Jessika Phillips is a social media marketing strategist known for her outspoken dedication to relationship marketing. Her personal mission is to empower brands to “love more, give more and be more within their business with authentic relating.”
Jessica asserts that, with 90% of all buying decisions starting online, it’s vital to make our brand stand out. That’s why we invest time and resources in writing a blog post, increasing our social media presence or working with influencers.
What’s even more mindblowing is that 60% of the buying cycle is over before a customer speaks to a representative of your business. Wow. What happened there? What did we do to connect with those customers who chose us and keep choosing us?
Think about your own buying cycle. You want to buy a new pair of headphones because your office environment is pretty noisy and it prevents you from focusing on your work. You google “noise-canceling headphones” and hundreds of results come out on the results page. You open up some links, watch some videos and, above everything, you read what people are saying about products and brands. Their experience will give you a pretty good idea if that specific item or company is a good match for your needs as a customer or not. You trust these people as if you knew them.
In doing so, you’re not so different from the rest of us. In fact, 88% of consumers say they completely trust online reviews by other customers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts (Nielsen). We can’t really talk about word of mouth phenomenon anymore, but of “world of mouth.”
If customers’ opinions are so important in driving buying decisions, why don’t you focus your strategy on getting more customers to love your business? If word of mouth is the number one referral of sales and the buying decision starts online, why don’t we empower the people who already chose us to amplify our message and refer us on?
According to Jessica, turning the people who love you into your marketing army takes C.A.R.E., which stands for:
- Capture the attention of your ideal audience
- Articulate your message so that people can refer you on
- Build real relationships
- Grow exceptional experiences
Let’s examine each point into more detail:
1. Capture the attention of your ideal audience
How can you capture attention? Jessica claims that the most effective way to get visibility is to tell your story. Not the story about your products or services, but your company’s mission and core values.
Here is an example: 50 Strong is a business selling water bottles based in Ohio. A pretty ordinary product competing with huge sports and accessories brands. But check out their “about us” section: “[…] 50 Strong is so much more than just us, our products and even our team of amazingly talented engineers, designers, marketers, makers, and doers. Our brand isn’t about the product. Yes, we love making quality water bottles but our true passion is to help others live an extraordinary life. […]”
Their mission is helping people create exceptional experiences in their daily life. They just happen to sell water bottles. This brand manifesto speaks directly to their target audience and makes sure that customers are part of the story.
Here is another example from a brand with a special talent in storytelling:
Apple’s is probably one of the world’s strongest belief statements. It does not mention tablets, phones or any other piece of technology, but it’s aimed at creating an intense emotional bond with the brand’s core audience. That’s why thousands of people queue for hours to get their hands on a new i-phone. They don’t buy a phone, they buy a lifestyle.
If you look at any commercial Apple’s done, any post they’ve published, it aligns with their brand manifesto. That’s exactly what you should do: tell the story behind your business and start matching your content and your tone with it. Your personality will naturally attract people who align with your beliefs and sense that your mission is bigger than just selling them something.
Shift your mindset from getting users to buy from you to get them to belong with you. Imagine like you’re talking to a person on the other side of the screen. What kind of imagery will align with them? What are they struggling with in their daily life? A social media post or ad will capture attention only if it’s meant to capture the attention of the person you’re targeting.
2. Articulate your message so that people can refer you on
If people love you, they will insist their friends do business with you too. Have you ever been to a restaurant and texted your foodie friend straight away with an image of your dinner saying: “You have to try this place out!”.
The only thing you have to do to empower your tribe of fans to share your story is making it easy for them to do so. Here’s how:
- Articulate your message in a clear way; complex abstractions don’t work on social media;
- Keep it relevant to your audience: if your customers are women aged between 35-45 years old, don’t ask them to share a photo of their first day at school;
- Get your audience involved. Think about the virality of nomination chains or Instagram polls.
3. Building real relationships
80% of our website traffic comes from dark social, indicating that people are communicating in the inbox, preferring small, intimate communities to the public feed.
In 2020, for the first time in history, there are more mobile messaging app users than social network users. If you’re a business and you are not replying to Facebook messages, you are losing a good chunk of leads.
At the same time, you might have experienced a decrease in engagement. As business and fan pages experience a steady decline, private Facebook groups are thriving.
Focusing on creating communities around a common interest (not business!) and on cultivating deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers is the way forward. Because remember, relationships will always be more powerful than marketing!
4. Grow exceptional experiences
Growing exceptional experiences for your customers is about truly caring. If you have an amazing product or provide an amazing service but your customer service team is a bunch of lazybones who come in just to warm their chairs up, people will not come back to you.
Let’s go back to that restaurant we heartily recommended to our friend. Let’s suppose that dinner was amazing, but the waiter was rude and you could just feel that that was the last place on earth where he wanted to be. Would you still refer to this restaurant?
Developing strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and promoting open communication is the only way to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement.
Treat your customers as your friends, make them feel that you truly care about them and build a relationship of trust to ensure that your followers turn into fans, your clients into advocates, your community into collaborators and your team into evangelists!
Here we are, at the end of this long learning itinerary. If you made it till the end, first of all, congratulations! We didn’t think you’d read it all. Secondly, we hope that you now have the starting ground to rethink your social media strategy in a more holistic and human-centred way that will allow you to turn this channel into a steady source of income for your business.
If you need some expert advice on how to build a successful social media strategy or just some periodic consultation, you know where to find us. Our social media team is never short of groundbreaking ideas!