Social media is not just a box to be checked off on your marketing to-do list.
These days, nearly everyone in corporate America knows that you need to use social media to get the word out and attract business. We’ve come that far. Whether a person actually uses it or not is another story, and, even then, just using it is not enough.
The best type of marketing and branding takes place around a narrative. You don’t want just to announce that something’s happening. You do want to create a larger story and to use that as the context for everything that comes next. For example, is your firm a scrappy startup founded by three college friends? Is it a family company that’s been in the community for 100 years? All of that stuff is interesting, and that’s story or narrative is what will attract people to your site and to the products and services your offering.
Every company is unique and offers a different perspective. While people are not spending money on your story per se, it will cause them to give you a second look. Here’s a case in point. We work with a warehousing and logistics company, Capacity LLC. It was founded a number of years ago by three friends, young guys. What sets them apart from the competition is their personal attention to detail and their interaction with clients.
A few years back we decided to make a Holiday video of the founders dropping seasonally appropriate items off of the roof of one of their warehouses. You got to see Christmas balls hitting the ground and shattering in slow motion. The egg nog crash was magnificent. But then we packed the Christmas balls according to Capacity's packaging specifications, and voila, they survived. By the way, it turns out fruit cakes can survive a 60 foot drop without packaging.
Social media is best used when it’s plugged into your narrative, when it expands upon your story. Are you in Pittsburgh and does your firm have a connection to the social fabric of Pittsburgh? Well, then spend some time talking about the City, the Steelers, etc. Unless you’re selling a pure commodity product (e.g. nuts and bolts) people are interested in finding out what makes you tick, and the more you can show the people behind your company, the better off you’re likely to be.
The question often comes up whether this extraneous stuff detracts from your brand. My contention is that it adds to and enhances your brand. Years ago there was a fear about seeming unprofessional. These days social media has blurred the lines between the personal and the professional. Give people a reason to like both you and your company, and, inevitably, they will.