Ekaterina Walter is a social innovator for Intel and author of the upcoming book “Think Like Zuck”. She is the author of the top blog Building Social Bridges, and is an expert on how companies can connect with their consumers using a variety of online tactics.
I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with Ekaterina and she took the time to answer some very important questions facing social media marketers and I also go her to talk about her upcoming book.
Marketo: In your opinion, should the primary business goal for social media be revenue generation, brand awareness, customer engagement, or a mix of all three?
Ekaterina: A mix of all three. Not every business will have lead generation as a primary target. The reason why your business exists, is two-fold. It’s always there to make money, but the bigger purpose is to create something amazing. Having an amazing product is great, but if you don’t have a relationship with your customers and you’re not creating an atmosphere of connection and conversation, you won’t be as successful.
If your customers are happy, it means you’re doing it right. From there, you can then lead your customers into demand gen. You can extend your community, have them tell your stories, and bring their friends along for the ride. That’s why social business is so cool, it allows you to say “Hey my name is Ekaterina, I have a passion for this particular product and brand, how can I connect with you?” instead of just saying “Hi my name is Ekaterina and I’m here to sell you stuff.”
Marketo: What are your thoughts on the rise of visual content? And where do you think it’s heading?
Ekaterina: It goes back to storytelling. The world is becoming more noisy and there’s a need to look at things quickly. 50% of the world population is under 30 and those millennials are growing up on microscreens in the “now” economy. They want information immediately, and if they don’t find it they give up. Due to that mental shift and the whole multi-device approach, people pick out visuals. Visuals and videos are doing much better, people consume them as opposed to banners, traditional ads, and long-form blogging.
Businesses really need to move toward visual marketing. Being a smart visual marketer means understanding how to create visual content and how to use it so that it complements your other assets and the other messages you put in there, including traditional media messages.
Marketo: What was the most surprising thing you discovered about Mark Zuckerberg while researching for your upcoming book “Think Like Zuck”?
Ekaterina: What I found quite interesting is that Zuckerberg embraces the purpose he personally serves in this world, and for him, it’s to connect the world. If you look at all the historic accounts of who he is and how he’s done it, his youth shows. Did he make make mistakes? Absolutely. Did he make personal mistakes? Absolutely.
But here’s the thing, pioneers always have a target on their back. They always get blamed for something, but they’re also the people that change the world. I’ve seen two different types of pioneers, one type are those that create something amazing and then can’t deal with pressure from stakeholders and the world blaming them for something. The other type are pioneers like Zuck, Steve Jobs and Oprah. They’re the ones who have said “Listen, this is my purpose in life. This is my passion. This is what I want to do.” I mean Zuck drives a beat up car, wears t-shirts, and recently bought a home that to a California spender is pretty modest. This is the guy who lives in front of his computer because his passion is to create those connections in the world.
Marketo: In the book you talk about the five key principles you believe were essential to Facebook’s success, one of those being passion. It seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the book, do you believe passion is the most important ingredient for success?
Ekaterina: Absolutely. I think that if you don’t love what you do, what can you create? Name one single creator who hasn’t been driven by a passion. I know personally that when I have a job and I love what I do, I wake up every single morning eager to do what needs to be done whether it’s the weekday or weekend. I have constant ideas flowing in my mind. When I have that approach, I can do 50 times more, become 100 times more creative and 200 times more productive. I think we underestimate the strength of human spirit and what it can do when we’re really passionate about something.
I always say that I can work with hate, love, and other emotions, but there’s nothing you can do with indifference. Nothing. I work with a number of people that don’t care and that attitude will never lead to innovation to breakthrough products. You need to have the passion and inspiration. Indifference neither moves the needle nor makes the world go around.