Let Your Kids Take You To Social Media School

One of my favorite Jerry Seinfeld quotes is from when he first became a father. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s along the lines of “Of course, babies are cute. No question. But you know what they’re here for, right? Make no mistake about it. They’re here to replace us. They’re our replacements.”

I thought of that yesterday as I followed a link included in a random email from friend and former colleague Laura Gregg, now with Northern Trust Investments.

Message from Annie Gregg:
Hello Family and Friends, please watch this short
video message from Annie. You'll be glad you did!

The purpose of Annie’s two-minute video is to sell Girl Scout cookies (and we get the message!) but it also serves as a crash course of why social media works.

  • First, it’s a video. Hard to imagine a different format (not text, not audio, not a presentation) that suits this message better.
  • Her delivery evokes an emotional response. Note that she doesn’t dwell on the attributes of her product. She’s selling the benefits.
  • Her obvious preparation (script and set) doesn’t stand in the way of her natural enthusiasm for her message--good call, Annie, to deliver your message standing rather than sitting down.
  • By the time she asks for the order, you find yourself wishing she had a toll-free number so you could respond right then and there.
  • Finally, it’s so good it’s viral—the very reason to do video.

I want to positively reinforce this social media leadership so I’ll be buying cookies from Annie. (If you watch the video and are equally moved, Annie’s parents would like to qualify that the free shipping offer is limited to friends and family.)

But there’s a lesson in here for the rest of us, isn’t there? Annie's mother freely acknowledges that social media doesn't come naturally to her. The average person (and Laura's way above average) working in the asset management space today may be the last generation not to know about Scribd, Lala, TweetDeck.

Take a spin around the Websites in our industry and where you find video, you’re likely to see a lot of wooden figures delivering deadly boring messages. In all likelihood, you were part of the production and if you were, I know from experience that the sheer act of getting the video out the door was an accomplishment not to be minimized. Still. We can’t stop pushing for better. There’s a reason CNBC’s Fast Money is so well watched by our target audience of financial advisors and investors—it’s entertaining and informative.

Entertaining and informative? Job descriptions in this industry rarely—OK, never—include those words but that doesn’t give our generation of communicators a pass. Even if it takes pushing and pulling the people in organizations who still can get by not being entertaining and informative (and we all know where they sit) we need to get there to continue to be relevant—and to do the marketers’ job, which is to help sell.

Let Annie, your children, nieces and nephews, junior or otherwise social media-inclined colleagues take you to school on how the bar has been raised on effective communicating. (Rock The Boat could give you some ideas, too.)