Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I'm rather fond of posting odd images that at first glance might appear to be completely off the wall, and nothing to do with my business.
The fact that the images are odd can often encourage people to take a closer look. Let's face it, there are only so many photos of showers, ovens and cars I can post before even I get bored with them, never mind the viewer. So having caught their attention, the next thing needed is to create an association between the image and the brand or service.
Taking old Albert here, as I fondly call him, the oddity is the cat nestling in his beard. The immediate thought I had when I first saw the image was why? Surely it's not normal for anyone, apart from a very eccentric old fellow like Albert, to have one nestling in their beard? It actually put me in mind of the Roald Dahl story, The Twits, where Mr Twit's beard had bits of cheese, tinned sardines and cornflakes in it. My kids loved that story, but I'm wandering off topic now.
So how could I relate this to my services? Taking the idea that this cat should not be there in Albert's beard, I thought about things that should not be there in other situations. Showers are one of my main markets, and I operate in a hard water area, so many of my potential customers have a perennial battle with limescale.
So now I've created a potential connection between two things that are, shall we say, unwanted. So how to distil that into a tweet of less than 120 characters (allowing for the image) is the next challenge. One example I came up with was to equate the cat in the beard to limescale in the shower…neither should be there. To reinforce the connection, I then asked why would you put up with one if not the other.
Once you have a suitably eye catching image, then the opportunities to make connections between various aspects of the service open up. Examples for me could be the reduction in time, the sparkling finish, the clear view, etc, etc.
The evidence that social media posts with images attract more engagement is pretty clear, but that presents its own challenge: as more and more people jump on the bandwagon, it becomes ever harder to stand out.
My business is very much locally based, and as such I do try to connect as much off-line as on-line with my potential market. The images are always a good icebreaker when I attend networking events, and I was quite taken aback, but very thrilled, to be named member of the quarter at last week's Solihull Tweetup. This was largely on the back of my "weird" images that I post on #solihullhour every Tuesday evening.
Much as I love the image of old Albert and his cat, I knew my luck was in when the story broke of the amateur photographer who snapped a weasel riding on a green woodpecker. I was able to recreate the line "limescale in a shower shouldn't be there" – but saying it's "like a weasel on a woodpecker" has an even better ring to it, don't you think?
If you don't already follow me on Twitter (and if not, WHY NOT?), you might like to have a look for other examples of the technique.