Social Media and Content
Can sharing content on social media provide real world leads? The kind of concrete leads that actually have revenue generating potential? It may seem like a question with an obvious answer. But I don’t think that’s the case. Almost anyone with a small business uses social media to some extent or another. And almost all have received business due to their social media presence.
But what is the role of content in all of that? Is there a specific kind of content that works best? How often should a business post their content?
The online marketing sphere is replete with statistics that demonstrate that there are ideal days and times to post, ideal color palettes for attracting attention, ideal wording to entice would-be customers and clients to “learn more”. Despite the proliferation of such statistics, indeed because of it, that’s not what I’m going to focus on here.
My focus will be a bit different; a bit more personal.
The Importance of Character
A person has a character. This character is largely made up of their values, and how those values are manifest through the person’s every day living. It’s further influenced by the person’s motivation – unconscious and conscious alike – and their ideas of what the future will hold.
When we meet people, and get to know them, we tend to “like” them in correlation with how genuine they are. That is, how quickly and easily we can detect their character, and judge whether it’s compatible with our own.
I would argue that businesses are much the same way. They’re a bit more formal though. The values, motivations, and future ideals are often meticulously outlined, severely scrutinized, and revised – sometimes by committee. These documents exist as the Company Values, Mission Statement, and Vision Statement, respectively.
The importance of these documents cannot be understated. They should be painfully clear and genuine. Just as our liking of a person is often based on the transparency of their character, so it is with businesses. We judge businesses by our perception of their character.
How Content Relates to Character
But how does all of this relate back to social media content? In many ways, to many, many people, your Social Media content IS the character of your business. This will depend on your level of use, of course. But social media is one of the most widely utilized technologies. It’s a fact, for better or worse, that many more people will know your business through it’s social media content than through any other means.
So how can you utilize that? By ensuring that your social media content is absolutely consistent with the character of your business. Of course there are principles of design, content creation, and marketing strategies that can boost the effectiveness of your social media content – but if the content does not contain and communicate the value of your business, your results will be lackluster at best, and an outright flop at worse.
How to Integrate your Character into Your Content
How do you infuse your character into each piece of content? There are two ways:
By Inclusion, I mean that your content should include elements of your business’s character – that is, it should communicate your values, mission, or vision. This doesn’t need to be obnoxious, and could be tactfully executed in a way that is both subtle and effective. Consider the slogan for State Farm Insurance. “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” By invoking the image of a “good neighbor”, State Farm doesn’t need to explicitly state their company values (quality service and relationships, mutual trust, integrity and financial strength), but you pick up on it nonetheless.
Including elements of your business’s character, means using words, images, and invitations that evoke your values, even if they’re not explicitly stated.
The other way is Exclusion. By this I mean that you deliberately omit any element that would detract from your business’s character. If your business touts honesty and integrity as part of your values, then do not use verbiage, imagery, or strategies that would undermine that.
Topping It Off
Implementing these strategies can be difficult. After all, it’s not always easy to predict how someone will react to a piece of content. But as you create and prepare your content for publication, review what you’ve made. Ask yourself if it adheres to your business’s character. Ask yourself if there’s anything about it that may be off-putting or detract from it, or seem disingenuous in any way.
As you begin to view your content as an extension of your business’s character, you will be empowered to avoid pitfalls and take advantage of opportunities that may have otherwise remained hidden.