People buy people, so the saying goes. But nowadays – especially in this post-COVID world – many sales aren’t face to face, but face to screen.
Businesses have to show their identities, their characters, through their websites, their social media platforms and their written communications.
But how do you create a character online – how can you show your customers who you are, and get them to buy into you as the face behind the business?
Why small businesses need to show their character more than bigger companies
One of the main benefits small businesses have over their larger competitors is the personal nature of their service; with fewer customers and staff to manage, you can probably assure your customers of a genuinely personal service – for example, perhaps you personally handle orders, handwrite packing slips, or accept customisation requests.
This character, and the feeling of purchasing from and interacting with another human rather than a huge faceless corporation, is one that companies of all sizes try to convey to their audiences. But as a small-to-medium business you have the edge – because for you, it’s true! And this makes it crucially important that you convey this in all of your online communications.
How to let your business’ character shine online
The online marketplace might not seem like the ideal medium through which to show your personality. How can you possibly convey core values such as warmth and friendliness through writing and images on a screen?
Actually, showing your character online is easy. You simply need to position your people at the forefront – just as they would be in a bricks and mortar store. Let your customers see “human” before “business” – be this in a photo, or simply a description of your ethos. Here are a few ideas about how you can turn your online content into online character – and start capitalising on one of your biggest strengths.
- Create a core key message based on your unique selling point of your particular organisational character trait, and weave it into your content. An example key message might look like this: “As a small team, we can make sure you receive the same high quality customer service at every stage, from personally any questions you might have about our products, right through to purchasing and delivery.”
- Develop a characterful and consistent tone of voice across all of your platforms, and make it distinctive enough so that people “sense” the person behind the screen. Small businesses have a great advantage here as you will likely have the same person devising content across your various platforms, making it easier to maintain consistency.
- Rewrite your web content to emphasis the personal; talk about “we” and “us” rather than “the business”, and strip out any unnecessary industry jargon that might alienate your audience.
- Mention core people in your organisation by name, and talk about their roles – let your audience know who exactly is behind each stage of their buying journey, so that they feel more emotionally connected. This is especially important on your contact page; place named representatives along with their photos for each type of enquiry, so that people know they will be contacting a person directly rather than a faceless “customer service representative” or chatbot.
- On social media, sign off all your comments with your (or the relevant employee’s) name, so that people know they are talking to a “real” person.
- Schedule regular communications with your database and social media followers, utilising the above consistent tone of voice – show them that you remember them, whilst conveying your character. Thank them for their loyalty with special offers.
- Use people’s names in all your customer service communications, and on social media – make them feel special, and show that you’re not pasting stock answers to their queries or complaints.
- Invest in video. This highly visual medium provides an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate character, and the possibilities for content are endless; you could feature employees talking about a product, running a tutorial, answering FAQs, showing a “day in the life” of their role, giving behind the scenes tours – all of which serve to demonstrate character and emotionally connect with viewers.
- Look after your people, and talk about it! The personal touch extends to how you treat your staff members, after all. When your audience knows that your staff are well looked after, they can feel more certain of a positive customer experience. As everybody knows, happy staff = happy customers!
How do you show your character online? Let us know in the comments!Find out how to make your business’ character shine online Click To Tweet