There’s a constant dilemma that comes up when you’re working with marketing and sales: how do you do business and sell your product or service without coming across as a smarmy salesman? In this age of online research and savvy consumers, you’ll get called out for inauthenticity in a heartbeat. It seems like there’s always someone goofing up with their online properties – from promoting their own irrelevant book during remembrance holidays to the latest social media meltdown. The internet never forgets, and it rarely forgives.
It comes down to this: in order to run a successful business, sales are part of the package, and you can’t make sales without, you know, trying to make sales. But what do you do when potential customers hate your ads, no matter what you try? How do you make your way into conversation without it being about how horrible your marketing is? What can you do to help people view your business in a positive light?
This is often where we see a lot of disconnect in marketing, particularly social media marketing. Many business owners expect to pump out marketing and watch the sales roll in with minimal effort and no additional attention paid to ad creative or strategy. For small and medium-sized businesses that can’t afford their own advertising department, it can be extraordinarily difficult to create campaigns that hit on the right level. It’s simpler and more affordable to throw up copies of the print ads on Facebook and hope someone sees it.
A key factor in breaking out of the mold of yet-another-business-on-Facebook is the ability to give your company a human voice. This is so much easier said than done. You hear the advice over and over again – talk like a person, not a robot. Connect with your users. Incorporate personality. But that advice can be frustratingly vague and unhelpful.
Really, what all of these recommendations are aiming at is to try and get you to find that humanity in your business. Don’t tell people they should buy the thing. Show them why the thing is useful to their life. Connect on the human level. Will this make their life better? Improve their relationships? Connect them to loved ones?
We don’t want to say “find your angle,” because this shouldn’t be about finding an angle. This should be about discovering the heart of your business in a way that people can respond to.
So think about it. It’s okay to try to make sales, but also try to make connections. Consider what makes YOU want to purchase a product and apply it to your own marketing. Remember that many of the best businesses don’t forget their humanity.
Stephanie Wargin is the Social Media Strategist at Zenergy Works, a web design and SEO company located in Santa Rosa, California. Her friends like to brush her hair into her eyes whenever she talks about Facebook.