We live in a world that craves authenticity.
Since we all have access to a means of publishing our ideas (i.e. the internet), too much polish is seen as cheesy, fake, and as, well, corporate.
“Corporate” has become the most grievous insult one can throw at a person, a company, or a piece of content. It evokes uniformity, fear of spontaneity, fear of risk, and conformity.
So how do you execute good corporate social media?
Big companies can get immense value from social media, but they start with the deck stacked against them. By definition, corporations are uncool. Yet we still sometimes think very highly of certain corporations.
Nobody thinks of Harley-Davidson, Apple, or Whole Foods as cute, handmade operations, but they’re loved by a lot of people. How do they do it?
Consulting firm APCO Worldwide has released a provocative analysis that claims to capture the top 100 most loved companies–and none of them are small. The top ten includes Disney, Google, Nestlé, and surprisingly, Yahoo!You should read the whole methodology, but they analyze performance on the following eight emotions: understanding, approachability, relevance, admiration, curiosity, identification, empowerment, and pride.
None of these are that hard to understand, and all of them can be evoked by your company’s social media presence if you’re doing it right. So here’s our take on 8 key elements of corporate social media that works:
1. Understanding: We always suggest blogging about your customers’ problems, and how you solve them. There’s no better way to convey that you understand them and their needs.
2. Approachability: Having a friendly, approachable Twitter presence isn’t hard. The only challenge is being responsive, and having the right monitoring mechanisms in place.
3. Relevance: Whether by writing about your customer’s problems, or curating the right mix of news on Twitter, this isn’t hard either.
4. Admiration: What are you distinctive at? Why are you special? What do you do that is admirable? There’s nothing wrong with writing about the good things about your company. You can’t pat yourself on the back every day, but promotion is a reasonable part of a social media strategy. Put up a photo album on Facebook of the good works you do.
5. Curiosity: Be interesting. Pique the curiosity of the reader. Show why they should continue to pay attention to you. Tweet out links to content that put you in a new context, not just a manufacturer, but a logistics expert.
6. Identification: Supporting the causes that your customers support on social media is an efficient way to signal that you are in the same tribe as them.
7. Empowerment: You should always help your clients kick ass.
8. Pride: Much like identification, this is a matter of consistently putting out the right data points—ones that show how you and the customer are part of something big and meaningful.
Have a look at the APCO work. It’s fascinating and makes sense. But is also comes back to a core understanding of social media—it needs to involve the rational side and the emotional side. Proving your ROI is always a good idea, but there are dozens of ways to convey the emotional benefits of working with your brand.
Being a large organization is not an excuse for being mediocre. Corporate social media is not lame social media (or at least, it doesn’t have to be). Being explicit about these 8 emotional elements is a great way to open up your thinking about how to create corporate social media that’s as distinctive as your company is.
If you have any questions about how to make your brand more loved, or about ways to put social media to work for your business, let us know here in the comments or on Twitter. Here at Social Media Contractors, we help promote our clients’ emotional benefits every day, so we know what works and what doesn’t. We’re always here to answer your questions, so don’t be afraid to reach out.