The Lighter Side of Social Media Marketing: Q&A with Jordan Cooper from ‘Not a Pro Blog’
You’d expect a social media marketing blogger to write about transparency, open communication and engagement. But you probably wouldn’t expect to see a post touting the similarities between social media marketers and strippers. Or a video montage of Captain Picard from “Star Trek Next Generation” eerily predicting what social media marketers repeatedly tell their clients (engage).
As an “unprofessional” in the social media marketing world (but with a lot of qualified experience under his belt), Cooper’s blog puts a playful, humorous and sometimes downright irreverent spin on blogging, social media and marketing. But while his tongue-in-cheek, opinionated posts and videos often have visitors LOLing, they also serve a purpose: educating brands and marketers alike on social media best practices.
We sat down with Cooper to learn more about his perspective.
Cercone Brown & Co.: As a self-described, “Not a Pro,” what inspired you to start a blog about social media and marketing?
Jordan Cooper: I guess the whole “not a pro” thing is really a misnomer…I’ve been partaking in many guerrilla entrepreneurial endeavors for quite a while (from concert promotions to underground poker) that utilized many similar business concepts. In the past year though, I was looking to take a video game site/forum I run from a passionate hobby to an actual sustainable business — and that’s what introduced me to the social media/blogging “scene.”
Just being a passive outsider for a good six months, I learned a great deal…but I also saw a lot of contradictions and hypocrisies between the advice being given and the actual action steps for success. As a stand-up comic though, I had my observational “goggles” on — so I couldn’t help but jot down a ton of awesome jokes based on the inconsistencies about this industry. Why not then start a blog combining my sarcastic humor mixed with solid fundamental business advice?
CBC: What do you hope visitors take away from your blog and your videos?
JC: Entertainment. Truthfully, that’s the primary purpose of what I do — give you a quick laugh, something witty and interesting to read, an energetic video rant. I’m not changing the world. I’m not enlightening people. I pretty much tell the business equivalent of fart jokes.
Reading blogs every day shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be redundant regurgitation of content written 1000 times before. There’s so many serious blogs about this industry written by people with 10 times more experience than me, so why should I kid myself? I have no problem being the pattern interrupt. Come to my blog. Have a good time. Don’t take anything too seriously. In the process, if you happen to find some useful business pointers or something to think about in the midst of my carnival atmosphere, that’s great.
CBC: In one of your posts, you likened social media marketers to strippers. Can you explain what you mean?
JC: Without going on a rant, I’m talking mostly about ulterior motives. Most of these social media “gurus” rally around the concepts of transparency and authenticity — yet I firmly believe that it’s impossible to accomplish when money (or any business objective) is involved with public engagement.
There’s little difference between the person who spams the same sales message 100 times a day on Twitter and the person who actively engages and converses — they’re both there for *business*. The only difference is their methods of going about it. Just because you share tons of links and @replies in between your own self-promotion doesn’t automatically make you a sincere individual. You’re doing it to *veil* your marketing well and make people feel cared about enough to either grow an attachment, spread your message or actually purchase something. That’s still *business*. It’s not truly authentic (nor does it have to be).
Just like the strippers who give extra special attention to certain guys & pretends to actually like them — only to butter them up to part with cash for services rendered. It’s a business tactic.
CBC: If there are no “experts” in social media, what term do you think social media marketers should use to describe themselves?
JC: Well, I never really said that there are no experts in this field. I just don’t believe that having theoretical notions about a subject makes you more qualified than anyone else. Show me actual experience implementing your concepts in a tangible way, then let’s talk. Some people would call this the difference between “book smart” and “street smart.” I’ll take the latter each and every time.
Our qualifications on any subject matter is really just a compendium of our past experiences. If that wasn’t the case, then why would anyone ever care about resumes? Show your expertise by *doing*, not by talking. Don’t manufacture social proof by highlighting in detail the successes of others — be the one who actually did it.
They can call themselves whatever they want, though. Experts, gurus, rockstars, ninjas, it doesn’t matter. The name doesn’t mean anything without backed up with solid experience, solid results and a track record of success.
Am I one of those people? Who knows? I’m just a guy who did stuff. If that stuff is similar to what you want to do, hire me. It’s that simple.
CBC: Why should businesses even engage in social media marketing?
JC: Simply put — that’s where your customers are. I see it no different than offline marketing. If a bunch of people who would likely be interested in your product or service were gathered together somewhere — you wouldn’t think it’s a good idea to show up in some capacity? Of course it would be beneficial to have a presence.
Why do businesses place ads in certain magazines? It’s because the type of people who read it would likely be interested in their product or service. So if there are thousands upon thousands of your target demographic active in the social media landscape, why wouldn’t you treat it the same way?
It doesn’t get any simpler. That’s why I’m always befuddled that the question is even posed. Go where the customers are (and for some reason, if they’re not there — then don’t go there!).
JC: Don’t treat it like it’s separate from your “regular” marketing. It’s the same as print advertising. It’s the same as radio promotions. It’s the same as buying television spots. It’s the same as direct mail. There’s a rhyme and a reason behind everything you do. You wouldn’t put together an ad campaign willy-nilly, hope for the best and then have no clue how to measure its effectiveness, right?
Too many companies throw up a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a blog with no plan and no strategy. Yet when it comes to a 30 second TV commercial, they’ll spend inordinate amounts of time pouring over business figures, conducting surveys, analyzing data, aligning marketing campaigns, etc. Six months later, after putting an intern in charge of their efforts, they’re sitting there wondering why they’re even bothering with “social media” at all. Well, what do you expect when you treat that marketing channel as an afterthought?
CBC: If true transparency is what everyone is looking for, what do you suggest marketers need to do to achieve that? Is it even possible?
JC: Of course, it’s possible. It may not be the best business decision though. That’s the main point I always try to highlight when it comes to this concept of transparency…it’s perfectly okay if you’re not! This is *business*. We’re not here to make friends. Use social media in whatever way you want — and if that shows the highest ROI, then you’re good!
I really don’t think everyone (the customers, that is) are looking for true transparency whatsoever. In fact, most of your customers frankly may be completely ambivalent and not give a crap about you at all. I shop at Best Buy all the time… do you think I follow and converse with them on Twitter? Of course not. I don’t care. The only time I do is when something goes wrong or I’m looking for information. That’s the same with *everyone*.
Don’t worry about doing everything. What people really do care about is their own needs. If you can just deliver that to them, you’ll be a superstar.
CBC: What’s the most mind-blowing thing you’ve encountered during your stint as an unprofessional social media blogger?
For my Football Manager site/forum, I remember the day the latest version of the game was released…Twitter was non-stop with people talking about it. Many though, were having problems installing it and/or getting to grips with the new interface. I spent a good 12 hours searching and responding to people, seemingly out of the blue (since most don’t even realize there is indeed a search capability) and helping them solve their issues. The amount of appreciation I got back was absolutely amazing.
The next two months (and still to this day) I continue to do the same thing — enough so to become *the* resource on Twitter for all things about the game. Little self-promotion. A lot of sharing. Many of the people I help ended up purchasing our premium strategy guide. So, now who says that a social media strategy isn’t worth it?
Photos: Not A Pro Blog; Laptop - Jakub Krechowicz; Tweeter - Svilen Milev