Are you speaking the language that your audience understands?
This is a guest post from Tim Britt
Last week my wife mentioned to me, and I’m not sure how this came about, that Laurel and Hardy, or Stanlio e Ollio to give them their true Italian identity, actually spoke with an English accent, which is why when the English attempt to speak Italian, they tend to find us so funny. Now this might just be my wife’s way of protecting my rather brittle confidence when it comes to talking Italian in her native tongue, but it was a perfect (she wouldn’t have known this at the time) example of delivering content that was both relevant and interesting to the audience, in this case me.
Since 19% of all activity online is spent using social media compared to 6% in March 2007 (comScore, Dec 2011), it goes without saying that the opportunity to engage with your target audience is bigger than ever. In fact if you spent 8 hours a day at your PC over the course of a 7 day week your audience would be on Social Media accounts for over 10 hours in total. Think of that in terms of somebody reading a newspaper or a magazine and you get a fairly good idea as to the opportunity it presents to marketers.
So what practical steps can we do to ensure we’re not only targeting our audience, but that we’re actually being relevant with our delivery. Over time I’ve learnt that following a few simple and sometimes obvious rules can help when it comes to talking to potential new customers and by following these same rules could help you generate new opportunities in your field.
ONE. Don’t be afraid to Say nothing
In my opinion, the real skill of anybody working in social media is knowing when to say nothing at all. The temptation with a large and captive audience is to swamp them with information or detail but that as we know can often have an adverse effect. Engaging is great if you’ve got something worth talking about but just making noise for the sake of it is a sure-fire way to turn people off. Make sure you have something worth saying and however much you want to DON’T start selling. If people get a whiff that their being sold to, chances are you’ll lose them for good.
TWO. Don’t be shy to advertise
Despite what some may say, social media is still an appropriate platform to advertise on – it can help engage people in your conversations. Running your adverts alongside your “interesting and relevant” content strategy is a great way to increase your exposure.
The specific nature of targeted advertising these days means that not only do you have the ability to reach a very specific market, you also only pay for the people who click-through to your landing page – which if your advert is done properly should be a large number of people whose adverts you reach. One thing to remember however is not to forget about your emerging new markets as they can have a major influence on how your company develops in the long run.
THREE. Get creative but keep it simple
It seems the easiest thing of all to say and most of us like to think that we’re in some way, shape or form a naturally creative person but in truth not all of us have the time or inclination to sit around coming up with ideas which may or may not bear fruit. Not one for using too many oft-used phrases, thinking outside the box can sometimes leave you with a head full of ideas, leaving you in a bit of a spin so in my opinion try to keep it simple.
This doesn’t mean you have to be boring however and you can still be creative for example if you have a range of new products or are releasing a new service get some initial feedback from consumers prior to launch. Risky its true as people being people can sometimes change their minds, but as a consumer there’s nothing better than being listened to and in some cases can make for a ready-made buyer.
FOUR. Take a step back
It’s easy to be tempted into saying something off the cuff without much thought, the repercussions of which can be everlasting and sometimes quite damaging. You only have to look at some famous names that have tweeted things in the past only to make an emergency stop and do a double back just to save face and possibly their careers.
Sometimes simply listening to what’s being said can give you all the insight you need to make a valued and measured response to even the most delicate of subjects so kick back and think of the old adage – one mouth and two ears, use them proportionately.
FIVE. Be lighthearted
In the words of Elsa Maxwell – “Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can”. Thoughtful is good because it shows you take what you do seriously but try if possible to keep things lighthearted, after all the World does seem to be full of doom and gloom so spreading a little light every now and then will do you no harm but remember, most importantly of all and regardless of everything else, in the language of the great Laurel and Hardy, shhh…