It’s been an amazing 2015 and already it seems I now find myself at the end of the year. Christmas is just two short weeks away and it’s time to wind things down. No more travel until mid January and now it's to finish up those year end projects that’ll be launched in 2016.
One of my important goals this year was to get a new class off the ground and build a program around it. I’ve been swimming in the social media pool since its inception and one of my passions is understanding how it’s changing everything and keeping up (or trying to) with where it is today and where it’s going tomorrow.
I co-wrote the Mobile Communication Boot Camp with my good friend and coworker Barbie Van Horn. She’s a tech wiz, loves research, people, ideas, video, chocolate, and mobile apps as much as I do. We coined the class #mobilecomcamp about a year and a half ago and ever since that time we’ve been on this amazing journey of discovery.
With over 70% of everyone online right now on their smart phone or tablet, the social context has changed. As a marketing guy I want to be where the eyes and attention are. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much this would change the way I connect to other businesses and people in the community. It’s been an amazing revelation and totally changed not only the way I encounter spheres and communities, but the way I now understand them.
Mobile Communication Boot Camp is a 3 clock hour class for real estate brokers where we go to urban villages and old downtown local business districts to engage businesses and the people who search them. It’s a blast! We use Yelp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus primarily to tap into the layers of communication by both groups.
Boot camp drill sargeant Barbie Van Horn is giving a great big (chocolate) clue to the class on Twitter as to our next stop.
Fran's Chocolates is one of our favorite boot camp destinations at the University Village in Seattle.
We embrace real estate’s oldest axioms: Location, Lifestyle and Community. As we listen via the channels, converse, take and share photos, and post, it always brings a smile to me when I witness the epiphany by students as to how quickly we get our content into the search engine indexes and see our results within minutes. We always get immediate feedback and acquainted with people in almost real time before our 3 hours together is over. I especially love doing this with locally owned businesses.
I’ve had the pleasure this year to meet so many business owners, managers, employees this way and also people who know and/or live in the neighborhood who are online and engage these local businesses. I’ve come to know many people behind institutions like the local library, museum, the city, and nonprofits. This has led to several referrals and ironically, I never asked for the business. My strategy has been, 'it’s about you, not me'... People are curious and they will check you out. What do they learn about you online?
I’ve joked in the past about my kids saying, “Why do you call it social media? It just is.” These times are certainly different, more than any age we've lived. The path to buying and selling almost everything has changed for many, maybe most, if not all.
I don’t want to turn this into a ‘white paper’ so suffice it to say it’s been an incredible year and I’ve really learned a lot. The core endeavor for me is still blogging cuz that’s just the kinda guy I am and it works! My engine runs best when I'm writing and I like going deep when I can and not just skimming the surface. Yet, you can’t ignore those little emotional touches like a great Instagram photo or a short funny sweet share on Facebook. Those little touches create on ramps into your world. Like points of entry, like breadcrumbs along the path. The law of attraction is a powerful thing.
Mandatory selfie :O) with some of our classmates at Teavana Tea Store, University Village, Seattle.
I love starting the class here with a 16 ounce Earl Grey Creme!
When we get down to it, doing social is not a Lone Ranger kind of thing. We need each other. It’s impossible, I say, without strategic allies. No big secret there. We just need to communicate, ask questions, give answers and to share them and yourself to make it work. That’s about as old fashioned and small town as it gets I think.
For me a successful marketing strategy is way more about understanding human behavior, especially my own, than it is about being a geek, nerd, or computer wiz. No doubt that helps and technology is the contemporary context, but people are still people and their lives are lived at a location, they have (or desire) a lifestyle, and they live in a community.
So I plan to share more about all of this in 2016 and before I go I’d like to shout out to Barbie Van Horn, Jill Bell, Kim Schildt, John Reinwald, Mike Leeds, and my managers Brenda Rawlins, Kathy McKinley and Tracey Olsen for letting this Rene'gade run with his vision. And not last nor least, my friends here on Activerain who are my strategic partners through your fellowship, ideas, what you share, and conversation including encouragement. I thank you all...
As Don Juan (Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge) said so very well so many years ago. “For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length -- and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.”