I am OBSESSED with and OWE MY LIFE to Twitter. I am not kidding. This social media network has talked me through more moments than you could ever imagine. The thing about Twitter is that you can reach out in real-time and most likely speak to someone IMMEDIATELY who is going through what you’re going through. And the community you have spent a decade investing in is right there in a moment’s notice to talk you through it. And this, in this magical moment of connection between a few hurting hearts that can heal others’ hearts, is what often brands MISS and need to understand the most.
Through #MyCovidStory, I have learned just how powerful Twitter can be in moments when people need security, comfort, the promise that life will continue the next day. This nonprofit probably could have succeeded regardless, because it taps into something very important happening right now in our world. But I believe what really makes this nonprofit successful is its ability to be personal.
I predicted personalization as a digital trend for 2019 AND 2020. I believe strongly in personalization, and it’s the ability to turn customers into life-long fans. Let me tell you; I have been behind Fortune500 companies tweeting one lonely soul on a Saturday night and have seen how that has transformed into a conversion, a lifelong fan and an influencer tapping into the conversation (who we soon sent free product to and created a whole influencer campaign with). I also believe strongly in Twitter, and its power to influence conversions and maintain relationships. You can say what you want about the mega-company, but I have seen the platform work complete miracles between people. I found my best roommate ever through tweeting that I was homeless and in NYC (after deciding not to move in with my boyfriend at the time).
You can NEVER underestimate the power of SOCIAL MEDIA, TWITTER, and PERSONALIZATION. Yes, you can reach 100K fans through an obnoxiously large budget on Facebook. Still, you can also create lifelong relationships with real humans on Twitter by simply searching what you are selling and engaging in 1:1 conversations. Here’s how:
Invest In Software
I know, I know, I am sure you are being attacked by hundreds of software companies right now. Still, you truly do need a solid listening and publishing platform in order to engage in the personalization on social media. I’ve worked with everything out there. If you are a smaller company, I think Sprout Social works just fine. I’ve been with them since the beginning of my own business and personal brand. If you’re larger, I recommend investing in Hootsuite’s full program.
Set-up listening streams for your industry. This means not only for your product but also for competitors and the generic product you sell in general.
Create A Response Grid
These seemingly insignificant Google Docs have saved me more than once. Every time you get a response approved by compliance, legal, and whoever else you need to approve it, add it to the response grid with a generic question, exact messaging used to respond, social channel, any links used. Keep doing this until you have created a substantial document. This document can then be used to respond to customers quickly, especially on the weekend when legal, compliance, etc. might not be available.
I know we all have to sleep sometimes, but the best teams I have worked with have included a listening plan that had a person checking-in every two hours from 8 AM-8 PM. We would then set-up alerts within our listening platforms in case an influencer reached out at any time. We were able to catch conversations quickly and used our response grid to respond without having to go through a large chain of command.
Pretty important here. You absolutely have to reach out to people speaking about your industry or brand, if you can add value. In my case, a wig company reaching out would have added value by giving me an extra boost of confidence tonight. You’d be surprised, but positive encouragement. In a vulnerable moment can build friends for life.
This is super important and ignored by many brands, especially the larger the brand gets. I cannot emphasize the importance of this step enough. I used to create reminders on my cell phone to follow-up with someone I reached out to in a personal moment about two or three days later. The awe of the fans that we remembered them a couple of days later was incredible to witness. Some of those fans found me on my personal social and we still keep in touch to this day. Others still keep in touch with the brands I worked for, even years later. Remembering someone is the epitome of personalization.
Times have changed. It’s a cliche for me to say, but it’s also true. People are hurting. This world is hurting. And if your brand plans on sending out some blanket, generic post…you will for sure be seen as tone-deaf.
If people are openly sharing their incredibly humbling stories of surviving this pandemic via #MyCovidStory, imagine what incredible impact your brand could have it took just a little bit more time to search for those really personal experiences and join the conversation where appropriate? And provide support?
Try it. I dare you.
-Marji J. Sherman