An active social media presence with diversified update type will engage customers and boost your sales. This idea is so well worn, that it’s quickly become the most boring marketing advice you can give. But as important as it is to build out your social side, the training grounds just aren’t there yet. Every business needs it, but hardly any business schools teach it. This leads to a lot of employees doing conferences or on the job training, but a lot more rogue guns making it up as they go along. While many sites are starting to groom social campaigns – they may be really bad at it. Many even know their bad at it, but social is the last on a long list of very important business initiatives to start. This may leave your new social captain feeling like the last kid picked in gym class.
So everyone is doing it, how do you stand out from all the noise?
The two fighting words for any new social campaign looking to stick out are “Personality and Consistency.” They balance each other out, need each other, push and pull, yen and yang – you get the idea. Forget whatever you named your biceps/fists during your amateur body building days; they are now “Personality” and “Consistency.”
When working on social you time seems to be divided between writing, community managing and getting your design elements screwed on straight. So I’ll break down these, we’ll call them “Boss Levels,” with how you can successfully punch your way to success.
Writing, why is it important?
Hundreds of years ago, when the first Internets were being born, writers saw how much written word would be required and rejoiced! Everyone cheered; old people cried tears of joy. Then all of the writers were given horribly boring copy editing jobs and no one dreamed for a very long time. Social media has turned that on it’s head.
Businesses have blogs now and people come to them when they feel like reading – not just when they need to put their shelves together.
1. Writing & Personality
Take the amazing opportunity of readership to write with personality. Many, many businesses have yet to wake-up to how powerful a well-composed blog can be. A blog instantly makes YOU seem like an authority on the subject AND, here’s the magic, if done with a little flair can make you sound like a friendly, reliable, dare I say– *fun *business. People. love. funny. Break your blog out of its mundane chains and you’ll be standing out as one of those “cool businesses” in no time.
Oh! And for the less word-savvy of us, I always start my clients out with a (forbidden) word bank. Think of all the zippy, sales-y or just plain common terms that your competitors are using, and stop using them. If everyone in the area says their massage parlor is “soothing” or “an escape”, go a step further and tell your customers “You’ll be on vacation!” “We’ll pound you into jelly.” Irreverence is so in.
2. Writing & Consistency
Smaller outfits usually pass social media responsibility around like a hot potato, or have a committee of people each put in time. You shouldn’t give away the keys to your accounts so freely; but if there’s no other choice, make sure the voice stays consistent no matter who is behind it.
I use another word bank example here, to start generating a style guide. A good method is physically writing down the story of your product again and again; use as many different word combinations as you can. Common threads will arise and these can be knitted into your style guide. The guide will make it possible for 10 different people to tweet for you company and still sound like the same brand. It would also be valuable to standardize a pitch for products or services. Some employees are just better at explaining things than others; don’t let a carelessly written update get in the way of your brand moving into the spotlight.
Visual, Why is it important?
Social media accounts are highly visual, especially Pinterest and tumblr. Here, beautiful images reign supreme. Follow along to find extra ways to depict your brand that won’t leave you out of focus.
3. Visuals & Personality
Images that are beautiful, simple and show action will catch the eye first; see every stock photo, ever. But extra shots of humor or the unexpected will give you the edge. This site has some beautiful examples of creative tactics with facebook cover photos, as well as a free template to create your own. This site will help you with custom Twitter backgrounds. Banner and cover photos across platforms are a great opportunity to grab customers’ attention. They should be changed often, to mimic seasons, campaigns and the inevitably thrilling life that is your company everyday.
4 .Visuals & Consistency
Backgrounds and banner are safe neighborhoods to raise personality, but profile pictures remain steadfast. In visual terms, consistency keeps people aware of who you are. We’ve all had the Facebook friend with the profile picture of a group or peopls, their newly acquired child or a cat doing something legendary – at a glance, we have no idea who this person is. Every time a business changes its avatar, it creates that awkward period of reacquaintance. It makes sense to change up your traditional logo for a big event or campaign, but those are the only unless you are rebranding everything. If you do, get several sizes of your new logo, because every platform uses different dimensions. This website has a downloadable template to sample image sizes across all platforms and this one has some great quick-fact sizing info.
Community, Why is it important?
Ok, biggest for last – this is the dude. Community is something only seen in slivers before social media bounced into the world, so it’s the newest idea for all of us. Here’s the idea: Hopefully, we all have at least one business we feel home at. Someone there knows your name, or at least your face and what you come in for. We have rapport there. A number one reason people dislike Internet or large corporate businesses is they seem cold to the touch, distant – nothing like Ole Uncle Jafar’s Lamb Shack, back home, ya know? But a conversational social media presence can chat those skeptics into friends. You can respond to customers with “Hey, Janet!” instead of “To Whom It May Concern.”
5. Community & Personality
Showing a clear, bold personality makes customers feel they get to peek behind the counter. Respond to them with “hey man” or “Our mistake!” Instagram pictures of your kids or the working process. Whatever you can do to make things transparent, personable and uniquely you! Taking risks here will set you far apart for the other artists who only talk about art, or consultants who only give tips. That’s nice, but what makes people love you is showing them how mischievous your dog is; honestly, that’s just much more important.
6. Community & Consistency
To help foster community in your accounts, think of the whole outfit like a newspaper; a “you” digest. People will read the Sunday headlines just because they are the Sunday headlines. Your blog, your discussions, your “App of the week” – whatever, do it at the same time, every time. Users will fall into a rhythm with you. If you start running out of ideas — look back at the newspaper example. The top stories are different topics each week, but things like crosswords or horoscopes are sustainable, easy content for papers. Generating inspirational quotes, pictures of the day, employee backgrounds and so on is like shooting content in a barrel. These items are easy to keep consistent and help put a lot of meat on the bones of a newly blooming site.
Personality and consistency are the perfect guidelines to direct your social ventures. Whether you are you are simply trying to get some conversation going around a new e-book or you need to strategize the year-long strategy for a major brand – this one/two punch will keep you going for many rounds to come!