The word “personal” scares a lot of people. “I don’t want my personal information out there!” But the reality is, what people see online about you is what YOU put out there. So, your personal social presence doesn’t have to mean that you update where you are or what you’re eating right now.
But think of it like this: If you’re running a small business, you realize that people do business with other people. It almost doesn’t matter what your brand itself looks like — you are your brand. You’re the one who’s closely tied to your brand. So it only makes sense that your personal social activity reflects your brand in some way.
If I had to think of the one entrepreneur who best exemplifies this, it’s Richard Branson. Check out his Instagram, Twitter, Facebook… everything. He IS Virgin, through and through. Virgin is a huge brand, and yet it hasn’t lost its personal touch. Now, the enterprise has gotten so big that it can afford and it definitely needs a business social presence. But small businesses have a lot to learn from Branson’s personal social profiles.
Flip through his social accounts, and you’ll see a lot about his family, his nonprofit endeavors, his inspirational quotes, etc. You can do that as well. You’re the face of your company. You’re the one your customers deal with on a personal level. Provide a little bit of transparency and give your followers something to feel connected to.
And that’s the buzzword these days in content marketing, right? Write content that matters– something that connects to your audience. Plus, it’s much easier to talk about ourselves than it is to talk about your business. After all, humans are extremely complex beings, and if you founded your business, you’ve probably been around longer than your brand has.
But take note on Branson’s social profiles: he doesn’t overshare anything personal, like his exact location (checking in) or an unfiltered, opinionated or offensive statement that could ultimately damage his brand. Be your own filter! We like to employ what we call “What would mom say?” before you post anything socially. Unless it aligns with your brand, just don’t post it if it doesn’t pass the WWMS test.
So, let’s try this. Ask your customers to follow YOUR Twitter or Instagram profiles. Promote your presence. Post about stuff that matters to you. Post about interesting things you’re doing at the moment. Engage with your followers and ask for their opinion on simple, daily choices, like “What cuisine should I eat tonight?” or “Has anyone tried [insert product name here] before? Would love to know your opinion.”
Remember, people do business with people. Give them a reason to trust you, to like you. So come out from behind the business walls, and connect with your customers. And if you want to connect with me, I’m very active on my Twitter feed, and I post a lot about marketing and advertising, because I’m passionate about it. I’m also passionate about coffee and the color orange, and if you like those things too, we’ll probably do great business together.