“Find anything and everything to talk about your topic—as long as you’re actually saying something.” My public speaking course teacher, back in high school, spoke these influential words to me. The activity that his words pertained to was one that required us students to pick a piece of paper from a hat and talk to the class about what topic was on it. This might sound trivial, but speaking on the spot about a random noun in front of your class and making it sound appealing, is rather difficult. So why is it that brands struggle with this issue; the ability to make an audience pay attention to a topic that listeners may not take interest in. Unlike my scenario, brands actually know what their chosen subject is about, as well as has the time (unlike my three seconds) to plan on what they’re going to say. Where is the disconnect happening then in brands?
Here are some tips for engaging an audience better with your brand online and presenting yourself in a humanistic light.
Ever see someone you know act completely different in front of someone else? The sort of uneasy feeling you get in your stomach in this scenario is the exact feeling that consumers get when they see a brand acting artificially, or drastically different than their usual tone. This isn’t to say that a brand can’t try a new tactic, or make a normally boring topic humorous, but when it comes to brand consistency, the key is remaining true to your mission…
Which brings us to…
Develop a Plan & Stick to It
As a brand, it is imperative that any changes in appearance on social media, whether total makeover or just funny tweets, is mapped out and committed to. As Melissa Eggleston said in a well-written article earlier this year, “Companies that do not have clear, responsible sets of core values applied effectively come off as inauthentic and inhuman.” Essentially, what she’s saying is that straying away from your core values is extremely detrimental to your brand. If you stick to what you know and apply some modern tactics, your audience will come to you, rather than vice versa.
Make a Team of Your Demographic
It’s no surprise that no matter what side of the party line an individual sits on, people oftentimes feel unrepresented in government. Oftentimes, this stems from a visual lack of representation on the congressional teams. Think of your company like this. If you’re trying to secure a specific demographic with your new creative plan, then make sure they’re somewhere in your company! For example, let’s say your brand is trying to better connect with younger individuals, millennials, perhaps. Put together a team of millennials that helps oversees parts of your social media content and gets their input on every move you plan on making. One brand that effectively implements this is Cisco, with their Snapchat team “Kitten Rainbow Unicorns.” What Cisco did was composed a team of young individuals that oversaw their Snapchat account, posting daily stories and fun videos about what it’s like being a Cisco worker. Their overall objective was to show young professionals that you could work at an IT company and still enjoy your daily workplace. The outcome of their pilot program resulted in higher Snapchat-story views and overall more individuals watching the full extent of the videos (rather than click-through). It was a definite win for them!
Start Small, but Think Big
In order to ensure a big success for your company, you must first start small. Rather than upheaving the entire ground your brand was founded on, try to start your creative online plan by implementing small doses of your overall plan. For example, if your brand wants to be more playful in their online dialogue, try creating a series of simple “memes”. Try to stick to a weekly tone, or post on a certain day that your audience will quickly become accustomed to. Maybe a #ThrowbackThursday if your brand has some old pictures of the company, or a favorite line of products that consumers once enjoyed. A music service could showcase a fan-favorite song from the nineties, or a beverage company could post a visual of an original bottle of their favorite drink. Whatever your brand chooses, keep it consistent each week and start small.
In order to attract new consumers and a dedicated audience, your brand must establish itself in a humanistic light online. Adhere to the tips above and remember to, as my teacher once said, say something with your material that will allow your audience to tune in.