show—only to find out she was sitting next to her for a long time. The person looked NOTHING like their head shot! It was an embarrassing situation.
And that’s the point. You start the relationship with, essentially, a lie. A little white lie. But, a lie nonetheless.
This hits home for me, too. Take a look at my profile shot on LinkedIn. It’s not the best shot. As I’ve aged (I’m now 47), I’ve developed a receding hairline, like many men. I’m not bald yet, but my hair is definitely thinning on top (the front top). It’s embarassing, but it’s who I am. It’s part of my appearance now. So, I figure, why run from it? Sure, I try to make the best of it by doing some different things with my hair, but for the most part, I’m not running from it. What you see is what you get.
I think back to Planes, Trains and Automobiles–one of my favorite movies. There’s a great qoute from John Candy in that movie–something to the effect of “I like me. My Mom likes me. My friends like me.”
That’s kinda the crux of this little white lie. There’s no need for it. Because, most people you know (that matter, at least), already like you. They don’t care that you’re balding. They don’t care that you have wrinkles. They don’t care that you don’t dye your hair anymore. They like you.
For who you are.
So, stop pretending. Be that person. Warts and all.
In real life. And, on social media.
Over the years, I’ve had more than a few clients say some version of the following phrase to me: “You’re part consultant, part therapist.”
I couldn’t think of bigger compliment!
Why a compliment? Because, for a client to say that it means they trust you implicitly. It means they feel they can confide in you. And, it means they see you as someone who is a good listener (a key trait of any good consultant).
Yep, definitely a compliment.
But, also a necessary part of the job as a functioning consultant.
Let’s go back to the listening piece. A good consultant knows they should be talking less, and listening more. Probably to the tune of 80% listening, 20% talking. So, it’s natural than a good consultant would also serve as some form of a therapist to his/her clients.
Now, I’m using that therapist label lightly. Certainly, I’m not serving as an actual therapist. But, when chatting with a client, sometimes the conversation can turn in certain directions. It can go the personal route, talking about family, friends and kids.
Here, the “therapist” is listening.
It could be venting about work-related issues. Again, the “therapist” is listening.
In both cases, and more, the beauty of the relationship is I’m bound by the same doctor/patient confidentiality as a therapist would be–in a way. I’m usually asked to sign an NDA with most clients, so technically (and, more importantly, ethically), I can’t say a word to anyone about what they tell me (and, I wouldn’t want to).
The clients know this. And, this is a part of why they feel so comfortable sharing with me.
I like to think the other part, hopefully the bigger part, is that I’m easy to talk to. They feel a certain level of comfort with me. A collegiality that goes beyond being peers.
This is the holy grail of consulting.
So, if you ever have a client who calls you their “therapist”, take it as a compliment.
Take it as the ultimate compliment.
Trend: CEOs posting employee-only memos on personal LinkedIn profiles (and other social media sites)
There’s been a trend emerging during the coronavirus and civil unrest–one that’s flown under the radar a bit, but one I’m hoping we see more of in the years ahead.
It’s the notion of CEOs sharing employee-only messages with external audiences.
Microsoft’s Satya Nadella was probably one of the first to put this practice into place. His most recent example came in late March on LinkedIn, right after many of the stay-home orders were made. It addressed what I’m sure was a fairly anxious Microsoft employee base and talked about the company’s mission and steps they were taking to assist in the virus efforts around the world.
But suddenly, many CEOs seem to be taking this approach.
Best Buy and CEO Corrie Barry shared a message they had most likely shared with employee audiences earlier on the Best Buy LinkedIn page. This message addressed Best Buy performance during the pandemic, steps Best Buy is taking to help employees and, most importantly, that Best Buy was furloughing 51,000 part-time and hourly employees.
Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, announced on the company’s newsroom that it was reducing its workforce. Again, the message started with “Earlier today, Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky sent the following note to Airbnb employees.” Same message. First, internally. Then, externally.
Target CEO, Brian Cornell announced the company’s decision to recognize Juneteenth as an official annual holiday in this social post on the Bullseye View (a message that was most certainly shared internally first or at the same time).
So, what’s going on here? First, this growing group of companies are ahead of the curve. Certainly, at this point, they are the exception–not the rule. But, they are progressive. They are forward-thinking. And, they are doing it for a reason: the need for more corporate transparency and more trust in corporations (and their leaders).
Let’s tackle each of those separately.
First, the need for more corporate transparency. Look no further that corporate malfeasance at companies like Uber and Wells Fargo for recent examples. Customers, employees and the public-at-large want more transparency from corporations. Another recent example: Facebook. I mean, how many times has a Facebook rep testified before Congress recently? Doesn’t it seem like a monthly occurrence? Sure, a lot of that is about data and privacy, but an under-current to the whole thing is people wanting more transparency from these big tech firms like Facebook.
Next, trust. According to a recent Edelman report, CEOs scored LAST when respondents were asked who was doing an outstanding job meeting the demands placed on them during the pandemic.
And, given where the economy is at, and the fact that corporate layoffs have been a regular occurrence lately, that number is bound to go even lower soon.
So, it’s important leaders and their corporate communicator partners hear this and respond with strategies to build trust among employees. Few things do that better than posting employee-only messages externally. That’s a big trust-builder.
Especially during difficult times like what we’re facing right now.
So, the business case is there. And, I’m happy to see more CEOs (and corp comms teams) using these personal LinkedIn profiles and other social media tools to build trust and create more transparency for their companies.
In case you missed it, the list is now pretty long of companies boycotting Facebook to support the #StopHateforProfit campaign. Unilever, Coca-Cola, Patagonia and Ben & Jerrys are just a few of the companies on the list.
Some of these companies are boycotting for July. And, some, like Unilever, are boycotting for the second half of the year, which is quite a substantial move.
But all this boycotting is masking another big issue bubbling up right below the surface. The fact that most companies are over-relying on Facebook (and Instagram) advertising.
According to some reports, Facebook makes up 83% of all social media advertising. 83%! Now that’s what I call over-indexing.
Yep–according to eMarketer Facebook (and Instagram) generated 67 billion in ad revenue in 2019. The next closest major social network (here in the US, at least) was Twitter at just 3 billion.
Companies are so invested in Facebook + Insta, they don’t even think about it anymore. But, it’s high time they take notice–and start proactively diversifying.
Why? Well, for starters, what happens if, for whatever reason, this boycott continues. And grows. And becomes a huge deal closer to the election. What if Facebook (gulp) starts losing revenue, as a result, hand over fist. What if Facebook fails?
The smart digital marketers are diversifying not only their overall digital ad spend, but more specifically, their social ad spend.
That means looking at channels like:
- Pinterest (one of the most under-utilized channels, historically–especially from an ad perspective)
- LinkedIn (expensive, for sure, but a great channel for B2B)
- TikTok (considering the rapidly expanding user base, it’s worth experimenting with at the very least, right?)
- Reddit (expanding their ad options in 2020)
- Twitter (seen a renaissance during COVID as a channel–now might be the time to dip your toes back into Twitter’s waters; also doing a better job of removing and flagging hate speech)
- YouTube (pre-roll is over-rated as an ad tool, in my view, but YouTube is still a HUGE platform)
Another option–taking some of that Facebook/Instagram ad money and reinvesting it in paid search. This is a go-to tactic in every digital marketer’s toolbox–why not double-down on paid search at a time when Google search numbers are growing?
So, what are you doing to diversify your social media ad strategy in the wake of the Facebook boycott?
Each year, I make a “coffee list.” Essentially, it’s 12-15 people I really want to have coffee with this year.
It’s not an expansive list. Most years, I have coffee with upwards of 75+ people. But, as we all know, 2020 is not a typical year. That said, I have had coffee with six people on my 2020 list so far! Some pre-COVID (Kelsey Dodson-Smith, Megan Tuttle, Sofia Horvath) and one post-COVID (Laura King).
I still have some work to do, but, I’m not going to let COVID stop me from “seeing” people!
So, as of July, I’m implementing a hybrid approach. A mix of virtual coffees and socially-distanced coffees.
The virtual coffees speak for themselves. They’ll be on Zoom. They won’t be ideal. They won’t be as fun as the real thing. But, the way I see it, they’ll be a door opener to a “real person” coffee in 2021 (when, hopefully, this is all over).
At the same time, I am going to try to actually see some people–given they are also up to the task!
Just one problem: My go-to, home-court coffee hangout (my two local Starbucks’ here in So Mpls) are not open for indoor OR outdoor seating!
So, time to punt. I’ve heard the following coffee spots have outdoor seating–and I’ll be using them for my coffee home bases until we all come back online (or, winter freezes us out!).
- Common Roots Cafe, Uptown. A bit of a hike for me, but fairly central to all.
- Fireroast Cafe, Longfellow. 10 minutes from my home. Wonderful little patio. I hope the coffee’s good!
- Sister Sludge Coffee Cafe. Used to be just a stone’s throw from my house here in the Hale/Page neighborhood, but new location has a much better outdoor seating area.
- French Meadow Cafe, Uptown. Close to Common Roots. Nice patio. Good coffee. Could be a go-to spot.
So, there you have it. Game plan drawn up! Now, I realize I may have to modify my list–after all, people working from home in Woodbury may be a little reticent to drive 20 miles for a cup of coffee. That said, I’m probably only looking at one coffee per week during COVID (versus the 2 to sometimes 3 I was doing pre-COVID).
I also may cut the coffee meetings down in length–I’m thinking 30-45 mins max, to conserve on time (still got a day job to do!).
I’m also going to give special credence to those looking for a job. We all know times are tough and many in our industry are out of work. So, I’m here to do my part. May not be a long meeting. May not be in-person all the time. But, I’m here to do what I can.
Now I guess there’s only one question left to ask: What kind of coffee are you drinking?