Ever noticed how nobody wants to end up sat with that bloke Bill when you’re out? It’s not that Bill isn’t ‘nice’, more that he’s a bit, well…boring. Normally he just blends into the background, but should you suddenly find yourself stuck on the end of the table with Bill, you quickly find yourself eyeing up the next round of two-for-one Pina Coladas whilst he’s rambling on about his lawn mower settings.
The same thing happens online, it’s just that most people don’t realise it until it’s too late. Businesses are boring their followers into submission, rather than adapting to the changing landscape of social media. In amongst the topless selfie of the former high school hunk, and the video of your mates gran having a bucket of ice poured over her head, people really aren’t that interested in your 10% off voucher (this is even more important when advertising on social media).
In an era of web copy spun for Google, we seem to have forgotten keywords and links don’t exactly make for compelling bedtime reading! As important as improving your rankings are, all the extra traffic will quickly fizzle out if visitors don’t like what they see when they land on your site. The same is true on social, where as wonderful as you think your latest offer or blog post might be, if it’s not presented in an engaging manner it will be largely ignored, or worse.
What most people forget is that unlike with more traditional media, on social media businesses are not just competing with each other, but also with their audiences friends, family and interests. The problem is that the algorithm’s on most major social platforms now actively penalise posts that people don’t engage with. Much like asking George Osborne to lecture on socio-economic reform at a student union, the content may be relevant, but if the delivery is wrong, your audience may have already begun making their way to the bar.
This is where personality becomes vital (don’t worry if you’re less exciting than an afternoon spent assembling an Ikea flat pack wardrobe – there’s help for that.)! Having personality is essential to helping you stand out from the ‘noise’ and gives people a reason to not just follow you, but actually engage with your posts, as a lack of engagement can have both short and long-term repercussions for your social media marketing efforts.
That is not to say however that you should rush over to Urban Dictionary and start looking up terms like “on fleek” or “turnt” for your next tweet. Instead, use the audience data available to you through most social platforms to carefully analyse your audience and understand exactly what they expect from you…
The Cult Of Innocence
It seems that whilst most tweets from businesses look like they are being written by Pete’s Great Grandpa `Bob, there are some who have gone in a completely different direction, largely thanks to the success of brands like Innocent Drinks or Dollar Shave Club.
— innocent drinks (@innocent) April 22, 2016
Whilst Innocent are referenced in virtually every post about brands acing social (sorry to bring them up again), understand that just because it works for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. I don’t know about you, but if my bank suddenly started tweeting about how to make “awesome knitted credit card holders” I’d probably be transferring my account to that lovely Nigerian fellow who emailed me last night about the twenty million naira he has sat waiting for me.
The reality is that humorous tweets don’t come naturally to most. So if you’re a bit boring, instead focus on what you definitely can do. Perhaps it’s that you have an encyclopedic knowledge of your subject area, or maybe your tweets read like a Pulitzer prize winning article, whatever it is, use it to make your business stand out from the crowd!
Your style doesn’t just need to be reflected in the way you write, but should also be a focus of the content you produce. This way, your business can begin to develop a personality of its own that your fans and customers can identify and engage with. Ideally, you want people to be able to recognise who you are just from your use of language and visuals. It may not appeal to everyone, but it’s a hell of a lot better than appealing to no one.
Whilst finding your voice online takes time, don’t be afraid to try new things. Most people are willing to overlook one or two dodgy tweets, just as long as you make sure not to leave your Facebook page open again when Margaret from accounts comes up to visit.
If you’re still not sure how to develop a voice for your business, why not pop in and have a chat over a brew!