For most, behavior is driven and directed by unconscious, high-speed emotional reactions, and lesser, orders of magnitude lesser, by slow and logical decisions. Our complex and diverse reactions to environmental stimuli exert such an impact on our lives, that modern researchers are beginning to discover biochemical evidence for the poorly understood, “non-pharmacological mechanisms” of the Placebo Effect. Ted Kaptchuk, head of Harvard Medical School’s Program in Placebo Studies says, “… the placebo effect is a result of complex conscious and non-conscious processes embedded in the practitioner-patient relationship.” That relationship (i.e. positive experience, emotional connection, or just good vibes) between the patient and practitioner can yield remarkably powerful physiological effects. Unfortunately, many medical practitioners suffer from empathy fatigue, as do many businesses and brands. Positive experiences or emotional connections to a product or person is too often an untapped force-multiplier in sales and marketing.
Unfortunately, many medical practitioners suffer from empathy fatigue, as do many businesses and brands.
The majority of us don’t have multi-million dollar marketing budgets, or world-class marketing teams, it is us vs. the world; however, we have skills and passions to share, and we do care about our customers. In fact, many of us simply want to transform our skills or passions into an extra source of income. After establishing a strong foundation, it is possible to rapidly gain traction and increase customer acquisition; however, it is also important to think within a different paradigm of sales and marketing. Rather than obsessing over Google, Instagram, or Facebook analytics–let’s temporarily step back and redefine our key performance indicator based upon direct and individual engagements with existing or potential customers. How can we quickly engage customers on such a personal or emotional level to grow our business?
🎨 Form an Identity
In many ways, a brand’s social media presence can strongly shape its success or failure. It is important to build a strong brand identity with visual consistency, originality, and quality that quickly expresses its value to a consumer. Are you an online fine-art instructor? If so, your social media must express this with visual consistency and focus from content that revolves around fine-art. An emphasis on consistency, originality, and quality can be seen in the following successful Instagram accounts:
All of these accounts have a ‘taste,’ so to speak, and that taste expresses an authenticity, in turn, eliciting an emotional reaction. We immediately ‘taste’ the value that they provide by the collection of perceptions we unconsciously receive derived from their content. How? Again, visual consistency, originality, and quality of content. Establishing a well-defined and focused identity requires effort, but is necessary to hook a consumer. It is not a quick process, but it is repeatable.
Extract Content Daily – Identity Growth Hack Tip
The quickest way to build a consistent identity is to maximize the content you can extract from your day-to-day work. With every bit of work you do, you should be thinking–how can I frame this as quality content, or, how can I exhibit this content to my target audience? For example, are you a programmer? If so, you can extract content by sharing coding tips, gotchas, up-and-coming technology, or even programming humor. Are you a chef or baker? If so, take photographs and video-clips that you can share with your target audience. The process of content extraction must be a part of your day-to-day work grind. Focus on the process, not the goal.
…maximize the content you can extract from your day-to-day work …With every bit of work you do, you should be thinking–how can I frame this as quality content?
Having a defined online identity will make directly approaching and engaging your existing or potential customer base exponentially easier, as this establishes an implicit level of trust between the consumer and the brand. They will not perceive you as a spammer or the infamous low-quality social media “shit-poster.”
💡 Suggested Read: What is a Content Calendar?
🎯 The 3 A’s – Authority, Authenticity, and Action
As you develop and refine your social media identity, you can begin to directly engage individuals within your target audience in order to build end-to-end human connections. Reframe your mindset with the goal of re-humanizing the social media experience for your consumer. These direct human engagements are a slow-burn social media force-multiplier. A single positive and authenticate engagement with an individual member of your target audience will yield exponential ROI, with 3-4 individual engagements a week this can quickly turn profits and increase user acquisition by word-of-mouth referrals. Any salesman knows the power and value of word-of-mouth referrals.
Reframe your mindset with the goal of re-humanizing the social media experience for your consumer.
Establish and Convey Authority (Expertise) in a Domain
Authority means that you are a “go-to source” for a given domain or product. This does not mean that you have to be a world-class performer or a highly-qualified expert, although it certainly won’t hurt, it simply means that you need to stand out amongst your competition. Frequently create content that illustrates your passions or expertise within a domain. A customer must be able to quickly construct a positive impression based upon your online identity. Build a brand that is undeniable.
Authenticity is the secret ingredient that attracts us to great music, food, design, and people. Authenticity is our perception of what is real. When we listen to a charismatic speaker, hear an incredible story, or watch a passionate performance–we become hypnotized and inspired by its authenticity. Being able to express oneself authentically can be difficult, as we all have been socially conditioned to go through life as actors. Authenticity breeds inspiration and curiosity–leading to action.
Do not be a salesman during an engagement with a customer. Remove the salesman mask and drop the pitch, rather, be a human. Ask questions to find common areas of interest, empathize with your customer, be relatable, and talk to your customer like you would a friend. All of these build a sense of authenticity and sincerity, thus allowing you to quickly build comfort and rapport.
Decide how you can provide individual members of your target audience with value for free or at a very low-cost to you. Perhaps a free lesson, an open workshop, an online webinar, a product sample, or simply to assist one-on-one. The whole point is to engage an individual on a personal level to build rapport.
🔑 Key Takeaways
- Form a strong identity with your social media presence
- Frequently extract quality content from your day-to-day work
- Direct human engagements are a slow-burn social media force-multiplier
- Express passion and expertise with quality and original content
- Be authenticate and sincere, not a salesman, during direct engagements with customers
- Take action