We see it all the time. Late night infomercials of kitchen gadgets claiming to do it all, home improvement tools freeing you of from your worries of getting hurt, and (my personal favorite) weight loss pills claiming will give you a celebrity body in forty-eight hours. Jeff Blyskal, a Senior Editor at Consumer Reports, once said about infomercials, “ We tend to laugh at these commercials but they are very powerful persuaders.”
We know this by the staggering amount of people, who have fallen prey to an infomercial at least once. Gary Vaynerchuck, a social media and wine expert, once suggested a “drawing a line in the sand” approach to understanding how people think and behave, especially when it comes to changing technologies. He describes the “line in the sand” as something people would vow to never do (e.g., I would never use Twitter.), and then staying true to your brand and its values.
In 2012, you’ll be hard-pressed to find people who still feel this way unless they choose to live in the stone ages of technology. Granted, there are still many folks who fail to see the point of Twitter and while I would love to explain its relevance, this would lead to a whole other blog post.
Twitter has gained a lot of influence since its founding in 2006 by providing brands, celebrities, and average folks a radical platform to leverage their influence and make an impact. Nowhere is this more evident than the countless online businesses targeting of anyone and everyone using this platform who, claim to “increase your following” and/or guarantee you X number of followers by Y date. To know there are businesses out there solely dedicated to “guaranteeing your following” is proof that having a large following carries a certain cachet in the digital world. If you could wake up with 50,000 more followers tomorrow versus your current 500 followers, would it make a difference?
Of course it would. It would mean you have more influence, more people care about what you have to say and most importantly, your opinions would matter to a whole lot of people, right?
You would then have 50,000 people who have never heard of you or your brand, owe you no loyalties, and don’t care about you or what you have to say. Compare this with 500 true followers that you have earned, people who have invested the time to get to know you/your brand through your tweets, reply to you, retweet you, and sometimes even favorite things you’ve said in 140 characters or less because they care about what you have to say. The latter points to a relationship cultivated organically, over time, which cannot be duplicated and certainly cannot be established overnight.
Why take a weight loss pill when you can eat right, exercise more and create a healthier lifestyle for yourself? A pill is the easy road. A road that people think exists, but likely has horrible ramifications in the future (phen phen anyone?).
If you care about your brand and where it’s going, you need to know when to draw the line in the sand.
What’s the something your brand would vow never to do under any circumstances, especially, if it would run the risk of jeopardizing the brand’s values? Find that. Stick to it no matter what. Then always remember the adage, old quote, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Your followers will love and trust you more for it.
Photo via Matt Browne