Can you imagine scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed and only seeing stodgy, boring, stock images coupled with overly jargoned, carefully worded captions?
Would you be interested in going back if there were no more Tasty recipes, makeup tutorials, or fail videos? What are the images you stop on to read the captions? Probably updates from your friends, or a particularly interesting image that piques your curiosity - be it of something that is relevant to you, that you relate with, or something that seems outside the norm of your social media feed.
We as social media users have become particularly adept at sniffing out corporate content and completely ignoring it. With so much coming at us, we need to be selective with what we consume. It isn’t an intentional, thoughtful process of considering each post and making a decision on whether or not to take it in. Instead, this happens in milliseconds - about as long as it takes your finger to hit the screen and swipe again.
When you’re representing a business, it is far too easy to forget how you, yourself, use social media. You consider brand guidelines, making sure each image is controlled to carefully represent your brand. While this is important, it is far too easy to cross the line from interesting, curiosity piquing images into stodgy, boring stock photos. You consider timelines, watering down or outright ignoring the exciting, future offerings you intend to develop. And you lose faith in your audience’s ability to discern jokes and facts.
Admittedly, this is difficult in today’s world. It takes a half a second for Google to return thousands of results documenting corporate social media missteps. Looking at other industries (politics is a great example) leaves us quaking with fear, thinking that there is nothing we can put out that won’t upset or offend someone. So we err on the side of caution, meticulous in our consideration of each word and pixel of each post. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
I’m not going to be so bold to say that it is better to be footloose and fancy free with your posting - letting everything go and blaming it on your audience if someone gets offended. That is absolutely, unequivocally not the right way to go. However, formatting your social media posts like press releases isn’t effective either.
Our suggestion is to relax the restrictions. Loosen up when you’re planning your posts. Consider how you use social media, and speak like a human being - not like a robot. Social media isn’t for you to talk at your clients - that won’t help meet your goals. It’s important to have a conversation with your audience and speak their language. The occasional meme or gif here and there are generally appreciated (caveat: occasional being the operative word - too much becomes an obvious attempt at cheap engagement). A well placed, tactful joke or clever remark is a great thing to throw in the mix when you’re engaging with others. Ultimately - inject your social media with personality - it will not be a mistake.