Ecommerce and the technology it encompasses takes a position of prominence when it comes to improving customer experience. Online shopping makes life a breeze for people who want to browse and buy from the comfort of their immediate environment. Just add to cart, pay online and wait for delivery.
But did you ever stop to think just how overwhelming all this digital innovation could actually be for consumers? Back in the day brand loyalty was very much dependant on retail location and possible advertising reach. Today, we’re expecting consumers to choose us over the thousands of options they see and are influenced by on a daily basis.
These tips will help you understand how the smallest of things in the digital environment will impact your ability to stand out and reach successful sales numbers.
Social media is your number one tool
Online presence acts as a powerful lever to build trust long before it pays off in traffic and conversions. But how are people going to know who you are if they can’t see you? How will they get to know you as a brand if they can’t reach you? And once they find you, how will they know to trust you if you don’t give them reason to?
Brand success is not as easy as simply opening a social media account and pouring budget into it. This year, the number of social media users has reached an all-time high of around 3.48 billion users, with an expected year-on-year increase of more than 10 percent.
Source: Smart Insights
Sure, you may only need the attention of a tiny fraction of these people, but it still means that your competition is growing every year. And it’s not necessarily competition against your direct retail environment, but even just competition for a spot on someone’s feed. They could desperately be looking for what you have to offer yet still not notice you because they’re swamped by so many different accounts every day.
But the truth is, you don’t need the best software or the biggest budget to reach the consumers you’re trying to. You need patience and tactic. The more you focus on building an honest and genuine brand, the more your following will mirror back a loyal audience.
"I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."
These words by Mark Twain would normally only mean something to a writer. But with social media booming through our everyday lives, we’ve technically all become writers. Every caption you create, every status you post and every comment you leave – no matter how long it is, is an extension of yourself that you choose to share with the world. Even if it’s only in a few words, you’re expressing a personal part of your mind to your own audience.
This concept becomes particularly important when it comes to building a brand identity and forms the foundation of how consumers first begin to trust.
Whether it’s a long post, a short caption or an on-the-spot comment, remember these important writing tips:
1) Speak with intention.
It’s better to remain quiet than to speak with no meaning behind your words. A lot of cheat sheets based on insightful and accurate data will tell you about the best time to post and so forth. These are excellent tips to go by, but it doesn’t mean you must force your conversation. Before posting blindly to hit these timeslots, rather focus on enhancing your strategy to carry voice, purpose or education throughout every interaction.
2) Encourage conversation - creatively.
A lot of brands and influencers use open-ended questions on their posts as a way to entice interaction. But if neither you nor your users can make proper use of the interaction opportunity then the whole exercise becomes redundant. Make sure you’re asking questions that will provide you with decent feedback or add value to your consumer and the time they spend interacting.
3) Keep direct conversation personal.
Once your followers start reaching hundreds of thousands, or even millions, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond to everyone. But that doesn’t mean you have to become an automated voice, replying the same message to every individual. People can see through this brand behaviour and don’t want to feel like they’re just another number. Instead, dedicate proper time to respond to the comments and queries that matter and do so with a human tone that portrays genuine interest.
4) Be spontaneous.
Again, sticking to a content strategy is crucial, but the sole purpose of social media is still to reach out and interact in the here and now. When something fun, interesting or newsworthy comes up, make it a part of your online conversation and make it count!
5) Entice users and keep their attention.
Tell your real story - meaning don’t just reiterate or mimic other peoples’ storylines that seem to be trending online. Stories stir emotions and impact people when they ring true. Share a memory, a moment, a struggle, an anecdote, or any story for your ideal audience to resonate with, and in turn you will reveal a personality and create moments of real connection with your audience.
6) Create a content guideline for your content and marketing team to follow.
The more successful you become, the more people on your team will start taking responsibility for speaking on your brand’s behalf. Make sure everyone is on the same page about tone and voice and understand which sort of phrases and words to include or avoid in their general conversation.
To wrap up our last tip (because consistency is key in building brand voice), listen to what Alaine Mackenzie, Lead Content Strategist at Shopify, has to say about integrating content strategy into brand and product development:
“We’re so big now, and we have so many projects on the go; it’s impossible for the content team to write or edit every single word. That’s why we’re focusing so much on training and educating. It’s not going to work if people have to wait around for us to look at all their content — everyone should know how to write their own great content, and use our team for support and strategic guidance.”
And remember, language is alive, so content is dynamic. The guidelines to good content will never be rigid, but instead change as human behaviour does. Don’t be scared to try something new to express your brand – as long as you practice, track your performance and keep the conversation going, the right audience will come to you.
We just used well over 1000 words to emphasise how important words are. Meanwhile, humans are visual creatures and our brains can process an image up to 60,000 times faster than it can process words.
In fact, you probably noticed the image right above, which is about words, before you even read all the words we shared about words. Then which is really more important – words, or images?
Well we’d need a whole new article to address the complexity of that question. But in short, it’s not a question you should be asking.
Instead you should be asking how you can combine the two to create the ultimate impact:
7) Keep a strong link between your image and your caption.
If you post an image with a completely disconnected caption in chase of empty likes (with all due respect to influencers who seem to do this), you’re wasting an essential opportunity to enhance your brand personality.
8) Know when to make a post vs when to add to a story.
Stories are generally less filtered, more spontaneous and quite light-hearted. Images that you post must hold the weight of your brand personality as a static fixture on your profile. So while your stories can be fun and natural, posted images should be more calculated and edited with great skill and care.
9) Create a theme with the images on your profile by following a style guide and a colour scheme.
This is the platform you’re using to communicate your brand identity and there needs to be a golden thread weaving the full presentation of your brand together.
10) Use infographics to communicate important or impressive data with your audience.
If you think people don’t like reading, try getting them to read and remember content with an overload of numbers. Your aim is to share valuable information with your audience and educate them about the strength and success of your brand, and sometimes you can only do this by showing them the evidence in your numbers. So if you want them to take the information in and memorise it, make it stand out with visuals.
The best part about images is that they’re universal. If you’re not turning your social media accounts into visual masterpieces, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to internationalise your brand. But if you’re not carefully shaping your words to form a brand identity, you’re chipping away at the strength your images can carry.
Let us help your brand tap into the power of social media from the very beginning. Our marketing team focuses on every strand of your strategy down to the core. We use images and words to create authenticity, evoke strong emotions, strengthen personal connections and ultimately influence the drive to action.