Dare to be different

The ongoing recession makes it tempting to play it safe, marketing wise. We never know where our next client is going to come from, and nothing good can come from stepping on someone else’s toes. It feels safer to watch other successful professionals, and promote ourselves in a similar way.

But if we play it too safe, we’ll never stand out from the crowd. And, if we don’t stand out, we’ll never be seen, much less hired.

To differentiate, especially by taking on conventional wisdom, feels like a huge risk. I know because I recently decided to take on marketing’s currently-most-sacred cow: social media.

Marketers of all stripes write and talk glowingly about facebook, twitter and the rest. Freshly minted social media experts are on every corner; bloggers post “The 100 must-follow” twitter users.

To stand against social media’s momentum risked positioning me as hopelessly out of touch. But what was I to do? The 24/7 hype of all things social media is driving me nuts, and I see much more time and money being invested in social media than being generated.

I decided to take the risk. I publicly admitted that I’m a social media curmudgeon. I blogged it, I tweeted it, I emailed my mailing list, I made myself a “Social Media Curmudgeon” hat.

By labeling (branding?) myself as a curmudgeon, I’ve given myself a platform to broadcast my decidedly un-hyped view of social media: that it should part of a larger strategy, and not a strategy unto itself.

More importantly, I stand out from the masses in an authentic way. Sure, I’m giving up some prospects who want a genuine “social media expert.” Somehow, I don’t think those folks are going to buy from me, regardless of how I brand myself.

Now, can I interest you in a Social Media Curmudgeon hat?

Luis Maimoni is the Creative Director at Fresh Graphics in Long Beach CA. Connect with him at LinkedIn or visit his blog for practical marketing strategies to help small and medium sized organizations get more leads and sell more stuff.

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