Each month, we feature a guest blog post with success stories and other great information and advice we think thriving local businesses would care about. This month’s post comes from Ryan Estes,  Principal at Talklaunch.


Personalize Your Social Media Marketing

Whether you are the lone soldier or a member of a larger social / content team, your audience is going to be curious who exactly they are talking to on social media. Give them a feel for who you are. If there is an opportunity, end chats with your name or initials. As marketing automation becomes more and more prevalent, a personal touch becomes proportionately valuable. Separate yourself from the bots and allow your personality to penetrate the corporate veneer.

Questions for consideration:

  • How do we cohesively harmonize personal identity with brand identity?
  • What level of privacy from our social media team are we comfortable sacrificing?
  • How does personalizing social media marketing impact brand credibility, thought leadership, and tone?

Tell them who you are: Share your name and a personal profile link. Tag #selfie

Where are you: Snap a pic of your current environment. Center your pics around smiling people.

What are you wearing: Shoes, pants, selfie. Tag #ootd

What are you eating: Before you take fork to hand of course.

What does your desk look like: Straighten up. Tag #battlestations

Everyday carry: Arrange the contents of your pockets / purse and take a pic. tag #edc

Organized objects: Similar to #edc. Evoke your audience’s inner OCD by sharing a pic of appropriate objects arranged neatly.

Day in the life / Photo journal: Don’t just tell your audience what you’re up to – show them. Share a gallery of pics that describes your day.

Featured employee: Snap a pic of an employee and share with your audience. Let them know why your staff is so valuable.

Takeover: Hand over the reins of your social profiles to someone else for a day.

Work / life style: Show your audience how you incorporate work / life balance throughout your workday.

Humor: Be funny – lean towards silly. BEWARE of sarcasm. It rarely translates on social.

Amplify Your Cultural Relevance

There’s a delicate balance in social media marketing for brands. Of course you want to promote your products and gain new customers, but you want to be careful of excessive chest-beating. Your current customers know what you have and like it – they follow you on social after all. Give the conversation some air by sharing the cultural values of your company. The people behind the scenes are driving your business’ success. Who are they? What do they like to do? Where are they when they’re not at work? Promote a professional culture that resonates with your target audience and they’ll enthusiastically join in.

Questions for consideration:

  • How does our audience perceive our business culture? How does this differ from reality?
  • When is it appropriate to move your social presence outside of business hours?
  • How can your audience participate in your brand’s culture?

Quotes: Inspire your audience. Make them laugh. Tag #QOTD

Short questions: Shorter the better.

Quick tips: Don’t pitch a product. Product or tech tips for the platform you are using are received well.

Show your pride: Give your audience the opportunity to quickly endorse your post. “RT if you ____”

Interesting fact: Tie in company values here.

Link to deeper information: For example, during the Superbowl post an old interview of the team owner. Demonstrate depth of thought.

Behind the scenes: Post pics of big projects you’re working on – before their official release.

Controversy: Guide a conversation to the fringe.

Debate: Frame a debate but pay mind to stay neutral.

Input on product: Discuss a hidden or underused product,

Throwback: Share old logos, pics, artwork from brand. Tag #tbt

Reddit: Post a link to an appropriate subreddit.

Make a prediction: Dust off your crystal ball and make bold, positive predictions about the future.

Thank you notes: Design and share little thank-yous. Better yet, take a pic of a real card you’re sending through the post.

Schedule hashtag chat: Promote an upcoming chat around a hashtag and execute. This is a great time to invite a featured moderator to your profile.

Answer FAQs: Give support a break and weed through common issues your audience experiences.

Photodump: Pull together a gallery of pics that tell a story.

Repurposed: How are people using your products and services outside of the norm?

Review screen shot: Use a screengrab to publish a comment or review from social, blogs, or website.

Event editorial: Give play by play editorial commentary for a breaking event. Popular TV and Movie Series / Concerts Sporting / Awards Shows / Significant News / Holiday and Seasonal

Beyond Links, News, and Articles

Anyone can drop a link into Facebook. Take link sharing to the next level. Post the top comment to a featured article instead. Post a controversial review. Bring novelty to your audience’s news feed. Allow your audience to shape the discussion. Use your audience’s experience to shape the perception of your product. Take note – and stay out of the way when you can.

Questions for consideration:

  • How are you leveraging brand advocates’ content?
  • Are you succinctly and accurately guiding your audience with your posts?
  • How do you encourage unsolicited brand endorsement from your audience?

List based posts: Articles that are written as lists.

How-to based posts: Tutorials. Tag #DIY

Recommendation: Give your audience a public recommendation.

Reviews: Review a product or service. Use the opportunity to reward brand advocates.

Problem solving: Describe why your problem needs to be solved and why you chose the methods you have.

Opinion: Have a backbone, make a claim.

Audience images: Share pics of your audience using your product. Search Instagram by hashtag.

Product photos: Share pics of your product in the wild.

Statistics and data: Take a screengrab or create an art-card of key metrics your audience will appreciate.

Holidays: Create an art-card that communicates earnest emotion for holidays.

Teasers: Give your audience a sneak preview to a feature coming soon.

Infographics: Everybody loves (and shares) infographics.

Art: How are artists interpreting work in your cultural arena. Share their creations.

Product Hunt: Share new start-ups that are working on your problem from a different angle. Demonstrate thought leadership and build brand advocates.

Kickstarter: Share exciting crowdfunded projects. Capitalize on spontaneity and urgency.

Humor in Social Media Marketing

As in life, the absurd, strange, and random have a place in social media marketing. Being funny online however, is exceptionally difficult. Sarcasm and wit, without context and nonverbal cues can easily offend an audience. Consider that some percentage of your audience is spending a part of their day in flame wars, arguing about one outrage or another. You don’t want your brand anywhere near this kind of scrutiny. Does that mean you shouldn’t take a stab at humor? Not at all – but you must be careful. Be absolutely certain that your humor is not at the expense of a person or group of people. The rewards of perfectly matching your brand’s messaging with your audience’s sense of humor are great. The penalties of being cruel or insensitive can be catastrophic – tread lightly.

Questions for consideration:

  • What is the difference between whimsical and careless?
  • What is your response protocol when your audience’s comments are offensive?
  • How and how often are responses monitored?

Polling: Like and/ or Share If you _____

Tell us what you really think: Get your audience out of their comfort zone and ready to take a stand.

Funny Quotes: Use eCards, pictographs, and jokes for lighthearted conversation starters.

Bucket list posts: Do something heroic. Share it.

Memes: Find memes appropriate to your brands. Using a meme correctly demonstrates internet fluency.

Inspirational Images: Use beautiful imagery to inspire engagement.

Caption this image: Poll your audience to give an interesting image a caption.

Fill in the blank: Start the sentence and let your audience ________

Either Or Questions: “Do you like A, or are you more of a B person?

Topical questions: What’s happening right now? Probe your audience for information.

Comics: Which superheros resonate with your audience?

True or false questions: Quick engagement opportunities come fast, be ready to moderate quickly.

Word of the day: Make Pee-wee Herman proud.

(Originally posted at: www.talklaunch.net)

About Ryan Estes – Principal at TALKLAUNCH LTD: I am a reader of bedtime stories, Brazilian jiu jitsu player, sportsman, volunteer, and friend. Hosting the Denver Business Podcast has revealed that I’m not alone in the pursuit of profit and purpose. Current obsessions include nootropics, fingerstyle blues, and simulation hypothesis. I book speaking engagements on occasion, but I prefer listening engagements.