Recently, I wrote about manipulation, not the type of manipulation that leads to trouble, like cheating, but manipulation that leads to a given and proven result. An example is the lowering of prices to boost sales. Another is sending direct mail pieces and tracking response rate to improve messaging effectiveness.
This type of manipulation, while useful, has some important limitations that can hold a company back if it is the only type of motivation used. In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek discusses an alternative motivator for action: inspiration. Inspiration is superior to manipulation because it creates an emotional connection, can be effective for an unlimited period of time, and can make a difference on a grand scale. When inspiration becomes part of your business – and, by extension, your company’s social media marketing – the results can be powerful. Let’s talk about how to do it.
Share Your “Why”
As Sinek notes, most companies focus on what and how. They focus on things like improving product quality, having great customer service, delivering on time and adding new features. They believe that doing those things well is enough to make them successful. And perhaps it is enough to have a good business, but having a great business requires something more. Companies that stand out from everyone else in their industry also focus on their “why.”
What Inspired Your Company?
One way to talk about your company’s “why” is to communicate the reason it was founded in the first place. What was the motivation that started your business? What need was there, in your community or around the world, that it sought to fill? Did your company right some wrong, solve some logistical problem, or create the perfect product to fill a certain void?
In addition to what the past inspiration was, you can share what keeps you—and your employees—going now. Why do you get up in the morning and come to work, fired up to continue making a difference? When you share these inspirations with your prospects, customers, and the general public, you motivate others to join with you and your business in what you’re doing.
What is Your Vision for the World?
Another way to communicate your company’s inspiration is to talk about the future. What vision drives your work? If you could wave a magic wand and make the world a better place, would it be kinder, or more beautiful? Would it function better? How does your product or service—or perhaps the way that you produce or perform it—help to transform the world? If you haven’t done this lately, take some time to envision what would happen if your company was 100 percent successful in fulfilling its mission. What impact would that have on the world? How might it inspire others to do their part?
Live by Example
Most companies have slogans. Whether it’s “the customer comes first” or “the lowest prices in town,” slogans might be catchy, but they aren’t important unless you can prove that your company lives out its slogan’s underlying principles. Here are two ways to live your slogan—or mission, or vision—by example.
One of our team members has a slogan that I love: “Do your customer service in the open.” Imagine for a moment what that would be like. What if everyone could see exactly how you handled that really unhappy or unreasonable customer last week? A good example of this scenario is professional sports. A team’s coach has to handle every failure and success live, on camera. What if you ran your business the same way? If other customers and the public could watch—or learn about, through social media and content marketing—how well you handle both unreasonable customer complaints and your company’s own mistakes (because no company is perfect), would that inspire them? By sharing how you do things better (as I’ve mentioned before), you will inspire others, and attract them to your team, your vision, your product or service.
Go Above and Beyond
One advantage of being transparent is that it teaches everyone in your company, from the C-suite to the mail clerks, the importance of doing their jobs right. It also establishes that going above and beyond is expected, not just internally but externally, too. Reaching for a higher standard inspires people to want to follow you and do business with you.
Sharing your “why” and living by example are just two ways to weave inspiration into your business. When you include this powerful motivator in your social media and content marketing, the results can be tremendous.