Monday, October 1, 2012

When Renegades and Nike Collide

Renegade. This is one word that I find fascinating because of what it represents. To me becoming a renegade is something to be admired, a goal in life. As a renegade you are doing something different, not following the masses and living your life by your rules. Amy Jo Martin is a renegade, the renegade of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Path, Instagram, you name the social media site, social media is taking over business. Say what you will, but Twitter itself has changed my life for the better and Amy Jo Martin had a big part in it. 
I don't know Amy Jo Martin personally and I have never met her face to face. What I can say is that I have interacted with her on Twitter. I feel like I know what she represents and what she stands for because of the interactions I have had with her on social media. As the queen of Twitter, she is who I follow and use as my guide for how I navigate Twitter and build my personal brand. As a blogger, I was chosen to read her new book, "Renegades Write the Rules" and give my review. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but what I got was a candid look at her journey to Twitter stardom and renegade status. 

I was an early adapter of Twitter and have been using the service to keep up with my favorite brands, athletes and friends. When I tell people that I have a Twitter account and use it daily I often get laughed at, until I mention what it has done for me. I have participated in numerous contests on Twitter, I have won a tennis racket, racket bag, tennis balls, autographed copy of Shawn Johnson's book "Winning Balance" and most recently was recruited to be a 2012 Nike Women's Marathon Training Ambassador and share my journey through Nike's social media sites. All of this was made possible through the innovation of social media and the founder of Digital Royalty, Amy Jo Martin.

"Renegades Write the Rules" begins with a look at how celebrities and companies have used social media to increase their brand awareness and success. The point of social media, according to Amy Jo, is to promote a dialog with followers. I could not agree more. One of her examples is the success of Nike with social media. Nike is successful because it pulls customers in instead of pushing messages out at them. Amy Jo has worked with Nike on many of their campaigns and helped with the launch of their "Fuelband," a digital bracelet worn on a users wrist that creates a unique way for users of the device to track their daily activity and compete with their friends via social media. Via Twitter, consumers can interact directly with Nike, get feedback from friends and followers and compete against anyone, anywhere in the world. 
"The fundamental difference between a brand like Nike and traditional thinking brands, says Bonchek, is the difference between pushing and pulling. Nike does not push its offerings at consumers like an archer shooting at a target. They create an attraction-based brand strategy that draws consumers in like planets around the sun."
According to Amy Jo, "Influence begins when we are offered value in return for our trust." I am a Nike Women's Ambassador and there is no secret that I am a diehard fan. Nike's use of social media has furthered my trust and loyalty to the brand. I have an ongoing dialog with the company and had one for over a year before I became an ambassador for them. It was that mutual trust, through dialog with @nikewomen, @nikefuel and @nikerunning that brought me closer to them as a brand. When I need motivation to put my running shoes on I tweet Nike and they respond. I am accountable to them and it keeps me coming back.

Social media and renegade status is not without risks, and I'm sure I have made a few. Social media is about people being people. It is a way to communicate and have a conversation with customers, fans and friends. It is one of the easiest ways to interact instantly with consumers. As a renegade, Martin has worked with celebrities such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Shaq. She works with with Nike, Zappos, the Suns and numerous other professional sports teams. Each of these industries has seen an incredible potential for success and a huge target market. With millions of people in the social media world, the target market for many brands has expanded. Embracing social media provides an opportunity unlike any generation before us.

Amy Jo recounts her failures, successes and triumphs to paint a picture of the social media world and how to use it to your advantage. One of the keys to social media is always using it as a means of creating a relationship. Humanizing your brand and becoming a company capable of interacting with followers is integral to success. Martin's Golden Rule of Social Media is to "deliver value when, where, and how your audience wants to receive it." The ability to interact, question, poll, entertain and interact with followers in unmatched. Have a question for your customers, just ask them on Twitter. Instant feedback can lead to the difference between a success and a failure.

Martin is an innovator and someone who realizes the power of relationships. Businesses can rise and fall with how they interact with their consumers. If you want to improve your business, the principles outlined in this book can teach you how to learn and grow with your customers.
"The strongest brands that build the highest degree of loyalty have their ears to the ground every minute through social media and can jump to serve or solve problems the minute their name is called."
If you are brave enough to take chances, interact with your followers, and risk the raw unpredictability of social media, the rewards you can reap by following the few simple rules outlined in "Renegades Write the Rules" are endless. I know first hand that Twitter has changed my life. I have had experiences that I never thought possible through my interactions on Twitter. Companies that embrace social media have seen their brand loyalty skyrocket and are ever expanding their reach and looking for new ways to innovate.

Don't be afraid to take the first step to innovate your life. Dream bigger, reach higher and become a renegade. "Renegades Write the Rules" is a book that entertains, educates and inspires success. I had used some of the principles from this book in my own social media interactions before reading this book, but after learning about the power of Twitter and seeing first hand how bright the future of social media is, I am ready to begin making my own rules.

Are you ready to join #TeamRenegades? Tweet @AmyJoMartin and @superwomankw (my fearless Twitter handle) and let me know how you are innovating your life!