What are the Maverick principles? Maverick is an acronym that stands for Momentum, Audience, Value, Enjoyment, Relationship, Improvement, Consistency, and Kindness that was coined by Franziska Iseli in her book Social Media for Small Business. The Maverick principles are the basis of how small businesses need to approach all of their social media activities.
“Social Media” is one of those terms that has evolved. In the beginning, it was never designed for marketing. It was a way of sharing experiences and commenting on other people’s experiences. Keyword being “commenting.” I once heard someone say that social media has become today what you might call Narcissistic Media. This is because the most famous social media influencers simply share selfies and draw in a huge audience of fans. They rarely if ever have a “dialog” (two-way communication) with fans and instead deliver a “monolog” (one-way communication). The emphasis for many businesses that use social media in their marketing today is on the media part of social media and fails to focus on the social part.
Many businesses perceive it as a successful way to deploy social media when they see influencers with millions of fans or followers. They build strategies to create the largest number of fans and followers under the false assumption that the numbers will translate into sales success. However, having lots of fans and followers often does not translate into sales as @Arii, an Instagram influencer who has over 2.6 million followers, discovered when she failed to convince her audience to buy her designer T-shirt to meet the minimum order size of just 36 T-shirts required to launch her apparel line.
Achieving sales success as a small business using social media requires a more disciplined and methodical approach and that is where the Maverick principles come in.
The momentum principle is the knowledge that it takes momentum to gain traction in the social media world. You can’t use social media for a few days and expect to see results. It is like the Flywheel concept in that it starts slow and builds up momentum over time. Too many businesses give up on their social media strategies too early. Success with social media never happens overnight. You have to keep your focus and be consistent with your content and over time you will gain momentum.
Your audience is the user persona that you create your content for. Use both demographic and psychographic information to define your audience. Consider the following attributes to define your audience:
- Family status
- Role (manager, e|Executive, Solopreneurs, etc.)
- Career aspirations
- Personality types (introverted/Extroverted)
- Tech savviness
- Interests (hobbies, travel, clubs, sports, etc.)
- Shopping habits (online, retail, frequent shopper, thrifty, conspicuous consumption, value vs price-conscious, etc.)
- Sources of information (books, blogs, magazines, TV, YouTube, etc.)
- Preferred learning style (VARK)
- Pain points
- Life aspirations (retire early, travel, help others, etc.)
I know three small business owners on a professional and personal level that I think about whenever I create content. I look at my content from their perspective and ask myself the following two questions:
- Is this something that would interest them?
- Should they use this information in their business now?
If the answer is yes, I proceed; if no, I move on. All the experts say that you always have to develop content with your audience in mind. Even if you may use several social media channels, you always should keep your same target audience in mind.
This principle of communicating only when you have something of value applies to all kinds of marketing. Never waste your audience’s time with fluff as their time is too valuable. Too many businesses think that that they have to post five or ten times a day. They prioritize quantity over quality and post junk just to meet some arbitrary number of posts someone said they need to reach daily. If your content is not engaging because you don’t have the time to post something of value and you are just throwing stuff out there to meet an arbitrary goal, you will lose your audience. Always prioritize quality over quantity. Better to post a few times per week with a quality post than post crap ten times a day. If you have a post that resonates, you may want to use a bit of money to amplify its success.
With your audience in mind try to determine on which social media channel they spend time, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. If you outsource your social media, you can target every platform. However, as small business owners, most of us do our own social media posting and still have a business to run. Therefore, review the list and pick the one or two channels that you personally enjoy most and engage with only those channels. Franziska recommends that if you do not enjoy being on the channel, either outsource that channel to a team member or simply focus on the channels that you enjoy. Working with a channel that you do not enjoy will mean that you will fail to devote the proper energies to make your social media strategy work.
Too many businesses, including mine, approach social media more like narcissistic media. They try to automate everything and see social media more as a one-way communications street. Many companies think that it’s just all about them talking AT the audience (Monolog) but that’s not what social media is about (Dialog). As I said at the top of this post, social media is about being more social. Social means it’s a two-way street and you want to focus on building relationships and being social. Rather than just publishing content and talking AT people, focus on building relationships with your audience and treating them like real stakeholders that are interested in your business. Consider leveraging the messaging applications within most social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn Messaging, or Direct Messages (DM) in Twitter to talk with your audience directly.
Note: If I want to be truly honest, this is where I have often fallen short. Too often I have treated social media as a megaphone just to broadcast my content. I committed to doing a better job of building relationships after I did my research about the Maverick principles. Recently, I added the ability to leave a comment on posts. I hope you take the opportunity to tell me what you think about this and my other posts so we can build a deeper more meaningful relationship.
Look at what’s working and what’s not so you can keep improving the post that you send. Most social media channels have really robust analytics that you should check and that will show you exactly what’s working and what’s not. You can see who your audience is, the demographics, where they live, if they are male or female, their interests, and what they engaged with. It is a good idea to look at each channel’s analytics every few weeks or once a month and analyze the stuff that is working and then do more of that so you can continuously improve.
The consistency principle reminds you to consistently represent your brand in the same way across all your channels. Do all your posts utilize the same logo, colors, and voice? Some time ago I talked about the four attraction characters: Explorer, Thought Leader, Interviewer, and Duty Calls. Pick one attraction character and stick with it across all your channels so that your audience does not get confused.
For example, I fall into the Explorer attraction character and stay consistent across all my channels. Moreover, part of my personal brand includes my two-inch wide black suspenders because everyone who knows me regardless of what I wear, except perhaps if I’m in swimming trunks, sees me in my suspenders. Always be consistent because consistency leads to trust which leads to sales.
While kindness may seem a bit touchy-feely the tenon of this last element of the Maverick principles is about the kind of comments or responses you give. Jillian Treasure did an excellent TED talk called “How To Speak So That People Want to Listen” and we even did a post based on it about How to Avoid The 5 Deadly Sins Of Speaking So You Will Be Heard, the essence of which is that too many people dish dirt, whine, make excuses, exaggerate, and argue relentlessly. These types of communications, while perhaps making the person feel better, cause the reader to disengage or disconnect.
Since anyone can set up a profile and remain anonymous, many people tend to be trolls and get a buzz by leaving snarky or insulting comments they would never say to you in person. Don’t contribute with negative energy and pile on. Better to simply choose not to engage than to go negative. And if someone responds to one of your posts with a negative or nasty comment, rather than engage in an argument, kill them with kindness.
How can you use the Maverick principles to improve your social media?
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