If you’re a small or medium-sized business, chances are you run on a lean budget. You don’t have a giant creative team at your disposal. Maybe you’re outsourcing the marketing portion of the business, paying for a few professionally designed graphics, brochures and ads that will carry you through the year. And if you’re just starting out, you might be handling marketing all by yourself, in between everything else. The thing is, marketing is a science and an art that takes a lot of energy. It’s how you appeal to the heads and hearts of customers…and it’s about reaching as many heads and hearts as you can.
The pleasure (and pressure) of Social Media
Since reach is so important, the marketing juggling act includes having a presence on social media. It’s not really a choice. Your customers live there. They expect you to be there, and you need to be. It’s a place where you can remark about events and be relevant; human, seasonal, and in touch. You can have conversations with customers (and potential new ones) daily, weekly, locally, nationwide, and across the globe for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
It’s also a place where the traditional marketing materials you’ve got don’t really work. And that’s where the pressure comes in. Now let’s return to the word ‘presence.’ Three or four posts per month is a start; but to get real value out of social media, you need to be there, every day, with content. Pressure. It stems from two factors: you need different content, and a lot of it.
So how do you come up with something new every day? These suggestions will help you build a strategy & create a bank of content that’s ready-to-go for daily use.
Break it down.
Take a look at what you’ve already got going on. Go through your sales materials, your website, brochures, eBooks, and anything else you’ve already invested in. Extract the best parts. A single quote from an eBook, or statistic from a brochure is a single-serving that’s perfect for social media. This approach helps you create a lot of content, fast; and small portions compliment your sales process by planting “seeds.” Rather than pages and pages of text or an overwhelming sales pitch all at once, short, visual bites of info over time tell the same story.
Use pictures & tell stories.
Take pictures of your products and services, and show them off in ways that you can’t on your website. If you own a restaurant or boutique, or you’re a specialty retailer, it’s easy to snap a picture of something new every day. Get customers involved by asking for pics of them enjoying your products; and reward the best submissions.
If you sell services rather than products, or taking your own pics isn’t an option, try using images to tell a story about your brand. As Managed IT Service providers, we use this approach on our own social media channels; and it differentiates us from competitors who post pictures of computer hardware day in and out. Instead, we visually focus on the benefits of Managed IT Services. Visit any of our social channels (IG, G+, FB, LinkedIn, Pinterest) to check out how we do it.
Use social media as a training tool. If you sell products that require support, identify frequently asked questions, break them down, and turn it into a series for social media. This is a fun way to transform your fine print, how-to-guides, and technical manuals into something much easier to digest. Your customers will appreciate simplified information and that you’re providing support in new, efficient ways.
Easier said than done, right? There’s really two goals on social media: nurturing your existing followers and attracting new ones. Your existing followers are already fans, and you want to keep it that way by consistently holding their interest. To attract new followers, try posting lifestyle info that’s relevant to your target audience (new followers) and compliments your brand (for your existing fans). For example, if you sell gourmet smoothies, and you’re targeting foodies and healthy, active millennials, try posting information about the health benefits of the ingredients you use, including nutritional info. If a segment of your customers care deeply about the planet, include information about how ingredients are grown & sourced.
Get your team involved.
Ask your team to take pictures at work and in the communities that you serve. Showcase how you do business, where you do business, and who’s on your all-star team. Social media is the perfect platform to show off the human side of your business – which isn’t always sleek and branded.