UPDATE: On August 9th, Joe’s story was featured on CNN.com and WIRED.com (read story)
You know those people who don’t see value in a product or service, don’t want to hear about how it works, and, at the same time, vent frustration over their lack of success at a specific task? Yeah, you know who I’m talking about… Naysayers!
My husband, Joe, had a similar outlook when it came to social media. Joe was blind (pun intended) to the potential benefits of harnessing social media as a business tool. True, he used Twitter and had someone posting his blogs to Facebook and the like, but he simply couldn’t be convinced that these were actually tools to be used in the quest to make more people aware of his first feature film.
In April 2010 Joe posted on his blog that he wasn’t going to get caught up in the “same irrational exuberance…that brought down many of the dot com startups way back when”. His post was a humorous rant about Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, et al, in which he went on to explain how our dog has layed claim to mayorship of a favorite patch of trees for her own, er, business. It’s a funny read, but it also highlighted his reluctance to recognize the purpose of businesses and individuals using social media to promote themselves, their products and their businesses.
The past week has changed his mind. Imagine my surprise when my husband uttered the words so many women wait a lifetime to hear: “I was wrong.”
What caused Joe to do a 180 regarding social media? What made him recognize that there are tens of millions of people out there wanting to experience something cool and share it with others?
On August 2nd, Sight Unseen Pictures launched a Kickstarter project to fund the completion of the first feature film directed by a blind filmmaker. Over the years, an incredible amount of effort and passion had been poured into this movie, and, with a distribution offer ready to be considered, some finishing touches (post production) had to be completed. So we set out to raise a minimum of $5,000 so Joe’s film could finally reach audiences. While the Kickstarter project is still in its infancy, press releases and social media sharing has prompted people to take notice. The phones started ringing and emails poured in. Just this past Saturday he appeared on WINK News (CBS) in Southwest Florida, and several other interviews are scheduled.
Joe’s realized that the days of bulk faxing and spending 8 hours a day on the phone are behind us. Now, with a few clicks, news about anything can reach the masses in a short period of time. Reaching the ultimate goal – getting higher ups on the chain to take notice – is still a feat, but there’s power in numbers (Justin Bieber’s success on YouTube proves this).
So if you’ve been putting off social media campaigns to get more people engaged in what you do, just look at Joe, who’s come to understand that having thousands of people talking about you speaks volumes. Eventually you need to take into account that the millions of people using social media outlets to interact about – well, everything – are often the best spokespeople for your product.