If you’ve ever studied theater or film, you’ve probably heard about “breaking the fourth wall.” When an actor breaks the fourth wall, they leave the confines of the script and begin talking directly to the audience. One of the best examples of this technique is the classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As Ferris tricks and charms the other characters in the movie, he often breaks scene to talk directly to the camera, giving the audience the feeling that they are in on the joke. And they are: breaking the fourth wall establishes a relationship between the performer and the audience, removes the barrier that separates them, and lets the audience engage with the performance in a new way. Suddenly, the audience is a part of the production.
In a way, social media is the same for your business, when used effectively. The purpose of social media in an multi-channel digital marketing strategy is to connect with your audience of potential and existing clients and grow your brand by growing a community. Your social media presence tells a story about your company’s culture, mission, community engagement, and reputation. It affords your brand the opportunity to “break the wall,” so to speak, and invites your audience to become a bigger part of your company’s story.
But, in order to invite them in, your social content needs to diverge from the traditional. If all of your social content is transactional, promotional, or formal in tone, the wall between business and customer remains intact and you keep your audience an arm’s length away.
Social media is not the place to distance yourself from your customer by feeding them a sales pitch. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
Social media is a place to engage with your customers as you would your neighbors. It’s a virtual potluck, where people gather around a common interest to get to know one another, laugh, share ideas, and give recommendations. Day in and day out, we see that formal, promotional posts don’t typically have a big impact. But, by sharing a photo of one of your doctors at the local high school football game or mentioning an attorney’s latest volunteer efforts, your reach skyrockets.
Inevitably, the question we at Page 1 Solutions always hear is, If I’m not posting about my business’ products, services, or promotions, what should I post instead?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Visual content is typically much more impactful than posts that are text-heavy. Photos of your management and staff in their daily lives will lend a personal touch to your social media profile. Believe it or not, your clients want to see your life outside of work, too. They want to know that the company they do business with is a company of caring, interesting, and involved people. Sharing a bit of your personal lives with your social media community makes your team approachable, relatable, and trustworthy.
If you are short on photos, consider making some easy social media graphics with a program such as Canva or an app such as Word Swag. Find a statistic or inspirational quote related to your industry, make it visual, and wa-la: instantly shareable.
Jump on a Trend
Any time a trend hits the media, whether it’s a trending hashtag or a fundraising challenge (anyone remember the ice bucket challenge?), there is a prime opportunity to cast your net into deeper waters. Stay current, and you may be rewarded with a few new followers who have found their way to your page via hashtags or suggested content.
And, don’t be afraid to get silly. With the continued popularity of the game Speak Out on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, dental retractors have become a hot commodity. The Page 1 Solutions team decided to bite the bullet (no pun intended!) and test out a few ways dentists and their staff might utilize them for social media content.
Consider featuring your staff with quick, lighthearted employee profile videos. A simple video shot on a mobile phone with natural lighting and clear audio is all you need. Rather than keeping it business-related, ask a few interesting questions that demonstrate personality, such as: “Which three people, living or deceased, would you like to have dinner with and why?”
Or, if video isn’t your thing, have your staff answer one question via email and create a series of visual posts that each include a photo and that individual’s response.
To summarize, there are a lot of ways to creatively connect with your customers over social media. Breaking the wall between business and customer will energize your social platforms, establish a strong community centered around your brand, and build rapport with your audience – ultimately leading to more business.
So don’t be afraid to get creative with your social media content and trade formality for familiarity. Your customers will thank you.