Love at first bite
Some time ago, before social media became a borderline necessity for brands, I discovered a Chicago-style hot dog haven called Superdawg, and it was love at first bite. I was so enamored with this picturesque and toothsome treat, the way that the neon glow of the moss-green relish bounced back off of the hot dog’s cardboard container, how the poppy seeds bursted off of the bun with each bite, and don’t get me started on the wonder that is a pickled tomato.
I developed an instantaneous obsession with Superdawg and did what any self-respecting millennial would: I started following them on Twitter.
The following week, I found myself planning a time when I could journey back to my own personal mecca, so I tweeted to them expressing my desire to once again experience a Superdawg, this time with extra sport peppers. And you’ll never believe what happened: they tweeted back.
This event sealed two things for me:
1. I was officially a devoted brand loyalist for Superdawg
2. Behind that poppy seed bun, radioactive-green relish and plump pickled tomato, there was a real person out there who cared about my brand experience.
Even today, when I fall in love with a product, a place, a band, a person or a news article, I tweet about it. I wish I could say that I always get a response from the individuals that I tweet to, but not everyone is as quick to jump when it comes to social media manners.
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
It’s easy enough to get a Twitter or Facebook account. The difficult part for many people is maintaining it. Sure, you can schedule some tweets, post a photo or two and call it a day; but if someone tweets to you with a question, comment or retweets your post, what are you going to do, ignore them? The reality is that you have a responsibility as a member of the social media universe to acknowledge the fact that someone has taken the time to respond about something that you have posted. Especially if you’re the one doing the posts for your brand.
Wizard of Oz Syndrome
Marketing as we know it is in the middle of a major paradigm shift. The messages you send and how your brand is interpreted is entirely in the hands of the consumer. And they want to see more than a logo and a quirky catchphrase.
Instead of projecting your brand as some untouchable, almighty entity (are we seeing the Wizard of Oz comparison here?) maybe it’s time to pull back the curtain and show what (or rather, who) is behind all of the smoke and mirrors.
Believe it or not, it’s ok to show your prospects and customers that you are a real person and your company is made up of, well, you know, real people.
Try this: If you are in charge of your company’s social media account, keep them open for the day and see who interacts with you. The next time you see that someone has engaged with your post, stop what you’re doing, read what they wrote, and respond. And respond with meaning.
Maybe you’ll find your own personal Superdawg-esque brand loyalists.
Image: Eric Allix Rogers