I have a confession to make. I don’t like rules. I never have. When I was a child my mom used to tell me “Ladies don’t talk like that” and sometimes “You can’t go out with your hair a mess like that” I would always reply “Why the fuck not?” while pushing my wild hair out of my face so she could see my scowl. In 2014 I was lucky enough to give birth to my daughter and now there are two of me. Literally. That girl’s attitude and smarts gives me a run for my money; and I’ve been on this earth 6 times as long as she has. Now I can hear all the people in the back saying something generic about my daughter’s fierce determination and stubbornness serving as a form of cosmic payback for years of torturing my parents. To that I say; “Cosmic payback? What kind of bullshit are you peddling?” While pulling my wild hair up in a bun. My point is I make my own rules. Always have. And I’m not even sorry. I tried dabbling in freelancing and I was pretty good at it. But here is the thing I didn’t like working for other people. I didn’t like their rules and I REALLY didn’t like a lot of their policies. I didn’t like having to bite my tongue and keep my head down just to make a living. It wasn’t for me. So I did what any rule breaker would do; I filed a butt ton of paperwork and I became a small business owner just a few short months after a freak blood clot almost killed me. (Read the side effects of your birth control pills carefully y’all.) When I launched my business in July 2019 I was very adamant about doing things differently. I understood then and now that rules exist for a reason and that best practices are best for most people but I wasn’t happy to accept I had to follow everyone else’s business plan. I believe that trends make great resources but horrible road maps and this month’s chronicle is dedicated to explaining how and why we elect to Redefine the Rules!
Do we follow trends?
The short answer is no. The long answer is a little more complicated. We would be fools if we flat out ignored the trends. Trends are trends because they are trending. It’s literally our job to keep up with trends; and we do. I am painfully aware of all current social media trends and get Twitter alerts about four hundred million times a day.
That being said trends aren’t always relevant. We work with several clients that could care less about hashtags. We post social media posts for them with 0 hashtags. *gasp* Yep. Not a one. A social media expert looking at that account might think we’re doing them a disservice. This could not be farther from the truth. We feel forcing a client to implement a hashtag strategy that they aren't interested in is doing them a disservice.
We educate ourselves and our clients on trends and collectively decide if utilizing those trends is best for the client. A small doctor’s office in small town Michigan isn’t going to benefit from posting to huge international hashtags. If they’re goal is just to communicate with their patients. We focus on the goals, not the trends.
We respect our clients and work fit into their lives and plans. Not the other way around. We’ve seen other agencies operate like that and we are not about that life.
What about best practices?
Same deal. It depends on the client’s need but largely no. For example; you will hear there are “best times” to reach people on social media. That you should post during these “peak times”. We don’t put too much stock in this. This is largely bullshit anyway. These peak times are calculated based on the time of day that most people are on social media, but what if you’re not trying to reach most people? Or what if the people you are trying to reach aren’t on during the same times most people are on? We keep these optimal times in mind when creating a content schedule, of course, but we don’t make our decision based on these times. Rather we work with our clients to determine who they are trying to reach and we make our content posting times based on when that audience is online. We monitor our results and we make adjustments. To us, this seems like common sense but to a lot of agencies this is not acceptable. If you ever hear from someone that the best time to post to (insert platform) here is…. Run. They are just going to post your content during an already overcrowded time slot because they read somewhere that this time was optimal. And spoiler alert when you post content in “peak times” it almost guarantees it will get lost in all the noise.
So what’s our approach?
I love this question. Anytime someone asks me this question I get so excited. Our approach is almost so simple it seems like a non-approach. We just listen. That’s it. We listen to the trends, the data, the success stories, the industry, the cultural climate, the needs of consumers and most importantly, we listen to our clients.
We take time to digest all of this information and we make a plan. That’s all folks. That’s our whole approach. That is why we don’t post our prices online. That is why we’ve never developed two strategies that are the same. Every client is different, every business has different goals, and the path to success is different for everyone.
We’ve seen a BOOM in small businesses in the last ten years and that is fucking fantastic. This same boom has brought with it a rise in a whole lot of “experts” who have subsequently started making all of these rules. I don’t like this. A business is only as good as it’s business plan and business plans are NOT best made in a herd. Your brand has a unique personality; our goal in marketing is to be true to that personality; not to change you to look like every other business.
If you’re looking for a cut and paste business strategy I’m sorry to say you’re wasting your time on our blog. Although thank you so much for taking the time to read this. If you’re ready to embrace the subtleties that are YOUR BRAND, shoot us a hello. I can assure you; our approach is one of a kind.