Founder & CEO at Deviate Agency, full-service creative marketing and software agency helping brands increase and dominate their market share
It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, how often you post or how many people have liked your business page or followed you on Instagram. Your company’s social media and content marketing strategy share one fatal flaw and one secret weapon: people.
“All things being equal people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust,” say Bob Burg and John David Mann in the relationship marketing classic The Go-Giver. People connect with people. They want to do business with people. They can put their trust in people. A faceless company logo and stock photography, not so much.
According to MarketingCharts, consumers trust recommendations and reviews from the people in their lives more than any form of communication from a company. They trust their friends and family more than they trust your blog, more than they trust your company videos and overwhelmingly more than they trust your advertising.
We’ve been told for years that content is king, but that’s no longer true. Content is necessary.
Connection is king, and the engagement your connections create is the Holy Grail. People like to connect with other people. So your secret weapon is the people on your team — and the connections they already have.
The average person probably has anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand social connections. Do the math. How many employees do you have, and how many people do they have in their lives on social media and out in the real world? How many people already know, like and trust them?
You can put their connections to work for your business today by encouraging, incentivizing and enabling your people to help tell your company’s story. “It’s one thing when you see brands brag about themselves. … It’s another thing when employees share genuine pride in the place where they work,” said social media marketing leader Kirt Zimmer in an interview published on Dynamic Signal’s blog. “When you see a post from a company, it feels like a logo talking to you. But when you see a post from a friend or a colleague, you’re looking at it as a human being who is sharing their thoughts and feelings. It has a different vibe. It has credibility.”
Happy employees can create happy customers. So first things first, make sure you have an engaged, happy and excited team.
Create a culture that they want to share with their friends. If you want people — customers and employees — to talk about you, you have to give them an experience worth talking about.
Don’t spend 73 minutes screaming at your employees or boring them to tears at the weekly half-hour-long mandatory meeting and expect them to log on to social media and talk about how excellent your company or brand is. Culture always starts at the top. The body follows where the head goes. That means you and your management team have to lead the way by telling the story that you want them to tell. Create content for them to share. Reward them for sharing it, engaging their personal network and spreading the love about your company.
Tag your employees in your posts; they’re more likely to see the posts and engage with them. Many of their friends will see the posts and engage with them as well.
Engagement leads to conversations. Conversations lead to conversions. Conversions lead to sales.
“Businesses must be built on human impressions instead of advertising impressions,” says Mark Schaefer, author of Marketing Rebellion. Confusing consumer trends, the unrelenting pace of technology and the breakneck speed of digital marketing are making many business owners feel irrelevant and lost, he suggests.
It’s been said that customer loyalty is overrated, or even dead, and the only thing you can do about it is nurture the authentic human relationships that you and your employees already have. Treat people like people — your customers and your employees — because in today’s crowded media, marketing and business landscape, as Schaefer says, “the most human company wins.”
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