When businesses join social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, they all too often focus on their business instead of their customers. Ask yourself this: Why does your customer use social media?
Is it to get corporate updates from you? Doubt it!
Do they log on to social media to see what they can buy? Rarely!
Is it to socialise with friends, gain new knowledge and be entertained? Definitely!
So being more YOU and less corporate will (for most businesses) be the right approach on social media.
And here’s why…
1. Trust goes up
When was the last time you gave several thousand pounds to someone you don’t trust? The more your customers trust your company, the more likely they are to spend money with you. Trust isn’t gained through reading corporate messages. Trust is gained through getting to ‘know’ a business. I call it a business’ brandonlity! The personality behind the brand. And every business has one! For some, that brandonality is a person. It certainly is in my business. And even international businesses can have a person as their brandonality! Think of Virgin and you think of who?! And he’s even playing on this now by appearing in their adverts. And Mr Branson certainly represents the Virgin brand himself on social media. I trained a business once who couldn’t have been further from their brandonality on Twitter! I expected an office full of smartly dressed corporate people, certainly not having any fun. When I went in, I was blown away! The walls were bright lime green. There were about 300 staff, dressed in polo shirts and jeans, all working within the same huge room, so the energy levels were buzzing. They told me all about the fancy dress and charity stuff they do weekly. Their motto was to work hard and play harder. All in all, they had a brandonality that was perfect for their target audience. Yet they weren’t portraying it on social media! So, have a think about your brandonality and how you could use it to increase your customers’ trust in your business!
2. Corporate = dull!
Think about yourself as a social media user. Do you want to see corporate messages from your favourite business, or do you want to engage with them about what interests you and gain knowledge from them? When a business starts to relax and be themselves more, they start to entertain and add value, rather than being ‘stuffy’ and disengaging! I bet you’ll find far more people engage with your brand when you focus on interests rather than corporate updates. That’s because you are speaking to customers in a language they understand! A great example of this is the recent reply from Argos who used the same slang language as the Twitter user asking them a question! It got a great response and also gave them some great PR opportunities.
3. Look in to my eyes
So many businesses go down the route of using their logo to represent their brand on social media. But, do we really remember logos? And, do we have a sense of ‘knowing’ when we see logos. Yes, when it comes to those we are bombarded with every day. No, when it is businesses we have never heard of. If you are a small business owner, and it is you your customers think of before they think of your logo, then you should be the face on social media. Again, the trust goes up when we can see someone’s face. Remember, this is very similar to networking offline. And when was the last time you went networking with your logo in front of your face?! And even some of the larger businesses on social media are best represented by their CEOs (see above re: Branson!). Again, put yourselves in the shoes of your customers. Would you rather talk to a real person or a logo? Would you rather follow a real person or a logo? So, have a think about whether the right approach for your business is a logo or a headshot!
4. Business is done on the golf course
We’ve all heard this saying, and it still rings true! Business is done on the golf course, because there is a shared interest and actually most of the conversation will not be about business! Shared interests are a great way to build rapport with your customers. So, what interests your customers? If they’re in to sport, talk about big sporting events! If they are in to world news, comment on what’s going on in the world. Don’t shy away from what your customers are talking about. Get involved in the conversation!
5. Engagement is key
You’ll know by now how important engagement is on social media. One of the questions I get asked most about social media is how businesses can get their customers and potential customers to respond to their updates. Most of the time they don’t because they don’t know how to! Corporate updates are not that easy to build a conversation from! So, the more we post updates of value and interest, the more response we get! It’s much easier to build a conversation about football or holidays, than it is about figures and sales messages! And most businesses also make the mistake of posting statements. Post questions and you’re asking for the response, so you’ll get more of them!
6. It’s SOCIAL media!!!
All too often, businesses forget that big word that sits in front of media. Instead they focus on the media, and the opportunity for them to broadcast their message to the world. I bet you’ve been to a party before where someone has bored you for ages about their job?! That’s not very social is it! Being yourself and expressing your brandonality is far more social than talking 100% business! So, go and be social! Build conversation. Have fun! Engage your customers and pull them towards you!
So, it’s time to be YOU! Whether that’s the brandonality of your business, or even the personality of the business owner, being yourself on social media will see you gain far more interest and activity than a corporate approach!