WHY SO SERIOUS?
Chrissie has a message for everyone who’s too boring on social media. Lighten up already!
There’s a common assumption that businesses can’t have a sense of humour or a wicked side. That they have to be eternally respectful, wary of every development at the school of political correctness and generally on their best behaviour. Typically they’re worried that they have a reputation to uphold. But when did a positive reputation equate to being a boring old stuffed-shirt?
Nowhere is this lack of humour and character more apparent than when a business dabbles cautiously with social media. Social media was intended for people to connect with each other. People as individuals, are more likely to convey their quirks and personalities via Facebook and Twitter. But when businesses realised social media would be a great marketing tool, it became a channel by which we could be bombarded with the humourless, the mundane and the downright dull. I’m all for content marketing and the golden rule that if it benefits the reader, then share it. But does it have to be so bloody boring and serious?
Here’s where I prove this isn’t a cleverly disguised sales pitch. At Black Hare, we happily manage social media for clients but if you’re serious about social media and genuinely want it to be an outreach tool to your customer base (notice I didn’t call it a sales tool!); then I strongly advise against having anyone else touch it. Keep it in-house and give it to someone who understands the business properly.
When you hand it to a third party, your social media has no chance of reflecting the true spirit of your business. How can it? A third party is going to be even more risk averse than you are when it comes to your reputation. Only you know how far you’re prepared to push the boundaries, whose sensibilities you need to be careful with and how much you can truly get away with. And only you can reflect the character behind your business, because that character is yours. And only you can be responsible for it.
People do business with people, especially in the B2B world. Everyone knows that – it’s the most important thing to remember when you plan your marketing and networking strategy. Even in the consumer world, people will buy into brands that give them a reason to relate on a human level. Brands that convey emotion, human strength and weakness as well as that crucial thing – humour, they do well. There’s no reason why social media shouldn’t reflect these qualities too.
This year, if your social media streams look like pages from the Times business section, why not mix things up a bit. I’m not suggesting you go all out trying to replicate the hilarity of Paddy Power or turn into the next Ricky Gervais and spend a large portion of your time antagonising religious groups. Just post like a human! Otherwise, you’re just not going to stand out. Or if you do, it will be as a boring fart with a stick up your arse.
My list of things to remember if you want to give your social media posts more character:
- Know your audience and program your level of humour accordingly.
- Don’t be frightened of a healthy amount of sarcasm when it’s called for. It is afterall what we, the British, are famous for.
- Everyone laughs at toilet and sex humour. (Sorry, but they do.)
- Reflect the quirks of your team and give people a taste of what it’s really like inside your office.
- Be random at times. Not everything has to be industry related business news!
- Don’t give the role of social to anyone who’s still wet behind the ears. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the job for an intern or apprentice unless you’re happy with boring and non-spontaneous. (And checking everything they post.)
- Play the humour game with caution on LinkedIn. People react to tomfoolery on LinkedIn like they do when someone wears a joke tie to a networking event. With disdain. Sheer disdain.