By Shelley Carter
Photo by: Quka / Shutterstock.com
Think about what being social or socialization really means. By definition it means gaining an understanding of group dynamics and how to fit in. It’s not about scripted content that has been researched and scheduled a year in advance and posted without any thought throughout the year. A well-socialized brand goes far beyond a scheduled social media content and visual plan.
In an age of engagement marketing and social media, many marketers are still struggling with figuring out the best ways to communicate and have meaningful conversations with their current and future customers. Beyond selecting the right aligned social platforms to help spark discussions and connections to your brand, you need to discover the human side of your brand that will best help you connect.
There is a ton of debate over the humanization of brands. “How can a brand possibly be human?” many may ask. It is not so much that the brand all into itself can be humanized, it is more in how we connect with our customers through the personalities of our employees that represent the brand and of course the values that align with what our brand ultimately stands for.
Now lets think about your brand and your employees that represent your brand. How can you showcase that collective personality that makes you unique? Every well-known brand has a voice these days – a certain tone and personality that is driven by their brand essence and spoken by their employees. How confident are you that your employees driving your social media voice are speaking in a way that truly captures what your brand is all about? Just as important as the content and imagery that you post, you should have guidelines on how you want to be seen or heard but at the same time empower your employees to represent your brand through a bit of their own personalities. I am not talking about scripted responses here. If you become too formal, then you will be seen as anything but human. Respond to people using their first name and don’t be afraid to let your employees sign off their comments, with their own name as well. Let your audience get to know the people behind the brand. People love when they can connect with other people and if you can let your customers know that you care through your employees, you will also be letting them know that you care as your brand.
If we look at a brand like Zappos, there are many stories about how the employees of Zappos are frequently going well beyond what is expected of them. Why? Because that is how they have been trained and nurtured to respond to customers. Zappos.com, led by CEO Tony Hsieh, has a unique company culture, one that encourages its workers and motivates them to provide the best customer service in the industry. Hsieh and his team built a unique corporate culture dedicated to employee empowerment and the promise of delivering happiness though satisfied customers and a valued workforce.
Many clients ask me how far in advance they should plan out their scheduled posts. Early on the thinking was to schedule out as much as you could to make it easy. Although some planning around seasonal events can be helpful, there is something to be said about listening intently to your audience and even your competitors, and planning your posts around the trends you see happening in real time. Don’t be afraid to empower your employees to even try out new approaches on the fly, providing they align with your brand essence. At the end of the day you want to connect with your audience in real-time, engaging them in conversations, offering them something of value and ultimately triggering an action towards a purchase.
A social post that appeared on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on September 19th from the late Joan Rivers is a new lesson in "what-not-to-do." The recent pre-scheduled message from Joan Rivers who most likely had a deal with Apple to help promote the phone, should be a lesson to all marketers—Your scheduled feed needs to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure anything being posted is relevant and not in bad taste based on what is happening each day. Because of Rivers' bold and joking personality, this probably wasn’t the social media disaster it could have been.
Chris Burke @chrisburke jokingly responded on twitter. “Joan Rivers talking about the iPhone 6... Maybe The Cloud is more than we think.”
So get out there, ask your audience questions. Find out what they are interested in speaking about and find a way to subtly connect their interests to the values driving your brand. Let organic conversations grow and become a part of these conversations. Don’t just pre-write all of your content for the year and blindly post like a robot each week! Give them something relevant and timely to share and talk about with their peers, and BAM! Congratulations, you have figured out how to socialize your brand and lets face it… that is not something that can ever be completely scripted.
Note about the Author:
Shelley has worked for Sandbox for over 10 years and is currently still assisting us in a few areas. She lives in sunny California with her dogs. She is passionate about social media and assisting companies with brand strategy. If you would like to contact Shelley, send her at note through Linkedin by clicking the icon below.