“I became vaguely aware that Snoopy was no longer following me but had been replaced by a small crowd of people.”
I was walking with Snoopy one brisk, foggy morning and was wondering if he would hook up with his bunny friends to do The Happy Dance, when I noticed I was playing a groove on my bodhran worthy of John Joe Kelly. Before I could figure out how I was drumming and walking at the same time, I heard Hardiman’s Jig (with fiddle and pipe) rolling up the hills to greet me. It was there, in the vicinity of Peanuts and the Isle of Skye in Scotland, that I became vaguely aware that Snoopy was no longer following me but had been replaced by a small crowd of people. “Hmmm,” I wondered, “Why are you following me?” I was on the brink of bending my mind to solve the mystery when The Lumineers shouted “Ho, Hey” in the middle of Starbucks and jolted me from my Sacred Morning Reverie.
I moved my cup of Mojo out on the patio and noticed a commotion on the adjacent street corner. It was a guy, being worn by a pair of headphones, gyrating with a sign. He resembled a bird with a broken wing in the agonizing throws of death. I recognized him immediately. It was Mr. Quintessential Sign-Guy. He was the reason why good, inner-city telephone poles across the country were naked and under-employed. He even wore a special glove – like Peyton Manning. I noticed he could do the Helicopter maneuver behind his back. “Wow!” I thought, with grudging admiration. Impressed, I read his sign as it flashed my way: “FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK.” “Augghhh – seriously?” I groaned. Now, here’s the truly bizarre part, right then Forrest Gump’s mother suddenly joined me. What would this sage-of-a-woman have to say, I mused? “Life is like a box of chocolates?” “Stupid is as stupid does?” “Run Forrest, run?” Who knew? I got up, bused my dishes and drove off thinking: “You’re still Sgt. Dan.” And the small band of people followed me.
In fact, I was stuck with them the rest of the day. All day long I kept wondering: who are these people and why are they following me? It’s a question all of us need to be asking. I threw my mind back to Mr. Sign-Guy. Why did I groan? I mean, seriously, what was I expecting? Clearly I was expecting something, because I was disappointed when I read his message. And then I realized what had happened. At that weird moment in time, I had been the life of a Facebook Follower, lived in an instant.
“At that weird moment in time, I had been the life of a Facebook Follower, lived in an instant.”
Yet there it was. For a precise moment in time, I was Sign-Guy’s follower. I followed him – if only with my eyes. And beyond that, he had actually engaged me enough to look at his message. It was only afterwards that I felt disappointment. And bingo, there it was. It’s about the value and content of the message. Our “social media message” has to be valuable and relevant to our audience. There’s lots of ways to achieve that – however it starts with the messenger – with the identity of your small business.
It starts with your identity, because you’re the one communicating with your audience, people want to know who you are. They want to know:
- what do you do – are your services valuable to them?
- what is your business practice like – are you ethical?
- what do you believe in – are your values aligned with theirs?
- what do you know – are you an authority in your field?
- are you fun – are you approachable, do you have a cool vibe?
- what are you all about – are you involved in the community?
- who do you know – do you associate with people they like or know?
So the first order of business in developing a social media marketing strategy is sorting out your identity. If your identity is compelling, your audience will want to get to know you. If your message is consistent they’ll continue following you. When that happens they begin to share your social media with their friends – and your circle grows. And the great thing is, they’ll know who you really are. They’ll carry your brand, even if you muff things up (on occasion) because they know you – they believe in you. They’re vested in your business because your values are aligned with theirs. In fact, when you’ve had a bad day, they’ll be the first to remind you: you’re still Sgt. Dan.
The companion post to this article, “3 Steps To Creating Your Brand Identity,” will explore what brand identity is and the three key issues fundamental in creating a great brand identity.
© 2016 | The Carewright, LLC. This blog post is the intellectual property of The Carewright, LLC and cannot be shared or used for derivative works without the express written permission of The Carewright, LLC.
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