Photo Credit: Ame Otoko on Flickr
Dan Zarrella, an academic who specialises in the science behind social media, wrote a blog article about how listeners to social media are turned off by people and companies that talk about themselves all the time. No surprise there. It’s the same in real life.
He also pointed out that novelty is a big factor that drives interest and propagation of messages via social media. Again, like real life. So the trick for sales and marketing people is how do you keep your messages fresh and interesting and keep away from banging on about how good your products or services are?
Nobody Cares What You Think (About Yourself)
The way that I look at it is to try to find the things that occupy the minds of your target audience or potential customers. I like to keep a good handle on the industry movements, especially those things that stir some debate or controversy. This provides me with good conversation starters and topics that can lead towards discussions of challenges that I know that I can help my clients to address.
I also like to read about other areas of creativity and innovation, keeping my mind open to things that might be applicable to the conversations that I am having. For example, back in 2005, I read the original Wired article by Chris Anderson where he put forward his ideas about the Long Tail of business in the digital world. At the time, I was employed to develop business for a new category of solution for service providers to help them launch new digital services to consumers and businesses.
I used the Long Tail concept to open conversations with my potential customers about how the ability to launch new services very rapidly and at almost no incremental cost would become the difference between success and failure for service providers. Perhaps it was a bit of a stretch, but the point is that the conversation was about the challenges of rapid service delivery and of whether the Long Tail was valid in this context or not.
My Widget’s Bigger Than Yours
We weren’t talking about whether my widget was better than the next guy’s, or whether 99.999% availability was important or not. Those are product discussions which need to happen at some point, but I was able to open things up and establish a level of credibility which made the product discussions easier and happen later in the buying cycle. As Mr. Zarrella says, I spoke as myself, not about myself. I introduced novelty and interest for my audiences.
Turning the Tide
Here’s another example of how a company has spoken as themselves to say something different to everyone else. In this New York Times Article, a local dry cleaner in Kansas City has increased revenue despite a global brand like Tide, opening a franchised outlet near by. Joe Runyan, the founder of Hangers Cleaners says in the article:
“The entrance of Tide into our market forced us to consider how we’re different, what we can do that someone else won’t be able to replicate.”
They focused on unique services like pick up and delivery and on using social media to communicate their quirky and edgy messages to their customers.
Increase Relevance, Not Volume
We have all heard about how social media has changed the way that buyers evaluate purchases. However, the level of noise that now exists and continues to grow and compete for your buyers’ attention is immense. To raise yourself above that noise get noticed and to have your messages heard, find ways to pique interest and to bring something new and fresh to the conversations.
How To Develop Your Own Voice
Find out what those audience interests are. Develop your own styles of communications and use broad-based content to become recognised as a company or an individual that has something meaningful to say and is not bleating with the rest of the flock. Don’t be afraid to link your messages to things totally outside of your industry or completely off topic. As long as you can draw a credible link, you will gain ground on your competitors. Above all, let other people talk about you whilst you lead the conversations and have your audience hanging on your every word.
I’d love to hear about ways that you turn your conversations into the centrepiece of conversations with your customers and prospects. Leave a comment.