Talking with companies of various sizes, from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies, I run into a lot of familiar patterns. It turns out that human nature is pretty consistent, no matter how large or small your company.
If you went to a networking event and started overselling your company to everyone you met, you’d be met with clear non-verbal cues that tell you to tone it down. Ignore these and you’d quickly have no one to talk to.
When marketing online, with no non-verbal cues to follow and respond to, it’s a little harder. You don’t realize as easily that people are turning their backs on your brand, talking about you “behind your back”, or rolling their eyes.
Brands are also used to advertising. When advertising, it’s generally okay to push your selling points, to tie ad dollars to sales and to be front and center with your company’s branding. Advertising is not about building relationships.
The Four Natural Urges to Suppress When Marketing Online..
1) The Urge to Create Content About Your Products and Services
When a new company blog is launched, it seems the first urge is to start writing posts about your company’s products and services – only from a slightly different angle or voice than your product pages. Maybe to focus more on certain features. Or to explain why someone needs to use this type of product or service. Unfortunately, this blog becomes just an extension of the product pages of your website. Some companies never stop doing this. Are you guilty?
In actuality, it’s better to write about topics that your audience cares about – even if they’re not directly related to your products or services. Provide value, entertainment or resources and they’ll stick around, refer their friends to your content and share it.
2) The Urge to Heavily Brand All of Your Content
I was in the offices of a Fortune 500 company the other day and they asked me what I thought of their content. Unfortunately all of the content was over-produced and slick, heavily branded with logos front and center, and not very valuable to the end users. In fact, people on the Facebook page were openly complaining about being spammed by the brand. Are you afraid to put your great content first and leave your branding as more of an afterthought?
3) The Urge to Shamelessly Blast Your Branded Messages in Social Media
You can tell that people are trying and I applaud them for that. They set up a Facebook business page and post regularly for a few months. But when there are almost no fans and all of the posts are self-promotional, they need a Social Media “intervention”!
4) The Urge to Generate Sales With Each Piece of Content
A financial services company was having an internal debate. One group felt that each piece of content needed to directly correlate to sign-ups or sales. The other group was willing to provide value, nurture their audience and to grow the business over time via a bigger, better platform.
Unfortunately, the slow grow group’s ideas were “new” and were an easy target for the more traditional, tie-everything-to-sales group’s attacks and were fighting an uphill battle. It shows that new ideas requiring patience need leadership from the top to succeed.
Is Your Company Falling Prey To These Urges?
Is your company treating social media and content like an extension of advertising? Are you trying to get sales with each action or new piece of content? Or are you investing in social media as a relationship and building trust with your audience of potential customers, potential referrers and industry influencers?