Bricks-To-Clicks® Marketing Podcast

Social Media Mistake #4

Episode Number





Dr. Barnes shares the fourth social media mistake that many business leaders often make. This one mistake can leave people confused about your mission as a business, personal brand, or nonprofit. And if that happens, you won't get the number one thing you need online to get engagement: attention. In this episode, Dr. Barnes explains how avoiding this mistake can help any organization get attention and engagement. This episode is based on Dr. Barnes' book "5 Social Media Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid." 


James Barnes (00:07):
Welcome to the Bricks-To-Clicks Marketing podcast. If you're a small business owner and you struggle with marketing your business, this podcast is just for you. I'm your host, James Barnes. And thank you for listening today.

James Barnes (00:22):
In season one, we've been talking about five social media mistakes your business should avoid. And today, I want to talk about mistake number four, and it's really this: You don't identify the villain in your customers' stories. Villains play a very important role in the story that you're telling on social media and brands use villains all the time. And there are all sorts of villains that you can identify in your marketing and especially to tell the story on social media. And I want to give you a few examples and then lead you through a process that you can use to discover what's the villain really on for your customer because remember the villain causes this customer, your customer to have a problem and ask the question, why are your customers not solving their problem? This leads us directly to know who the villain is or what the villain is.

James Barnes (01:12):
So if you look at this, sometimes a villain can be the competition. It can be your competition. Brands do this all the time. T-Mobile does this and did this many, many years ago. In 2012, when the new CEO took over, they identified their villain early on. This is written up in a Harvard Business Review article. You can check out. At the time, they had 33 million subscribers and by 2016, based on using the villain that they identified in their story, in their marketing, they jump to 69 million. So the villain was a competitor, AT&T and actually Verizon a little bit too. And so they really chose AT&T but of course, Verizon was lumped in there as well as they began to argue why their service is so much better.

James Barnes (01:57):
And so this happened in the mobile industry, and it also it's happened over the years in real software and hardware programs for computers. Years ago, there was a series of YouTube ads that were on Get a Mac and it pitted the cool guy in the ad who was the Mac person or Apple person against the nerdy looking guy in the image, [inaudible 00:02:24] glasses and all how they characterized him. And so they had this conversation back and forth as to who was better at what, and Apple always came out on top, of course, on different things that they're really better at. That's their whole idea.

James Barnes (02:35):
And so one villain that you can use is a competitor. And now just know when you did it just like it did with T-Mobile, they're going to engage in the fight. I mean, if you come out and say something, they're going to come out and say something. And so if you're wanting to pick a fight and really choose a villain like that, a competitor, it will do it. It will work. This happens in lots of other industries and lots of different examples, but that's one example of how people choose a villain and then use that in their marketing and they tell this story of how they're fighting against the villain. And everybody listens to those stories because it introduces something that holds our attention. It's called drama, and the villain's causing the drama, causing the problem for our customers.

James Barnes (03:18):
So problem and loss, we've talked about early on in the episodes for this season, how we need to characterize what that is. Well, the villain really causes the problem and the losses to happen. And if we can name it, if we can describe it, if we can show it, then we're going to amp up the drama that people are going to be listening to. Then soon after that, it's all about how you solve that drama and get rid of it. Well, you get rid of it by selling the service or product, whatever you have, that's going to defeat the villain. It gives the customer a tool, gives the customer a product or service that they can use to defeat the villain.

James Barnes (03:52):
Another example, a lot of times, small business owners won't have time to do their marketing is just there are so many different things they're doing. And so years ago, a marketing company created a time thief as a villain. And so this time thief would, or a thief would go around and steal your time as you were operating your small business. And so you didn't have time to do your marketing and something else would happen in the business throughout the day. And you wouldn't have time to do your marketing. You should have posted something on social media, but you didn't because you didn't have time because the time thief was stealing your time somehow during the business day. And it's those sorts of things they use to characterize the time thief as a villain. And it was effective because it helps the customer see themselves in the story, especially if you're a small business owner, I'm sure you can relate. If you're pressed for two times, this time thief thing is really serious and it can happen for lots of reasons, but it's a serious villain to take into account.

James Barnes (04:48):
And there are lots of other examples of how brands use villains. Mucinex created a memorable villain. If you just go on YouTube and look for some Mucinex ads, you'll see Mucinex or mucus out, that's kind of what to look for. You'll see the little germ and mucus, they villainize as a cartoon and so forth, but it is true that people can relate to it. And so you want to make sure whatever the villain is that people can understand and identify the kind of problems that the villain is causing you, the customer, or your customers. And so Mucinex is one example of that.

James Barnes (05:24):
Allstate created mayhem and uses it all the time. All you have to do is go to YouTube and look at some mayhem commercials and you'll figure out really quickly, that mayhem is causing customers to pay out of pocket for things that mayhem is causing to happen. So those are two really good examples of brands using villains to really amplify the story about success and how they help their customers overcome villains. So in the book, I talk a lot about villains and the role they play. It's one of the things that it can be a mistake in your social media marketing, that you don't have a villain. There's nothing there that you're fighting against. There's nothing for people to join in and join the fight. And so you want to have named a villain.

James Barnes (06:10):
In the book, I give you an example of a villain and the case study that's in the book, it's about HogEye cameras and a company in Mississippi that produces technology, a camera that helps landowners. And so just three questions we use to walk them through creating their villain and really using it on their social media, which now they reach millions of people every month, between 10 and 20 million in this past year. Per month, they reach... And they have about 95,000 people on their Facebook and Instagram combined. So they're using the whole idea of villain quite, quite well.

James Barnes (06:42):
And here are the three questions that we use to guide them through what's their villain. And so the first question, I worked with them and I said, it was like, okay, so your customers are fighting against a villain called what, like what's causing the real problems for your customers? And you have to remember their customers or landowners. And so that was the first question. The second one was we set it from their position. My customers' villain causes this problem for my customers. And for them, landowners were losing thousands of dollars in damages. Like they had damaged property and equipment and habitat, that kind of thing. And so that was pretty straightforward. The third one was, what are your customers losing because of the villain? And for landowners, it was money and these other things, but so to answer that, what's the name of the villain? Well, for them, it's feral hogs, wild hogs tearing up property on landowners, all around the US global, even.

James Barnes (07:41):
Number two was, what is the problem they cause? Well, they're causing damage to land or property. And then the third one is what's the loss? Well, it's money. They're losing money, crops, pasture, and other resources that are being destroyed by feral hogs. So that's their villain. And if you look at their social media, one of the things that they show is the climactic scene that you would think of at the end of a movie, they show their video from thousands of customers all across the globe, Australia, Europe, you name it where they show the video of the hogs actually being caught. So they introduced the drama with the whole idea of the villain and the feral hog, but they also show the villain is defeated. And the defeat comes by way of a landowner using their camera and trap technology. And so what have they done? They've used a villain to show that the damage and the cost of it can be avoided if a landowner will take action by the service or product they have, which in this case is a camera to use, to trap feral hogs on their properties.

James Barnes (08:52):
That's how they end the drama. They close the loop when they show a feral hog or multiple hogs being caught on a piece of property. Now not everybody's got a feral hog to point at, but my point of this is you do have a villain you can identify so you can help tell that part of the story to connect with your customers. Your customers have a problem. You have a solution to that problem, whatever the product or services that you sell. So whatever the villain is, that's continuing to cause the problem, think about it like this, why are you not solving the problem? If you're a customer and you've got a problem, why are you not solving it? What could that be? So why the problem isn't being resolved or your customer isn't resolving it is leading you toward what's the villain.

James Barnes (09:38):
So think about that. Think about the way that you can identify villains in your marketing. So you can start telling that story on social media, because so many times you're going to amp up the drama, amp up... Giving people a reason to really join the fight, really, and in this doesn't matter if you have a for-profit or non-profit or anything else. The last story I'll use and kind of close and wrap this up is several years ago, REI, it's an outdoor gear company. They turned shopping at holiday sales, this holiday consumerism literally into a villain. And so on that particular like Black Friday, they closed their stores and just encouraged people to go outside and not be a part of the shopping hassle and the stress and everything else.

James Barnes (10:24):
And so people started doing, they took on that villain and they actually started doing that. And so they didn't shop. They did other things and they started posting on Twitter, in different places, on social media. There's a big article in Adweek all about it. But this is just a place where REI figured out that if they had something like a villain, like a holiday consumerism, they could fight against it by taking action on Black Friday and people join them and doing it. So what is your customer's villain? You need to think about this. It can add a whole lot of interest to the story you're telling on social media. It's going to draw attention. It's going to help you clarify what the problem and loss are. It's going to also then give you a chance to pivot and sell whatever you are selling, your product or service so that your customer can defeat the villain. That's what it is at the end of the day.

James Barnes (11:11):
So without a villain, we don't have a lot of drama. We need drama. That's what we want. I mean, what would we have if we had Batman and no joker, Superman, no Lex Luthor, et cetera, et cetera, right? So you got to have it. So get that. That's what you need. Those are the questions we went through with HogEye. Hopefully, they'll help you identify your villain. And I want to thank you for joining me for this part of the podcast, this episode. You can get the downloads and show notes and much, much more for all the episodes for the podcast, just by going to our Facebook page, just searching for Bricks-To-Clicks Marketing.

James Barnes (11:40):
I give you a step-by-step process in this one. If you look under this episode to figure out what is the villain that your customers really up against? And this is a big deal. So don't miss it. I hope you'll follow up. Follow the questions, and identify the villain that your customer's facing. That way you can bring people into a story they can relate to and be a part of, and they want to buy your stuff to defeat the villain, to be a part of that story. And that's the whole idea to continue to help people see ways of making their life better and defeating a villain is the path. Hope it's been helpful. Thank you for joining me.

I hope you'll check out the next episode where we wrap up the final mistake, the final social media marketing mistake that you need to avoid that could be costing you thousands of dollars in leads. That's in the next episode coming up.