Everyone secretly covets social media engagement.
Sure revenue is nice. After all, it puts food on the table.
But social media engagement means people really like you. Having a connected, passionate audience puts you on a pedestal and can create a “Halo Effect” for you (and your business).
One of our most basic human needs is to be loved and accepted by peers. So in our hierarchy of needs, being accepted by others is incredibly important.
(Financially speaking, a business with a strong social media presence will also acquire customers for less, and have a higher lifetime value of a customer. Which means more bottom line profit than those that don’t.)
But here’s the problem…
Social media engagement doesn’t just happen.
And it turns out, you need to do much more than update Facebook 10 times each day.
Here’s why you have no social media engagement, and how to fix it.
Why Your Brand is Your Company’s “X Factor”
The prerequisite to a thriving, financially successful, long-term business is an excellent brand.
A brand is a promise. It establishes expectations, trust, and a reputation. And it stands for all those intangibles that make the difference between a customer returning to buy from you, or going to your competitors.
One of the most distinguishable brands in the world, Apple, was recently valued at $76.5 billion.
Not their product line. Not their research & development. Not their top engineering talent. Not their advertising campaigns. And not their logo.
Just their brand alone is worth more than most companies combined.
This hard-to-define, yet essential quality is the reason people camp outside stores before a product release, and pay top dollar over other similar products.
Start with “Why”
What separates the companies with fans, from companies that compete on price, is that they believe in something bigger than themselves. They believe in a cause, a movement, or a way of doing business.
Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
Most businesses start by answering “What” you do. Like selling some type of service or producing a specific product.
Other companies talk about “How” they do it, like your unique selling proposition or positioning statement.
But truly successful and popular companies, like Apple, start with “Why” they do it.
They inspire other people because their brand stands for a bigger cause and movement.
Almost every product or service you can sell today is a commodity.
So you need to realize that people don’t buy your “product” or “service”, they’re buying a solution.
The Most Arrogant Beer in the World
The Stone Brewing Company is the largest brewery in Southern California, and one of the biggest craft brewers in the country.
That’s saying something, because this is one of the most competitive industries in the world. And the regulated, three-tier distribution system in the United States actually works against new entrants.
Last year they announced an expansion plan that includes (among other things), a 18.7 acre organic farm so they can use the best ingredients in their beer and restaurants, and a possible tourist hotel because their brewery is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego.
Imagine that. A small brewery with an 18 acre organic farm and boutique hotel connected to their main location.
Stone believes in a certain way of doing business, and they aren’t afraid to voice their opinions.
They’re unabashedly against light, tasteless lagers (and the people who drink them). And as the scrappy up-start, they’re the complete opposite of the large, stuffy corporations in the industries.
The label on one of their most popular beers, Arrogant Bastard, warns people straight away:
Their social media accounts are no different. Each update is witty, interesting, and slightly arrogant in a funny-sarcastic way.
Sure, beer is fun business. But you’d be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and engaged audience.
And regardless of your taste in beer, you can’t deny Stone’s originality and bold positioning.
Their social media accounts are an extension of their brand. Which sounds obvious. But if it’s so simple, then why don’t most companies do it?
Most companies have no engagement, because people don’t care enough about them.
Even if you’re never heard of Stone Brewery before (and whether you agree or disagree with their philosophy), you already have an opinion.
And that’s the first step to getting people to talk about you. Or interacting and engaging with you in social media.
The Key to a Successful, Long-Lasting Brand
There are more products today than ever before.
More advertisements, more TV channels, and more companies than ever before.
And that means there’s also more competition.
Competition for customers. But more importantly, competition for attention. Because getting your customer’s attention is the first step in marketing. And it’s never been harder to achieve.
When there’s too many alternatives and too much clutter, human brains simply block it all out. So people begin ignoring your advertisements and skipping over your emails.
That’s why one of the most important aspects of your brand is differentiation.
Something that distinguishes you — and helps you stand out — so you’ll “stick” in people’s minds. Marty Neumeier presents 17 distinct ways to differentiate your brand in Zag: The Number One Strategy for High-Performance Brands. The book is based on a simple premise:
When others zig, you zag.
There are a few key ingredients that have to come together to create a successful zag. Because brands are made of several different elements working together. And you can succeed without one of these.
1. Focus: The first step is to focus intently on what it is you actually do. This part consists of a few different elements:
- What do you do? The differentiating idea or purpose (beyond making money). This should be less than 12 words.
- What’s your vision? A concrete vision or future direction and purpose.
2. Differentiation: The second step is to find a unique niche or strategy that will make you different and unique. So what makes you the only ___?
List your competition and shift your strategy away from theirs. Maybe that means creating a new category, so you can honestly say that your brand is the only ____ in this ____ category.
3. Supported by a Trend: Why will your new category be important or popular in years to come?
Trends have the ability to raise and reinforce your brand’s positioning. And they can propel you faster and higher than potential competition.
4. Compelling Communications: What do you call yourself?
This question sounds easy and obvious. But it’s not. The way you talk about yourself and present yourself is essential to true differentiation and zagging.
And it becomes extremely difficult to use consistent messaging which (1) your customers value, and (2) your competitors can’t claim.
This messaging needs to be consistent across touch-points of your brand.
And more importantly, it needs to be clearly understood and communicated to your customers. Simplify your communications to their core meaning, so your points are clear and direct.
Because in a complex world, customers need to put you in a mental box. That’s how they classify and remember who you are, what you do, and how you help them.
If they can’t instantly do that, then they’ll pass you over and go on to the next alternative who can.
And you’ll continue to struggle with social media.
Or worse — be completely ignored.