You can satisfy most people by serving up plain vanilla – doesn’t matter if we’re talking dessert or using the term to describe something that’s ho-hum. Very few people will protest against vanilla. It doesn’t rile feathers, cause riots in the streets, or inflame protests. It simply is. But it also doesn’t excite or delight people. It doesn’t arouse an emotion. It doesn’t satiate a need. It fills a space, nothing more.You will never build a beloved brand around being vanilla, by providing something everyone abides by, but no one fully enjoys from the depth of their being.
And yet, this is what countless businesses do.
They provide a vanilla experience or product in the hopes that reaching everyone is better than potentially cutting off people, and alienating them by presenting a powerful “flavor” or presence. What they don’t understand is that it’s those flavors that people crave. That’s what affects return customers and strengthens allegiances.
Not vanilla.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can reach more prospects and keep a greater number of clients/customers by sharing a little more about what makes you and your business unique.
The Most Popular Video on Facebook Ever
Remember Chewbacca mom? That corny video turned out to be the most popular video on Facebook Live EVER. In case you are the one person who didn’t watch it: a mom showcases her recent purchase – a Chewbacca mask that emits Chewbacca-like sounds every time she opens her mouth. That’s it. That’s the whole video. But what you can’t duplicate about that video is the sheer joy she expresses over her new purchase.
The video itself is just another example of an individual’s need to be in front of a camera and share something as ordinary as a store purchase, but millions of people responded to it. They were responding to her uncontainable emotion. Don’t be afraid to use genuine emotion in your posts.
The Mascots Have It
It was World Turtle Day recently. A client of mine keeps a pet turtle in the office. He’s a good turtle, as turtles go, but he’s not really the kind of pet who does a lot of tricks or entertains, but boy, can he get people excited on social media.
For World Turtle Day we photoshopped him onto a surfboard. This business usually gets under 10 likes on each post on Facebook and their reach is just under 100 for most posts. Earle the turtle earned 500+ clicks (and growing) in just two days. We’re now seriously considering featuring Earle in all sorts of interesting backgrounds.
There’s something about pets and mascots that people respond to. Place them in a funny (but not dangerous) situation and you have posting gold.
How Do These Emotion-based Posts Equate to More Customers?
If you’re like me you may be grumbling at the attention these sorts of fun, joyful posts receive while the attention your really good quality, thought-provoking posts get is minimal. Let go of that. Your fun posts and thought-provoking ones have a symbiotic relationship. Look at it this way:
Fun gets you views and engagement
Views and engagement improve your ranking in your followers’ Facebook streams, meaning they’re more likely to see your content
Without fun, no one will see the deeper pieces
But I would also caution you not to take yourself too seriously. If you find after months of producing fun and cerebral pieces, you are still seeing traction only on your fun pieces, your audience is telling you something. Listen. Give them more of what they want.
Offering “vanilla” services is a way to reach everyone but connect with no one. People won’t crave what you’re offering. They won’t tell their friends about it and they won’t get excited about what they’re experiencing. If, on the other hand, you forgo vanilla and offer up pieces of yourself, your personality, your likes, and your interests, you will make a lasting impression on your audience and delight your customers and prospects.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.


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