I read a post today over at HubSpot’s blog, which I occasionally contribute to. The blog is intended to cater to the SMB set which are the primary customers for HubSpot’s inbound marketing platform. Today’s post, about Marketing Lessons from MTV’s Jersey Shore is interesting reading but it needs to be read with a degree of caution if you are an SMB that is trying to market to other businesses.
The author makes three points that the show can provide for marketing your business.
- Add Some Personality to Your Marketing Mix
- Be A Little Controversial
- Capitalize on Buzz Worthy Conversations
On many levels, all of these suggestions have merit. That is if you are a social media professional or in the entertainment world or in some business where controversy is a positive. Most SMB’s, however, are not so you need to exercise extreme caution when seeing these advice posts anywhere in the realm of social media ‘experts’ including here at Frank Thinking About Internet Marketing.
Why? Well, if you are a local plumber (a classic SMB) and your interest is to get new business, what is your opportunity to add personality to your marketing mix? Well, if you want to be a front-facing owner or have some form of a personality there is great opportunity. However, once you commit to this line of thinking it is hard to back out of it down the line. This needs to be done with a great deal of forethought and planning because there is a level of commitment that many SMB’s may not be prepared for. So what sounds good may end up being something different.
Plumbers, by nature, like to avoid controversy because that usually means someone is ticked off at their service etc. In other words, being controversial in many real business scenarios (not promoting a brain dead reality show) is very bad advice. In fact, you want to just be conversational rather than controversial. Drumming up business by saying something negative or by creating a controversy for the sake of exposure has much more inherent risk than upside. Honestly, if you decide to be the ‘personality’ of your company, you now need to be on the straight and narrow because controversy can sometimes instantly kill an image that has been earned by blood, sweat and tears over the long haul. Is that worth the risk?
As for capitalizing on “buzz-worthy” conversations? Let’s face it……most businesses are not very “sexy” and the amount of buzz worthy conversations will be limited at best.
So my suggestion? Read all the social media advice you want but make sure you are reading it through the filter of your business and situation. While you may WANT the same principles of marketing that apply to a “hip” TV show to apply to you, they more often than not won’t.
So be careful about which advice you take because much of it in the social media realm simply won’t apply to you and that’s not a bad thing.