5 lessons from my social-illiterate dad about social marketing


It’s no secret that sometimes my dad wasn’t my favorite when I was littler. He always had something to say or a reaction I was less than thrilled with. But as I’ve grown older, I find myself leaning on my dad’s advice. It’s advice that is applicable to various aspects of my life, but especially so in the social world.

1. Don’t just listen. Actively Listen.
Just like it wasn’t enough for me to sit on the couch and listen to my dad’s feedback, It’s also not enough to monitor Facebook fans or twitter followers. What’s more valuable for brands is listening and responding. I needed to prove to my dad that I actually heard him.  Whether that means tweeting back a nice comment or question or posting another comment in a Facebook stream, brands must interact in order to engage.

2. It’s all about value.
Value yourself. Value family. Value property. It was never the wrapper left on the floor that upset my father. It was the fact that I didn’t value the house or the people in it enough to put it in the trash. The same is true for brands. It’s not enough to engage your community, a brand needs to value its community and fans, giving them content and opportunities to enhance their lives. Perceptions of a brand directly stem from what that brand openly values. In Naked Pizza’s case, all of its followers know it values good health. We know that Coke values happiness. This shapes the way we interact with them.

3. Own up to your mistakes.
And never lie. We all do things we regret. My dad always emphasized the process of cleaning up the aftermath. Fix it. When you take some paint off the wall, don’t just cover it up with some genius 7-year-old artwork, tell somebody. Then work together to patch it up. Sometimes there’s only one person in a company managing its whole social identity. If you’re that person, don’t get bogged down when you misfire. Define what it is you did incorrectly, then find a way to patch it up in real time. This usually includes getting some ideas from your colleagues. They may not be “social aficionados” but they know the brand and what it stands for.

4. Hustle.
My dad is the hardest worker I know. He literally never stops and he never stops pushing me either. He is one of those dads who yells on the sidelines and won’t stop until he knows I’m truly sweating. Supremely annoying at the time. In the social cloud, you have to hustle to give your brand a presence. You have to constantly review your analytics and refine your posting times and content. If it’s not working, you need to go back to the drawing board with your strategy, do it with vigor. Don’t stop until your customers are engaged.

5. Have Fun.
Take your time and be passionate about what you do. Every summer my dad plants a new garden, there’ssomething to plant or pick or till every night. Then he harvests everything and makes amazing canned goods. You see nothing but excitement in his eyes when he says he’s “going down to the garden”. Social Media Marketing is somewhat new. It’s exciting. Keep up with the trends and have fun. It’s not weird that you love hashtags or bit.ly’s or Hootsuite. It’s that passion that helps you make a brand relevant and fun to follow.

One thought on “5 lessons from my social-illiterate dad about social marketing

  1. Took me a few minutes to find this posting about your dad, but I found it!! I hope you shared this with him! You are RIGHT ON about him and applying his advice! GO GIRL!!!!!

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