What can our furry friends teach us about branding?
All of you animal lovers out there will get this right off the bat … how animals can show us branding done right.
You know when you look at your dog and you no longer see a dog? You actually see Spike, or Spot, or (in my case) Chloe?
They’ve transcended “dog” and become human to us.
Their little nuances, and personality traits (Chloe is scared of the dark), and ways in which they “speak” to you become so much more than an animal with four legs and a wagging tail.
You SEE them for who they are (yes, WHO not WHAT).
Dogs have much to teach us when it comes to branding done right.
Think about it: Are your social pages seen for WHO they are or WHAT they are?
If peeps can see your logo as a WHO, that’s branding done right.
Show WHO You Are (Not WHAT You Are)
People are usually pretty clear on what you are (or what you do).
What isn’t clear most of the time is who you are.
Here are six ways to show or tell peeps your “WHO”:
- Who makes up your team? Highlight them!
- Lose the jargon and sales speak. Talk to your audience in a colloquial nature. Pro Tip: Know your brand’s tone and voice.
- Respond. Sounds simple enough, but so many brands set up the latest social page and then don’t make themselves available, or go days on end without posting. Pro Tip: Sign off with your name and have team members do the same to put a “face” with the post.
- Create boundaries. There’s a HUGE difference between humanizing your brand and giving out too much information – especially when it’s too much personal information.
- Think conversation rather than campaign. (Here’s how we do just that)
- Utilize storytelling to help tell your brand’s story in a unique way.
Now let’s expand on each of those six things to give you a blueprint for becoming a social personality (rather than just a social page).
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
When highlighting your team or behind-the-scenes pictures, remember that you can (and should!) promote:
- Your employees/team members
- Your customers
- Your community members
Sprout Social does a great job of helping their Facebook community get to know their employees with their “Meet Team Sprout” posts on Facebook:
BundlePost is always on top of showcasing their brand sentiment through the eyes of the customer:
And for those of you who know Mari Smith, she often uses her Facebook Cover Photo to thank — and show off — her large and loyal following:
Look Who’s Talking
I think the biggest piece of advice here is not to sound like a corporate robot.
Have fun. Have a personality.
When it comes to your brand’s voice, ask yourself:
- Are we formal or casual?
- What slang, if any, do we use?
- Should we use emoticons?
- What are some words that are unique to us/our brand/our story?
- How do we use humor and wit?
Creating a brand persona document can help you nail these things down, as well as show other memebers of the team how to “talk” as the brand.
Don’t Just Show Off, SHOW UP!
It isn’t enough to have a page sitting on Facebook, Twitter, or G+ that gets no action.
It’s one thing to have a place holder and quite another to have a dead, unused page.
Make sure you’re not only updating your page with relevant, original content, but that you’re there to help anyone who stops by for a chat.
One of the best ways to be human when responding is to:
- Sign off with the name of the person creating the message
- Sign off with the initials or the name of the person replying to the message
- Use the names of the people commenting when replying to them
Know Your Boundaries
Remember, social media business pages aren’t the place to talk about your family’s private issues (or use them for sympathy points – EWW).
Business pages will stand out with storytelling with valuable information that solves problems and answers questions.
Ask yourself: “What do we do that NO ONE ELSE does?”
The answer to that question should be the premise for your content.
There are three main points to remember with conversation:
- The key is to ASK (start one!)
- Ask questions that will help you understand your audience better
- Ask questions that are relevant to your industry, but are entertaining or educational
- DO NOT ask/use cliché questions/conversation starters (example:“Like” this post if you are having a snack right now.”)
- DO NOT ask for “Likes” on Facebook (example:“Like” this post if you are having a snack right now.”) as Facebook has said they will consider this low-quality content
- Use conversations to glean psychographics from your audience
- What are their beliefs (pertaining to your industry/product/service)?
- What are their opinions (pertaining to your industry/product/service)?
- What are their attitudes and feelings about your industry/product/service?
- Most people expect a near-immediate response time on social media platforms, so you need to be able to meet that demand
Storytime Sells Without Selling
All of the above examples help tell your unique story.
When thinking about storytelling, you want to ensure that your story is told from:
- Your perspective
- The perspective of your customers
Go back to the question, “What do we do that NO ONE ELSE does?” and figure out how to tell that part of your story.
Ask your loyal followers or customers that question. They will be able to tell you in words you never dreamed of.
Then, take it a step further and ask them if they’d be willing to share their story (also YOUR story) with your audience.
Chances are, if it was a great experience they will be happy to do it!
These peer-to-peer recommendations are soft selling, but do much more for you than you telling people how awesome you are.
Branding Done Right
In a world full of automated robots and machines, consumers are desperate to connect with a human.
Your brand can be more human in everything that you do, from sales, to social media, to customer service.
Make the commitment to be more than just another social page.
Challenge yourself to be a social personality.
I promise you, your audience will love you for it!
Do you agree? How do you show off your social personality? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media management & advertising agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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