What does it take to give your business a voice that commands the attention of your customers? Firstly, it helps to know the people your business talk to. In most cases, they are not that different than all of us. We live in a hyper-connected world; a world where people are constantly glued to screens and electronic gadgetry which alters the way how we communicate with each other. Ultimately, businesses will need to communicate with people differently in order to capture their attention and remain visible. According to Anthony Townsend, author of the book ‘Smart Cities’; “attention” is the most prized commodity in the digital age we live in. So returning to the million dollar question – how can your business sound attractive while being a down right salesman ?
Thinking like a media outlet.
“Wait, what has my business got to do with the media?”, says a large scale silica gel manufacturer. WRONG QUESTION! Whether your business dwells on business-to-business (b2b) or business-to-consumer (b2c) transactions, at the end of the day, what you are really dealing with is PEOPLE. The one industry that is good at capturing people’s attention is the media-related industry. Well, it’s no longer a monopoly. With everyone’s tuning into their smartphones everyday, a simple business can command a large following of readers with a single article; a job that may take some advertising agency months to work with.
The point is, the disruptive nature of the hyper connected digital age is leveling the playing field for a lot of businesses, regardless of industry. All the consumers/customers out there are out for grabs. No company should resist from doing so, simply because they don’t think they need to connect with the masses. As any good network theorist would tell you, everyone is at least just 6 degrees apart from someone your business would find valuable. That being said, you will need to understand how your business could operate and find opportunities in ways that are not only inexpensive, but also effective in the long run.
Giving your business a voice does not mean everyone will listen to it. Thinking like a media outlet means taking the age long knowledge of the industry and turning it to the advantage for your business. Here are some of the tips in running your business voice box like a real media outlet:
- Your social media, your brand :
- Treat your social media as an extension of your brand. Resist turning them into your own market place focused only on selling. Instead, turn them into the outlets that represent your business personality while engaging directly with your customers.
- Tell a VERY interesting ‘Grandmother’ story :
- “Don’t parrot conventional wisdom or echo the masses” – a valuable advise from Barbara Henricks, an author. Always provide content that adds value to customer and potential clients. People are not going to remember and recommend your product or company brand immediately to others, especially if the message is often impersonal and dry. Provide tips and recommendations that could improve people’s lives, (although it helps that you speak on the area that is related to your business). Be a scholar in your own field – disctinctive voices on topics that are trending has an effective way of creating a rabid and loyal following.
- Be informative, both to minority enthusiasts and the skeptical masses
- This goes along with not sounding boring and dull. What really matters here is that in the process of communicating to your customers and potential clients alike. Avoid using technical jargons and terms that could exclude certain types of readers. Yes, some niche businesses would appeal to their devotee by dropping cryptic terms and codes that they share with them. That doesn’t mean you need to shut out the rest. There are a lot of curious readers out there.
- Learn from your followers, their followers and the followers’ follower
- In short, that’s practically everyone your business can connect with. Surprisingly, this is new wisdom for a lot of established media outlets. Always learn from your followers and keep up with the trends that may affect your business. Again, in a hyper connected world, everything seems like a potential disruptor to your business. Listening to your followers therefore means keeping on top of everything as well as providing valuable insights to your business.
- Stick your neck up on multiple platforms
- BE DISCOVERABLE. Your company website alone is not going to cut it. People don’t stumble upon company websites neither do they browse for them in general. The best way to be discoverable is to have an active presence in all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc). Understanding each role of the social media platform is very important as they all have different functions and user demographic. Be sure to package the appropriate content in order for it to get best traction.
Give your business a thought process. That means strategizing for the type of content that is both relevant to your business and appeal to the wider audience. Planning ahead your web content for example is important so that your articles and post do not appear haphazardly, with no clear consistency and substance. Once your business has a solid social media plan and better still, a structured and distinctive way of conveying your message across; you should be expecting a significant amount of followers. As mentioned before, all business should treat their followers as their opportunity to move forward in building a brand that stands out.