Here are 7 skills that I feel every social media marketer needs to stand out:
1. Great writing skills
2. Customer Service Skills
3. Basic SEO Understanding
Anticipation can be a great marketing tactic. As Carly Simon sang in her song, and the 1979 Heinz Ketchup commercial, “Anticipation is making me wait.” This typically means you are waiting for something you want. This month the world was on the edge of their seats (apply heavy sarcasm here) with their eyes glued to their computer monitors watching the live-video feed of April the Giraffe at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. After over a year, everyone was waiting to see the arrival of the new baby giraffe.
While I love a new baby giraffe as much as the next girl, I just couldn’t see what all the hype was about, but after seeing the story covered day after day on the news and with the hysterical twist of the pregnant woman, Erin Deitrich getting in on the action as she spoofed April the Giraffe and put on a mask saying she would deliver her baby before April would, I gave in. I clicked over to see what all the fuss was about and, just as I thought, there was a large giraffe standing around in a 20’ x 20’ enclosure, taking a few steps now and then. I don’t know if I was expecting to see her doing yoga or sitting on an exercise ball to relieve her labor pains, but it was extremely BORING…but I watched her for over 5 minutes before I slapped myself out of the trance and made myself get back to work. Why? Because we all wanted to witness the moment she finally gave birth. We were heavy with anticipation.
I see companies ready to birth new websites, posting the exciting news, “We’ve got a new website coming” which, to be honest, is about as exciting, to anyone outside the company, as watching a giraffe walk around her enclosure. You may be launching a new book, a new website, opening a restaurant or store, but you’ve got to be creative to pull your audience in with anticipation in order to get them to stay engaged. People want to know what is in it for them and to be honest, you launching a new website USUALLY has nothing in it for your customers.
What if you could get your audience to be even half as excited as you are about your new website or business launch? What if you could get them to “tune in” and see how your project was developing? Here are a few ideas to help you use anticipation marketing:
Create easy response polls to get your audience involved in helping you make decisions. This works great in real estate. Put up images of four different kitchens and ask which one people would want to cook their next meal in. What if for a website launch, you asked people to vote on 4 different font choices or color combinations.
Along the same lines, you can show two choices and play would you rather. We work with a commercial interior design firm, and this works great. Ask your audience which chairs they would rather have at their desk, or which conference table looks more inviting Which uniform do you prefer? Could you ask your audience if they would rather have a content library filled with case studies or a challenge a day section they could draw inspiration from?
Of course once the little 6-foot, 150-pound baby giraffe was born (April, the zoo could hook the world a little longer by involving everyone in the naming of the little lad. They are raising funds by charging a dollar per vote, with a minimum of 5 votes per person. BRILLIANT. Of course, they are using the opportunity to educate everyone on the state of giraffes in the wild and the preservation efforts that they are involved in. In a different manner, what if you had a character in your business that helped educate the world on your products or services? John Kapos, of Perfection Chocolates in Sydney, Australia goes into his Chocolate Johnny character (a chocolate “dealer” with a bodyguard and a drag queen girlfriend) to bring funny videos to his fans. Could you have your audience help you name a company mascot or perhaps a fun “character” or spokesperson that will bring regular tips their way? You might have a harder time getting people to pay for their votes, but people love to have a say and it can be a fun way to get people coming back for more.
I love seeing the story of Sarah and Juan “unwrap” in the Extra Gum commercials. They have done a brilliant job of creating a romantic drama that draws you in. You anticipate their next short chapter. Could you use this type of story-creation to bring your audience along for the ride? There are many brands that tell part of a story in a commercial and then pull you to their website to see how it ends or to view the whole story. You could release a mini-chapter each week until the finale or big reveal.
Remember, anticipation is “the feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen,” according to Merriam-Webster anyway. If you want your audience to be excited about your brand and what is happening, get them involved; allow them to participate or go behind the curtain with you to watch. If that doesn’t work, you can always try getting pregnant and wearing a giraffe mask.
You spend a significant amount of time communicating to customers and potential customers through marketing and sales campaigns, support contacts, and your company blog. You also take advantage of customer engagement opportunities through social media sites, as few other venues give you the one-on-one ability to start a conversation with your customers. While you can use whatever voice you want for all communication, establishing a unified brand voice for your communication helps you build consistency across your brand. It also helps you establish employee guidelines explaining acceptable language for communication, common phrases or terms you use for your company, and other details important for correctly conveying your company’s message. On social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the ease of back and forth communication between yourself and your customers requires some shifting for your brand’s voice, due to the more informal setting.
The first step in adapting your brand’s voice for social media is establishing your voice guidelines.
Once you’ve created a document covering basic voice guidelines, it’s time to understand how they relate to your brand’s interaction with customers on popular social networks, the types of content these networks respond best to, and how to adapt your voice for your customers.
Facebook is the biggest social network, and it’s also the one that accommodates a wide range of content. Content length ranges from 50 to 200 words, with videos and pictures drawing more attention to your text posts. You don’t want to overwhelm your Facebook fans with long-form content, but you can provide substantial information to begin a conversation. Facebook supports threaded conversations, making it easier for everyone to follow along with comments compared to a platform like Twitter. You adopt a slightly more informal speech pattern on Facebook, but you don’t have to deviate strongly from your typical speaking patterns. You want to interject personality with some demographic and brand appropriate slang and humor to help get the conversations going.
Twitter is challenging for many brands due to the 140 character limit per message. Your social media managers learn how to distill messages into easily digestible tidbits. Effectively communicating on Twitter requires an understanding that you’re going to use abbreviations and Internet slang to get your message across in such a short space. Additionally, knowing how to sustain a conversation through appropriate hashtags is invaluable. Twitter is the most informal social network you may encounter, so you most likely need to adjust your guidelines the greatest for this network. It’s particularly important to mandate which abbreviations and shortened words are appropriate and which do not suit the brand.
LinkedIn is primarily used for B2B communication, so you won’t deviate far from your established brand voice on this network. You do want to keep your tone as warm as possible to encourage engagement and show your brand’s personality. Longer form content is welcomed on this network, although visual content still does a great job at attracting interest.
Pinterest is a visual-first social media site, and your messaging should reflect that. Infographics and DIY projects get significant attention, especially if you have a home or lifestyle brand. Product photos themselves are also welcomed, especially if you can create pinboards that speak to how your products are used in day to day life. Pinterest focuses on visual storytelling, although the picture and board descriptions are important places to further explain the story. A warm and personable tone gets the conversation and pins going on Pinterest, with mostly informal speech.
Niche social media sites pop up on a regular basis, such as Steepster for tea community or the niche sub-reddit communities on Reddit. While there’s no one size fits all approach to handling these specialty communities, going for a welcoming and relatable tone is an important first step. It’s also essential to truly understand standard terminology used by customers within your niche. If you go into a specialty social media site filled with enthusiasts and you don’t know the first thing about the phrases they use, it damages the trust they may have in your company knowing what the niche is all about.
Social media sites may seem intimidating when it comes to keeping your brand’s voice consistent across multiple platforms. Understanding the typical tone and content used on these sites helps you adapt your social media guidelines and effectively start conversations with your customers.
If you are needing help with this or other digital marketing activities, use your voice to call our voice and let’s connect!