Growing up, I spent many a high school afternoon riding my bike or walking to the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The goal wasn’t to shop for a fly outfit or fresh pair of kicks; I was there for one reason – to fill my belly with an awesome cinnamon bun from Cinnabon.
So excuse me if I was caught in somewhat of a nostalgic time warp yesterday when I saw an article detailing how Kat Cole, former president of Cinnabon, discussed how she leveraged Twitter.
What truly stood out was that she not only shared company news, but also engaged with her followers as it is another outlet to humanize the brand and make connections with consumers.
Let that simmer for a second.
Yes – Cole engages with real folks, she does not have an intern do it. She also sees it as part of her job to build a brand. Those two factors are often missing from top executives when they want to learn how to Tweet, Facebook or blog. Out of all of the trainings that I have done in my 8-ish year career in social media, executives are looking for the quick fix and for magic and instant notoriety or speaking gigs.
Perhaps the biggest miss on the executive level is that they do not get past the keyboard and realize that there are people behind the Twitter accounts that happen to love a product. Cole perhaps states it best with the following quote:
“I love to connect,” Cole says, “and while meeting tens of thousands of people in person in a couple of years would be difficult, I actually have done that through Twitter.”
I would suggest that social media leaders and executives bookmark this article and read through Cole’s strategy and take three things away.
- Make time to build connections. Sure networking with other executives is great, but great ideas can come from anywhere, so nothing should be discounted.
- Digital and social are here to stay. Customers will find you whether you like it or not. You have the choice – ignore or pass to your communications team (not discounting the communications team, but you should be able to clear Tweeting on your own) … or extend the brand relationship.
- Stop being afraid. Facebook has a famous mantra that asks “what would you do if you were not afraid?” Apply that and don’t be afraid to reach out and touch someone.
- Follow Kat on Twitter. Do it now.
To close, I am truly impressed with Kat Cole. Hats off to you and nothing but the best moving forward. Now if I could only find a Cinnabon that doesn’t come in a tube … sorry but it isn’t the same.