Because it’s your business, it’s natural to see the drama surrounding what you do from your perspective — as if your business is the star of the show.
It’s natural, but it’s also a huge mistake.
You are NOT Cinderella. You’re the fairy godmother.
You’re not even in the picture for most of the film, except when your customer desperately needs you. Then you swoop in, save the day, and exit stage left.
That means your business will never be so loved as in that one magic moment, immediately after you’ve saved the day.
That’s the Bippity-Boppity-Boo moment.
And unfortunately, you’re probably letting that moment slip by unrecorded, un-leveraged, wasted.
Here’s what you should be doing instead:
- Recording a testimonial (along with permission to use it)
- Getting a picture of the happy client with the finished product or service
- Getting before and after photos
- Posting the testimonial and/or photos to Social Media, with the client tagged in them.
And that last item is especially important for what I typically call “unsexy” businesses attempting to use Social Media.
Sexy businesses are the kind that touch on customers’ passions and addictions: fashion, food, drink, sports, hobbies, etc.
People want to talk about wine and chocolate and skiing and gourmet cooking even when they’re not in urgent need of them.
Unsexy businesses are typically about lights and pipes and maintenance and cleaning.
The Social Media mistake for unsexy businesses is to try to “engage” people in the fascinating world of transmission repair, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, etc. They want to pull people into their social media circle and then tell them stories where the business is the star attraction.
It almost never works because your business isn’t Cinderella and unsexy businesses have no star attraction (aka, sex appeal).
Remember, the customer is the star; you’re the fairy godmother. So co-opt your customers’ social circles by making the story about the customer during the business’s Bippity-Boppity-Boo moment.
People don’t care to read or hear about unsexy businesses, but they DO care about their friends.
When you make their friends the star, that creates interest, lets you showcase your fairy godmother powers, and harnesses the power of social proof at the same time.
If your customer’s Social Media friends are exposed to enough of this, they’ll come to think of you first and feel the best about you when they need those same services.
When you hog the spotlight, you lose. When you make the customer the star, and own your roll as the fairy godmother, everyone wins.
You have at least one late night host that you probably feel as if you “know,” even if you’ve never met them.
The time you spend listening to that person’s voice as they interview others, tell jokes, and discuss their thoughts makes them feel as familiar and comfortable to you as a friend.
And it’s not just you; it’s all of us — we all have this one-sided relationship with at least some celebrities.
Psychologists even have a term for it: Parasocial Interaction. And if you really want to understand it, and how it’s important to business, watch this video:
For the record, no, I’m not recommending you adopt a Kardashion-esque strategy for influencing your customers.
I am suggesting that being your company’s spokesperson in your ads, and having people hear your voice on the radio or tv, multiple times per week, week after week, and year after year, will develop an effective amount of parasocial influence.
People will come to feel as if they know you, and have a good sense of what it would be like to buy from you.
That means they’ll be more comfortable doing business with you than anybody else.
And over time, that can add up to a lot of money.
But only if you’re on the air doing something other than incessantly pitching the customer, or (even worse) screaming “sale, sale, sale!”
If you do that, they might still feel as if they know you — they’ll just want to avoid you.
Turns out the Radio Mercury Awards created a pretty cool video no this very topic:
Yup, Theatre of the Mind: because you can’t sell “the sizzle” without sound effects.
Radio people talk about theatre of the mind a lot. And they should!
It would be better if they used the strategy as much as they talk about it, but it’s an important concept nonetheless.
Here’s the late, great Stan Freberg’s explanation:
And if you’re interested, compare these two scenes, one as a radio drama, the other as a Hollywood production and tell me which engages you more fully:
But is theater of the mind limited to radio?
Here’s a current print ad campaign making excellent use of Theatre of the Mind:
And since this campaign came straight out of Mad Men, I’ll let Don Draper explain it:
Got any Theatre of the Mind in your ads?