Marketing is all about making an emotional connection between your product or service and your prospects. People are looking for solutions to their problems, but they’re also looking for brands they can have an ongoing relationship with.
In his book, Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy, Bryan Kramer analyzes how and why people share experiences and information, as well as what makes people share things. The goal of Shareology is to figure out how to make your brand more human and shareable.
Kramer is a public speaker, consultant, and trainer who also wrote There is no B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human H2H.
He specializes in the art and science of sharing and has worked hands-on as a senior advertising account executive, interactive planner and strategist, managing consultant, online producer, and marketing consultant for some of the Bay Area's largest marketing firms.
In addition, Kramer’s company, PureMatter, has earned a spot as one of the fastest growing private companies in Silicon Valley for over five years by the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal. So, to say that he has a full understanding of sharing and how it impacts a brand’s marketing is an understatement.
Shareology is packed with insights that Kramer has discovered throughout this impressive career and offers practical advice for implementing these strategies in your own business.
If you’re having trouble making a connection with your buyer personas, I highly recommend reading this book. To hold you over, I’m going to share a few of the big takeaway concepts.
1. Make Your Brand Human
As I mentioned earlier, people today are looking to develop a relationship with the brands they purchase from.
To make your brand relationship-worthy, it needs to be human and relatable. I mean, no one wants to be a in a relationship with someone they can’t relate to, right?
That means you need to provide value and be entertaining with your inbound marketing. Kramer suggests following the rule of thirds where you break down your communication and the content you share into thirds:
- One third news
- One third ideas
- One third curated content
Transparency is also key to making your brand more human. Kramer advises that brands allow their customers to look behind the curtain and see the actual people driving the machine.
This is especially important as your business grows because the bigger your brand is, the harder it is to picture the individual people behind it.
2. Focus More on Giving Than Selling
One of the biggest problems we see with businesses as they start to market themselves online is that they focus too much effort on selling. Frankly, that’s just not how the culture of digital marketing works.
In Shareology, Kramer says before you share any piece of content, you should consider how that content will help your prospects and customers in some way. Why would they share it? If they don’t get any value from it, there’s not much point in sharing it.
Of course, this is fundamental to the Inbound Methodology and in no way does it mean you shouldn’t be selling online. However, the approach that works best is selling to people after you’ve helped them with something.
You give away value to get their interest and then you sell to them.
This all goes back to making your brand more human. No one likes the annoying, high-pressure salesman. We prefer the salesman who answers our questions thoroughly, helps us find our way around, and only tries to sell to us once we’ve let them know we’re interested.
3. Always Consider the Context
Marketing research has evolved tremendously and it’s never been more accessible.
In the past, businesses would pay for focus groups where a handful of people would be brought in to provide feedback about a product. Today you can get instant feedback in real-time from millions of people through a quick Twitter search.
Kramer is a big advocate of social listening because it’s easy to do and the insights you can gain are invaluable. Good places to do social listening are Twitter, Facebook, reddit, and forums.
The information you gather from listening to the market can be used to improve or create products, refine your marketing message, create content, and much more.
To be more human as a brand and make a stronger connection, you have to truly understand the people you are marketing to.
In order to create highly-shareable content, Kramer suggests following The Four Rules of Context:
- Give it some thought. What does this content you’re going to share say about your brand? What purpose does it serve? Will it help you meet your marketing objectives?
- Skip to the last page first. Inbound marketing is all about guiding prospects through the buyer’s journey. Where does this content you share lead them? Does it lead to your desired end destination?
- Don’t rush. Sharing content for the sake of sharing content isn’t effective. Instead, focus on sharing the right content, even if it means taking more time. If sharing something doesn’t accomplish what you want it to, it’s a waste of time anyways.
- Shift your point of view. With everything you share, you should always analyze it from the perspective of your buyer personas. What will they think? How will it help them? How will it make them feel?
Ultimately, sharing content is more than getting likes and clicks on social media. Sharing content humanizes your brand and adds value to the human economy. If your business is struggling to make a connection with the right people, perhaps one or more of the three elements above are missing.