Marketing and brand authenticity have been running laps in my head lately. Whether it’s in regard to my clients, my own business, or the Big Island businesses that I find myself connecting with and admiring — the ones that stand out are the ones that feel right.
I started to take note of my feelings and reactions to things I see online — the sort of things that make me light up, that encourage me to hit follow or click a link, and in contrast, the things that make me furrow my brow, cringe at the core, and hit unfollow. And let me tell you, the common thread was so clear.
I follow brands that inspire me. Businesses that fill my newsfeed with truth telling, finger lickin’ good content that speaks to my soul. And I realized — it’s soul over the sell.
When I am overwhelmed by the way a brand makes me feel, with no glaringly obnoxious act to make a sale, I know they value my time. I feel like they understand that my newsfeed is a place exclusively for the things I want to see on a regular basis. And if they take advantage of that — if they take advantage of me — they get the boot.
When I feel loved by a brand, in turn, it makes me love them right back.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the sell is weaved within the soul somewhere, it always is. But when we’re constantly being sold to on social media, there’s got to be something more than just a product-driven sell. I need to connect. I need to know why it’s you I need rather than the other guy selling the same exact thing. What do you have that they don’t? When you choose soul over sell, or I guess I should say, soul-driven sell, you’ll win me over every time.
So how can you master the soul-driven sell?
Focus on quality over quantity
When you post because you feel obligated, the language and tone can often fall flat and leave little to be desired. If you move away from posting because you have to or should be, and shift to posting from a place of desire and value, you’ll find that the response you get will mirror that. You’ll likely receive likes and interaction of desire and value, instead of likes and interaction of obligation, or even worse — none at all.
Listen to what your followers are telling you
Go back and have a look at the things you’ve posted, and take note of the most popular types of posts, vs. the things that didn’t necessarily work in your favor. Did your audience really like a motivating article you shared? Or did a certain style of photo get shared more than anything else? Take note of these trends, and figure out how you can implement those styles or common threads into future content. When your audience likes something, they’ll tell you. But it’s up to you to listen and keep the goods comin’.
Map out your core values and let them be your guide
Your brand’s core values and message are the foundation of what you do and what you represent. Every single thing that you do online (and in general) should align with those core values. If you don’t have your core values set up yet, this will be a huge moment of clarity when it comes to growing and marketing your business, and how your business is viewed online.
Need help mapping out your message ?
Go with your gut
If something feels fake, phony, too this or too that — then it probably is. Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it, and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right to you or your brand. If something feels off to you, it’s probably going to feel that way to your audience too.
Invoke a feeling
Instead of thinking about your marketing within the confines of your product, try to think about it as the feeling you’re trying to get your target customer to feel with that product. For example, say you are selling a kayak. Think about the feelings and the types of emotions that someone on the Big Island would want to feel from their kayak. Free, liberated, adventurous maybe? When you start to tap into the feeling of the product, instead of the product itself, you can then start to think about new and creative ways to invoke those emotions within the marketing of that product, so your audience can feel it, and ultimately, need it.
Mastering the art of the soul-driven sell is what could turn a first impression into a nurtured relationship between you and your target customer.
What brands do you think do a great job of incorporating the soul-driven sell into their marketing? Need a little nudge in the right direction?