Can you go left?

Basketball court

In basketball, there is a term that really separates the wheat from the chaffe so to speak, and it’s all based on a person’s ability to dribble the ball and to a certain degree, shoot the ball.

Fundamentally, those are 2 very important aspects of basketball. Shooting and dribbling right? So what enhances those 2 skills? Well if you’re right handed, chances are you will dribble with your right hand and you will shoot with your right hand and you will favor the right side of the court.

From a marketing, and social media marketing standpoint. You will play to your strengths. You will go or you always go with your right hand. With what you already know.

Now back to the hoop court. The most dangerous players are those with enhances skills and abilities. These are players who have a “handle” and…can go left. In other words, as they are going down the court, they can dribble with their left hand or right with ease, and shoot with either hand as well.

They can change hands on the fly and not skip a beat. They can adapt to any situation because they have the skills to do so. Were they born with those skills? Chances are they were not.  They trained and they practiced. But you don’t see that part. You just see the finished product.

One of the first things a coach looks for in an up and coming player is whether the player has a “handle” with his left hand. Can that player go left? It takes about a minute to assess and if you have 100 kids for example, trying out for 12 spots, it quickly becomes one of the main determinants.

Why is this important? Without the ability to dribble with your left hand, you essentially cut the court in half. It becomes useless, You can never go over to that half of the court because you cannot dribble with your left hand. So you favor the right side-all the time. I repeat all the time.

The same applies to  social media and marketing, you will lose unless you can bring more to the table than the next person. Oh, and you better be able to back it up.

Just as it is on the court, shit talkin’ can only take you so far and at some point, you have to start walkin’ it.

So how bad do you want it? What skill sets are you bringing to the table? Can you enhance what you already know? Do you always go to your right?

4 thoughts on “Can you go left?

  1. You know me, I’m a sucker for basketball analogies.

    This makes perfect sense, coming from the basketball and social media sides. The multi-faceted player that is able to go left surprised defenses and catches them off guard when driving to the left side of the hoop. Versus the player that they scouted and undoubtedly know that he will always go to his right, thus bringing over a double-team to that exact spot on the right side of the key, every single time.

    I’m talking ball right now but switch a few words around and you get something that makes sense for a business and their marketing/social media strategy. We’ve all seen companies go to the right, make a few fast breaks to the hoop and even some slam dunks – whether on Twitter or Facebook or an online promotion driven by their communities. The social media ‘game’ is always evolving (as is basketball), and with that comes more innovation, different ways of thinking, new ideas and new opportunities to go left.

    In this crowded social space, it’s somewhat imperative that we be able to go left and stand out from the ground, while helping innovate and move SM forward.

    Great thoughts here, Marc.

    Oh, and I’m a lefty that can dribble left and right 😉

  2. Great b-ball analogies Marc & Sonny – love it.

    In keeping with the hoops analogy, I would say that with social media you also have to determine what is the appropriate role SM should play for your respective organization (provided your team has defined beforehand the overall objective you’re trying to achieve). Every championship hoops team succeeds with role players, and I think that’s what organizations need to better define with SM – what’s the appropriate role it should play in the overall marketing strategy.

    There’s so much hype about how every company (either big or small, established or start-up) is doomed if they don’t implement every available aspect of social media. The questions I’d like to hear advisors to these organizations ask more often is “why do you think SM is appropriate for your organization at this point in time” and “what role do you think SM should play in your overall marketing strategy.”

    When I hear an organization say we’re implementing Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or a corporate blog because that’s “where marketing is going” that tells me they haven’t completely thought out the appropriate role SM should play. What if the target customer or buyer persona you’re trying to influence lacks broadband access or actually prefers face-to-face interaction. Guess what, your team is literally going to throw up “one brick after another” from every part of the court.

    Just because your competitors can successfully implement a man-to-man defense or a sophisticated motion offense doesn’t mean your team will be successful with the same strategy. In my opinion, this applies to a well-thought out social media strategy. Define the marketing goals your team wants to acheive first. Then and only then, define the role SM should play in achieving those goals (and that includes being the “6th man”).

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