More than likely, you, as a business are involved in social media in one way or another, whether you’re exclusive to one medium or dabble in a bit of them all. And it is generally considered quite easy to fill up 140 characters or similar with *something* and send it off into the big wide webiverse. But the real gift of the gab in the market, is getting your brand out there and get it speaking for itself – creating a personality for your business, speaking to your customers on a personal level. So how do you do this?
It seems like an obvious first step, but having a Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter page simply isn’t enough, you need to be actively using it. By creating social media spaces you are opening your company up for a dialogue with your customers – it is very much a two way street. The essence of a social community is being able to speak on a level playing field and in today’s “here and now” society, if you aren’t going to listen, they are going to go elsewhere to people that do. More and more big-brand companies are buying into the idea that Social Media is more about customer service than the hard drive of sales and marketing that has been followed before.(though bear in mind, as an onset of great customer service, you will achieve with customer loyalty and recommendation)
Who are You?
Developing a personality for your business is crucial when looking to humanize your brand. Injecting a bit of feeling into your tweets and posts really does make the difference from robotic to readable.
Who are you? Well, this is where you can start being really creative. Think outside the box. Just because you have what could be perceived as a potentially bland product that doesn’t mean that you are limited in any way. Create a list of adjectives, imagine your a personified business sat next to you – what would they be like? What would they be wearing? Are they fun? Serious? Outdoorsy? Corporate? Bear in mind, that sometimes the long hard look in the mirror isn’t always a flattering one, but this is the perfect chance to change for the better, and invent a ‘new you’ for the world to see.
Not only will this sort of clarity give you a great insight into how to proceed online, but finding out “who you are” is a great tool for reflecting on your internal company culture. Knowing how your ‘brand’ should speak and behave will be a clear indication of how you and your employees need to as well.
When it comes to social media, its not just what you are saying, but how you are saying it. Once you have your “personality” on paper, think about how you would “say” things online. Throwing in popular slang terms (within reason of course), references to popular culture or the use of the odd pun can really show your connection to the rest of the world, and that you aren’t a suit posting from a white room somewhere in the middle of corporate nowhere.
Once you have nailed the tone, the rest of your writing becomes instantly more engaging. Remember, your social spaces are for your customers/fans/followers, not just a platform to spam them with product updates. Ask questions, engage, create competitions, encourage your base to interact with you. Levi’s are a great example of engaging their audience with clever content and posting. Not only did they create an entire series of videos (which in turn created more content!) featuring customers in their products, but they also discovered a need for a new line of clothing for urban bike riders via their networks, and developed accordingly, hearing and addressing the needs of their customers.
Lets face it, as humans, we are a sucker for any insider gossip and knowledge. Reality shows, magazines – and with companies we are no different. Posting ‘behind the scenes’ images or content or showing an insight into the day to day workings of the company is a really great way of stripping away the corporate banner and replacing it with a human face.
It could be something simple, like an employee on their birthday blowing out a candle on a birthday cupcake, or posting doodles of designs for the makings of new products. If you support a charity in fancy dress, or someone is running a marathon – talk about it. Employees are the most authentic representation of your brand and can really work wonders on a social platform.
Freebies and competitions are a great way of not only engaging with your audience on a more personal level, but are a great way (if done properly) expanding your social reach.
For example; A bakery in Washington gave away a free bagel for every person that shared their page on Facebook and gained X amount of likes from their friends. The idea started as a small concept, but really took off and resulted in thousands of likes from a local audience. This set up a platform for great local interation and encouraged regular deals and offers, and with posts such as “fresh out the oven – get down before they’re all gone!” with an image of fresh donuts and bagels around lunch time really sparked sales and turned their business into a booming success.
Think about what your fans and followers really want – and if you don’t know – ask them! Ask ‘questions’ on Facebook and give fans an option to vote for the prize or competition they want to see and be involved with. Remember, as well as rewarding your customers with something for free, make sure there is a follow up – a photo of the customer with the product posted on your wall or twitter, a review of your service that can be proudly displayed online. People are more than happy to oblige in most cases – especially for freebies.
[image via implyzesty.com ]