Nicola Moras (pictured below) is an online visibility expert, author of VISIBLE a guide for business owners on how to generate financial results from social media and digital marketing. In this guest post, Moras argues the old line – fortune favours the brave – is even more true for brands these days…
When you open up Facebook these days, there are companies who are pushing the boundaries and those who are not. What we are seeing is the rise of business owners and organisations, who are willing to push the boundaries and take a stand for what they believe in. They stand out. We see them and we listen. Playing safe is no longer going to cut if you want to stand out.
Look at Greta Thunberg and her very vocal stance on climate change’, the Nike commercial featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and, most recently, the release of a Tourism Australia campaign that has Australian’s up in arms about our laid back, relaxed ‘Australian Way’. They’ve been splashed all over social media and traditional media.
These show how to create a splash, be visible and be seen by taking a stand and pushing the boundaries. You may not agree with what they have said or the way it was done, however, we can see the evidence online that it has people talking about these campaigns.
If you want to create impact, be seen and remembered (and thus becoming iconic) you have to be willing to push the boundaries.
Here are five ways this can be done without ruining your professional reputation
Take a stand for what your company (and you) advocate for
As a company, what is that you stand for? Do you stand for equality in the workplace (and follow through with this)? Do you believe that everyone should get a go? Do you believe that working from home is the worst invention ever?
When you take a stand and you start sharing what you advocate for, people start to realise that there are humans behind the ‘brand’. They see what your values are. They see that there are people behind the brand who care about topics that matter. People want to know WHY they should listen to your organisation rather than your competitors, so make it easy for them.
Decide on the way that you and your organisation are going to push the boundaries
Determine how far you are willing to go as an organisation and jump in with both feet. Your audience will love you for it.
If your company is in the business of being quite professional, bringing humour into the marketing is a great way to push the boundaries. If you are a solo-business owner then you could bring in language that is a bit more edgy rather than playing it safe.
Know what matters to your audience
When you know what matters to the people who are following you and buying from your company, you can start to create content about what matters to them. You can match the causes that are important to them with the things that are important to you and then you share a common cause. This creates instant rapport and connection.
For example, if you know that the majority of your audience are against horse racing and the Melbourne Cup, then you might share how your company is boycotting the Melbourne Cup. Explain why you are and how the staff are on board with it.
It shows the culture of the organisation without having to declare and spell out what that is.
Have a personality
Most businesses hide behind the corporate logo or the headshot. Be open to appearing online as a human being within an organisation, not a cold, boring organisation that has no personality.
We’ve seen a great example of this with Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce in March 2019 respond to a handwritten letter from a 10 year old boy. The initial letter and the response was posted online for all to see, along with his personal response. It went viral.
Senior leaders within organisations have a massive opportunity where they can allow themselves to be seen by the public online. When the people behind the brand are seen, it builds trust in the marketplace.
Do things your way rather than “The” way
There are so may do’s and don’ts when it comes to the online world. The best advice that can be received by an organisation is the permission to do things their way. Be brave and shake things up.
Try different ways of communicating with your audience and measure the results. If it works, excellent! Keep doing it. If it doesn’t. try a different approach.
Humans are the consumers of social media and we are all craving connection. Provide a way for them to connect with you and your organisation as a human and you’ll build trust faster.