Social media marketing and the hippie movement
If you thought that the zeitgeist of the 1960s didn’t apply to 2012 you were wrong. In fact, it’s more applicable than ever before – and that’s all thanks to the rise of the internet and the online community.
In this post I’ve outlined some of the basic underlying principles of the Hippie Movement. I will discuss how I believe these same principles can be applied to internet marketing and social media marketing in order to help businesses better perform on the internet.
So, what does the hippie movement have in common with internet marketing for businesses?
- Harmony with nature
- Communal living/sharing resources
- Free love
- Artistic experimentation
It’s really all about being ‘real’ and presenting to the world the helpful, communal face of your business. Thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, online businesses now have the opportunity to become more personable than ever before.
Here’s how you apply these hip principles.
Be in harmony with nature
Be on good terms with friends, customers, clients and acquaintances. Be polite. Don’t swear. Give good advice. Don’t write spammy content, don’t partake in spammy link-building strategies. Do what’s right and don’t fight the trends. If Pinterest is getting big, get on it. Go with the flow.
Furthermore, remember that most search engines are not out to get you. For example, when Google updates its ranking algorithm, generally it’s trying to provide users with the most useful content. If your website is doing this already you really have nothing to worry about. Try to think of what is best for your customers rather than the search engines. Honest internet marketing will always garner respect.
It’s all about communal living and sharing resources
It’s pretty obvious, but if you’ve got a business, you’ve got to develop an online community – cultivate a loyal following across social media platforms. Once you’re linked in, give generously – whether that’s information, advice, recommendations, etc. When you give you set yourself up to receive. But don’t let that be your whole reason for giving.
I personally like to help people. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’ve got something to give in return. I just like to help. Perhaps my South African upbringing is to thank. Surrounded by so much poverty, my family always encouraged me to give of my possessions, my time, and my love. It may sound cheesy but I can tell you one thing I’ve learned from it – when you give to others, you feel good about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself you radiate positivity. People like working with and building relationships with positive people. It makes them feel good about themselves. Help others and you’ll likely find that even if they don’t give in return, you’ll be building a massive following of clients, friends, colleagues and acquaintances that respect you and that could one day recommend you to others.
Be guided by the principle of free love
When people follow you on twitter, follow them back. When people recommend you on LinkedIn, recommend them. When people ask for advice, give it. Don’t consider yourself in a 1-1 relationship with specific people. Remember that because of social media, your outreach is often greater than you realise. For example, when someone likes your company on Facebook, your company profile picture when show up in their profile; their friends will see that you liked them. And when someone likes your content on Facebook or retweets your content on Twitter, their followers will see it. Ultimately make your content shareable and intriguing.
Some of my favourite internet marketing companies are the ones that don’t stop giving: Hubspot and Copyblogger in particular. From ‘email courses’ to free whitepapers, they are not stingy when it comes to information. And it makes me respect them, it keeps me following them.
Get into artistic experimentation
Don’t be afraid to try something new. What’s the point of waiting to find out what works? By the time you do, your competitors will either have moved on to something new and exciting or built up a presence/following long before you. You’ve got to beat them to it. Be forward thinking. Be a pioneer. And dominate the online world before someone else does.
If you find something is not working, have the courage to change. Beyond that, go where no one else dares to go. If your email campaign open rates are staying at 7%, try something else. Perhaps send a picture instead of a written marketing message – relevant of course to your business. Hey, it worked for Hugh Macleod at Gaping Void.
Don’t be dull. As a writer this is my holy rule. If I am bored by my own writing, it must go. Instead of writing an article that just regurgitates what everybody else is saying, think on your own feet. People still desire fresh ideas and a new voice. If everybody is writing about the latest search engine update, put a twist on it.
So, what can we conclude?
Overall, good internet marketing is really about being ‘real’ and getting social. The need for human interaction will never die. We’re a social species. After all, what do you think social media platforms brought to the comparatively faceless world of online marketing?