When you do the same work, expect the same result
Peter Panda

Occasionally, I’ll have the opportunity to do a book signing at a conference. It’s a nominal perk for a speaker who has a book, and it can potentially be a cool experience for the attendees. But depending on how new the book is and how well the audience is alerted to the fact they can get a signed copy of the book, these opportunities can turn into embarrassments (not to mention the sort of silly vanity of it all that makes most people not care for such a thing).

Case in point: At Inbound in Boston last week, I, along with several other authors, had book signings scheduled every hour or so next to the event bookstore on the showroom floor. Some of the signings were scheduled at 7 a.m., long before anyone sane was even awake, much less dressed and at the event. And the signings weren’t really promoted all that well (probably the only thing bad about the Inbound experience), so several authors had zero people show up during their hour.

I sat down for my signing time at 3 p.m., and for 10 minutes, I thought I’d be another victim of the “too much going on to care” thing and would end up wasting an hour watching people walk by. On a whim and not really thinking much about it, I opened up Periscope and jokingly shared via live video what it was like to be a “big-time author with book signings and such.”

Within minutes, I had 15-20 people around me — even if just to chat. Two people were also streaming what I was doing online, and a couple were watching my Periscope and then letting me show them watching the live stream that I was showing them. But I also had people in the bookstore buying books to have signed.

The bookstore sold out of the copies of my book; I signed the dozen or so that sold while I was there and even had the bookstore folks enthusiastically thank me for lighting up sales.

But it wasn’t me, specifically, that did any of that. It was taking the step of changing up the norm. Had I sat there tweeting or posting on Facebook or reading blog posts during the hour, I wouldn’t have sold a book or signed anything. But I opened up a new(ish) tool that presented my audience with something a little different — a live video stream — and that got their attention in that moment.

Think about how you announce company news. Ponder the way you go to market with new products or services. Consider which channels you always use to get the word out about this or that. Then ask yourself, “How can I change this a little to differentiate from what I normally do in a way that catches my audience’s attention?”
You may just turn the usual results around.

Peter Panda

Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist.

In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time.

With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.

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