Is your company building an online personality that stands out or are you simply going through the motions?
This post is entirely inspired by the sheer genius of Groupon.com, a company that sends out a daily email of discounts and deals.
Maintaining interest in a daily
newsletter isn’t easy by any means and inevitably a large number of people will
regularly unsubscribe. When they do, they get to meet Derrick:
Now, if that doesn’t get you to re-subscribe, nothing will.
At the very least, it ensures you leave with a positive last impression.
Groupon.com is a great example of a company behaving
personably online and there are many other excellent attempts.
A company that creates a likeable corporate persona will
find it easier to build and maintain customer loyalty. Not only that, they’ll
be less susceptible to brand-damaging hostility, both on and offline.
This kind of marketing clearly only works for certain brands,
they have to be able to take a few risks. But most online businesses could do
wonders by injecting a little dynamism into their web communications.
But, like everything that makes online marketing work, it’s
not easy; it takes work and may need some investment.
On top of that, adding personality to your brand is riskier
than simply building a standard online presence.
Done well, though, the payoff in customer loyalty and brand
reputation can be considerable.
Ideally, you want to do something really unique, like
Groupon.com. But if you’re struggling for some inspiration, here are some things
you can do in the meantime that will lay the foundations for a
personality-filled online presence.
Write a blog
I’m a big believer in corporate blogs. Not only are they
fantastic for organic search engine optimisation (SEO), they also engage the
customer in a way you cannot achieve anywhere else.
A good blog post freely offers information and advice, but
it’s also the first step in a conversation.
Your readers can respond, criticise, argue with each other
and more – you’ve created a space to make that happen and that’s admirable.
On top of that, an online article is necessarily chattier
than a brochure, landing page or marketing content. It should feel more honest
and shows the humans behind the brand – all useful for building a
people-friendly corporate persona.
Have a properly written website
You probably spent quite a bit of cash having your website
designed and built – but did you give as much thought to the words on the page?
Well-written copy is created with a clear corporate
personality in mind and should mirror the feel of your page design.
Safe, boring, functional copy is unattractive. It doesn’t
create a personality that any normal human would want to be near, and it
doesn’t drive sales.
Get everyone involved
Innocent Drinks, the company that makes those smoothies, has
brilliantly personable marketing, both online and off.
One thing it does quite cleverly is involve its entire
staff. Through its website, you can see pictures of all its office-based
workers, as well as a little bio. You can even email them.
If you choose to ring the ‘Banana Phone’ then the team takes
it in turn to pick up.
Okay, it’s time consuming and does leave staff open to some
potentially weird conversations, but it shows how everyone can get involved in
building a brand personality.
Tweet like you’re human
It is possible to bore people in just 140 characters and a dull
Twitter feed will turn potential clients off.
Sure, you might still get followers – especially if you’re
running competitions and offering freebies – but they won’t
care about your brand unless you inject some personality.
Have very clear tweeting guidelines so that whoever looks
after the account knows what they can and can’t get away with, but then take a
few risks try out some new ideas.
Post interesting links, engage in conversations, tell stupid
jokes – particularly if it’s all relevant to your sector.
That way, your followers will look forward to your tweets
instead of putting up with them in order to get freebies.
Respond to comments
One of the best ways to create a likeable corporate persona
is to respond to online comments, whether they’re criticisms, feedback, praise
or just random observations.
By replying to comments on Twitter, your Facebook page, your
blog, even other people’s blogs when you notice them, you show you care, that
you’re not a big, bland brand which is above talking to individual customers.
Make your responses interested, sympathetic and human. You
can often turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, simply by
listening – which all helps your company’s image.