Friday, 28 October 2011

Being human, not a bland brand

It's said - frequently - that people buy from people. So, developing a personality for your business on social media makes good sense. Being human can make all the difference between having a social media presence and making social media work for your business.

You can always take the'safe' option and repeat your selected business messages across all platforms and only use the medium to broadcast, rather than interact. The problem with 'safe' is that it's not as successful on platforms like Twitter and Facebook as imbuing your brand with a personality. Using social media as a form of electronic leafleting misses the point of the social element entirely.

Making occasional comments about the weather, the traffic, local news and so forth may seem inane, but it helps people to build a picture of your everyday operation. It also gives people an opportunity to react and talk to you. (Not on LinkedIn though, that's a "business only" culture)

Bemoaning the cold cup of tea after getting stuck in to a project can elicit empathy (we've all done it!) It's not useless information, it's a snapshot of how you and your business actually work in day to day life. If you can become so involved with your work, you must care about what you do...

Not convinced? Try some of these "safer" gambits to begin your foray into interaction:

  • Invite opinions on the local LEP or other local business initiatives
  • Asking for supplier recommendations is a great way to start a conversation - and to get some good quality information.
  • Promote events for local charities 
  • Answer other people's questions (whether related to your business or not) 
  • Track down your hyperlocal enthusiasts and promote their work

One word of caution: unbridled, strongly opinionated posts are not always suitable for business. I advise clients to have a set of "no-go areas". As an example my personal ones are:

  • politics
  • religion
  • sport
  • swearing
I decided on these as they are areas where my personal opinions are not strong enough to risk alienating a potential client by expressing my views. Everyone will be different and have different boundaries. Just give them some thought...

Give some conscious consideration to the balance of your posts on social media. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - and a bland brand!