How to instantly forge a connection online with any audience
You can probably remember the last time you got distracted online, right? You went to a particular website or looked something up and five minutes later you’re watching a video on YouTube that came highly recommended by its glorious algorithms and you completely forgot what you had been looking for in the first place. It’s easy to get lost on YouTube, Facebook or even your favourite news website. There are so many different things competing for our attention online and only so much we can focus on at any given time. This is what the really fancy people like to call the “attention economy”. The internet is a busy place, after all. Busier than it has ever been. So, it’s super important you learn how to connect with your audience to keep them engaged with your product or service.
The first thing you want to get right is your identity and staying true to it. Don’t pretend! The internet doesn’t like fake. Especially not in the era of fake news. You want to promote the best aspects of your brand but don’t be afraid to embrace its identity to the fullest. Take a look at Charmin, the toilet paper brand has the job of marketing a product around a topic most people see as a conversational non-starter, but they don’t shy away from the task. Instead they tackle it straight on with awesome results.
Don’t be afraid to talk about what your products or services can do. Even embrace what it can’t but remember to leave a good impression. After all, if what you can’t do outweighs what you can then maybe you should be doing something else.
Another thing brands tend to get wrong online and on social media is the constant sell. Don’t be afraid to step back from the product promotion for a moment and talk about something besides your best moneymaker. Nike do this to good effect on their Instagram account, sprinkling their posts with inspirational messages and high-profile snaps of sports personnel while barely ever making mention of any of their products. It helps make their brand feel like more of a lifestyle than a product and allows people to more closely identify with it. Of course, it also helps when you have amazing brand awareness.
Above all be human! Don’t just share on process, service, profit or product. Share your more human stories as well. How does stuff get made? Who makes the stuff you produce? Can you promote your best employees on your website or social media account? It helps communicate a more relatable brand. Also, never be generic by copying the competition. Don’t for a second think that your social media campaign ends at your post but foster a sense of community by encouraging comments. And of course respond to as many as you can if not all in a unique and genuine way.
Finally, if you make a mistake, own it. Too many brands get lambasted for trying to deny they ever did anything wrong. The instantaneous nature of the web means that you can get your message out quickly if you have something to make amends for. When a mix up by KFC with its distributors disrupted their chicken deliveries across most of its UK restaurants causing them to shut down, the fast-food chain got creative with its apology. They put out a print ad that was so good it went viral online.
It just goes to show a little humour can go a long way.