The best brands on social media aren’t selling stuff. They’re just talking with their audiences. And through that conversation, they’re being useful and entertaining. And THAT, folks, is what is leading to repeat sales and true brand loyalty. Contests and coupons certainly help, but the real staying power is in the relevant conversation.
Admittedly, finding a voice that can be heard above all the other noise is difficult. It takes practice, persistence, and lots of trial and error. But while the voices may be distinct, they all start from the same basic principles:
Knowing WHO your audience is. If you haven’t yet taken your audience out on a proverbial date (asking them important questions through surveys or focus groups, tracking where on your website they visit most and longest, etc.) then get started! Truly knowing your audience will help you start meaningful conversations they will want to join.
Knowing where to FOCUS your time. Knowing your audience and where they hang out online (or, perhaps, if they’re more inclined to interact with you on, say, a secure internal social network) will help you focus your time and resources in the right places to create online communities that truly offer something useful to their participants.
Find INTERNAL people who can write. Don’t farm out your social media presence to an outside firm. Even if said firm has done business with you for some time, they simply can’t pick up all the subtle nuances of being an internal employee at your company. They aren’t showing up at your building(s) every day, and they’re not chatting it up with your coworkers in the breakroom every lunchtime. If there’s someone on your staff you trust who already has a passion for social media, consider re-prioritizing their duties to help you grow your presence. Or, hire someone with the writing and communication chops to help you get the job done.
And finally, LEARN from the best. Here are a few stellar examples of brands that know their audiences and talk to them not like pitch men, but friends:
GE. They know their audience is chock full of engineering and science nerds because that’s who THEY are. What ensues on social, such as on their Instagram account, is nothing short of fabulous geekiness.
Marc Jacobs. This clothing designer sums up its audience perfectly in its Twitter bio: Slightly bohemian, a little off-color. As a result, the voice is decidedly young, hip, and with it.
Huggies. As a diaper company should, it offers a warm, learned, and friendly voice to parents.
Anthropologie. Whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, Anthropologie speaks to the herd of artsy clotheshorses following its every garment and accessory.
Bombers Burritos. I have to give a shout-out to a local joint that started out small and now has three locations throughout the Capital Region of New York State. It’s got a quirky and irreverant social presence, thanks in large part to owner Matt Baumgartner (who has his own equally intriguing social take on things), and clearly, it’s totally working.
Which social media voices are your favorites?