On Periscope, Marketing Fads And The Red Herring Of “Engagement”

On Periscope, Marketing Fads And The Red Herring Of "Engagement"
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We’re BAAAAAaaaaack.

We planned to take a week off from podcasting and that turned into two weeks but we got a lot done and we’re happy to be back so we can finally talk about some of the four billion trillion notes we accumulated in the meantime. Today’s topic is fads, trends and the Periscope phenomenon, but first…

Our Youngest SuperFred Ever

Welcome Brayden Scott! He is a brand new baby boy, born at two pounds and the grandson of our SuperFred Poet Laureate Melanie Kissell. He couldn’t wait to listen to the podcast so he cut his term short and has proven to be quite a fighter. We’ve since dubbed him “Baby Beast” (for all the right reasons) and look forward to some worthy stories.

While we’re at it, congratulations to Ryan and Lauren Hanley as they prepare for their second child! You can never have too many Hanleys in the world.

Cynthia Sanchez Prepares To Become A Butterfly

Just recently Cynthia Sanchez released the 100th episode of the Oh So Pinteresting podcast, which also turns out to be her last. She’s moving on… to bigger, brighter and more amazing things such that our tiny human brains cannot yet conceive. We look forward to her emergence as whatever she chooses to be and do next! Good luck Cynthia, and we have no doubt you will be awesome at everything you do.

On to today’s topic…

Ralph Isn’t A Fan Of Periscope

He isn’t NOT a fan, either.

If you’re confused, it’s simple: Periscope is a tool. It’s not good or bad. It can be either, neither or both. It all depends on how you use it.

If you haven’t been hit over the head with this latest-and-greatest tool yet, it’s a mobile app that lets you live stream video from your phone. That sounds kind of cool and interesting but at the end of the day… it’s just video. And crappy quality video at that.

We play a clip from one of Ryan Hanley’s recent podcasts where he says he doesn’t quite “get” Periscope. The quality is poor and there are much better ways to do video. For Ryan, Periscope feels like a fad and we agree.

Periscope can be fun and it will have its fans but that doesn’t mean you have to turn it instantly into a marketing tool. Maybe we can leave this one for the bored teenagers for now.

The Problem Isn’t Periscope. It’s FOMO.

“Fear Of Missing Out.”

It’s an Internet phenomenon where we feel like something is going on out there and we are obsessively worried about being late to the party or out of the loop on the joke. If we don’t check our Facebook feed every ten seconds, someone will post the meme that goes viral and we’ll be so eight minutes behind the curve.

We are sure that the next shiny tool that comes out must be THE thing and if we don’t jump on it, if we don’t get in fast and early, we’re going to be left behind and miss our golden opportunity.

The problem is that 99.99999999% of the time that is just not true. The other problem is that as people running a business, we’re busy.

Our customers are already overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have to do in a day. Adding one more thing – an untested, untried thing – is probably not the best use of their time and money.

Plus when people jump on these platforms that fast, quality suffers because they don’t really have the time to think about how to do it well.

Marketers Can Experiment. Businesses Need To Make Money.

As marketers, we’re in more of a position to jump on new stuff because that’s our job. We get to try stuff out and see what’s new so when our customers ask us about them, we can educate them.

And while neither Ralph nor I are fans of jumping on the latest trend, we understand that marketers may want to check this stuff out. But it’s not our job to tell all our customers to jump on the latest trend. If your marketer is constantly pushing trends on you, it may be time to step back and ask some fundamental questions, like: why?

Ralph Disagrees With A Commenter

Ralph recently wrote an article on the topic of Periscope and marketing trends and a commenter (Brian Fanzo) disagreed with his premise and said that if we don’t innovate we’ll disappear.

The problem is that “innovation” is hard. And expensive. Unless your company has a substantial R&D budget, then leave “innovation” to the marketers and big companies and capitalize on what works.

The other problem is that Periscope is not exactly innovative. It’s just streaming video. Focus on the marketing that you’re doing that’s working and let someone with time and money kick the tires. Then implement the best of what you learn.

We’re Stuck In Tools But Missing The Marketing

Periscope is a tool. Maybe it could work for you. But it’s still just a tool and that always takes a back seat to strategy. Don’t get lost in tools and tactics and overlook the marketing fundamentals: why are you doing this? Who are you doing it for? What value are you providing?

Engagement Equals Currency?

We play another clip from Ryan’s podcast where his guest says that engagement is currency and that equals money.

We disagree.

Engagement does not equal money.

Money equals money.

Here’s the thing: you can post something online that gets a ton of engagement and makes no sales, or post something online that gets zero engagement and makes great sales.

We give two examples of this in action.

In one example, we talk about someone we know who ran a Facebook ad for an event they were hosting. The ad went bananas. Engagement out the wazoo. Hundreds of likes, massive amounts of shares, lots of comments. Everyone loved the ad.

But who showed up to the event?

Seven people.

And let’s just say it was an even that could have held more than seven people.

In another example, we worked with a client on writing a blog post for one specific prospect. Our plan was to address that prospect’s questions via blog. The blog got zero comments. But it closed the sale!

Engagement Is Good. It’s Just Not The End Result.

We don’t want to leave you with the impression that engagement is worthless. Yes, you can build your brand recognition and win fans. Engagement can, in fact, turn into a sale. But it doesn’t always. There is no straight line between engagement and sales.

So treat it with care. Be sure that even if you can’t draw a direct line, you’re closing more business because of your efforts than without them. If all you’re getting are comments and share but your revenue is flatlining, no amount of “engagement” can be cashed in to pay the mortgage.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Instead of trying a new marketing tool or tactic, think about how you can do what you’re already doing – better. If you’re blogging, ask yourself how you can write a better blog or provide more value to readers. If you’re using Pinterest, ask yourself how you can make your graphics more interesting. Don’t start something new. Do something better.

From Ralph: Update your LinkedIn profile so it’s current, then connect with everyone you know. But don’t just shoot off those generic connection messages. Personalize them based on the context of your relationship. “Hey. We met at that networking meeting…” Or whatever is relevant. Widen your net but make it personal.

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera