(Republished from Spring Creek Group blog.)
It’s not often that you get the chance to sit down with a two-time NCAA National Champion, and current NFL coach, to talk 1-on-1 about business and strategy. And sadly, this was not one of those times. But I did get to share a room with 300 other people to listen to the new chief Seahawk, Pete Carroll, share some wisdom and philosophy about business and coaching.
Carroll’s presentation was not actually entitled, “How to Run a Social Media Campaign.” But with 400,000 Twitter followers, he could probably run an entire event on the matter if he so wished. He spoke about general leadership and business philosophies, but when you peel away the adjectives, they are also extremely sound strategies for a social media program as well. In honor of the 12thman, here are 12 philosophies I walked away with (and which will likely soon in up in one of our presentation decks).
(Quotes are paraphrases of Carroll’s speech, not necessarily direct quotes, and the photo is from the PSBJ recap.)
1) “I wasn’t ready to be a head coach when I ran the Jets. So it was a mistake to get involved. But when I finally figured it out and was ready for the next role, I knew exactly what I needed to do, and what it would take to put it together.” Social media translation – If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t rush in. Figure out what you need to do, and what it will take to get there. Write everything down, start your program and make refinements along the way. But know what the goals are, and what pieces you need to make them happen.
2) “Look forward to the challenges ahead of you, rather than worry about them.” – If you’ve built out a solid plan, you can anticipate where there may be hurdles. When you are prepared and ready to face difficulties, whether they are organizational, technical, or content centric, you are in the proper mindset to find the right solutions in an efficient manner.
3) “We all win sometimes. But if you want to win forever, you figure out why you are winning.” –It’s not just that anyone can get lucky, it’s that everyone will get lucky at some point. If you rest on a few wins without figuring out what exactly got you that bump in traffic or spike in friends, you’ll only be successful until the next company (possibly a competitor) gets their stroke of luck.
4) “Winners battle for a competitive edge in everything they do. Find those who want to do things better than other people, and you all will achieve greater things. Fight, scratch and claw to find a better way.” –Don’t just pick an employee or agency because they are convenient or easy. Pick those with drive and passion to be better than others, and your campaigns will reflect that more so than someone who just wants to get a check. Simply doing something because, ‘it’s how we’re used to doing it’ is not acceptable for a social media or marketing program. Do what it takes to make something special happen.
5) “Accomplishment is one thing, but it’s more important to understand how someone feels about that accomplishment.” –A line on a resume or a completed project only gets you so far. Understanding whether the person thinks they could have done better, and how they’d do it over, is a better predictor of who is going to execute a quality campaign for you, and how your campaign is going to evolve over time.
6) “Find the folks that other people are listening to. Make an impact on them first, then the rest is easier.” –Identify your influencers. But don’t try to sell them garbage. Carroll used the word “impact” which is key. Be “impactful” to those who matter the most, and you’ll get their support.
7) “3 or 4 people in a crowd out of 15,000 can change a community.” –Carroll’s program to fight gang violence had a monetary return. It cost about $100k to support each of these 3 or 4 influencers. Each gang-related death costs the city $1 Million in legal fees. So for every death Carroll’s group prevents, the city avoids having to pay out $1 Million. Social media may not lead to direct sales, but can you determine if it is preventing additional costs on expensive PR efforts later?
8) “Do things better than anyone else has ever done before, in all the things you choose to do.” — You don’t have to do everything, but if you are going to do it, don’t just do it well, shoot to do it better than everyone else. Basically, “mediocrity” not “failure” is the enemy of “excellence.”
9) “Know your philosophy. If you can’t articulate your own philosophy in 25 words or less, how do you expect anyone who works for you or around you to explain it to others?” –Your social media program needs a vision and a voice, and it needs to be articulated to everyone in your company.
10) “John Wooden had his own way of doing things that were unique. He could draw on people from all walks of life, because they could all focus on his unique way.” –Your brand needs its own unique identity, philosophy and vision if you want people to be drawn to it. If you do things out of a standardized process or playbook, you only cater to those people who agree with that playbook. If you do your own thing, you can draw everyone who believes in the vision.
11) “Empower yourself to do everything you can do, in the areas you control. Don’t worry about the things you can’t.” –Don’t stress about whether people will say something negative. You control the product you develop, the price you sell it for, and the way you promote it. You control how you respond to your customers and how you cater to their needs. Focus on that, and don’t waste energy on the other stuff.
12) “Evaluate, Address areas of concern, and fill the holes.” –This goes to the Spring Creek Group philosophy of 1) Analyze Data, 2) Develop a Strategic Plan, and 3) Engage the Community. Take a good hard look at what you have, figure out the best course of action, and then be relentless in fulfilling those needs.
You can follow Carroll on Twitter at @PeteCarroll. Also, a full-length video of his speech can be found on the Seahawks web site.