Here is a question to ponder: how many times have you gone on to Facebook or Twitter and been frustrated with a brand or company that you follow because the message comes off as disingenuous or impersonal? This kind of thing happens all the time, and we here at Shoppost came up with what we call the “ABA” rule: Always Be Authentic.
At first glance, appearing to be genuine may seem cut-and-dried, but it’s more complicated in our very suspicious world. Sure, it may be straightforward with with your personal profile to a population who knows you, but for brands and businesses, it can be a bit trickier. First of all, being transparent is important. People sense when they are being led or lied to by a company. Maybe not all the time, but you only get one strike before your image is irreversibly tarnished, so don’t take the chance! It’s the quickest way to lose customers, revenue, and ultimately trust, which social media is built upon. People don’t want to connect with other people or brands if they feel there is a lack of integrity. To assist you in, to use a phrase from the 60’s, ‘keep it real,’ we figured it would be a good idea to write out a few guidelines for merchants and brands to follow. We hope this is will help create a better social and customer experience for your brand.
Engage Your Social Audience
The number one way to engage your audience is to be a positive source for information. And for fun, you can layer in some entertainment. A great example of this would be the use of memes in your social postings. What is a meme you may ask? According to Wikipedia, a meme is “an idea behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Some of the most well known brands use memes as an effective way to reach their audience. If you want to make one for you own campaign, head on over to Meme Generator and get started. They are super easy to make and it’s easy to let your creativity run wild. Also, remember that when you are reaching out to you followers, leave actual comments and engage with them, not just liking posts.
Use Real Images
We recommend that you not limit your account to graphic and stock photos. Instead, use photos of real people – you, co-workers, happy customers. You don’t need to filter everything through photoshop; just use undoctored (albeit good ones!) to convey who you and the company are. Every picture doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to tell something and connect with your followers.
This is your business and your opportunity to demonstrate your command of the industry. Social media is the best chance you have to really convey that type of authority and set the tone for your brand. This can be done by sharing industry relevant information in addition to promoting your company.
Last but not least, remember to be human. Give your social media accounts a human voice and personality. It is all too easy for a brand to create a social bot and interact with their customers passively, but this can lead to some disastrous effects. It’s ok to automate some aspects of your social media accounts, but by all means, do not do this when actually starting a conversation with a customer.
Here is a quick recap of the main points:
- Engage your audience and be a positive source for information
- Use your genuine images
- Provide guidance to your customers by being the authority that you are
- Sound like a human by using your voice.
The first bullet point is by far the most important because without an audience, you will have no one to promote your brand and ideas to. And without engaging your audience, most folks may assume your account is nothing more than spam.
So what approach to social media has worked for your business? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.