Marketing Lessons From Historical Figures

Who would’ve thought that Socrates could teach us a thing or two about digital marketing?

In fact, he’s one of the figures on this list.

Would it surprise you if I told you that the greatest bestseller of all time is written at the 5th or 6th-grade reading level?

Harry Potter, by the way, outsold the Bible.

Take a cue from one of the greatest public speakers in history,

Winston Churchill

All the speeches of great English rhetoricians–except when addressing highly cultured audiences–display a uniform preference for short, homely words of common usage–so long as such words can fully express their thoughts and feelings.”

This is another way of saying that straightforward language is the best way to get your message across. Consider that is the USA nearly 75% of adults read at a 7th-grade level or lower. The best message is useless if the words in it aren’t understood.

Marketing-speak is speaking in the common tongue.

Abraham Lincoln

“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first 4 hours sharpening the ax.”

It’s not necessarily the amount of time you spend on something that makes the difference, but the peak moments, or the productive use of the time that counts. It’s often said that the more time you spend on preparation, the less actual work you have to do during the execution.

This especially applies to social media marketers. It’s recommended that you fill out a content calendar months in advance because it actually takes less time in the end when you total up all the hours spent scheduling content. Think of the next 2 or 3 months worth of content even as you’re working on the present one.

As organic reach continues to decline, the days of lazy, disorganized social media posting are gone —no matter how great your content is.

A shared calendar empowers all to proofread, correct errors, and critique collaboratively.

Quality-control, whether it be spell-checking or responding to customers is a 24/7 process. – never a one-person job.

There are plenty of social media management tools you can use to streamline the process. Apps such as Hootsuite, Later app, Buffer, Post Planner, and offer the ability to manage multiple channels in one place.

Having a long-range vision of what your unfolding storyline is made possible by thinking and structuring your content plan months in advance at a time.

[Related: Digital Media Use and Mental Health]

Socrates – The Power Of Questions

The Socratic Method is used where the teacher or facilitator leads by asking a series of questions, in the hopes of enabling the other person to arrive at a solution themselves.

We all know how asking the right questions and focusing on those questions can be transformative both personally and professionally. What is not immediately obvious is that questions are no less powerful from a marketing perspective.

How do you get people interested in your cause? Your product? Your proposal?

Get your audience involved by asking them questions on social media, soliciting opinions, inviting input or participation on something.

Issue a poll, or have a survey, post a question on social media. Ask them anything really, well as long as it is a worthy question to ask, a vital topic of interest or a controversial but catalyzing and energizing issue, that’s sure to generate a vibrant dialogue around it. Generate a lively dialogue around the pitch you are about to make.

Get them to talk first.

Let’s face it: We love to opinionate, whether we admit it or not. Social media is one of those places where we can somewhat safely do exactly that – opinionate, rant, or “spill it out”. There’s no reason that it can’t be a civil discussion or one that makes for good marketing.

[Related: Why Social Listening Is More Relevant Than Ever for Today’s Digital Marketers]

Brian Peters in the Science Of Social Media Buffer Podcast, suggests inviting your audience to engage in a lively debate.

“Actively involve them in your marketing process so that your team can generate new product ideas, marketing campaigns, and content topics based on the feedback you’ve received directly from the people that matter most.”

The Socratic Method is just as essential within your team as with your audience out there. Your team should be debating and questioning trends, norms, traditions, and ideas all the time. The idea is nothing less than gradual and continual improvement in the process. Committing to continual improvement of the product itself involving the customer’s voices will generate a loyal customer base.

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