From our times roaming the halls of high school we’ve been taught that popularity equals success. Don’t offend anyone, smile, and you could be the next prom queen.
But how do you inspire loyalty and evangelism when you are, you know, pretty boring?
The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano, is a new book about to come out this month which encourages brands to go where no brand ever wants to go: out of the middle of the road. Because as Erika described it while launching her book at SXSW this morning , the middle of the road is “where people get run over.”
Capturing people’s attention is harder than ever. Social networks have been around for a while now, and the tolerance for self-congratulatory and boring content is about to plummet. Brands and companies have had years to experiment and get this right, and now is the time to push the boundaries, not link to your press releases.
The first step is to have personality. Who are you, what is your story, what do you have to offer? Don’t be afraid to show the people behind the organisation, or have a little fun. But there is a line between having personality, and being a jerk. Shock jocks might get the ratings, but being unpopular is not the same as being unlikeable, and this will do no favours for your company.
Next is accessibility. Are you really there? Do you care what people want to say to you? As mentioned above, capturing people’s attention is difficult, so if they take the time to contact you, they will not appreciate being ignored. Research has found that people are turned off by brands when they can see that people’s comments, questions and complaints are being blatantly ignored on social networks.
Sharability. Why not let people spread your content to your own networks? This is the very foundation of good PR – unbiased endorsement. Don’t make it hard for people to do this.
And finally, profitability, because really, if no one is getting paid, having all the above is not going to put food on your table. Focus on the channels that are working for you, cut out the things that aren’t. Social networks can also be a great place for market research, find out what your customers think and what they want, and have fun while doing it.
Not everyone will like you and what you are doing. That’s just the way it goes, even for prom queens. Don’t waste time on people who will never come around, and focus on entertaining and providing value for everyone else.