Time is of the essence. It might be a cliché, but it’s legit. People seem to be busier than ever nowadays (are you getting procrastination guilt just reading this article?!) and even though they say “you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé,” it’s bullshit. She has a full team of people to manage her schedule, pick out her outfits, set her stage and hand her a peach iced tea after her performance. All she has to do is show up and look good – but her fans adore her.
I guess the Beyoncé theory can be applied to business – but how does it affect how people interact with what you’re saying or selling?
There was a time when people simply cared that you were there – they needed something and you had it, so they bought it. They wanted the latest outfit Beyoncé wore on the red carpet just because it was her that was wearing it, so they bought it.
Then there was a time when people cared about why it was that you were there – what your purpose was, the added-value of what you were offering, how you were helping the world to be that little bit brighter with you in it. They wanted to adopt a turtle in the Galapagos because Beyoncé was the ambassador of their new environmental campaign, so they donated money to the cause and felt a little better about their life whilst still following in the footsteps of their idol.
But is the pendulum swinging back to those simpler days of wanting something just because…?
I think it’s a mixture of both – and that’s where straight talking comes in.
It’s no secret that social media platforms are prioritising authentic content, pushing the genuine messages out to a wider audience. Crucially, they’re also prioritising meaningful content – less frequent but weightier messages that your audience will care about. So, the sweet spot is getting to the heart of what you’re all about succinctly, but with lasting impact that makes people stop scrolling and pay attention.
It doesn’t mean to say that you can’t have personality in your language or your posts, but it also means that not everything has to be completely polished and shiny before you announce it to the world. Be real, be genuine, be interesting.
Take up-and-coming South West rock band Mother Vulture, for example. They wanted to tell their fans that they were releasing a new single and this is how their teaser post went…
“RIGHT YOU ABSOLUTE BUNCH OF NINCOMPOOPS.
IT’S NEW SINGLE TIME. ‘Tell Me’ – Music video out this Friday.
Tell your friends. We’re going to take over the world, starting with your face.”
From the off, I’m interested; something’s about to happen that I know I’m going to like (yes, that’s me admitting that I’m a nincompoop). Then they drop the news – NEW SINGLE TIME. Hell yeah, I’m here for that. I’ve set a reminder to listen out for the new tune on Friday.
Then they tell you to let your friends know – cue the hundreds of tags and fire emojis on Instagram – and then the lightening bolt of personality on the end (coincidentally, I’m travelling out of county to go and watch them at a show this weekend, so what they’re saying is totally working on me).
That’s all in about 30 words, which takes around 12 seconds to read on average. They’ve interrupted my timeline and forced me to not only pay attention to what they’re saying but also to interact with what they’re posting.
Forcing someone to stop scrolling is the key here, so here are a few things to bear in mind when you’re trying to interrupt someone’s timeline;
- Know your audience. Who are you talking to, what do you want them to think or feel and, most importantly, why should they do what you want them to?
- Keep it short and to the point. If someone has to click to ‘See More,’ it’s just another barrier. If you do end up dropping below that line, keep all the crucial information at the beginning to give your reader a snapshot overview.
- Combining words with visuals is powerful, so always use an image or film to back up what you’re saying.
- Don’t forget your personality – that’s what makes you you, after all.
So when you’re getting to the heart of it, have a think about what exactly you want the world to know and, most importantly, why it should care – all in around 30 words or less.