Content – Share only the highest quality content. Whether email, website, blog, whitepaper or app, make it sizzle. Consider experimenting with video on your website. Use your iPhone. You do not need to be Steven Spielberg. Try mobile apps, webinars, or even a luscious, visual feast on Pinterest. Feature video testimonials from customers, employees, partners, or even vendors. Fundamentally, social media is about telling stories—those tantalizing tidbits of truth that trigger action. But the real challenge is this: “The medium is (still) the message,” as Marshall McLuhan said more than a half century ago. How we interact with content can be just as (if not more) meaningful than the content itself. That is why we need to me crystal clear about who we are, what we stand for, and what we are communicating to our audiences.
Community – Social media gives you the power to spread information quickly. But the irony here is that you have to let go. “Let it be,” as a wise dude once said. You don’t have to vet and control ever single word or comment. Granted, issuing calls to action online on social media platforms can spark viral campaigns rapidly, economically, and effectively– but it’s often serendipity. And, how cool is that? As NYU new media professor Clay Shirky observes, “Now, many can talk to many, as opposed to one talking to one — or one talking to many.” The chain reaction that results can be potent and powerful. We need only pay attention.
Culture – Just as everyone in a healthy organization is a salesperson, everyone in your enterprise should exercise a social media voice. Weave the behavior into the communications fabric and expectation of your operation. It’s all part of outrageously good customer service, anyway. Make engaging on Facebook about your products the norm –rather than the exception. Make promotions and projecting personality a priority – in your store, via text, online and everywhere. Make it part of your customer banter and all your in-person relationships. Work from the inside out. Hey, put the social in social media, and watch the referrals flow. Coach your staff to manage your business’ presence in an authentic and personal way online. Employees are built-in ambassadors. Give them guidelines. Train them–and deploy them first!
Character – Finally, social media is your opportunity to put a face on your organization and to humanize your brand. Optimize your own, unique corporate back story. Transparency is a powerful differentiator, my friend—in addition to being highly seductive in our post-modern, reality-TV-obsessed world. Think about ways to make the private public. This is the new “intimacy of commerce” that will effectively distract, attract and embrace your audience. As Constantin Stanislavski, the great acting coach once said, “If you know your character’s thoughts, the proper vocal and bodily expressions will naturally follow.”
Ready for your close-up?