This morning, lots of people got their britches in a bunch because Twitter and Facebook suddenly stopped working, and they realized they had no systematic way to stay in touch with people. I recorded this video a few hours ago when both Twitter and FaceBook were inoperable. While I have blogged previously about the importance of owning your own branded media tools, I could not pass up today's “in the moment” opportunity to share with you how vital it is that you own outlets that keep the lines of communication with your customers open, even when Twitter and Facebook close down. (Sorry the video is not working anymore.)
(If you are reading this post via email or an RSS reader and can’t see this video, then click here). Written details follow for those without access to the video at this time.
There are 3 things to remember and learn from this experience:
- Own It. As I've said previously,Twitter (and FaceBook) are icing. They are not cake. Cake — the core of your marketing materials — must be owned by you. You plan the cake, you bake the cake, you own the cake. You control the cake, and it has your brand all over it. Use Twitter and FaceBook to top things off, but don't rely on them as the backbones of your marketing efforts.
- Brand It. Use your brand name and logo all over your blog, newsletter, etc. Make sure that people recognize your brand and identify it with the products and services you offer. In this way, wherever they see you and your brand, they recognize them and know that they represent the caliber of products they have come to expect from you. Consistent use of your brand also makes it easier for people to tell other people about you and what you have to offer.
- Use It. There's no sense in having a tool at your disposal that's as powerful as a blog or an online newsletter and not use it. Sometimes, I think having a blog that you don't actually maintain is like having a phone that you don't answer when it rings. People want to be in touch with you and you cut them off when you don't make it easy for them to connect. What's the point? Own it. Brand it. Put it to work. That's the only way to make sure that, when Twitter and FaceBook don't behave like you want them to, you're not stuck holding the bag.
Drive Your Own Train
Twitter and FaceBook are great. And so is LinkedIn, FriendFeed and all the rest of them. But they mean nothing if you don't have your own core, branded media outlets first. Putting all of your eggs in one basket and then giving the basket to Twitter and FaceBook is like letting someone else lead your business. Get out front and drive your own train. Use your branded marketing materials to lead the charge, then add Twitter and the rest of it as useful add-ons that they are.
Question: What was your first thought when Twitter stopped working today? Did you panic? Feel cut off from the world? Or did you turn to your branded blog or other social media outlets to stay in touch with your customers and other stakeholders?