Bricks-To-Clicks® Marketing Podcast

Social Media Mistake #2

Episode Number





Dr. Barnes shares the second social media mistake that many business leaders often make. When business leaders make this mistake, trust cannot be built between a brand or business and its social media followers. Dr. Barnes explains how business leaders can avoid this mistake and instead build trust so social media followers engage with a brand or business. This episode is based on Dr. Barnes' book "5 Social Media Mistakes Your Business Should Avoid." 


Welcome to the Bricks 2 Clicks Marketing podcast. If you're a small business owner and you struggle to market your business, this podcast is just for you. I'm your host, James Barnes. And thank you for listening today.

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the podcast. In season one, we're talking about five social media mistakes your business should avoid. It's based on a book I wrote, it's on Amazon and Kindle, and I just want to carve out a little bit more content about this second mistake, mistake number two, that so many companies make in their social media marketing. And here it is: they don't use enough empathy. Empathy tells your customer that you understand the problem that they have and expressed in a way that's genuine. And remember, we were talking about it in the last episode, we talked about problem and loss and how we need to be talking to our customers about the problem they have and the losses they'll continue to experience if they don't solve the problem. And that helps us also then pivot to saying, "We understand it; we get it."

And that is empathy. That's the basic foundation for starting to connect with your customer. You understand the problem and loss. Now you're in a position where you can express empathy, and this is not a place where you fake it. You really do need to have genuine empathy. You really understand that the problem that your customers have, you've experienced their problem. You've made a business out of helping people get out of that problem and find solutions, which is what you sell. And so you want to be genuine, but you want to be using empathy.

And I want to go back to my example from the last episode about the billboard. As I was driving down the road many years ago in Louisiana, I saw a billboard, one of the best ads I've ever seen to date. And at the top of it just said, "Gambling problem?" And then it said, "You could lose this." And then next to that statement, it had a silhouette of a family. So it captured the whole idea of problem-loss very, very quickly. And remember, the problem is the hook and the loss makes us feel, look, I'm going to have to do something about this. I don't want to experience loss. There's a great deal of behavioral economics that support that whole idea of how we act to avoid losses. And I'm not going to go into all the stuff here about that, but problem and loss are there in that billboard. And the next statement is one of the most powerful things they said, and it was really simple. And it simply said underneath, "We can help." That may sound really overly simplistic. "All right, that's it, James? That's all they said?" Yeah. That's enough.

When you tell your customers you understand the problem they have, you understand the losses they're going to experience or have been experiencing, and that you understand it and we can help, it's just therapy. I mean, it really is. I mean, think back in your life, when you had someone to listen to you, and maybe it wasn't a therapist, just a good friend who was a good listener. And he said, "Look, I'm struggling with this." And your friend said, "Okay, tell me about it." And you just unloaded and you got all that out. They listened and they said, "Man, that's a really tough thing you're going through. I get it. I can see why you'd be struggling." That's the kind of stuff that you want to be doing with your customers. You want to be empathizing with the problem they have.

And it doesn't matter what kind of business. If you have a plumbing business, a cleaning business, an automotive repair shop, if you have a coffee business, it does not matter. If you're a consultant, a life coach, it doesn't matter. You being empathetic to the problem your customers have is going to help you get attention because they really will trust and believe that you understand their problem and can help them solve it. And at the end of the day, that's what you want to be positioning your business. Whether personal brand or business, you want to be positioned as a helpful business; a helpful brand. And the way you do that is you understand the problem and loss your customers are going through. And you start empathizing with that problem, those pains, whatever it may be, of the feelings they have. Last time, I gave you an exercise to go through and identify the problem that you solve for your customers.

And remember, it was like, you could do it in Excel or you do it on a piece of paper. In one column, you had "Problem." And I said, just simply fill out, "We help people," what? Fill in the blank. And then the next column was "Loss." Maybe people are losing time, money, health, whatever. And then the next one was "Feelings." What are the feelings they're having when they lose money? Well, they may feel overwhelmed, not knowing how to stop that. If they're losing time, they might be frustrated, maybe even depressed. I mean, it could be really bad. So the next piece of this exercise is to start thinking about statements of empathy you can use to get connected to your customers so they understand that you get it. You understand the problem they have.

And empathy is the fastest credible way to get connected with people, where you're really genuine. Don't do it to manipulate. Don't fake it till you make it. You got to be genuine about it. People can smell whether or not you're being sincere. So that billboard example, "Gambling problem? You could lose this," silhouette of the family. And then underneath it said, "We can help," in really bold letters; big, bold letters. And then think about statements like... If you were at... This was actually a rehab facility that had this billboard that I'm talking about. Think about the statements of empathy they could use on their social media or a website or on their email marketing. It could be a lot of places. It could be their one-liner. It could be a lot of things. But just think about statements of empathy from that perspective, just for their company for just a minute.

And here are a few I came up with that... Some of this is in the book. And then I dig into a case study and show how this company uses empathy to connect with their customers and how well they've done. But I mean, here's just a few. If you were writing for this rehab facility, you could say statements like this for like an email or social media: "It must be difficult to stop the gambling problem you have on your own." And then you could say something like, "But you're not alone. We can help." Just opening up that statement for someone to see and feel and hear probably is helpful. The other one you could do is you could say, and it's a little heavier, "We understand how devastating your gambling problem can be. We're here to help you and your family recover." So now it's broader than that.

Now you're empathizing with the fact that it's not just you who has the problem, but it's also affecting your family. So that could be good too. "Trying to recover from a gambling problem can be overwhelming if you do it alone. Now you don't have to. We can help." That's another one. That's another one they could use. Maybe here's one of the last ones I'll give you: "We understand how you feel and many of our patients feel exactly like you do right now. We're here to help." They could be feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, a lot of things if they're in that position. Here's the last one. I'll give you the last one: "You've taken a huge step today to get help and you should feel very good about that. Let's get started." You can start to even call them to have this sort of aspirational identity of not having the problem anymore.

Look, you're going to take the first step today and you're going to get better and here's how you're going to do it, and let's get started. So it's really a positive, encouraging way to give some sort of empathy to your customer who has a problem. In this case, someone has a gambling problem. Now, there's just tons of research on this in marketing research about the usefulness and the way that empathy helps you position your business as being helpful to people. At the end of the day, I mean, you have a product, you have a service, that helps some type of customer solve a problem they have. You help them save time, money, whatever it may be. So what a great way to position your business to be helpful; and that is to use empathy.

And so oftentimes companies don't. They jump in there, maybe they get the problem right. Maybe they talk about that a little bit. They throw quickly out what their solution is, but there's no empathy. And so customers don't really know if you get it. They don't really know if you fully understand the problem that they have. And when they don't know that, they're not sure how you can help them with it. They don't even trust you, maybe. So empathy is a big part of starting to build trust with your customers, or at least followers on social media. At this point, maybe they're not customers, but they're just following you on social media. Starting to connect with them like that in a genuine, authentic way is a great first step. So, we first talked about problem-loss. Now we're talking about empathy, how to use that in your collateral, giving you a few examples of that, how you can start to use it in your marketing.

It can help you in your social media, your email, your website, even... Use empathy. It's one of the best things that you can do, and to sincerely understand the problem your customers have. And make sure you really do understand the problem. Now, make sure you've gone through it. You've helped other people through it. Something. That you do have genuine empathy because people are going to find out if you don't. You're not going to be able to fake it and make it. So don't try that. But that's it.

That's it for this episode. I wanted to talk about empathy. You need to be using it in your marketing and collateral. It's a big part of building trust. That's it for this episode. In the next episode, we're going to talk about mistake number three, and it's one called, not using your secret weapon. Next episode, I'm going to tell you all about that mistake and how you can avoid it, and how you can connect with people better on social media to market and grow your business. That's what we're going to cover in the next episode. I hope you'll be with me.

Thanks always for listening to the Bricks to Clicks Marketing podcast, where we help you market your business without feeling overwhelmed. You can get the downloads and show notes and much, much more for all the episodes for the podcast just by going to our Facebook page. Just search for Bricks to Clicks Marketing. See you again next week.