Ten Likeonomics Takeaways

On Tuesday, June 19th, the Greater New York Chapters of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) co-sponsored a luncheon at the Sofitel New York.  Featuring prominent social marketer, author and professor Rohit Bhargava (@rohitbhargava), Mr. Bhargava presented an engaging session based on the principles and findings outlined in his latest book, Beyond Facebook – Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action.  All those who were in attendance received a signed copy of the book as well as were treated to an enlightening presentation rife with tangible takeaways on social media, leadership and strategic marketing ideas to consider.  The following list will highlight many of these fundamental assertions.

  1. We love to create bubbles; short awesome marketing moments that are compelling for the short-term post yet don’t result in anything sustainable. Social media gives us the opportunity as marketers to know more about our customer and create longer-lasting relationships with our brand’s biggest advocates, yet also makes the “bubble creation” process even easier.
  2. Having more people ‘like’ you does not mean more people care. The “lack of audience” blame game is so often played when a social media campaign or initiative falls flat that the “if we just had x more fans…” excuse for lack of engagement deserves retirement.  It’s cliché to say that ‘less is more’ but, when it comes to social media, few but highly engaged, qualified fans is ideal.
  3. Social gone wrong leads to a time-wasting reality. Brands who do social for the sake of social or – more problematically – don’t understand what kind of content fans truly want to be exposed to, end up “wasting time listening to social noise, creating content graveyards, and publishing useless content” according to Mr. Bhargava.
  4. What made the youngest kid in your office the social “expert” anyway? The millennial generation may in fact be the frontier generation for social media usage, but connecting with your friends and marketing your brand are two entirely divergent behaviors and skills.  If you are a malleable marketer in the traditional sense, you too can be a social media specialist.
  5. Our customers are becoming more unreasonable. The business landscape reality is that we are living through “the modern believability crisis” defined by unreasonable demands from our customers that have largely been fed by the communication openness ushered in by social media.
  6. In an increasingly low trust world, people are rediscovering the oldest form of influence: personal connection. Mr. Bhargava offered Matt Barrett’s travel guide to Greece as a success story example – a passion-project, amateur website that hasn’t been re-designed since the dot.com boom yet ranks higher than the most professionally compiled travel guides when “Greece vacation” is queried.
  7. You don’t need to be a digital maven or Twitter ninja to get your voice heard through social.  This is a central idea behind Likeonomics – the idea that likeability is the real secret to being trusted and, in turn, growing an engaged audience.
  8. Great leaders spend more time looking out the window and less time looking in the mirror.  Steve Jobs was named the perfect example of exacting this leadership mantra – likeable people start with the truth and maintain a consistent focus on making their product, service and business better.
  9. Likeability goes a long way in the hiring process.  When evaluating competency versus likeability in a potential colleague, a highly likeable yet less than competent individual (qualified as a “loveable fool” by a Harvard University study) was identified as more favorable hire than a highly competent, un-likeable worker or “competent jerk”.  The likeability decision in this process is most often defined as a “culture fit”.
  10. Your ability to succeed depends on filling the “likeability gap”.  This gap is hedged by what people do because they HAVE to do versus what they do because they WANT to.   
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