I recently took my first trip to Las Vegas and had a lot of fun. Of course, the fun you have in Vegas is tied to how much you win or lose. I was lucky to come out ahead this go-round. That being the case, perhaps it’s smart for me to walk away from the city permanently as a winner.
Even though this trip to Las Vegas was a short vacation (2 days actually, which I was told is just enough time) I did find myself thinking about work. Specifically, as I looked around I thought that there some social media marketing lessons that can be learned from the casinos.
#1: Don't chase the table, let the table come to you
On this trip I spent a bulk of my gambling time playing roulette. This was also my first time playing roulette. My parents ended up meeting me in Vegas and my Dad taught me all about the game.
Most of the people who came over to play would utilize a simple, and often failing, “strategy” – put a stack of chips on a number. When you do this, you have 1/36th chance of winning. More often than not, they lost. Then, after that happened a couple times, they quit and walk away. This usually happened after 10-15 minutes.
I learned how to stay in the game. The way to do this is to bet in zones and on the lines and corners. When you do this, you’re increasing the odds of winning. Even though the payoffs can be smaller, there’s a greater likelihood of winning thus keeping you in the game longer through incremental wins.
STRATEGY VS. TACTICS
This is a good time to discuss tactics vs. strategy. So many entrepreneurs don’t take the time or have the right people to develop a social media strategy – an overall plan that outline activities, responsibilities, goals, and outcomes. Instead, they rely solely on tactics – the tasks.
Let’s take a common social media marketing situation for a small business – going on a new social platform. You own a business, you’re told Instagram is the new hot-ness. You HAVE to be on Instagram. So you open a account. You’re super excited and/or confused at first (depending on if you’ve used Instagram before) but you post 3-5 images over the course of two weeks.
Then what? The new car scent wears off. Day-to-day business consumes you. You forget about Instagram for a while. You’ll revisit it again periodically but day-in and day-out it will be in the back of your head making you feel guilty for abandonment and you now also experience social media marketing FOMO (fear of missing out).
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP:
Do not start a profile or spend money on ads without a strategy
A client once asked me what I thought about them investing a considerable sum of money in a sponsorship on a “industry” website. My answer was simple: spending a penny for any advertising is a waste of money unless you’ve outlined a comprehensive strategy and goals.
#2: Keep your customers happy
In Las Vegas, when you are in the casinos they give you free booze. While this is mostly about encouraging bad decision-making that comes along with three Jack + Cokes, I think we can apply a less nefarious lesson for your social media.
POST CONTENT THAT'S RELEVANT + INTERESTING TO YOUR FOLLOWERS
Remember that your online audience is made up of current and prospective customers. Social media’s role, if executed well, allows you to:
1. Position yourself as a trusted resource and thought-leader
2. Talk about your products and services
Most small business clients we work with only use social media to continuously (and exclusively) send out information about their products and services. Don’t make that mistake! (Read more about Social Media Content Mix)
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP:
Post and create content that will delight and add value to your online audiences.
#3: Try a new machine
When you’re in casinos, you can develop a new ESP ability where you can identify a “hot” machine or table. You’ll toss your money into it for a while and if it doesn’t pay off you’ll walk away and continue the hunt for the next “hot” machine.
SOCIAL MEDIA TIP:
Don't be afraid to try new things.
The beauty of social media is the ease at which you can do different and new things. Getting back to strategy vs. tactics, you don’t want to abandon a strategy until enough time has passed to get data and results (good, bad, or inconclusive) BUT what you can do is shift your tactics.
When it comes to quitting, a great book is Seth Godin’s The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When To Stick):
Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations. Reactive quitting and serial quitting are the bane of those that strive (and fail) to get what they want. And most people do just that. They quit when it’s painful and stick when they can’t be bothered to quit.