Empathy is Everything

We’re all a little too into ourselves.

From dawn to dusk, from mirror to screen, we are all up in our own feelings and experiences. Why? Because it just feels right.

We feel right.

Which means anyone who doesn’t feel like us, sound like us, or look like us feels wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t feel like connecting with a person or a brand who makes me feel wrong because they’re right. How about you?

Enter empathy in marketing.

If you’ve read this blog, you know it’s primarily about digital marketing. Social media, apps, writing, email… these are all things that make marketing happen.

So what does empathy have to do with marketing? Everything.

If you don’t believe that, I dare you to try something:

  • Walk up to a stranger sometime today.
  • Tell the person why your breakfast choice this morning is so awesome.
  • If they haven’t walked or run away from you yet, ask them if they’d like to try your breakfast choice for themselves.

who-are-you-why-are-you-talking-to-me-really-social-blogNow you may luck out and run across a very open and receptive person who entertains your impromptu interruption of their day. Consider this, however: most marketing is not done in person. It comes at each of us through screens or paper, very often without any noise or audio, so the in-person factor is absent.

So, if instead of you stopping someone, how would your stranger respond to a flyer or a a billboard talking about your breakfast?

“BYE!”

You and your audience need empathy. Take it from me. Take it from Brian Fanzo, who has been beating the drum for empathy in marketing and, well, everywhere else.

Enter empathy in life.

As much as we may not want to admit it, marketing is involved in just about every facet of our lives as human beings. And since we already demonstrated that effective marketing requires empathy, imagine the following scenarios:

Parents try to market to their children the right choices to make as they grow up.

Job seekers try to market to a prospective employer just why they are worth getting hired.

Elected representatives market to voters why they should be trusted with power, while voters market to their elected representatives why they should support certain policies.

Religious leaders market to souls why the message of their faith matters to life today.

Each day, you are probably marketing your own opinions (whether you see it that way or not) to friends, family, and strangers in an effort to help them think and act the way you do. You use words, possibly volume, and maybe even supporting links to convince others you have the right answer for them.

How’s that going for you?

If you aren’t practicing your empathy as you market your way through life to accomplish what you want, I guarantee you aren’t being effective.

How to get empathy.

We all sorely lack in empathy, and yet it is the most important tool for us today. Whether you are a marketer trying to promote a service or product, or you are a human being trying to be humane, you need empathy in your DNA.

Need some empathy? (Yeah, you do. Trust me). Here are just seven ways to give it, and your humanity, a shot:

Read a story.

Break out that library card. Open your Kindle app. Dive into a fictional story. By reading a narrative, you can tap into scenarios and reactions that may not have been in your experience. Even as you project yourself into a character you read about, your empathy gets exercised as you must imagine alternate situations where you don’t get to decide the outcome.

Think in questions.

In a discussion with someone else, your natural response is to think of what you’ll say once the other person stops talking. More often than not, you’ll want to talk about yourself and your experience.

Instead, try thinking up a question to say once it’s your turn to speak. Even if you’re aching to share your own perspective, have patience. You’ll get to it eventually! First, you can make serious effort to learn more about the other person and give your listening talents a workout.

Ask, “What if it were me?”

This one is tough because it tackles that no good, very bad tendency of human beings: judgment. We do it in a split second: we judge other people for how they look, what they where, what they say, what they do (or appear to be doing), and then we do the worst thing possible: we assume.

What do we assume? That we would do better and they don’t or can’t because, well, they just aren’t you.

Instead of judging and assuming, try this on:

“Wait a second… what if that were me?”

This question will stretch your privilege and soar your sense of uncomfortable into new heights. But if you take it seriously and try to answer it, you may find that you need to learn about concepts or situations where you only have part of the picture. You may look backward, currently, and forward as you try to anticipate how you would respond when placed in another person’s story. You may even realize that there is often no one right way to proceed. Life feels quite different when you step out of your own shoes and squeeze into someone else’s.

Play decision-based video games.

Your video game console may do more for you than simply providing a temporary escape. Games can let you follow a story that alters the macro outcome based on your micro choices. I’ve played games where I tried to make all the right or “good” decisions, and then I’ve gone back to make all of the “bad” or wrong decisions. A good video game will cause other characters and certain scenes to respond differently based on what you’ve chosen.

joker-awesome-use-of-power-boss-really-social-blog
Mass Effect, my favorite decision-based video game.

Peruse reviews.

If you want a pulse on how all types of people feel about a product or service, online reviews are a gold mine. Even if the brand has a very niche customer base, the opinions each person chooses to publish give invaluable insight into where they’re coming from and why they feel a certain way.

Be afraid.

Maslow's hierarch of need | Really Social Blog
Maslow’s hierarchy of need

My hope as you read this is that you hardly ever have to feel real fear. I’m not talking about momentary anxiety (the kind you get when your card is declined at the register). Gripping fear is when you feel that something you need to survive is at risk. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they are listed as the physiological and safety needs of a human being:

Physiological (breathing, water, food, sleep, clothing, shelter, and sex)

Safety (Personal security, emotional security, financial security, Health and well-being)

When these basic needs are threatened, a human being—you, me, or someone in our circles—knows fear and will react to it in any number of ways based on who they are, where they’re from, and what they believe. Some feel this fear more often than others because they survive anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges.

Fear is within our control, however the things which catalyze our fears may not be. Neighborhoods, cities, and even countries experience violence. People pursue agendas that threaten the livelihood of others. Accidents happen.

I’d like to think that I know how I would respond if one of my physiological or safety needs are threatened… but I don’t. And even my best guess would still just be for me, and not for someone who has not lived my experiences. Thus when I hear of or see someone else responding to fear, my goal is to reach into my empathy and respect the fear of their situation.

Ah. Respect.

Yep, it’s true. Empathy walks hand in hand with respect. While one deals largely with feelings, the other is ultimately a choice. And both are crucial to treating each other humanely, which is something sorely needed today.

As much as each of us enjoys feeling right, where does that get us if we never tap into what others experience? By practicing and perfecting empathy, you will be a smarter and stronger person than you were before. More importantly, you will be key to creating connections rather than building walls.


What are ways you practice and perfect your empathy? Comment below!

5 Feelings to Give Your Audience in 2017

Goodbye, 2016!

We’ve reached the end of another year, and it was a doozy.  From the good (the return of The X-Files to television and the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50) to the less-good (a roller-coaster presidential election and the Zika virus), we had it all and are about to move on.

For brands, you’re in planning mode for a new year. While you muscle through your future, your customers face their own challenges for 2017. How can you reach out your hand, take theirs, and step into the next year together?

Feelings. You can’t stop them!

Your year may have sucked. It might have gone rough for your customers, too. Here are 5 feelings, for you and your audience, going into the next year:

Hope

“A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” 

Do you tend to feel that hope carries with it a sense of optimism? You’re not alone. Hope is often used in the context of a good outcome… We “hope for the best.” The very first Star Wars movie was titled, “A New Hope,” which contextually suggested good changes were on the two-sun horizon. Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

A new year is an opportunity to improve. Whether your customers hope to increase their value in their career (through promotions, education, or influence), to gain ground with personal goals (like weight loss or skills), or to make strides in personal and professional relationships, their next year can look brighter than the last one.

Your social media approach can help them get there! By offering seasonal specials or posting positive ideas, you give your audience feelings which can support them through the growth they wish to accomplish. Make sure to incorporate a tone of hope in your digital marketing messages and offerings.

Peace

“Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.”

As much as we hope for the future, we each live in a reality which doesn’t always go as planned. Those times are when your audience most needs peace—mental and practical readiness in the face of the unknown. It’s just smart adulting! Not only that, but Google Trends shows that the keyword search “peace of mind” has steadily grown each year:

You can help your customers approach 2017 with peace of mind by alerting them to new trends, best practices, and hacks they can use for their own success. As the personal expert of your industry for your customers, provide them with helpful insights and insider strategies (just enough to remind them of your overall value) which they’ll use and share with their own circles. Don’t forget to present complex ideas through infographics or how-to videos!

Joy

“A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”

Joy is one of the 5 feelings to bring to your customers for 2017 | Really Social Blog
Let there be joy!

If you’re any kind of smart branding person, giving joy is already your goal for your customers. When your product or service solves a problem, you create harmony where there was once discord. By relieving a pain point, you instead bring pleasure and peace of mind. You know how loudly a disappointed customer can rant about a complaint; a happy fan will rave about you to their friends and family.

Bringing joy to your fans, whether through excellent products or stellar service, happens when you start with that tried-and-true mantra, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” How would your customer service rep like to be treated? What sales methods work best for your top sales personnel? Which messages resonate the most with your own marketing staff?

Once your team remembers how joy feels when they receive it from a brand, they can in turn give it to your customers. Post uplifting videos, inspiring stories, and help your audience find the funny through caption contests and festive memes.

Love

“An intense feeling of deep affection.”

Bring the feeling of love to your customers. | Really Social Blog
Three words which live on in infamy.

Everyone has one: a moment in entertainment which depicts a love scene that simply makes you swoon. When Tom Cruise spoke those three unique words in Jerry Maguire, viewers collectively sighed and/or cried with emotion. This may not be your specific moment, but right now you’re thinking of the one which gets you every time.

The fact is, your customers do complete you. You didn’t create your brand to go nowhere and impact no one. Someone is meant to make use of what you provide, and that kind of relationship fosters deeper feelings than a simple money transaction. The fans who love you, and who feel loved by you, will let that feeling repeatedly lead them back for more.

Share the love with your fans by listening to their opinions, solving the pain points they share with you, and being selfless at key moments in their experience. A small gesture by you can make a huge difference to a customer, and you won’t know until you give it a try.

Promise

“A declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen.”

Keep your promise to your customers. | Really Social Blog
Be the Luke Cage of your industry.

You’ve arrived at the ultimate foundation for a great relationship with your customers going into a new year. You can give them all of the hope, peace, joy, and love in the hearts of your team, but unless you can assure them of your dependability and quality, the whole dynamic falls apart. Your audience wants—needs—your promise that you’ll be there for them.

You can make and keep promises to your customers by offering stellar start-to-finish customer service (from that first complaint to the final solution), providing protections and long-term warranties or support, and keeping impeccable customer notes so each contact with your brand isn’t the same old scramble we all hate when customer service can’t remember who we are. Do what it takes to keep the promises you make to your customers from that first touchpoint.

How do you feel about 2017?

Just days remain until we have to start writing a 7 instead of a 6… are you all set? Really Social is getting ready for the new year by offering a slew of training/consultation packages to help you and your customers have a fabulous 12 months ahead.

Click for the New Year

WEBINAR: Learn to Use Facebook Live

If you haven’t yet used Facebook Live, isn’t it time to get started?

Brands are having a tougher time today getting their Facebook Page posts seen. Facebook Live is an effective workaround to achieve better results for your business.
Eventbrite - Learn Facebook Live for Marketing

Facebook Live video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts.

Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day.

People spend 3x longer watching video which is Live compared to video which is no longer Live.

Source: Social Media Today

Facebook Live is a reality in today’s marketing. More than that, Facebook Live has undeniable reach and impact far beyond other types of Facebook posts.

If your brand, personal or organizational, is on Facebook, you need to learn how to use Facebook Live.

 

Register today for the Really Social Training via Webinar:

Learn to Use Facebook Live

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 7:00-8:30pm

Hosted by WebEx

Eventbrite - Learn Facebook Live for Marketing

How to Use Instagram Analytics & Stories

Instagram isn’t just for foodies vying to get just the right angle on their plate while you wait with a hovering fork. While your friend ‘grams their way to fame, you can be checking your followers and sharing a story of frustration. Start today once you watch our latest episode of Laugh & Learn.

Instagram for Business:

Analytics and Stories

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to connect your Instagram Account to your Facebook Page (using Facebook Settings);
  • How to see and decipher your Instagram Analytics; and
  • How to view, engage with, and create Instagram Stories for your brand.

How are you using Instagram for Business? Let us know in the comments below… you may inspire someone in their own marketing strategy!

Facebook Marketing Training

Marketing on Facebook is everyone’s goal today, and Really Social Training can help bring you to the next level!

Positively Funded serves non-profit businesses through a variety of resources, and now they are bringing in Really Social to provide Facebook Marketing training.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use Facebook Insights to create your posts.
  • How to boost a Facebook post.
  • How to create a Facebook Ad Campaign.
  • How to use Power Editor and Facebook Business Manager.

For more information, please contact Barbara at Positively Funded.

What’s Your Lens Flare? Create Consistency on Snapchat

JJ Abrams is known for many things, but one legacy follows him into each new project: the lens flare.

WAIT, before you go watch The Force Awakens for the 14th time, let’s examine why JJ’s lens flare is important here.

Create Your Consistency on Snapchat

While I certainly do not suggest incorporating lens flares into your video and image efforts (unless they would really add to the overall result), JJ’s use of them has a valuable takeaway for all of us.

When you are consistent in any medium, you generate a few valuable characteristics for your audience:

  • Credibility. Your audience will see you as an authority on whatever topic you wish to share because you share it every day (or at least very regularly).
  • Reliability. Whatever else happens in the world, your “lens flare” – wherever you share it – forms a foundation for your audience. That may seem sappy, but it’s amazingly true.
  • Relevance. Sure, you could just share content that’s completely off the cuff, and that often works great for organic reaction. But by putting in effort to provide a consistent presence or element to your audience, you show them they are important enough for your time & creativity.

Examples of Lens Flare on Snapchat

The best Snapchat Stories, in my opinion, create an expectation of content. I’ll give you a few examples which keep me coming back for more (scan their codes to see what I mean!):

Each day, CammySutra takes us on a walk through the streets of Glasgow, Scotland on his quest to find street musicians.

Snapcode for Cammy Sutra: cammysutra6 | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: cammysutra6

Sandra Centorino creates a new challenge for her Snap friends each week called #PSS: Pay-It-Say-It-Forward.

Snapcode for Sandra Centorino: sayitforward | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: sayitforward

The first Snap for Rachel’s Itsasnaptv each morning is seeing her handwrite the date on her writing pad.

Snapcode for Rachel: itsasnaptv | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: itsasnaptv

Joel Comm has added his #10FastSnaps segment to each day where one-second Snaps guide you through a specific place.

Snapcode for Joel Comm: joelcomm |Really Social Blog
Snapcode: joelcomm

And possibly my favorite is JoeWilsonTV ushering each day with a song accompanying his cat, Mike, with the fast-forward filter applied.

Snapcode for JoeWilsonTV: joewilsontv | Really Social Blog
Snapcode: joewilsontv

How do you find your lens flare?

This might be a very organic or a very planned undertaking, but I’d start with your regular day.

  • Is there something you do just about every day anyway?
  • When are you most thoughtful or creative? Can you translate that into content?
  • What is a moment or phase of the day which truly reflects your personality?

Once you think you’ve struck upon an idea, your next question is: how can I use the app (e.g. Snapchat) to present this to my audience regularly? You may or may not want to add a hashtag title to your new segment, though presenting it consistently may allow it to stand on its own.

If you have more insights about how you arrived at our own lens flare, please share it below! Let’s help everyone find what works to keep their audiences engaged.

OK, now you can go watch The Force Awakens. Enjoy the lens flares! OH, and don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat:

Really Social & Rachel Moore on Snapchat (Snapcode)
Snapcode: rachelreallysoc

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Live Events

Your live events are fabulous, but you need to get people in the door. Using social media should be a huge component of your event strategy.

Join us live or watch below to gain crucial insights into event promotion using social media. Got a question you want answered during the show? Post it in the comments below, or – better yet – join us live on Blab!

Rachel can be a guest for your event, too! Click here to get the details started.

What’s Happening in Social Media?

You don’t have time to stay updated on how social media changes each day?

No problem. We’ve got you covered.

Watch the Blab live or the replay below, or—better yet—click here to join us live. We crowdsource the knowledge so everyone walks away with the latest updates, trends, and tactics.

What would you like us to cover in this episode? Comment below.