Columbus discovers social media, says Twitter tastes like chicken!

I have an admission to make. And for someone who plies their trade in marketing and communications, it could be considered a biggie …

I’ve never sent a tweet, I don’t have a Twitter account and the last time I logged onto their website was 2009 around the time Ashton Kutcher was trying to beat CNN to be the first user with million followers – bizarre at the time and no less now that I discovered a PR company has managed his Twitter feed since 2011.

Interestingly, not one of our clients has ever asked about Twitter.

We have set and managed the social media strategy for almost a dozen clients and continue to generate content (ghost write) for a number of those as well. Not once have I ever been asked, “Shouldn’t we be tweeting this?” and, given many of our clients operate in the B2B space, I’ve never seen the evidence to recommend it.

Twitter released  data a few years back boasting the top five times their users broke the news and the best they could come up with was the William & Kate Royal Wedding announcement (yawn), Whitney Houston’s Death (tragic, but still yawn) and Newt Gingrich’s Presidential Race Announcement (big woop). In fairness, they have subsequently proven that a user tweeted about the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout as it was taking place and another about the U.S. Airways Flight 549 Hudson River crash in 2009 as it unfolded in front of her during a ferry trip.

The fact that Canadian tennis champ, Eugenie Bouchard is dating a Neville Nobody who responded to her superbowl tweet is also pretty cool.

The most amazing thing about Twitter to me is that it’s never turned a profit! Not even with all the  celebrity endorsement and devotees such as The Donald smashing out tweets like they are going out of style (which they kind of are, just saying). Not to mention that you can buy your own followers for as little as US$9 per thousand and there are believed to be at least 60 million fake accounts (management officially admit to 30 million) run by Twittertbots (it’s a thing).

But he purpose of this blog post is not to roast Twitter. Whilst user numbers have tapered off over the past few years, it remains the fifth largest social media platform in the western world in terms of active monthly users (behind Facebook, Youtube, Google+ and Instagram) and I personally know plenty of people who use it a lot.

This piece is more to highlight the ‘Me Too’ strategy that many businesses adopt (or are recommended to do so) when they ramp up their social media activity. While platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn have been around for years, the FOMO factor is still alive and well in many businesses and, while it’s crucial for some, it could potentially be a complete waste of time and resources for others.

An interesting article appeared in my LinkedIn news feed (no, the irony is not lost on me!) that was lifted from the New York Times and written by Cal Newport, an Associate Professor at Georgetown.

Through his academic pursuits, a popular Blog, some OK book sales and great PR he has generated a profile for his ‘personal brand’ that means he is hot property at the moment.  He has more opportunities for speaking engagements than he has tweed jackets and plaid pants.

He says that, in a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable and using social media is neither. He refutes the argument that if you engage in enough low-value activity it will somehow add up to something that has a cumulative greater value for your career or your business.

“Professional success is hard, but it’s not complicated. The foundation to achievement and fulfilment, almost without exception, requires that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about. If you do that, the rest will work itself out, regardless of the size of your Instagram following.

“As you become more valuable to the marketplace, good things will find you. To be clear, I’m not arguing that new opportunities and connections are unimportant. I’m instead arguing that you don’t need social media’s help to attract them.”

You can read the entire article here.

Now obviously not everyone can be a published author or get invited onto Ellen but the point is that the time and effort currently spent on social media engagement could potentially be invested in other more relevant and fruitful sales and marketing pursuits.

Social Media has launched and sustained many businesses. I personally know of one business colleague who credits her Facebook page to the significant success she has had in business over the past two years and she has irrefutable evidence to prove it.

Social media platforms can be great for branding, communication, selling, customer engagement, after sales service and prospecting. But they can also be a massive distraction and a drain on your human resources if you aren’t clear on the benefits for your business.

As always, I invite you to give me a shout if you have concerns regarding any aspect of your sales and marketing efforts. Email me or send me a message via my LinkedIn profile or the Marketing Sherpa company page.



Blame Columbus for the ‘tastes like chicken’ meme!

It’s long been a bit of fun that when someone tastes a new type of cooked animal flesh for the first time they remark that it “tastes like chicken” and this actually dates back to one of Christopher Columbus’ first voyages . It is thought that he and his crew were introduced to iguana meat and likened it to chicken. “The Log of Christopher Columbus” written in 1492 and translated in 1928 describes his party killing what is widely thought to be a reptile but described as a snake.

Sunday, 21 October. At 10 o’clock in the morning I arrived at Cabo del Isloa and anchored as did the other vessels in company … this island even exceeds the others in beauty and fertility. Groves of lofty and flourishing trees are abundant, as also large lakes, surrounded and overhung by the foliage, in a most enchanting manner. Everything looked as green as in April in Andalusia. The melody of the birds was so exquisite that one was never willing to part from the spot, and the flocks of parrots obscured the heavens. The diversity in the appearance of the feathered tribe from those of our country is extremely curious. A thousand different sorts of trees, with their fruit were to be met with, and of a wonderfully delicious odor …. going round one of these lakes, I saw a serpent, which … upon being discovered he took to the water, whither we followed him, as it was not deep, and dispatched him with our lances; he was seven spans in length; I think there are many more such about here. The locals eat them and say the meat is white and tastes like chicken.”

2017-03-24T04:31:41+00:00 March 7th, 2017|Categories: Business Strategy|0 Comments