Disclaimer: The following accounts are indicative of one man’s success. Before applying any of his practices to your company’s social media marketing, I highly suggest you read our post about Gauging the Risk of Your Company’s Political Blog to guide you through the process.
As a digital agency near St. Louis, jWeb Media is lucky enough to have access to the Social Media Club STL’s monthly event, Social Media ON TAP. ON TAP hosts a guest speaker who talks about their exceptional success with social media. Last night our content and social media department had the good luck of hearing from Ed Domain, who has recently become something of a local celebrity in St. Louis.
Shortly after Ed came to St. Louis in 2013, he took a Harris Cab taxi that ended in a horrible car collision. He suffered many injuries, including a shattered hip that left him hospitalized for six months. Worse yet, the cab that caused the accident was uninsured, leaving Ed in serious debt.
However, the real drama hadn’t even begun. It wasn’t until Harris Cab started attacking the ride share app Uber for not “following the rules” that Domain started to lash out. His open letter to Mayor Slay went viral on social media, and his movement to overthrow St. Louis’s broken political system has gained momentum ever since.
In addition to speaking out against a corrupt system, Domain has expanded his influence online and off. He has launched Techli, a growing technology news and editorial site and alluded to a future television spot during his talk at ON TAP.
Like any success story, there’s a wealth of lessons beneath the surface. Ed’s bold, shrewd tactics gave jWeb plenty to think about when it comes to social strategy, so here’s a quick rundown of our takeaways from Ed’s talk last night.
People Love Vigilantes
Obviously, Ed’s story got people’s attention because he’s fighting the good fight and exposing the corruption inherent in the system. Social media superheroes are bound to get attention from people who care about the issues they bring up. But Ed wasn’t just any vigilante. Ed had a solution. And while it may not be as exciting as Wolverine time traveling, it shows that there’s a battle to be won.
Therefore, make sure you have a call to action when you take a stand on social media. Whiners are not heroes; they just make up the majority of internet content and drown in their own unsolvable sorrow. Ed doesn’t complain; he states problems as facts. By the time he gets to his solution, you’re ready to take action.
(Side Note: Not surprisingly, Ed wants to stay in his vigilante role rather than run for office. People are more likely to support him when he’s separate from the system he’s calling corrupt. As companies, it may be more difficult to stand out as a trusting entity. You may consider choosing a public face if you’d like to start a political cause rather than support someone else’s.)
Be Honest & Consult a Lawyer before Publishing
That’s not a joke: Before Ed hit “publish” on his open letter to Mayor Slay, he got the go ahead from his lawyer. Taking a political stand is a great way to get attention on social media, but it can backfire if you’re hiding behind lies and misdirection. When going head-to-head with a powerful entity, don’t lie—that could get you into legal trouble.
Need Publicity Fast? Twitter’s the Way to Go
When asked what social media platform he preferred, “Twitter,” was Domain’s immediate response. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s public, making it perfect for politically-charged posts.
Two Words: Influencer. Marketing.
While these two words never came up in Ed’s talk per se, they were heavily implied by his story. From Cardinals baseball players to Build-a-Bear owner Maxine Clark, powerful influencers were always amplifying his message online. If you want to make a splash with social media, influencer marketing is one of the most effective online marketing techniques today. Be sure to:
- Make and maintain connections on social media
- Share updates people empathize with and want to share
Let Social Media Be a Safety Net
Ed was the first person to admit that if this controversy had happened ten or more years ago, it’s unlikely he would have seen the same success. And it’s not just that he used social media as his megaphone. Social media also makes it more difficult for large corporations to intimidate the little guy.
“They can’t stop us because we can’t be bullied into silence,” said Domain at ON TAP. Now, you can’t say anything you want on social media (Re: Be Honest and Consult a Lawyer before Publishing), but it’s easier to be honest when you don’t have to fear physical intimidation.
“I’ll talk to anybody anywhere just to get this thing out in public.” Ed’s advice here can’t be stressed enough. If you really care about something and want to make a difference, you can’t be picky about who you talk to and when.
P.S. “Loud” Doesn’t Mean “Rude”
While Ed has been called “idiot” and worse by his opposition, he refuses to stoop to the level of crass name calling (though he did admit to using the term “clown shoes” once). Insulting is never constructive. In fact, it’s one of the guaranteed ways to push your supporters to the other side. In short: be respectful.