In social media, there is a distinct advantage for brands that are happy vs. those that are not.
Social media, it has been said can be the ultimate BS meter. You can "fake" happiness for a short period of time, but it is highly difficult to fake it in the long term. This tends to trip up companies that don't take social media seriously, don't have a social media strategy, and have a weak corporate culture. Let me explain:
For the past five years or so, I've been working with major brands on their social media strategy and execution. Ultimately the brands that don't take themselves too seriously, and have a culture of "fun" are the ones who win in social media. They don't necessary have to have a fun product however. I've worked with GEICO, and their social community is a bustling ecosystem of fun!
I believe that this is true for a few reasons:
1. In social media you can't always push content. In order to be successful, you must create content that pulls engagement. There are only so many ways you can do this and keep it centered around your business goals and objectives. So inevitably your corporate personality must shine through. What's going on around the office? What are your employees interested in? What's got them talking. If you have a strong corporate culture, then these topics will flow like a river. If everyone is at their desk looking for another job, well then you'll have a difficult time thinking of fun things to post on your Facebook page. But if you're just about to update the corporate Facebook page, and you're hyperventilating from hilarity that ensued with your colleague, then the content you post will ooze fun. I promise.
2. People can read between the lines. There's no faking enthusiasm. When a company writes content from the heart, it's easy to sense when reading the content. I see so many times when you can tell that a brand has a weak company culture. You start to see posts that only push corporate drivel, or they inevitably start like this: Check out ...whatever. When a company culture is filled with happy people you can see that they're willing to "share" content via their social places. They operate from a place void of fear. They're not driving the user to the website and only the website. They want their customers to reap benefits from following them in social media. So they figure out what the audience wants, or is interested in, and they share that type of content. This type of interaction feeds into itself, creating a fun environment in the social space, and ensuring full engagement. You can tell the companies that do this, you start to hear language that indicates true happiness. They lack bombast and are easy to give thanks and praise to other companies, and other individuals.
3. Angry employees make for awkward customer service interactions. I worked extensively with retailer Littlemissmatched. They're a fun, wonderful brand with a really cool corporate culture. It's baked into everything they do and it permeates all of their content. But sometimes there are serious customer service inquires on their Facebook page. Their customer service team is amazing. Really. When they interact with customers you can feel their joy in helping. So when I would interact with customers on their Facebook page, I became an extension of this joy. I felt it, the customers felt it. It was an impressive dance. Joyful customer service, who knew?
At any given time I can be reading, or listening to the audio-book for up to three books, which is the number of books I'm currently in the midst of digesting. Yesterday I started a new audio-book called "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Anchor, which helped to inspire this post. I was familiar with Shawn because of this amazing TED talk . But I was convinced to buy his book by a dynamic speaker I met last week by the name of Dennis Budinich. During Dennis's speech he held up Shawn's book and told the audience that they NEED to read it. I was sold. And I'm thrilled Dennis shared the book because after listening to the audio-book for only a short time, I'm bursting with ideas. Shawn discusses his years of studying and working at Harvard, and the compelling work that he's done regarding happiness. I won't get into the details of the book here, I can only encourage you to purchase it and read it on your own. Have a wonderful day!