Have you ever cringed about posting updates of your work online? I have and I’m sure you’ve felt this at some point too. My Whatsapp is always private and it’s mostly for personal contact. But some people go that extra mile to make their business as highly visible as possible.
I know it’s not just me and we’ve all drawn that invisible line that separates our personal persona from our professional one. Our Instagram accounts are protected so that we share certain moments of our lives with only our friends and family. There are those accounts that we use to build our professional network. Therefore, we choose these accounts very carefully depending on who’s watching us and what they need to know about us. As a social media professional, I’ve always believed in drawing this line and for good reasons.
But how does one decide where to draw this line? I drew inspiration from a fruit seller in India when I saw a friend’s post about him on Instagram.
Yes, his Whatsapp status is a picture of the products he sells. In digital marketing, we always talk about how you need to be where your prospects are and be there for them when they need you. This fruit vendor has not just done that, but has also found a way to create desire for his products by showcasing them through a medium. Whether or not they buy from him, he’s done what content marketers around the world are trying to achieve. To get people to talk about his story and amplify it with fondness.
If I had to put this inspiration in perspective, I would sum it up with the 3 things I learnt from this example:
1. Occam’s Razor:
Occam’s Razor is an idea developed by the English theologian and philosopher William of Ockham. It states that the simplest explanation is the best explanation. If you’re interested, read this article by Margaret Rouse which will tell you more about Occam’s Razor.
This fruit seller didn’t have to hire a professional photographer or graphic designer to get his content created. He focused on what he could do best with what he had. I learnt that cutting out unnecessary detail helps you convey your message faster and with more clarity.
“What can be done with fewer is done in vain with more” – William of Ockham.
You must be thinking, ‘why all this fuss about a fruit seller and his whatsapp status’? There’s a paradigm shift in the way businesses are reaching out to their prospects. It’s the need of the hour to go digital and this guy has nailed it. If he’s done it, why haven’t you?
He’s taken a leap of faith towards digital marketing while established businesses are still wondering how social media can help them. His one status update didn’t interrupt anybody’s daily lives, nor did it cost him any extra money. Whoever saw it would remember him as a fruit vendor and maybe come to see when he posted another update or try to know more. I realized that as a business, he’s achieved digital transformation seamlessly and without consciously being aware of it.
According to this MIT Sloan Management Review article, digital transformation in customer experience is a complex process that includes the following 3 factors:
a) Customer Understanding – Companies are spending more and more on social media tools to understand what makes customers happy. My friend’s fruit guy probably knows that if he keeps updating his status on Whatsapp regularly with a different picture each day, he’ll understand which fruit is liked by his prospects. Over a period of time, he’d gather data that would help him understand when to post a status update about which fruit and how he can stock his perishable inventory.
b) Top Line Growth – Brands are using more technology to educate their prospects before they’re ready to buy. This improves in-person sales conversations. Just the way this fruit seller used technology to start a conversation with people interested in buying fruit via Whatsapp.
c) Customer Touch Points – Enabling ease of access to customers with a tool they’re comfortable using. Be where your customers come to spend most of their time. Our fruit seller has done this so effortlessly. He knows that fruit is consumed by everybody (whether you’re a vegan or a meat lover) and these people spend most of their time on Whatsapp.
3. Cross That Line:
I learnt very simply that we’re trying really hard to keep our work separate from our personal lives and that’s not helping us in either. We’re setting ourselves this rigid system which makes our personal network a little distant from our professional one. This is the perfect recipe for monotony.
What you share with your personal circle stays within your personal circle because that’s what your ‘clan/herd/group’ is interested in talking about and the same goes for your work network as well. But from time to time, a tiny drop of orange in that green basket (and vice-versa) can stir up something exciting and can open new avenues for your business. Just how my friend never expected to see her fruit vendor marketing his products through a Whatsapp status and how I never expected that I’d find inspiration to write an article on social media marketing through my personal profile which I thought was only meant for personal exchanges. I want to thank Phalguni for letting me use this example in my article.
Digital marketing is here to stay and if an average fruit seller in India can adopt this way of creating more opportunities, I don’t see why we shouldn’t.
If you’ve been thinking of making the shift to digital marketing for your business or brand and haven’t made the move yet, here are 3 things I advise you to do right now:
- Keep It Simple – Don’t get bogged down by the pressure of investing more when you don’t have to in order to create the things that you don’t need for your marketing.
- Educate Your Customers – Half the sale is done when your customers know who you are, what you’re known for, what your product or service is and how it can solve their problem. Do this through social media platforms where they come to hang out.
- Don’t Be Shy – Don’t hesitate to show your personal network a glimpse of your professional life. You never know where great opportunities may arise. Go ahead, do it now.
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Imaad Khan is the Chief Inbound Strategist at AI Digital. He has multiple graduate level qualifications in Digital Marketing and over 12 years of hands on entrepreneurial experience in Dubai. His passion is to create meaningful, effective and result oriented marketing campaigns for businesses. You will occasionally find him on online forums discussing weight gain without visiting the gym. You can connect with Imaad on Twitter.