As head of digital strategy for CafePress, Jason Falls has some serious social credentials, but he took a risk publishing his first book – The No B*llSh*t Social Media.
If you’re in media jobs and you want to cut through the garbage and get to the point, then you’d be wise to follow Falls.
In publishing that fateful book, he took on an entire industry that was growing up around social media – trying show big brands how to successfully navigate the murky waters of online marketing, blinding them with science and making big bucks. But he did it with aplomb – his wit and intelligence got him through and showed the cowboys for what they really were. He gave businesses a precious gift – the gift of knowledge.
Why Did He Write ‘That’ Book?
Falls prides himself on cutting to the chase and simplifying things – it’s one of his strengths and he believes that by simplifying social for businesses, he can help them grow their brands.
He explains: “I’m from a very small town that conditioned me to always be skeptical of the big city folks and the lines they were handing me. I’m also a fairly simple thinker … not unintelligent, mind you, but I try to take complexities out of things because at the end of the day they just confuse me and everyone else. So when we’re talking about strategy, communications and social media, I try to distil out the nonsense and the unnecessary so people learning from me can understand it more clearly.
“When the idea of a book came about, there was no question what the title should be. I’m the “No B.S.” guy. It’s gotta be that!”
He’s an honest guy, or at least that’s what he claims, and he’s vehemently opposed to any attempt to profit from crisis situations. He’s another exponent of genuine, creative and intelligent content. Content that engages is relevant to the consumer and doesn’t overtly ‘sell’.
Take for example his take on the online furore that surrounded the death of Steve Jobs.
“I was sickened by the blogs and media sites that immediately came out with “Top 10 Steve Jobs Lessons” and “How To Think Like Steve Jobs” posts,” he said. “In fact, my fellow authors on Social Media Explorer expressed interest in all of us (I have 12 writers) chiming in a tribute post telling people what Steve Jobs or his work meant to us or what we learned from him. I resisted because I didn’t want to pull in cheap traffic as a result of his death.
“But what made it make sense for me was that we were genuinely paying tribute to the man and helping our audience understand his impact. It was respectful and not gratuitous. Reacting to pop culture, current events and what-not is a perfectly fine and even smart way to capture your audience’s attention or even drive more eyeballs to what you do. But there’s a line of decorum you just shouldn’t cross.”
What’s Next and Where’s He From?
Falls states that anyone employing his services needs to be brave enough to follow his recommendations and be prepared to make changes in they way they do things, and for this, he says, education is key.
“Education is the number one, two and three task of any agency, firm or consultant working with a company or brand, even years after this market shift began to occur,” he said. “I do think most large companies are emerging from the sandbox and beginning to think about social media strategically rather than just as tactical experimentation, most clients I’ve dealt with are still lacking in education, confidence and understanding of the nature of social marketing versus traditional means.”
Falls graduated from West Virginia University and since then has worked for branding and Public Relations firm Doe Anderson, before moving on to the Social Media Club Louisville and Social Media Explorer LLC. He currently leads digital strategy for personalized gift giants CafePress, as well as offering the world his musings on jasonfalls.com
Interestingly, Jason is also a keen writer of humorous fiction and is always on the lookout for story ideas but he admits publishing his work may be risky.
“One day, I’ll pull together my fiction short stories together and publish them. But I’ll need to be financially secure then. Clients will read them and stay as far away from me as possible.”