Like it or not, social media is an essential function in most businesses these days. You could be a wildly successful and well-marketed company and not find your name on TV commercials, billboards or in the newspaper. Not only is it the new trend of marketing, but people spend more time staring at social media than they stare at just about anything else. While a billboard might get 10 seconds of attention at a maximum, Facebook or Instagram get hours a day.
It makes sense that you need to adapt to this relatively new reality and use it to your advantage because, realistically, there are a whole lot of advantages here.
The biggest pointer I could give would be to “consistently engage with small content.” I don’t know how many times I’ve directed and pushed out a relatively expensive and quality video, just to have it simply posted and immediately forgotten by my client’s audience—garnering less than a dozen likes and zero shares. You can’t treat your social media content in the way you would treat a television commercial.
Instead, you have to find the most interesting facets of your company and show them on a daily basis. For example, let’s say we’re advertising a tutoring business. Many people would imagine a commercial showing what they do and all the great deals they can offer over competitive tutoring businesses—nobody will watch this, since it likely needs to be longer than ten seconds. Your audience is going to blast past it on their Facebook feed. Many people might also imagine pictures showing kids getting taught by tutors, which is great, but might get old after a few days.
That’s where the word “small” in “consistently engage with small content” comes in. Here are some ideas for our fictitious tutoring company:
- Have your brand printed on a pen or pencil? Take a closeup and post it with a caption like: “XYZ Tutoring: we keep our pencils sharp and our minds sharper! #tutoring #xzytutoring #education” or something of that nature.
- Have some rewards for kids that do well? Take a picture of them individually and say something like, “Here at XYZ Tutoring we push children and recognize their achievements—in ways they appreciate! #xyztutoring #rewards #education”
- Have learning aids like blocks or fake money? Grab a closeup: “We’re always thinking outside the box. #xyztutoring”
With this particular organization, I would probably market to the parents since they’re the ones paying you. Find small stuff that won’t blow people’s minds, but makes them smile slightly and say to themselves, “Huh. That’s pretty cool,” and then press the like button.
If you’re not the type that enjoys working this daily grind on social media, have no fear! Facebook allows you to schedule posts, so you can schedule out daily posts (or even just three a week) on Monday and forget about it—though if people start commenting, responses always build rapport. There are programs like Hootsuite where you can schedule multiple platforms at a time.
“Cool, Luke. But my business isn’t exactly a prime example for ‘interesting facets’.”
I’ve heard this again and again and I’ve never found it to be true—it’s usually that the small business owner doesn’t realize what exactly is interesting about their business (ironic, right?). What might be a mundane part of your business because it’s so basic and easy for you, might be very interesting for others. I have found this to be a talent in some and a necessary skill to be developed in others. In this spirit, I challenge you to think of a business type that I couldn’t come up with compelling social media for.
Another good one here is to give tips. Own a finance business? Pest control? Musical instruments shop? Popcorn catering company? Give me a picture and tip about how to manage my finances, how to keep my pests at bay, upkeep my instruments or make delicious popcorn (ONE step per post—you could stretch the popcorn thing out through several dozen posts). You’re not giving away secret information that they would have otherwise hired you for—you’re showing them that you care and legitimately want to help them out, and you’re solidifying yourself in their minds as the go-to guy when it comes to that service. If you’re really a professional, you won’t have to worry about the lay person recreating your business based off of a few tips here and there.
The kicker? You don’t need a professional videographer or photographer for all this. Sure, maybe your profile pictures and cover photos should be done by a professional, but the consistent media can just be from your phone. Not only have phones come leaps and bounds from their low-tech predecessors, but they even help perpetuate the personal aspect that social media already capitalizes on. As cringe-worthy as selfies and happy business pictures can be, people really draw the human aspect out of them and it makes you seem more approachable.
Now get out there and start producing a ton of content! As you take pictures and little videos with your phone, you’ll start to see what works for you and what doesn’t—just don’t let up and keep at it. Consistency is key.
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press; article pictures provided by the author.