When I go on social, I like to have a pleasant and productive time. I want to learn, smile, or connect. It’s my off-time and I am not up for reading white papers, or sales pitches. If I see something that looks even a little bit like a cleverly hidden ad, I click away. To this end I have been telling my SMB companies to focus on the message, provide value, and allow their finished work to have a more organic look.
I am pretty good at spotting corporate fodder, but younger business people have built in spam-dar and click away before their conscious mind even tells them why. People have gotten very good at spotting content that has been carefully prepared using expensive applications, writers, graphic designers, and coders. When it comes to social, too much polish is as likely to hurt your numbers as much as a poorly constructed post will. I try to explain that social is not a place to assign work to your readers, it is a place to provide value in easy digestible nuggets. If your blog reads like a white paper, that should go on your website, not social.
In the past a polished piece meant you were successful enough to afford good tools, now too much corporate polish reads as less sincere or worse.
According to Forbes 5 Marketing Trends to watch 2019
1. People are putting more trust in others they know and reputable content, not ads.
2. Creativity, not conformity, will set successful marketers apart.
3. Winners won’t be concerned with internal barriers.
4. Understanding how your customers communicate is vital.
5. Helpfulness and authenticity will combat relationships lost through tech and automation.
Can you see where most larger companies are going awry?
Corporations have spent decades polishing their stuff. They know how to have the best conversations about their stuff. They know how to make content look business-like, professional, polished, and have spent decades trying to outdo each other. They can afford to buy ads, so they make ads. Reps spend months learning about their solutions, so they go out and talk about their solutions. The can afford all the latest software suites and have designers and coders, using them. This is not in alignment with current marketing trends.
It feels like I spend too much time trying to convince older managers at corporations that it is okay to loosen up a bit with their social posts. I suggest they post often instead of spending weeks polishing a single post to “corporate perfection." If you are working with older business people, who learned how to do sales and marketing back in the day, you will have a hard time convincing them that the very look they have finally perfected looks too “corporate” to be trusted today. They cannot believe their pretty polished corporate piece is not going to do as well on social as a simple quick post that provides value.
Instead most larger companies feel compelled to provide posts that look as polished as 1980 technical documents. It seems they got it in their heads what a corporate piece of collateral should look like, and now that they are in charge, are determined to live up to that memory. The world has moved on and smart corporations now spend a lot of money trying to come across as less “corporate.” This ties with Forbes 2019 marketing trends to watch.
So what does this mean to SMBs, NFPs, and startups?
Good news! If you are a start-up, NFP, or SMB without all that expensive capability and old marketing bias, your social posts will be easier to create and will be more in alignment with current trends than the "big guys." Focus on your customer and what you can provide to make their work better, make them more informed about important matters (probably not your latest upgrade), and make them smile doing it. You will not require an extra $150,000 per year to make your already good social posts look more "corporate."
Do what you do and stop worrying about looking corporate. It is not helping you anyway.
Provide value, become a trusted advisor, and have more fun doing it!