Business, sometimes, is all about having a connection with your customers, which makes entrepreneurship ultimately about people. It hardly counts what items or service you are selling; if you want to sustain that hard-earned success, you will have to bond well with the individuals with whom you are doing business. Even if you are selling Rubik’s Cubes digitally on Instagram, the product was created by people for other people to love. And in order for the product to become the item right after the people’s hearts, you need to relate well to those you consider clients – on another level.
Relatability makes or breaks an entrepreneur’s chances of staying – not becoming – successful. In the event of the scorchers and opprobrium that plagued Facebook and Uber, Mark Zuckerberg and Dara Khosrowshahi saw it needful to personally cop a plea and seek forgiveness from consumers all over the world, with the hopes of restoring their enterprises’ reputation. If the audiences had deemed the duo as scatterbrained and unrelatable, their apologies would have fallen on deaf ears.
Relatability is a key component of a company’s core identity. By perhaps showcasing the unique personalities of colleagues, and being transparent and honest about your startup’s mission, you will be helping your fans out there see the human side of your company and relate to you as an organization that cares.
From production all the way down to distribution, no law says you shouldn’t bring your customers up to speed with your activities – being relatable fattens the chances of succeeding business-wise in all aspects. Rather than leading with marketing, how about you first strategize for a message that connects your startup’s message with the audience?
A 2016 Label Insight study showed that 73 percent of consumers would rather pay more to transact with organisations that preach and promise transparency. All you need to do is understand the tools – market research, understanding the target audience, and being consistent with whatever you do.
One of the best persons to learn from in this regard is Virgin founder Richard Branson, who has successfully built a tremendously relatable enterprise around his personality. In his opinion, people are better off having fun and creating great working environments when building their companies, as that is the kind of attitude that draws unrelenting engagement from his fans. Branson has more than 24 million followers across his social media platforms, and that penetratingly shows that the businessman knows his onions.
Have A Network Where You All Have Like Minds
Since networking essentially entails forging concrete relationships with people, then it is even more important that you build a network of like-minded individuals. Social media is a popular means for networking, but adding a person to your LinkedIn network is leagues away from actually getting to know that person. In order to make each networking opportunity count, and to cultivate those authentic connections, opting for an in-person meeting with people rather than online transactions usually cuts it.
Generally, in beginning networking, it usually starts out with connecting with the friend existing and getting personal introductions whenever possible. Chris Moore, an investor, says that warm introductions in his own experience are almost guaranteed to lead to meetings. If your lucky star shines bright enough to help you secure an intro from a friend, then repay the kind gesture by respecting the outreach.
Be Personal On Your Socials
Now, no one said you should flood consumer’s timelines with pictures of your butler trying to milk a cow. The ‘personal’ aspect in this context concerns your everyday dealings with business or your entrepreneurial journey – not private life. It should, by all means, involve content that is solid enough for followers to relate to, and even want to hit the share button.
CEOs find it easier to post stuff about their business – I know a textile startup founder that shares videos of his company’s production process from start to finish; talk about “How It’s Made.” Who says your business’s social media handle cannot become another Discovery Channel?
The important thing here is that when you are proud of what you do, it will be second nature to share your team’s success. For example, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, posts not just wins, but challenges from both sides of his life on social media. He may be the leader of one of the most successful companies of all time, but he is not so high up in cloud nine. He still uses his handles to showcase evidence that he has a relatable personality. The most extreme of them all is our very own Richard Branson.
Use Posts To Solve Common Problems
Bringing your customers’ attention to pressing international issues is no doubt important, but your messaging still needs to be framed in a context that is very relatable. When addressing a social issue, by all means, capitalize on the human factor and possibly highlight the ways members of your audience and even yourself may be lending a hand in creating these problems – nothing personal.
In whatever way you are addressing the topic, ensure that the reader will be able to see himself or herself in the content’s context. Some people have garnered millions of followers just by doing this. There’s James Altucher, a self-help author who has cultivated 196,000 followers on Twitter by constantly addressing problems faced daily by the average people, from self-image struggles to cognitive bias and even rejection.
Engage Your Followers
If you want to avoid making your customers think you simply came to blow your trumpet, and if you don’t want to come across as a pretentious and conceited startup, make sure you help your followers as much as you can. There’s no harm in taking five minutes to really explain that geeky concept to them and making sure they actually get it.
These days, at the heart of social media, is what could be termed community forgery, which also applies to the social media used by brands. By posting relatable content and always leaving that inbox open, your startup won’t have a hard time developing a community of loyal customers. According to a Salesforce report, it takes an average of eight touchpoints with a brand for customers to even start thinking about buying from you. Use social media for some of those touchpoints, connect with customers, reply DMs, retweet their comments, and share their reviews – in essence, make them feel important. Not only will these actions touch your customers, but even their networks will get the impression.
Richard Branson may be one of the most popular businesspeople alive, many thanks to his nice guy attitude, smiling, and lots of laughing. He touches people with his demeanour, values his employees and is not scared to try new things as that is what he thrives on. He is considered the archetypal business hero that is committed to treating people well and making his business, Virgin, a people company. Be like Branson.
Featured Image: Real Leaders
9500+ subscribers are getting our free newsletter on African technology, startups and innovators bi-weekly.
Made with ❤ in Africa