By Matt O’Keefe
Meet Steve Gadlin. He appeared on the ABC reality show Shark Tank, where his small business received an investment from a billionaire and thousands of orders from TV viewers. His business? I Want To Draw A Cat For You. The orders? Crude cat drawings that cost almost $10 a pop.
How did Steve sell 16,236 cat drawings for $9.95 apiece? Likability. His appearance on Shark Tank and the video on his perfectly demonstrates his family-friendly appeal.
If a company without a personality behind it was selling the same cat art, buyers would be scarce. Through one televised appearance and a social media marketing plan that capitalized on it, Steve made people want to give him money. Other businesses can employ similar strategies, especially across social media platforms, where there is a special opportunity for brands to give themselves a voice that people enjoy hearing.
Want to know how to create content that people will love and share with everyone they know? Here are three rules to follow:
Add Visuals Whenever Possible
Text, pictures, and video comprise the bulk of online communication; it’s important to know which will most effectively communicate your message. Studies show that user engagement generally increases with non-text media. On Facebook photos are liked 2x more than text updates, and videos are shared 12x more than links and text posts combined. So if it makes any sense to include a picture with your text, you should probably do it. Around 65% of the population thinks visually. Deliver your information the way it will be best absorbed, and people will like you better for it.
Tone down the sales pitch
The servers of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are littered with sales pitches and self-promotional messages. An overabundance of any of that type of sales-driven content is a turn-off to consumers. The key to social media is to make yourself useful, so be an asset. Share content customers will appreciate such as tips, guides, and recommendations in your areas of expertise. Post things that will make you a valued resource.
Align Yourself With Likable People
Maybe it doesn’t make sense for your business to have a spokesman like Steve Gadlin. You can still make your company feel more human by connecting with entertaining individuals who share similar mindsets. Recommend interesting people to your audience via social media. Sharing, reblogging, and retweeting content of theirs that aligns with your brand’s mission make you feel more personable.
Unlike people, companies can’t be inherently likable. You have to create a friendly identity for yourself. Social media is a recent and effective way for your company to show its personality and engage with your audience. Used well, it can grow already-strong relationships and strengthen weak ones. By utilizing the right forms of media, minimizing the hard sell, and aligning yourself with friendly faces, your business can become something people are happy to give their money to.
*A special thanks to Social Media consultant Lia James. Her company helps marketers connect with their audience through the tools of social media networking. To learn more, visit www.liajames.com.