This is a guest blog post by Maggie Chuang.
In our increasingly cyber-reliant world, true personability is becoming harder to convey. A lot of exchange and transaction are increasingly taking place digitally, often without speaking at all.
Blogging is a wonderful tool to deliver humanity in a digital age. Its freestyle format lets length, content, and volume become entirely within your control. This freedom allows for the real you, the voice of your company, to shine through.
But if your blog entries consist mainly of product or service promotion, chances are you’re taking the risk of boring your readers.
So, what are some things you can do to reassure customers that there is an individual behind the wires without deviating away from the company missive?
Here are three ways you can use your blog to promote your business and help bring forth the person to your company’s ability.
1. Profiling: Putting Faces to Names.
I used to teach elementary and high school English overseas, and most of the time communication with my students’ parents or guardians, while pleasant, were guarded and frustrating due to the language barriers. They were curious about me, but could find no means to express it. Finally, one day I put up a bilingual profile poster of myself, detailing my background, travels, and dotted the surface with personal pictures. It was a hit! Parents would peruse through the notes, and personal trivia, and took immense interest in pictures of my family and friends from back home. After that, my relationship with them was much easier, and they no longer had any hesitation approaching me with queries, or concerns.
Like my students’ parents, customers want to know there is a sympathetic being taking care of them. Which is why meeting the staff behind the services or product help instill that the confidence that their continued business is being valued. Staff profiles help quickly to reach out to customers in an interesting way. Profiles are perfectly in you and your staff’s control in terms of volume and content – there is no need to divulge more information than your comfortable with. But a nice, and simple biography following a photo of the star subject breathes a fresh and fun air into a blog or webpage. Customers may find key things to relate to you (Oh, he’s an Oils fan, sounds like a stand-up guy!), or simply appreciate putting a face to the email address they’ve seen in their inbox so many times. Here’s a great example from Blue Sky Resumes where introductions are made fun and memorable.
2. Peep Show: Let Them See What You’re Doing Around the Office.
Hello, my name is Maggie, and I am a TV and film Junkie.
Film and TV take great space in my heart, so much so that I consistently feel lucky to be born into the DVD/Blu-Ray era, and I think my collection are just as important as seeing them in real time. Not just because of the crisp video quality. But because of the extra features, and behind the scene cuts where the magic is exposed, and directors can explain a certain exciting shot. This interactive window gives me a new level of appreciation for the final product when I see just how much work had been put in.
Having occasional previews of an exciting new product, or pictures of your company at a local festival, or even just to show the result of a new renovation can be beneficial to your customer interaction. This can establish a company reputation as being approachable, open, and trustworthy. Customers see that you are willing to open doors to show them how you’re progressing as a business, and how you continue to be a people oriented company. Additionally, it makes the customers feel special. Just as Coca Cola can give guided tours of their bottling factory, you can offer backstage passes to your business. By giving customers a sneak peek, they feel rewarded from the exclusive treatment.
North Burnaby Pet Hospital has a great little feature where they allow you to track the weight loss of their in-house cat, Maggie. This is a clever, interactive, and let’s face it, hilarious project that not only provides entertainment, but reminds their clients the importance of healthy weight in their pets. As a bonus, it’s reason to go back to their website and see how Maggie is doing. (I’m rooting for you, Mags, Us Maggies got to stick together.)
3. Vox Populi: Answer Popular Questions in a Blog Entry.
What do you and your local political figures have in common? Similar levels of stress aside, chances are you both have to answer an exuberant number of questions and concerns. And more often than not, you have to address the same issues repeatedly. After a while you feel like a tape recorder; having to hit “play” over and over again. With a mountain of other work calling for your attention, it’s easy to just let the automated emails do the talking.
While automated messages can be great at cutting time and manpower in answering queries, let’s say you begin to notice a trend in the questions coming through to you. A lot of customers are wondering about a particular issue or service. Perhaps it’s time to wonder how many other people, ones who haven’t sent in an email, are asking the same questions?
Like a mayor’s press conference, a blog entry can be key to draw in the attention of a wide audience, and also give you a chance to show that your company is listening, and being pro-active to address any concerns.
Alternatively, if you come upon an issue or a question that’s decidedly unique or strange, it would make for an interesting blog entry. You can even choose to credit the customer or original mailer for bringing it to your attention. Everyone likes recognition, especially in a wide domain, and thanking individual customers can contribute a powerful level of loyalty as well.
If you get massive volumes in emails, as the popular veterinarian, Dr. Eric Barchas, does, you may choose a path similar to his, and commit a feature to answering consistent concerns. This way you reach the necessary customers, and assure them of your awareness.
Remember, these suggestions can also be applied to your other means of social media. Tweeting back followers, or posting picture and video content are great ways to show the present, attentive, and responsive individual that you are, and not this…