There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding social media and how to use it properly. Many businesses use social media almost as an extension of their sales department, throwing out boring, repetitive, and arduous sales messages and products at a relentless rate.
Not only does this alienate your potential customers, but it prevents you from using social media the right way: having meaningful conversations with your customers and engaging with them in a more personal environment.
Customer pains and needs
Social media is the ultimate platform to discover more about what your customers want. If you don’t think that’s important, then you’re really missing out.
Let me provide an example.
Bob Moog, one of the pioneers in the field of electronic music equipment, began his production career by making Theremins and massive modular synthesizers. Both products were niche, expensive, and in the case of the modular, enormous and complex. In 1971, he developed the Minimoog Model D, which is widely recognised as the one of the first commercially available synthesizers. However, its success was no accident. In the years prior to the launch, he worked tirelessly with musicians, especially Wendy Carlos, to refine the design and make it accessible to real musicians, incorporating her feedback in the ongoing process. He also spoke with other musicians and concluded that what they wanted was something portable and flexible, but not too flexible and complex. With this feedback, he made a synthesizer that is still regarded as one of the all-time classics.
Incidentally, Wendy Carlos went on to record a reimagination of Bach’s classical music played entirely on a Moog Synthesizer, which earned her three Grammy Awards and thrust the new instrument further into the spotlight.
That was back in the late 60s, when you had to meet people face-to-face or pick up the phone to call them. It still didn’t stop Bob Moog from exploring the needs and pains of his customers. His product was obviously brilliant, granted, but he perfected his design and made it accessible to musicians by engaging with them directly.
Social media offers you so many more possibilities for communicating, options that Bob Moog could have only dreamt of. Yet, so many businesses decide against customer engagement. If anything, the digital era should stimulate engagement, and not replace it with sales gibberish.
Stand out from the crowd
This is a good opportunity to clarify an important point: just because other companies are pushing sales-oriented content, doesn’t mean you should. If there’s one thing social media is good for, it’s for injecting a bit of personality and character into an otherwise slightly corporate affair. Social media provides you with a platform to show off a little, away from the constraints of functional website pages.
Companies like Paddy Power are great examples of using the right tone for a specific audience. Their ‘laddish’ and humour-oriented posts are current, relevant, and always lead to hundreds, if not thousands of likes and comments. Most of their posts don’t even have anything to do with betting or their offers – they’re purely on there to keep people engaged and above all else, provide a few laughs along the way.
But you don’t have to be an enormous betting company to do this right. Trakke Bags, a Scottish company who make handmade waxed canvas bags, also employ this strategy, but to a very different end. There’s something poetic about their tone that harkens back to a bygone era before industrial production and incites you to go out and be amongst nature. It works for their product, for their brand, and it gives their audience and customer base what they crave. It cleverly fuses their unique selling point (hand-made bags and traditional, local manufacturing methods) with a bit of travel inspiration, creating a web of interconnected snippets that are never just about the bags they sell. Instead, it’s a conscious decision to focus on the narratives surrounding their products.
Find what works for you
None of these examples are a blueprint for success. They work for these individual companies, but you’ll need to find what works for your business and what resonates with your audience. Furthermore, not every social media channel will be right for you. Choosing the right channel and doing it well tends to work better than stretching your resources too thin and trying to do 5 social channels at once.
Want to read more?
Check out our blog ‘Is social media under threat’ if you’re interested in learning more about this topic. As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about social media marketing or want a free audit of your social media channels.