Hey You,

It’s Lewis a.k.a. Nerd #2.

On Tuesday I was reading this post here written by the Social Media Maven, author, internet marketing expert Brian Solis.

If you want to keep your finger of the pulse of, and maximize what’s hot or not in the realm of social media strategies and tactics, you’ll read everything he writes.

And I have to warn you, his content is fully loaded – in-depth definitions, analysis, charts, illustrations, and examples.

This isn’t the place you go for casual, fun, and light reading. This is where you go when you appreciate someone who’s willing to put in days, perhaps weeks, to put together a post that goes mega-nerd on a topic of supreme importance to this niche.

With that said, I was there reading his insights into Facebook’s introducing action links to the open graph.

This has to do with what I deem to be those fucking ANNOYING apps on Facebook that blast your timeline with updates such as the Washington Posts’ Social Reader or Spotify sending updates into user Newsfeeds, such as “Brian Solis is reading…” or “…is listening to…” or the play apps that poop out updates like “…Brian just bought a pig farm on Farmville…” or “…Brian’s horoscope reading for the day is…”

Yep, all those eye-rape-y messages designed to get people to click and download the app and ram the updates at the face of more users.

I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER click on these. I’ve never downloaded a third party app to any of my machines via Facebook. If a business tries to muscle me into doing it, I eject so fast I get finger whiplash.

But I’m not the market.

This shit must work. It just doesn’t work for me as a consumer. The same thing befuddles me about Google Adwords. The only time I’ve EVER clicked on a Adwords listing is when I’m doing competitor keyword research. Any other time I have zero desire to even LOOK at them, let alone follow them.

But when we run these ads THEY ABSOLUTELY KILL IT FOR US. They more than pay for themselves and so when it comes to this stuff I do my best to keep my assumptions based on my preferences out of the equation and test the tactics and see what happens.  

So here’s what I said to Brian and anyone else reading in the comments section of his post . . . 

“Oh my hell, as a consumer I find these implicit auto-magic blast an annoyance and my eyes feel like I’ve cheated them if they ever do catch my attention. As a consumer I hate them. When I start using them in my business, I may very come to love what they do for my business. Always interesting to see how this beast that is Facebook is aging.”

As you can see, I rushed this comment leaving out words and going far shorter than I prefer. 

Here is Brian’s three word reply . . .

 

Aging or maturing?

If you’ve followed me here for some time now, I imagine you’ve gathered that I’m a language/word nerd. I greatly respect the power that language wields over our every moment. And so I took Brian’s reply as an opportunity to question the meaning of these words in the context of the conversation rather than a simple correction of my use of the word aging.

Here’s what I laid down what I believe can be the core driver to keeping Facebook reigning supreme atop the social media mountain (BONUS: The same strategy that applies to them applies to you as well) . . .

What a marvelous thought-provoking question I am interpreting this to be. And in only three words. My short retort is… both.

Now I’ll flesh out what I mean by this.

I’ve come to believe that there is no right and wrong and that I never want to buy into an idea more than 50%. There are only perspectives. And at best we only have a partial perspective. There is always a counter example of someone, somewhere making the opposite view work.

And when it comes to the cash cow that is the WORLD WIDE interwebz social media trend, the perspectives are exponential – it’s far beyond one person’s view vs. another.

People can doom their lives when they lock in and make permanent the perspective they have of themselves – “I’m this way,” “This is who I am,” “I’m a {insert self-limiting identity here}”.  and this thinking is what leads the majority, 80+ percent of the population to age or mature in the manner of disgraced desperation.

The herd goes down with the ship that is their interpretation of what is possible for them desperately clinging to an identity which serves as the fart-stained cushion that is their comfort zone that made it okay for them to just be “okay” or worse on the spectrum of what they’re capable of.

Most people are mental midgets by choice, not by capacity.

And of course, until the robots and zombies tag team us into submission and force us to tap out, dysfunctional and imperfect people run businesses. Some managing their dysfunction better than others.

With this being the case, most business owners can’t clearly state, in one sentence, the business they’re really in. When you know business’s purpose, you can do this.

The current version of your business tells you and the world what business you’re REALLY in.

Where most people screw up is by not defining their business from the point of view of your customers – the self-serving end result that the customers will enjoy as a result of taking advantage of using your products and services.

Once upon a time railroads dominated cross-country transportation.

The corporate board members were high on the hog swimming in the massive flow of cash that was surging into their bank accounts. But their domination didn’t last because they defined themselves as being in the business of “running railroads” rather than “being in the business of moving freight and people over long distances in the most efficient and most effective manner possible.”

They had the chance to partner with Ford and expand their empire when he started building trucks but they clung to the fart-stained cushion of comfort they’d established for themselves in their narrowly defined world. And so instead of being able to steam roll the capital gains that poured in from the truck venture into buses, shipping companies, and eventually airlines, they assigned themselves to being spectators to each of those opportunities and went from being the diesel engine in the transportation industry, to being the caboose.  

I wonder what business Mark Zuckerberg and goons he took on with going public think of themselves as being in?

If Mark & company see themselves solely as a social media platform, they’re relegating themselves to becoming the next Myspace.

In this social media universe you get old fast. It’s like dog years over here. The reality of the situation is that Facebook is aging.

Some businesses that have risen to the pinnacle of the tech world are taking actions that allow them to age gracefully – Google for example. Some, not so much – Myspace.  

This means that if Facebook wants to maintain their position as the engine that pulls everyone else behind them, they can’t afford to be a noun – a static entity. They have to think of themselves in a verb-like manner – in action – moving forward.

The people who succeed in business embrace the enlightened version of the “ing”. Matur-ing, evolv-ing, enhanc-ing, re-inventing – language that implies a “process of progress”; not a “life sentence”.

People bitch about Facebook making changes to the layout and other tweaks they make but little do they know how crucial some form of quarterly, bi-annual Botox like this is needed in order to keep the herd thinking of this site as “Facebook-ing” in the verb tense instead of a tech noun “Facebook” which equals “stagnant” in the minds of market.  

We, as a society are infatuated with the “new” as long as it makes things easier, cooler, and faster.

Historical stories of business adaptation can teach us so much if we let them.

Back at the end of the 1940’s, Harley Davidson motorcycles were the objects of lust in the eyes of the younger male Americans.

At the end of World War II all of the G.I.’s were coming home and they had a hard time adjusting to being “normal” again. They had looked death in the face and lived on the edge for years. You don’t feel that intense of a level of emotion and not be affected by it.

The men who came back proud of themselves wanted to stay connected to the identity of being a bad ass and being an accountant, working at a cash register, working on the line at the auto plant, or any other number of other mundane jobs didn’t allow them to experience this like their former job did so they needed an outlet.

Harley Davidson stepped in with a solution and of course this led to the business of putting yourself in danger atop a motor and a couple of wheels and being seen as adventurous by others boomed.

Then, in the eighties the Japanese started building lighter, faster, cheaper, stronger bikes and Harley started tanking. They were on the verge of bankruptcy.

What turned them around? Strategic Innovation.

A consultant came in asked Harley to really hone down what business they were in. Harley started looking at who their customers really were and asking themselves what they really buy from them.

Is it metal and leather? NO!

They finally came to the realization that these people are buying an icon. They’re buying an identity. They’re buying legacy. These aren’t just bikes – they are legends.

Gradually they came to realize, after being around so long that what they’re selling is a heritage. They’re selling a lifestyle. They’re selling nostalgia.

Guess who buys the most Harleys? Baby boomers, age 38-50. Mainly guys who still want to be a bad ass even though they’re out of their prime. So of course Harley started working on appealing to this market so they could keep and attract more of them.

They also came to the awesome conclusion that they weren’t in the motorcycle business but instead were in the Nostalgia and Identity business.

And because they pulled their head out of their ass, it’s no surprise that all these decades later they can still bring over 500,000 people with a death wish (that’s anyone who rides a motorcycle in my eyes) together in South Dakota with their Harley’s for their annual Sturgis celebration. 

Harley had to get slapped around and knocked down before they got their ass in gear. It didn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be this way for Facebook either.

Maybe I’m crazy but it seems to me that Facebook could benefit from seeing themselves as being in the Heritage, Lifestyle, Nostalgia and Identity business.

And what’s cool is that they can be in this business and not only cater to groups of school kids seeking identity and nostalgia, but also writers, stay-at-home moms, veterans, rappers, preachers, bikers, hell any person in hobby related group or special interest group who can access the site for that matter.

A recent study showed that the average person has .7 best friends.

Yes, you read that right. The average person doesn’t even have one person they can confide in. What if increasing this stat were a driving statistic in the forefront of Facebook’s mind. What if one of their goals of their innovation was to raise this to 1 best friend per person via their platform?

Across the 900 million + users from all over the planet, that’d be a whole lot of love being spread around via their purpose.

What if any revenue generating decision on Facebook’s part had to serve not just the shareholders interests but had to serve the purpose of the business which was to enhance the end users ability to create those unforgettable magic moments in which a person’s identity is validated and memories are consistently being filed away and documented via timeline to be used as fuel for nostalgia?

It seems like Mark has steered the Facebook ship in the direction of doing this which has led the company to age and mature at a pace that allows it to dominate the social media world but now that the business is out of the hands of the founder, and other people get a vote, it’ll be interesting to see if the board’s desire for instant gratification for themselves (I won’t pretend their claims of satisfying shareholders is why they make the decisions they do) will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. 

I don’t have billions dollars on hand so I won’t judge and I won’t presume to know what’s going through Zuckerberg’s mind when he decides what gets the green light when it comes to monetizing the site and what doesn’t but I trust that if whatever does, allows the following quote to come true for Mark, that Facebook will consistently evolve in a way that allows the company to age like wine and blossom in it’s maturity.

“I pray thee O God that I may be beautiful within.”
~Socrates~

Thank you Brian for encouraging me with your question to remind myself of what is true for me. :)

END OF COMMMENT

So do see how you can carry this strategy of figuring the REAL business you’re in into your life so that you serve your customers and clients at the highest level which can lead to them consistently bringing your their attention and money?

If you do and then put into action the action steps laid out here, you’ll be light years ahead of the majority of your competitors who are in the business of scrounging for transactions and gross income.

And please, as always, if you have any questions of feedback on this topic, feel free to leave it in the comments section below, or in private by clicking the orange “feedback” tab there on the right-hand side of the screen, or by emailing me directly.

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne a.k.a. Note Taking Nerd #2 a.k.a. L.L. Cool Nerd

PS. The Harley Davidson example I used here came from one of Tony Robbin’s sessions at his Ultimate Business Mastery seminar. If you’re serious about getting your head on straighter than it is now so that you can manage your bad habits and tendencies just enough to allow yourself to get out of your own way and start kicking ass like the internet marketing experts, you must have these notes here <—–