Be a Person First: Why Smaller Companies Should Embrace Social Media
While reading an article on SearchEngineGuide.com, the author Jennifer Laycock made a point that resonated with me. The article talked about bringing your personality into your social media strategy and I realized something:
Demonstrate your unique personality by communicating as a person and not as the company: Companies are faceless, people are not. Using social media to tie your business brand to a personality can go a long way toward making even the largest company feel small and approachable. Whether it’s answering questions on Twitter or sharing anecdotes or stories on your blog, letting some of your personality shine through goes a long way toward helping consumers feel connected to your brand.
After years of small businesses trying to look big, in today’s social media environment, large companies are killing themselves to try to look small.
How it Used to Be
It used to be that smaller companies would try tons of tricks to look like bigger. Home based businesses would report their addresses as “suites” instead of “apartments” to look like a commercial address. One man companies would use stock photos of professional-looking individuals to promote a, “big business” feel. Solopreneurs would even buy a 1-800 number to forward to a cell phone, appropriately listed as an, “extension”. The benefits of looking like a larger company were easy to spot: People liked doing business with trusted businesses, and size = trust in smaller firms.
Then One Day…
One Day people decided that they didn’t like being on hold for 15 minutes, or pressing the #1 16 times to get to talk to someone in a huge call center. Paypal was an early example, full websites sprung up giving tips and hints on how to finally get in touch with a human. Companies begrudgingly released more access, but clearly had the upper hand. Who was going to do anything about it? Then came social media….
People got used to talking to people. Connecting directly, and instantly. Now, not only was it an inconvenience to deal with a huge beaurocracy, but you could tell everybody in an instant with a tweet, or a wall post. Then you got the ability to monitor everything that was being said about you across the entire globe and have it delivered to your email. Large companies could see how their products and services were performing in real time…and the result wasn’t pretty
The public had no qualms with shouting about bad customer service, and unfair prices, and their voice was heard loud and clear…since they couldn’t complain to the robotic voice on large companies’ 800-numbers, they would tell every friend and associate they had, which eventually could sink a brand. Large companies got the hint, and went back to usingpeople. The funny thing is, now they’re trying to gain an advantage that small businesses have had all along.
Be a Person First
The fact that you are a single person or a small firm gives you the ability to speak to every customer with your voice, not the corporate manuals’, or the official press releases’ voice. This gives you the perfect position to get the maximum ROI, and be the envy of large corporations all over. The secret is this:
People love to talk about people, not companies.
Social media encourages the conversation, and you’re more likely to talk about a person, than a brand. Encourage your customers to add you to their conversation; it can only help your company. Let’s be real, you ARE your company, so anything that helps your brand, helps your company. Stop trying to separate the two with “INC” labels and 800-numbers. Be yourself, use the skill/personality that got you into business, and be a person. This era is built for you to succeed, and hey, maybe you can even teach a big company how you do it.