Dr. Michael Thiemann at Strategy-Lab™ is a bilingual Business Model Strategist, Key Note Speaker and Innovation & Agility Facilitator.
One of the most important means in our daily lives is communication. Through communication, we can relate to others in a purposeful and effective way. It serves to give and especially to receive information. The information can be goal-oriented or open-ended.
Words are a form of communication, but they always involve language barriers. Nonverbal is another form, which is also used to show emotions that significantly influence our decisions.
What should you consider in the mix of verbal and nonverbal communication? How should you use them in business, especially marketing or sales? Which method works better with your audience?
Corporate Communication Goals
Corporate communications support the relationship with customers, employees, suppliers, investors, authorities and other partners, as well as the public. It is always purpose-driven and always pursues corporate goals. Therefore, it must be planned and controlled.
In today’s world, companies are dependent on the most diverse data from their target customers or major business partners to provide them with precisely tailored solutions. For this reason, communication should be a two-way street. Ideally, a mutual exchange should be possible at all touchpoints with customers and other business partners. Particularly when dealing with customers, greater emphasis should be placed on the emotional experience. But how do you achieve your goal most effectively with communication?
Since companies pursue goals with their communication, the transported information should trigger a reaction in the recipient — a purchase, a recommendation or an official approval. However, the spoken or written word has only an indirect effect and can be understood and interpreted differently by the recipient. For this reason, nonverbal communication is of extreme importance because it is based on cognitive automatisms, the so-called heuristics and emotions that transport the intended information much faster and more effectively.
In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, behavioral scientist Daniel Kahneman points out the two different systems of thinking in humans:
The first thinking system is fast, instinctive and emotional. Here, thinking takes place instinctively. Because of deja vu, humans react with known and successfully tested reaction patterns. Our brain saves energy with this automatism, but it can sometimes lead us astray because we make mistakes through a kind of compartmentalized thinking.
The second system of thinking is slow, deliberate, logical thinking. We are anchored in this type of thinking when dealing with something new, where we cannot fall back on known routines. Here, we deal with facts, analyze, outline different solutions and decide. So in communication, you need to know and use both of your interlocutor’s thinking systems.
Communicating On Social Media For Marketing And Sales
So, what does all of this have to do with how your company communicates on social media for marketing and sales? Understanding your goals and different ways of thinking can help you when crafting your message. Let’s consider various elements of any well-crafted marketing message:
Many marketing and sales campaigns have lost their impact, especially when the message is “Buy me. I am the best.” With the increase in technology and information sharing, the attention span of customers has decreased. Particularly with regard to social media, the hook must stand out from the crowd in order to be noticed at all. In my experience, a pattern interrupt within a short two- to six-second video or GIF helps to get the attention of your audience.
But even if the hook has worked, most viewers want to see valuable content, delivered in an appealing story that helps them and in which they can find themselves. Content marketing has been the key in recent years to smoothly and skillfully building trust and visibility with the viewer. The important thing in storytelling is to address your customers’ problems and show that a tested and proven solution exists for them. Facts and testimonials should be included in the story in simple language that even children can understand. Stories speak directly to people’s emotions and allow them to more easily relate.
You should always have an offer at the end. A “buy me” button can disrupt the trust you’ve built between you and the viewer. Remember, you want to build trust and visibility with your posts, first and foremost, and engage in two-way communication with your audiences so you both get to know and appreciate each other. Trust is particularly emotional and crucial for a long-term business relationship. Therefore, design your post as a poll or invite viewers to comment on your post. In this way, you communicate with them step by step and improve trust so that the conversation may move beyond the post and eventually extend to email, phone call or even video conference.
Valuable communication is always two-way, so invite your listeners to act and respond. Use verbal and nonverbal communication to address logic and emotion. Use contextual stories in which your listener can also recognize themselves. If you can remember and practice those three tips, you’re well on your way to becoming a more successful communicator.