Many businesses pride themselves in being a “Social Business,” showing off their Facebook and Twitter icons on their websites and a few even putting stickers in their windows reminding people to “Follow”, “Like” or “check in” . Unfortunately, a facebook page does not make a business social and pumping out promotional content that has more keywords in the posts than actual helpful or interesting information is not helping your cause either.
Let's imagine you invite customers and potential clients to a casual dinner party. Your goal is to build relationships, hear what is important in their world and answer any questions they may have from you. Firing up your laptop and running through your 87 PowerPoint slides with corporate images and jargon is probably not the best party idea. Yet that is what many people do on social media sites. Sterile corporate images and content that looks like it was pulled straight from a brochure.
Social media allows us to invite our customers in for a more casual conversation. It allows us to take off the corporate suits and let people get to know us a little more intimately. It's like Dorothy and her gang pulling back the curtain and finally getting to see and know the REAL wizard of Oz. He was big and intimidating behind the curtain. You couldn't speak directly to him and you certainly didn't get the feeling that he wanted to hear what you had to say. Once the curtain was pulled back, Dorothy saw a more vulnerable but likable man.
Too many companies are afraid to let customers peek behind the curtain. They don't want to show the real people who work for the organization, because they look very different from the “corporate porn” photos that we see on websites. I love the one's showing smiling and laughing, perfectly diverse teams, standing around a FLIP CHART! Come on…we are not fooled! Show us your REAL team.
Here are 4 ways you can allow people to peek behind the corporate curtain:
- Share facts about your team members. Let us know their favorite movies, ice-cream flavors, first pet… anything. People want to know about the real people they interact with or those that are behind the scenes making it happen.
- Open an Instagram account and make a point to share at least one photo a week of something going on in your organization. Whether you share a great shot of your business decked out for the holidays, a unique picture of food being prepped for a party or just a beautiful view of your business at sunrise or sunset. People love to see from your vantage point.
- Let people see what you do FOR your team members. Great leadership in action is more than a marketing slogan. Show examples. The management team at one of our clients, the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, wanted to surprise the employees one summer afternoon by washing their cars for them. Someone snapped great pictures and of course the social community loved seeing this act of servant leadership.
- Open up iMovie on your iPad or flip that video switch on your smart phone to create a 30-second video sharing a tip or tips from the experts on your staff (not your marketing team or hired models). Show your bartender creating the perfect party drink or allow one of your team members of your dress shop, to show how to pick the perfect handbag to complement a party dress. Don't over produce, but do make sure you plan out the short video and make sure the sound is great.
Like Dorothy and her gang, you need a bit of courage to take on sharing more with your social community. You need a brain to share the right things that are congruent with your brand, but by doing so, you will show that you have a heart for your customers and potential customers who will want to follow you right back home!
I would love to know what other ideas you have used or others you have seen. Leave your creative ideas in the comments here!
@GinaSchreck is the president at SocialKNX, a social media marketing company.