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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

JD Rucker Founder

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If You Go for the Inspiring Message on Social Media, You have to Go All Out

Driving Sales Christmas

I start to sound like a broken record whenever I recommend to businesses that they need to be as human as possible on social media, that the venue is one dominated by people, and that brands are most successful when they stay professional but avoid being robotic. I’ll continue to say it as long as it stays true, something that is currently slated to be relevant indefinitely. One of the hardest but most effective ways to humanize a business on social media is to inspire, to post ideas, actions, and images that are not business related but that compel the human factor into the mix. It’s risky, but when done right it can be a beautiful thing.

One thing that should be understood is that “inspiring” does not necessarily mean posting Winston Churchill quotes or fighting climate change with likes and shares. On social media, an inspiring message can be one that expresses an idea that fits with current circumstances. Reaching out during tragedies like the Sandy Hook shootings, for example, is an inspiring message. It’s one that is extremely risky even for local businesses and should be avoided by those who do not have a connection. The exceptions, rare though they are, happen when contributions and solutions are offered. For example, Jet Blue was able to fly family members and letters to CT quickly and without charge. Their gesture rang sincere; they didn’t make a big deal out of it. They didn’t have to. People on social media took care of the “promotion” of the action for them.

Jet Blue Sandy Hook

The other opportunity that is available to every business is the seasonal inspirational post. We have the opportunity as businesses to participate in a human way during holidays and other events by expressing the personality of our companies. That is not the same as running a Memorial Day Special or Christmas Savings Extravaganza. It’s about inspiring through humanity. This is where most businesses fall short. All too often we get generic. This is worse than saying nothing at all.

On one hand, you have the standard, “Wishing all of our fans Happy Holidays from your friends at ABC Motors!”

Meh.

On the other hand, you have what Driving Sales did. They did something fun and turned it into an image that is both noticeable and memorable. They conveyed a couple of messages that helped with branding – they’re fun, they like where they work, they have a “hip” atmosphere (notice the beanbags), and they put effort into their message. It’s the last part that makes the difference. People enjoy effort. They like to know that a post was more than an afterthought or a business requirement recommended by the internal social guru. They like creativity. They reward those who can make themselves stand out from the crowd.

It’s definitely not required to use this type of technique. Some businesses prefer to keep it professional at all times and there’s nothing wrong with this. If you choose to post the occasional inspiring post, be sure to make it work. Don’t go half way. If you want to make an impact, take it well beyond what your competitors are doing. If you’re going to be boring and generic, you’re better off keeping that in the professional realm and avoid the inspirational posts altogether.

Bryan Armstrong
The key is consistency. You can't randomly change your style or it will come across as opportunistic and fake. That can end up doing more damage to your image than only posting your ad or your inventory.
Ron Henson
I really like this post JD. I agree with Bryan in that you must convey who you really are rather than trying to appear as something else. If you wouldn't want who you really are posted on social media, perhaps it's time for a paradigm shift in your culture.
Lindsey Auguste
Thanks for the DrivingSales shout out, JD. We have fun doing what we do, and we want others to enjoy it as well. The hardest thing is to find balance between the inspiring messages and the subject matter posts. As you mention here, the social experience is more than just telling your fan base what you're offering. Adding character and a sense of personality to your company through images and inspiring messages is necessary. On the flip side, there are some companies that post only images and "capture this" posts. This isn't helpful either because, at the end of the day, people still come to your page for relevant information. If you only post pictures of yourself or cats, you're not stepping up to the challenge. Thanks for sharing. And for the reminder.
JD Rucker
I normally like to comment with debate-style remarks about previous comments but I have to completely agree with everything you guys just posted. It truly is about being real on social media; if you're a boring company that doesn't really do anything at all, don't get pictures of the team in Hawaiian outfits and pretend like you're just a fun-loving bunch. Keep it authentic.

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