Habits can hold amazing power in our lives. When we do something consistently enough it becomes subconscious for us to perform that routine. We don't think about it or analyze it, because it has become so ingrained in us to do it that way. Sometimes our habits can be harmful as in smoking or procrastination, but sometimes we can attune our habits to become useful for our lives and our professions. If you perform an internet search on habits you'll uncover an astonishing number of definitions and explanations of how to make or break habits. It seems like everything is covered, from how to change your eating habits to Stephen Covey's seminal work, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."
One area, however, where nobody talks about changing habits yet is in social media marketing. Despite all the advances in personal media communications, marketers still follow their old habits when it comes to social media. They persist in advertising to the masses instead of communicating to the individual, and attempt to change consumers' habits instead of creating products that fit into already existing habits. Since old habits are hard to break, and new habits are hard to form, perhaps marketers should give up on changing consumers and start looking at how they can change themselves instead.
The New Habitudes
Angela Maiers, an award-winning educator, speaker, and professional trainer known for her work in literacy and global communications, is updating her book on Habitudes. The first edition was a huge success in the educational field, but her work also applies to the corporate world. She combines the power of habits with the credo of attitude to develop Habitudes, those skills and actions which lead to 21st Century Success.
Marketers in the new world of social media will require a new skill set to succeed. They need to passionately and persuasively communicate their product or service vision, connect with consumers in new ways and build strong relationships, and help potential customers see that what they offer fits into and enhances their lives.
With these attributes marketers will approach the sometimes confusing and ever-changing world of social media with confidence and optimism instead of viewing it as an unfathomable jungle. To acquire these abilities, Angela recommends building habitudes that will help these visionaries learn how to see their product or service's place in the world and how to communicate about it to those who can benefit. Just think about how these Habitudes could be applied in business, marketing and social media:
Imagination: Are you constantly thinking of new ways your product or service can be used, or new ways to tell consumers about it? Baking soda was just another cake ingredient until someone imagined using it to make drains, refrigerators and laundry smell better.
Curiosity: Do you greet each new social media opportunity with a groan, or do you learn more about it and find out whether it can be helpful in your marketing plan?
Self-Awareness: Part of the ability to increase product use is finding out how current customers use it, understanding what they like and don't like, and seeing them in action with it.
Courage: How many times have you watched your competition outsmart you with product design, marketing ideas or promotional plans that you "really thought of first?" If it hadn't been for the fact that you were too afraid to trust in your instincts or were unwilling to risk the possibility of failure, you might have been the one receiving the accolades.
Adaptability: We all struggle with change. It can be earth-moving and still confidence-shaking. But the one truism of the 21st Century is that consumers are indeed changing and marketers either have to adapt or die. Those who persist in holding on to their old habits of marketing and advertising will find themselves quickly falling behind.
Perseverance: If you think it's hard to change a personal habit, it is almost impossible to change a corporate routine. You'll be told "we've always done it this way" or "that will never work" so many times you may actually start to believe them. But keep pressing on anyway.
Passion: This is Angela's newest Habitude and it applies so well to social media marketing as well. Believe in your product or service, know that customers can benefit from it, and have the passion to do whatever it takes to find them and build a relationship.
Imagine what would happen if marketers included Habitudes in their marketing plans, or how it would be if we would target our audience based on the Habitudes they have. With all the data available today, we have the ability to see the habitudes of our target audience. It just takes some new marketing habits to dig them out and take action on them.