For all businesses big and small, reputation is everything. The first step in cultivating a positive reputation is to make your brand ‘likeable’ in both the click friendly meaning of the word as well as well as building a true sense of engagement and trust.
Being likeable brings a host of business benefits. It will stop customers from considering the new local competition. It will make customers ‘hear you out’ on your new product or service offerings. And it will keep your regulars buying from you again and again.
One interaction point where your franchise location can become more likeable overnight is social media. It’s such a critical communication channel and customer touchpoint in today’s market.
But how do you actively cultivate ‘likability’ on social media?
It’s mighty hard to bond with a stone wall.
When writing your content and copy make the language conversational and approachable. Highly polished content certainly has its place but when appealing to the masses it’s much more advantageous to adopt a personable approach to help build a friend-like trust.
You want to make your posts feel like an extension of the people behind them. Refer to both staff and customers by name in posts and try to engage with and respond to comments promptly and honestly.
Avoid generic content, and by that I mean those cliché unoriginal memes, uninspired photos and blasé material from head office. Try to personalise and localise your content as much as possible.
Make yourself part of the community by supporting local events, fundraisers and sports clubs. If you know your local football team is playing a big game on the weekend schedule a post offering your support.Show compassion and engagement with your local area.
Don’t overload your socials with sales content. It feels spammy, unprofessional and it just turns your followers off. Aim to entertain and inform your audience. The general rule of thumb is to stick to the 80/20 ratio. So 80% interesting and fun posts, 20% geared to offers and sales. Put people in front of the brand. Give your business a human face.
Introduce your staff and give behind the scenes glimpses to show the hard work and blood, sweat and tears that goes in to running the business.
If you are part of a fitness franchise, make sure to congratulate members on their achievements. Consider posting before and after photos of members to highlight their body transformation. You could also host a member of the month competition, where you highlight the achievements of a particular member.
The best business social pages are true communities with two way interactions. That said, probably less than 15% of business pages fall into this category.
To foster a sense of two-way communication it’s a good idea to encourage feedback by asking questions or soliciting opinions, engaging in the comments section and providing prompt replies when asked questions.
Over time, your followers will come to know your page as a true community that they’ll feel included in and compelled to contribute to. It should be a comfortable place where they see you as warm and approachable.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; being funny can take you a long way. Remember humorous content, especially video, is among the most shared social content.Just be wary of any controversial topics. There’s a role here for good judgement and if you’re not sure, then don’t post, it’s not work the risk.
Be likeable by association
This is a great tactic, especially if the industry you operate in is a bit, well, dry. Like finance or accounting advice.
As a case in point, let’s say you are a franchised accounting consultant. Why not hitch your wagon to some seriously cool brands in your posts as a way to be more likeable? For example, post about how Tesla is depreciating its megafactories over the next decade (and what every small business can learn from that).
It shows relevance and provides actionable local advice, but also associates you with one the world’s most valuable brands.
Be fun and festive
Dress to impress for holidays and special occasions, whether it be Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Halloween, this is your chance to really show your fun side. A bright, festive and playful establishment makes for great social media content. It doesn’t take much effort to put up a Christmas tree and throw around some tinsel come Christmas, but it does go a long way to adding some heart to your business, even better if you support a local charity gift drive.
Be easy to deal with
Just as trust takes a long time to build up and a second to lose, likability can be completely undermined if your business is inherently difficult to deal with.
Everyone likes products and services that are low effort. Whether it’s ordering a take-away coffee, completing an annual tax return or organizing a wedding, customers will always rate a low-effort experience highly. And that makes the business easy to like.
On the flipside, a business that makes life harder is very hard to find likeable. No matter how approachable their communications are, or how witty their posts. It’s just not realistic to think these will ‘move the dial’ when their core customer experience is a chore for the average customer.
Likability is more important than it sounds
While most will agree being likeable is a good thing, some franchisees don’t quite get the link to likability and profitability.
You see liked brands get listened to, get trusted and get more repeat business. And because of the stronger emotional bond built between customers and business, it’s a business’ likability that helps it withstand new competitors, implement price increases and brush off the odd service slip-up!