Since my friend Amy Mengel flat-out refuses to write this post, I will. Quite frankly, it’s a post that needs to be shared with the world.
The inspiration? A 200-foot tall Barry Manilow mural on the side of the Las Vegas Hilton at BlogWorld last week (see image at right). I mean, if that doesn’t inspire you, you’re dead inside. I’m sorry.
Yes, I think you can trace everything you’ve learned in social media back to Mr. Manilow. Consider the facts:
* Barry Manilow has staying power. He’s been in the music industry for approximately 86 years. OK, maybe not quite that long, but the guy has had incredible staying power, you have to give him that. The same kind of staying power you need to commit and succeed online using tools like Twitter, Ning and blogs. Let’s face it, we all know organizations that hop on Twitter or start a blog with tremendous excitement, only to shut it down just two months later. Social media requires longevity. Persistence. And perserverance.
* There are no “Miracles” in social media. Setting expectations is critical when educating clients and getting your organization started. You can’t expect miracles. Social media isn’t going to turn your world upside down. It is simply another tool in your marketing and PR toolbox. Simple as that. Used correctly it can help you solve problems for your customers, improve your products and services and drive awareness. No miracles there.
* Barry’s a rennaisance man. He’s a singer. Songwriter. Producer. Composer. Entertainer. Conductor. And performer. In the digital world, we need to wear multiple hats. Use different skills regularly. To be successful in the social space, you need to be one part communicator. One part technical guru. One part salesperson. One part negotiator. And one part community manager. Really, you need to be a 21st century digital renaissance man.
* The man has legions of fans. Say what you will about Barry Manilow. The man knows how to build community. And, more importantly, he knows how to sustain a community. The “My Manilow Network” Ning community has almost 4,000 members. He’s sold more than 75 million records worldwide. 29 of his albums have gone platinum. Most brands could learn a lot from how Manilow has not only cultivated a huge following, but also created a legion of “Fan-i-lows.” (OK, I couldn’t resist). He’s also learned to re-invent himself, something brands continually need to do online. Only we call it learning and adjusting. In a rapidly evolving space like this, you need to be able to learn and change on the fly.
OK, so I had some fun with this post. Can’t say I’m the biggest Manilow fan, but I definitely stand by the social media lessons I shared. What do you think? Can we really learn from Barry? I mean, he is a legend, right? RIGHT? OK, maybe not 😉