1. I think our viewers want to hear your take on the relationship between brand and reputation.
I have a line that I use all the time and I really mean it from my heart, is that a brand is what your business does, or even as a person, your personal brand, but a reputation is what people remember and too many companies are pent up on their brand image. I mean, you heard a part of the conversation up there when Jeff Rohrs talked about, “Well, the company has a right to say you can’t tweet and you shouldn’t be saying anything.” But you know, Nicole said it perfectly, you can’t control that message and that becomes your reputation so your reputation ends up becoming, instead of this restaurant that serves great food, it starts becoming this restaurant that doesn’t let people talk about it or doesn’t let their employees talk about it, or tries to control what they’re doing.
I think we have to start thinking more about our reputation. We have to think more about community and less about network. A network is a series of notes and I’m connected to you and you’re connected to this guy, but I’m not connected to this guy. But a community is a group of people that support each other and I think companies can really be building communities. It’s all in the whole perspective and how they build their culture.
2. How can businesses build their brand or build their businesses through Facebook? How would you recommend them doing that?
Well, I think that approach is the wrong approach, I mean, just through Facebook. I take it on the channeling approach and I know that’s kind of like a nice word, so what does it mean? It means that I try to syndicate my content in every different place I can because I have different consumers, different people that are watching my brand, and I do this for brands also, where they prefer to interact.
So going back to talking about my daughters, I’m a divorced dad, I had to fight to keep my daughters in my life and they’re also teenagers. They want to communicate the way they want to communicate and that’s where I really learned this lesson hard. I was trying to reach out to them and calling them on the phone and two seconds after the phone hung up, they wouldn’t answer, and the text would be “What!”
You know, right? So you know they were available, they could have answered the phone but they’re saying, “Leave me alone!” What I quickly learned was they will communicate with me via text.
It goes the same with consumers. If someone wants to communicate with me via Instagram, I’ll do it in Instagram. If they want to do it on Facebook, I’ll do it on Facebook, Twitter, so I try to be in a number of those places. Granted, if you’re a company, you might have to make decisions. Well, the majority of my people are on Facebook, so that’s where I’m going to put my brand dollars, because I only have so much time and dollars. On Facebook, what do you do? Push out things that are personal, go to their pages. Here’s what’s not happening: You ever hear the expression, “I wish I was a fly on the wall in that meeting?”
Brands can be a fly on the wall of everybody’s home everywhere if they just bother, but they’re not doing it. They’re trying to bring you to their brand because their agencies are saying, “Get more people on your brand page, get more comments, ask more questions.” I say just the opposite. Forget about, so much about what you do on your page, go to their pages. See what they’re talking about and then start conversations about things that they’re interested in. It’s all right there.
3. So it sort of ties into the making the human connection again and that’s so hard with social media. How do you do that? How do you make that human connection?
You do what I call looking people in the eye digitally. Jeff Rohrs mentioned three books that are great books. I’m going to take it a step way back further and I’m going to tell you what’s the best social media book ever written, and it’s not written by me, it’s not written by any of the people you heard speak at this event, I’m going to give you a clue, it was written in 1936. It’s called How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. I think that book is more relevant today than it was when it was written because relationships are the new currency. You can develop them 24/7. It’s what keeps me awake at night, the longer I stay up, the more people I can connect with, but how do I do that? I call them by name, I actually go to their profiles, I see where they’re from, I talk about their home town. People say, “Well, that’s not authentic.” Well, it is because I’m showing interest in you. It’s authentic if you answer me and I answer you back, it’s not authentic if I ask that question and then I go away. Do you ever do that? In this interview, would you ask me a question and I’d turn around and I’d just go like this? It’s over.
But people are doing that on Facebook all the time. Brands are asking questions and then they’re not responding to the answers.
4. You had a great take on using customer service to develop the relationship. Why don’t you tell us about that?
My take is that this is a time when you have 100% attention to your consumers. Who in this room, what major brand in the world, when they’re advertising, has full attention of the people reading those advertisements? Nobody. What is it, the number is probably like this, it’s probably 1%, maybe even lower. Customer service, you have 100% of their attention. They’re calling you, they’re asking questions, and now to me, that is the time to build the relationship. The mistake is happening is that brands think that they can’t build a relationship unless they give that person who’s complaining what they want. I don’t think that’s true. I think that they just want to be heard.
Social media is all about women, there is no social media without women, quote me on that, it ceases to exist. Men do not communicate that way, we do not listen when the other guy is talking, we just wait for him to finish so we can say what we want to say. There’s not a man in America, I don’t care how metro, will go shopping, pick out a shirt, take a picture of it, send it out to ten of his friends, wait for the responses to come back, pick a shirt because it gets voted in, go home and his bestie sends him a text that says, “No, you shouldn’t get it,” and it doesn’t matter what the results were, takes it back to the store. It doesn’t happen that way.
Women control 85% of the purchases in this country and I would say have probably a huge effect on the other 15% because we’re buying shit because we want women to like us.
To me, it’s like talking to women and women, what do they want? I mean, we can’t deliver it as husbands and boyfriends, because we just don’t have it in us, but they just want to be heard. They want us to actually listen, they don’t want us to solve problems. Here’s the takeaway: Have you heard of the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Very famous, talks about how women and men communicate differently? Well, my take is brands are Mars and consumers are from Venus.
5. Wow, explain that more.
Brands have to start learning to communicate with consumers the way they want to communicate. As men, we don’t communicate with women properly. We think that when we say we’re going up to bed, that they get it, that we’re going up to bed, but instead, they read something into that because they communicate differently.
Brands do the same thing, they think that, “Oh my god, I put out this great offer, how come everybody isn’t reacting to it?” Because their consumers probably weren’t interested in that offer, they were more interested in knowing that when they walk in the store, someone says, “Hey, Lori, nice to have you here,” because they’re not listening. So I think brands have to—I mean, Nicole said it so perfectly—start listening to your consumers, see what they want. When was the last time you went into a store and heard the expression, “How can I serve you? What can I do to help you?” My buddy, John Andrews, picks up the phone every day and calls up a number of people and all he says—he makes it easy for them—he says, “How can I help you today?”
So here’s another really good tip and I’ll say this for brands, too, and I’ll say it for CMOs, you guys know what this is?
Bill: Oh, yeah.
Ted: What is this? It’s an iPhone, right?
Bill: Yeah, a way to communicate.
Ted: What’s the biggest word in iPhone?
Ted: No, phone!
Okay, it’s not about you! But everybody who has these things doesn’t realize there’s an app that comes built in on it, every phone has it, it’s really cool, it’s got a keypad and if you punch seven to ten numbers, somebody actually gets on the phone and you can hear their voice. You can express an emotion without an emoticon. You can laugh, you can cry, you can yell—pick up the phone every day and call somebody. Even as a brand, the world will get around. I give out my phone number on stage, I talk to people and they go out and they tweet it and they share it and they go, “Oh my god, Ted Rubin picked up my call.” Guess what? Most of these people in this room will never, ever call me or your brand, but they’ll know in their head that if they did, that you’d pick up the phone because you did it for somebody else. It’s like the lottery. Everyone keeps playing, only one guy wins, but why do they keep playing? Because I could be that guy. That’s what I say to brands, start participating one on one and you’ll be surprised how it scales.
6. So, Ted, if our viewers want more of you, where should they go?
Oh, it’s real simple. TedRubin.com, @TedRubin on Twitter, Ted Rubin on Facebook, Ted Rubin on LinkedIn. If you Google Ted Rubin, the first two pages is all me except for the guy who is the congressional medal of honor winner from World War II. He’s 97, it’s not me.
Watch our interview with Ted Rubin at Social Media Marketing World