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Your Guide to Social Media Messaging in 2017

In past blog posts, I outlined the three main rules I recommend for businesses that use social media. They are as follows, and I’ve provided links to each post in case I do a lousy job in summing them up.

Rule #1: Add Value. Your presence in their social media feed is a gift from your followers. Show some gratitude by making your posts something they give a shit about.

Rule #2: Be Human. Like speaking to people in person, no one wants to be sold to. They want to feel like there’s a real person n the other end that has warmth, a sense of humor and, above all else, isn’t so damn focused on themselves.

Rule #3: Know Your Audience. You’re not on social media to reach every warm body, let alone try to please them. Stick to where your target audience is, and speak to them in the way they wish to communicate.

You know who does a kick-ass job of following all three? I don’t know their name, but I don’t have to. To me, they’re name is simply “that fiery Wendy’s social media manager”. Now I know that this is my second mention of fast-food at a quicker cadence than my rate of actually eating the stuff, but they’re making themselves such an easy target. Check out this video.

Now I understand, their approach isn’t exactly perfect for all businesses, but that’s what makes this so great. They know their audience, they stay on brand, they ignite conversation and the tweets are priceless. I don’t even eat at Wendy’s and I follow them.

So how can a law firm or nonprofit get the same kind of following without taking things too far? Simple:

Understand the social media savvy and culture of your followers. Post content that speaks directly to them. In the process, you’ll realize that there is a voice that comes from your brand that resonates with your followers. Is it funny? It it dry and informational? For your sake, I certainly hope it’s not the latter.

Talk about the things people care about. Maybe it’s not even your core offering. All too often social media managers get stuck in this one-way conversation that relies on case studies, press releases and other things that the company cares far more about than the audience. A social media account that talks too much about itself ultimately ends up only talking to itself.

Don’t ignore those that speak of your company – good or bad. Spark a conversation, because the gold is where the dialogue is. We’ve done social media campaigns for an incredible range of clients and industries, and have found that there always lies a conversation – it’s all in how you present the company and what it offers. Do you think that people would be so actively talking about burgers? Nope, but Wendy’s did it.

Stand your ground, but don’t be a dick. Every brand should stand for something; make that clear in the personality you present on social media. Not all of us can take things as far as a fast food brand, but we can show how much we care about the charities we support, or the people that do their best to make our companies what they are.

As I usually expect, there are things I’ve missed or things someone may think are downright wrong. Let me hear them – you won’t hurt my feelings one bit.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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