Social media continues to grow exponentially. The beginning of 2015 found that slightly over 40 percent of the world’s population is online and close to 30 percent have active social media accounts. We use this medium to keep in touch, share ideas, and persuade governments. The solutions that can be achieved appear limitless. So, with such a powerful tool at your fingertips, how are you using social media to grow your business?
My name is Mike and I have been in the marketing communications profession for 25 years, per-dating this electronic medium that has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. As a student at Chatham University in the Master of Professional Writing program, I explored this question as part of a bi-weekly, ten part blog series.
Together, let us explore a few of the more popular social sites and identify the pros and cons of each. I offer examples and best practices for presenting a strong profile for your business on that week’s platform. To wrap up the series, we look at the practice of blogging and how these four pieces combine to build a strong, cohesive marketing campaign for any size business.
It’s time to integrate your social media marketing and build your brand. Posting a profile and depending on a breeze to deliver it to your audience is hit-or-miss at best. Planning and execution hits each mark and securely plants the seed to grow a thriving business.
From the dawn of our time, communication has been shared through storytelling. The world’s first infographics cover cave walls dating back 40,000 years. History has been passed down through generations from our elders to our young through stories that can be easily remembered. With the evolution of technology, is the art of storytelling still effective in the 21st century marketplace?
Tell Me About . . .
Many times, a company will tell a prospective customer about the features and benefits of their product or service. How “this or that” is better than a competitor’s. We are the best and you need this. The process in the approach is illustrated as:
Here the company controls the brand and markets to the customer, and in turn the customer base grows the company. Today’s audiences know the features and benefits, they are looking for engagement. What has caused this change in the audience’s buying process?
Tell Me How . . .
Traditional buyers were driven by the rational triggers of product and price. Buyers today are triggered by the emotional side of the product or service. These new dynamics come into play in response to technology and the social media influences that guide the buyer. As you can see below, the company and the customer share the role of brand ambassador and the “living, breathing” brand drives the company.
This updated process illustrates StoryBuilding, which engages the customer by creating a REAL EMOTION. Customers are focused on the experience. They are looking for an active relationship with the brand. A true WOW experience they can share!
4 Characteristics of a Sharable WOW Moment
Wow… Okay, how do we achieve “wow”?
Start with emotion, not features and benefits
The customer wants to feel emotions. The stronger the emotion, the more likely they are moved to share their experience with others, and in turn extending the reach of the brand.
This man’s dog is part of him, part of the family. Love them back by feeding him tasty Cesar’s! If the spot opened and closed on the features and benefits of feeding your dog Cesar’s (real meat, essential vitamins for a luxurious coat) would you remember let alone share with your friends?
Develop a Character
Not many people will identify with a product alone, but include a character and the connection begins to form. In 2010, Reaktor Design’s packaging for Friele Coffee aimed at personifying their coffee by focusing on people from the country that the coffee beans originated. This package design helped to draw customer’s closer to the region by identifying with the human aspect presented in the image.
Other examples of this approach can be seen with the Geico, Aflac, and past Apple commercials. A gecko, duck, and the PC/Mac characters all make memorable brand ambassadors that are much more fun to share than “100% arabica beans”.
Add a Little Tension
Using unpredictability pulls people in for a closer look, they’re uncomfortable and looking for a solution.
This commercial does a great job of building to a moment that you didn’t see coming. A happy ending that catches you off guard and you can’t help but want to share. This is also a perfect example of our last element in producing a sharable moment.
Protect the Reveal
Below is one of the most powerful messages I have seen in a while. Watch and I think you’ll understand the power of Story Building.
This message was revealed at the very end of the commercial, in a powerful and memorable moment. This video went viral, spreading Argentina’s organ donation message globally.
Caring is Sharing
How does your messaging measure up to these pieces? Are you building stories with your customers that are shareable across social media? An emotional attachment to your brand will go far in growing your audience exponentially. We all love a great story, provide one in terms of your brand and build a lasting relationship with your growing population of brand ambassadors.
Special thanks to Stacy Infantozzi, Marketing and Advertising Consultant for her contributions and research.
Mike could be referred to as a non-traditional student. He is a full-time single parent and graphic artist, who is re-entering the classroom nearly 30 years after receiving his BS in Marketing in 1987. With a solid foundation in Marketing Communications as a creative, he decided it was time to hone is writing skills and formalize his on-the-job experience with a graduate degree.
“When I decided to go back to school I was met with some skepticism from friends and colleagues.
‘Why a graduate degree at this stage of your life? Why professional writing? You have over 25 years in your field! You have been adapting right along with your profession. You learned on-the-job as paste-up moved to the desktop and direct mail moved to e-mail. How does this fit in with your current career path?’
“The last question, ‘How does this fit in with your current career path?’ was the easiest to explain. It doesn’t fit with my current career path. I am looking for a program that will enrich my skill set, broaden my capabilities, and prepare me for new career pathways. All the while, allowing me to continue to grow in my current position. I found that and more with the MPW program at Chatham.
“As I approach my last semester, growing professionally is exactly what I have done with this journey. I have had the opportunity to learn new practices, to realize my current skills are also strong, and most importantly, a chance to learn with professionals from many different backgrounds while providing real world examples from my career.”
With two courses remaining, Mike is realizing his dream of a graduate degree in a classroom that has changed dramatically from the brick and mortar days at IUP.
“Online class was something to get used to in a way. No face-to-face discussion and a lot of the learning felt like self-study. Soon though, relationships developed with classmates as we were lucky enough to all be starting about the same time and shared many classes together.
“If I were to offer any advice to incoming students to the program it would be to build relationships with your fellow students just as you would if you were physically sitting side-by-side. My group was very strong and successful when were had the opportunity to share a class and work together.”