Good morning my socialites! Sorry for the pause in content, but a family vacation was needed, and now we are back in full swing!
Today we are going to take a quick look at “language” on social media and how we communicate with our online communities.
[ lang-gwij ] noun: a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition.
I love this definition of “language” as it directly links the words we use to “people who are of the same community”. Now, the dictionary has a more literal definition of community based on the above. We who live and work on Social Media know our “community” is world-wide and we need to be able to communicate with people from all around, but that doesn’t mean we can’t let our vernacular help define our brand, in fact, it is encouraged!
Being from Oklahoma (and my partner being from Texas) when we went to the New Jersey shore for vacation, the people up there immediately noticed the difference in “The Way I Talk”. (Old school Morgan Wallen credit given for the title of this post.) Let me tell you, they LOVED the draw in my partner’s Texas accent, and he LOVED that they LOVED it! And those interactions (as a marketer who is guilty of always marketing) got me thinking about how “genuine” the way we talk is, it is a very outward representation of where we are from, and who we are, and we should embrace that!
“Some words you’ve never heard, ‘Less you come from down yonder”
How do I capture my Voice?
Don’t “force” your content. Write in a conversational manner, when you sit down to compose your post, “free write” what you are trying to say, capture the words as they flow out of your heart and mind. You can always go back and “word smith”, adjust typography (check this post out for more on typography in social media) and correct any grammatical errors in your post before posting (more on word smithing in a future post).
The more natural our posts are the more relatable they are, and for those outside of our immediate communities the more “charming” they will likely be. You will still include all of those important “action items” (“Like our Page”, “Come by the Store”, etc) while maintaining the natural “conversational” flow of your post.
Let’s look at an example of “forced messages” in what I will call “the real world”. Take a mental walk with me. Imagine you are walking down your favorite small town Main Street on a breezy Saturday morning (fall is coming, football and bonfires linger in the not too distant future), you just picked up a cup of your favorite coffee, the responsibilities are at home, and you are just out and about planning on doing some leisurely shopping and self care.
You turn the corner and a new store owner has recruited someone to stand outside and YELL at the top of their teenage lungs “GRAND OPENING SALE TODAY! COME IN NOW! 50% OFF!”
As you walk down the street you see someone sitting at a small bistro table outside of a new shop, also drinking coffee from your favorite place, you make eye contact, they say with a slight nod “How are you today?” You respond, “I’m good, how are you?” (Sound pretty typical so far?)
AND THEN! The other coffee sipper says, “Oh, I’m doing pretty well, just got done setting up the store for our Grand Opening, we have sales on some really great stuff, you should come by and see us.”
Conversational VS Forced
I’m guessing you can tell Option 1 would be “forced” messaging, while Option 2 is “conversational”. Which would you prefer and which do you think would ultimately be more successful?
Don’t write Option 1 off totally, there is a time and place for big, loud, robust marketing, but on Social Media we are trying communicate our brands and create that “Intentional Content” we wrote about in this post from earlier this month.
The Language Part
The example provided not only demonstrated “how” those messages are delivered, “forced” versus “conversational”, but did you also notice the differences in the actual words? In your mind when you read about the “yeller” were you able to pick up on any vernacular or did you imagine any sort of “accent”? It’s unlikely, because when someone is yelling you don’t hear the subtleties in their voice and there is no subtly in their message.
In the conversation with the “coffee sipper”, you had the opportunity to interact with this person, you have things in common (coffee is so important), you also were able to gather that this store is having a “Grand Opening” and a “Sale”, plus you have now had the added pleasure of a nice direct interaction with another human. This positive interaction will immediately leave a memorable moment in your mind, and has more “marketing value” than almost any other type of interaction.
Social Media can feel this way too!
Talk to your customers, don’t yell at them. Here are some quick ideas on how to be “conversational” in your social media posts, rather than “force messaging”. One of the most common examples of “forced messaging” we see on Social Media is Contests, so we are going to look at them as our “exercise” for this blog post.
We are not against “contests” on Social Media, AT ALL! We are against the current (and longstanding) trend that requires 3-15 different actions by the customer in order to be “entered to win”. If you are asking your customer to:
1) Like Our Page
2) Tag 6 People
3) Like Our Pages for our other 3 locations
4) Share this post
Then let me be blunt, you are asking them to do all of your marketing for you, and what you actually want them to do is shop with you! Yes, we understand the need for exposure! These sorts of posts aren’t inspiring customers to shop with you, they are essentially becoming “click bait”. While this may “boost” your analytical statistics, has is actually boosted your sales? They are also nearly impossible to successfully track and create a lot of manual work for the person who is “checking” if your potential customers “followed all the rules” to qualify as an entry.
Lastly, if someone was talking to you directly on a sleepy street on a Saturday morning, would you ask them to do all of those things “for you”?
Try these “Contest” ideas instead:
Remember to think about “Intentional Content” and don’t be guilty of “greedy social media” asks from your followers. There will be many future posts on “Greedy Social Media” and “Reasonable Asks”.
Use your “voice” to compose posts, when doing this imagine that the person you are asking to “do you this favor” is standing in your place of business and you are asking them face-to-face.
- Ask for recommendations from customers who have shopped with you, enter them to win!
- Ask for ONE of the following: Likes, Shares, Tags.
- Everyone who makes a purchase during a specified period of time (preferably no longer than a week) will be entered to win a prize.
- Create a “Live” event and enter participants to win.
- Do the “give away” on a Live event.
Remember, your followers are people and they relate to and interact with “people focused” content.
I’m glad you stopped by! Don’t forget the best thing about your business is you! I hope this finds you well and happy and leaves you inspired.