Following the Pack (or not)

We must know what we think and speak out, even at the risk of unpopularity. –  Eleanor Roosevelt

I should start by saying that I’m not, generally, a fan of generalized personality tests, yes, there are some truths to them; though, you can take any number of quizzes and get a variety of results.

33 of 52: Fire storm
(Used under creative commons, thanks Dav!)

There is a book, which launched for purchase today, called Surviving Your Serengeti. which is described as:

As a brutal business environment meets a soft economy, business leaders and managers are looking for sources of both inspiration and survival. This compelling new fable offers a riveting tale of life in Africa’s Serengeti and what lessons it holds for today’s beleaguered business people and struggling society.

This book has been floating around the Real Estate world as it was also prefaced by the opportunity to take the quiz online to find out which kind of Serengeti animal you are. I took the quiz weeks ago, and I’m a Giraffe. Many of my friends have been taking the quiz and discussing their excitement to read the book and find out what it’s all about. I was one of them, until tonight.

Near 5:30 – while on Twitter, I started seeing tweets from people I respect in the industry with the link to the quiz and the hashtag #Serengeti, first only a few, then many, then a virtual storm. Being curious, I decided to look at the Hashtag Stream. Many people, nationwide, were tweeting the same thing, then retweeting others’ posts. These tweets then started calling for people to run out and buy the book, then tell their friends to buy the book.

In that moment, in my eyes, it went from a clever marketing idea to a coordinated spam storm. In not only my eyes it seems, My friend, who is not in the Real Estate circle, tweeted that she was about to start unfollowing a good chunk of those she unfollows because it was clogging up her stream. I echoed her sentiments. This; however, proved to be an unpopular sentiment.I received a tweet from the “book’ itself.

@Schnik @MikeCanDoIt @CherylBle @uthahrepro @mirealestate – This is not a spam campaign. We are busy w/ launch of new book on Amzn &

I responded that it looked, to me, like a spam storm. They responded again:

@schnik – Some may see it that way. Others see it as business. For us its a launch after 5 yrs. Thx 4 sharing ur view @Serengeti #Serengeti

From Wikipedia: Herd behavior describes how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to the behavior of animals in herds, flocks and schools, and to human conduct during activities such as stock market bubbles and crashes, street demonstrations, sporting events, religious gatherings, episodes of mob violence and even everyday decision making, judgment and opinion forming.

Recently we’ve all seen the power of social media, from Iran, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya to A recent virtual social media war as I spoke of earlier. Your image on social media is everything when you’re marketing yourself. Just as your image in the marketplace is everything. If you’re doing it wrong, we can only hope your customers will tell you. Most often, they will they’ll tell their friends.

fire poi expo
(used under creative commons, thanks John Curley)

When you’re making a plan to market yourself or your business on twitter, remember, some mention of your business is effective, employing your friends to help you with their endorsements is also effective, but coordinating a torrent of power promotion is, in this guy’s eyes, spam and was really horrible to watch.

This actually seems to have worked in their favor. Cause near eight this evening this tweet came out.

Surviving Your @Serengeti continues to steadily climb and has just broken into the @Amazon Top 10 at #5 of all books! cc @Swanepoel

Sure, you’ve increased your sales, I appreciate that. You have also caused me to rethink my value of an “endorsement” I see on twitter. I was excited to read your book. Right now, I’m not so sure. Also, I found it very interesting, as I publicly dissented against “The Herd” there was a swift move to silence me, and if you know me, that’s not easily done.

Careful where you place your match, you could get a beautiful firework or you could get a burned.

It seems, I wasn’t the only one who thought this was more spam than advertising. My friend Cheryl, who is not in the Real Estate industry, who I have come to respect, includes her opinion here:

Remember, when you are a business on social media, your public persona is whatever the public perceives it to be.

12 responses to “Following the Pack (or not)”

  1. Frankly it doesn’t matter whether the book publisher wants to call it “marketing” or a “launch” or whatever.

    Your brand is whatever folks perceive it to be. If they perceive you to be a spammer, then you’re a spammer.

    • Thanks Aaron, That’s the truth about Social Media marketing vs. traditional marketing. Social media may gives you faster results but also opens you up to instant reactions. Traditional marketing may give you a shield, but they’re more likely to tell a friend, than you.

  2. I agree 100% with both you and Aaron’s comment. Funny how over the last couple days you have really made me take a step back and ask what do I truly believe in – and how do I want to present myself – thanks for keeping it real, and not being afraid to be you.

    • Thanks Thesa, We should all look at how we want to present ourselves. As business people on social media, you have to look at two things, how you want to be perceived personally and how your want your businesses’ image to be perceived. Thanks for the comments.

  3. Is it irony that it appears the substantial conversation that came out of the Serengeti chat was about how they were marketing the book in Social Media. You and Cheryl wrote great fantastic posts.

    • Truly. It’s telling. Generally I believe the book to be conceptually fantastic. I just think this was a pretty poorly executed action. But that’s marketing, much like press, even the poor stuff is effective.

  4. Excellent post, Nick. I’ve really appreciated the perspectives of the posts on this issue that you & Mike have written. I know that this is a tough stand to take as it is an industry that you both work in which could impact your own personal reputations which makes me respect you both even more.

    • I don’t think this is about reputations. There’s some serious truth to making sure your perception is the intended outcome. While this will probably fall on deaf ears, there’s a hope from me, that someone, somewhere will take from this just a little more care when planning their marketing efforts, or maybe not.

  5. Everyone has an opinion, each one important. With the proliferation of social media everyone now also has a vehicle to voice it. That’s great, but also extremely complex to grasp and manage. One thing is for sure – the diversity of opinion is showing us all how we can each improve the way we live in this new “open” and “transparent” world. I appreciate your comments and hope that you will one day read and enjoy the book. May the encouraging message it carries still touch the lives of many people in a positive way.

    • Thanks for your form response. (I saw the exact same one in another blog post.) For purporting to be an expert in Social Media, you should at least attempt to be genuine. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your book.

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