You Had Me at Hello

by Tina Imperial

Remember the line in the movie Jerry McGuire where Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) says “you had me at hello?” It was a declaration of love and all Jerry (Tom Cruise) did was show up. Isn’t this how most businesses feel about their customers?

Spoiler alert: Your customers are not going to declare their love just because you show up. More likely, if customers show up on Facebook, Twitter, the comment section of your blog or your physical office, they have an expectation; they expect you to prove that you are worthy of the attention. Don’t blow it and just talk about yourself. Here are some tips to help keep your company’s creep factor in check.

Introduce yourself. It helps to look attractive. Make sure your company’s identity is easily discernible across all marketing channels. This means that where ever you have content you should be answering some basic questions that are popping up in the minds of your potential customers. What benefits do you offer? What problems does your company solve? Why do customers need your company? Inundating customers with information or asking them to take action (like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or buy my widget) before you give them reasons to do so is like asking someone to marry you on the first date.

Maybe go out for a cup of coffee. When you are marketing what you are really asking for is a conversation. In a conversation we don’t shout over each other. So how do you start a conversation? Give your customers useful, entertaining, educational, relevant or timely information about your specific industry. Be a resource within your industry and be known for what you do. If you can prove that you have useful information then maybe they’ll sign up for that newsletter, read your tweets, or call you.

Recognize “The One” when you see her. Cultivate brand evangelists. Brand evangelists are the people who not only like your company but they are the people who talk about your company.  Typically, these are individuals who are commenting on your blog posts or posting on your company’s Facebook page.  Interact with these folks by answering their questions or thanking them for their input.

Social media is evolving. It’s not enough that you sell a product or service. Your company has to be well…human.