Even though we’re all adults here, let’s be honest; talking to strangers is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable. This is especially true when you have to contact a company that seems like a faceless organization out to get your hard-earned money. You can prevent this from happening to your company, though!
When Dorothy and the rest of the gang saw the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, their fears were instantly calmed. They were no longer staring at an intimidating face, but just a regular guy. Similarly, your customers sometimes view your company as the wizard, meaning an almost non-human entity that just “is.” By showing your customers the employees you have working behind the curtain, also known as being “transparent,” you’re sure to remind them that you’re a down-to-earth company.
Transparency is the thing that can separate a successful company from the ones that end up quietly disappearing off the radar. However, waking up one day and declaring, “our company is going to be as transparent as cellophane,” isn’t how it’s done. Well, not exactly. Thankfully, there are some new tools out there that will make your declaration easier to achieve!
Although the two social media kingpins (Facebook and Twitter) are important, customers today want a lot more communication from their favorite companies. They want to know about new products, company news, and anything else that may impact them. Fill them in on everything by showing them the human side of your company with pictures. Taking pictures with a digital camera and then loading them onto a computer can be time consuming, so instead use this handy app called Instagram and tell your employees to say, “Cheese!” What sets this app apart from traditional ways of taking pictures is that you can add a filter to change the look and feel you want to portray to your customers. Get artsy!
For example, if you have a new product to show off, include one of your buyers in the picture so customers can see the face behind the product. If you’re celebrating a holiday or just a random Friday, then include a picture of your marketing department having fun. Any moment can be a way to build a stronger connection with your customers. They’ll appreciate knowing that they’re not just working with a faceless organization, but that instead they’re working with Jim in accounting or Kate in orders.
Chances are, by now you’ve read how everyone and their grandmother are “pinning” recipes, home decorating tips, or wedding ideas. However, this site is growing in popularity every day and not just by grandmothers but by people of all ages – especially the female demographic aged 13 and up.
You can get your customers’ attention on this popular site by doing a variety of things. While Pinterest does not allow for “self-promotion” by companies (believe me, they’re a stickler on this), you can still do some things to attract attention.
1. Show Off New Products: Post that new product (or the proposed one you’re thinking about) on Pinterest and think of your followers as a captive focus group. If the product image is re-pinned by your followers, then you know it’s something that could be a success. If it’s not as popular as you thought, then make any necessary tweaks and try again until something sticks (or pins, in this case).
2. Show Off Your Brand’s Unique Personality: What books are your employees currently reading, or what are they obsessing over currently? Show off the quirkiness of your company and the people you have working for you and you’ll come across as down-to-earth and easy to interact with. Strengthen your community of loyal customers by showing them your personality and you’ll win them over!
While there’s no denying that the majority of Pinterest users are women, men are taking notice of this site as well. Gentlemint.com is a very similar site, with the exception of the content being more masculine, and it is still growing every day. These two websites allow you to interact with customers who you would perhaps otherwise miss out on by only using the social network kingpins.
While Tumblr isn’t exactly a new or up-and-coming site, it’s one that should still be utilized in order to gain a stronger following with your customers. It’s an easy way to blog and share information or tidbits with your audience via text, photos, quotes, videos, music, links, or anything else you deem worthy!
Several large brands are using Tumblr to interact with customers, such as Huggies, Elle magazine, Life magazine, Ann Taylor, Comedy Central, NPR, and Mashable. All it takes is a quick picture or video (posted every day) to really get people hooked and coming back to visit your Tumblr page and your website as a result.
Your customers will love to peek behind the curtain of your company and see how the inner workings unfold, and they’ll feel more comfortable working with your company knowing that it isn’t some faceless corporation only interested in money. Instead, show that you’re a company where Jill takes an interest in selecting the best products for the company and where Steve runs the order department to make sure that your purchase is delivered to you on time!
After playing with these tools for a bit, you’ll notice patterns regarding effective or ineffective strategies and gauge if your customers interact more seamlessly with you. While Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr shouldn’t completely replace any of your current social media marketing efforts, they’re a great addition to add further transparency and communication with them.