At one of the retail stores I work with on their social media, a primary concern is what the shopping experience is like. It’s a beautiful, magical boutique, and the merchandising and experience of being in the store is absolutely spectacular. There’s texture and color everywhere, there are surprising things merchandised behind corners and under whimsical decor, and it’s a fun place to be. A woman once walked in and told us that she had just found out she had cancer, but came to the store because it was her “happy place” and she just wanted to walk around. She hadn’t even been home yet, but literally came right to our store to feel happy and be surrounded by beautiful things. Wow, right?
It’s that type of experience that can be very difficult to translate to digital, and many brands who aren’t really stepping up their social media game yet are certainly concerned about that. Is it even possible to translate an experience online? How do you make your social media feel like your brand? It’s certainly possible, but can be difficult to know where to start.
I don’t necessarily have this down by any means, but I do know that for brands that are niche, personality-centric, or want to differentiate themselves from the crowd, this is important. It doesn’t mean you have to be a retail store, but even if you’re a customer call center, for instance, you want your social media to be an experience in and of itself. Hopefully this is a positive one, and there are a few different ways you can make that happen.
First, images: The old idiom “actions speak louder than words” certainly applies here. Having a cohesive set of images with a specific brand identity goes a long way towards feel. Many people are visual learners, and need to see images that go together aesthetically in order to get a good idea of what you’re trying to say. Customer experience goes into this, because you want your pages to be eye-catching and interesting, as well as informative. If your brand is an aspirational one, what images are you going to use to paint the picture of that ideal lifestyle? In many cases, this means using photos of the lifestyle you’re trying to convey along with photos of the product itself– not every shot needs to be of the product you’re pitching. Where do your customers like to eat, drink, and be? How can you bring those into your customer experience?
Maybe this means being very careful to populate your social media platforms with different ways to do this. I’m not sure anyone uses Foursquare anymore, frankly, but if your demographic does, a children’s store could leave helpful tips about things on the kid’s menu at local restaurants near them. How can you use these platforms in unique ways to create an entire lifestyle behind what you’re trying to do? With the children’s store, for example, try sharing kid-friendly experiences that your team has found or being engaged with other kid-centric activities going on in the area. Support your local zoo, the public library, and other places your demographic will be– all on social media.
There should be a feeling behind your social media, and that’s very different for everyone. You want your pages to be someone’s “happy place.”
Image credit: CC by Jason Howie