We all want to support local, but often end up spending our money at the big brand, national companies. Why?
They present their business in a way we can't resist. They curate what they tell and show you so as to give you the following impression of them: They're consistent, popular, palatable and attractive.
In other words, what your gut check tells you is that you'll get what you expect to get, they treat their customers well, and they're organized and reliable. There are many actionable steps you can take to create the same presentation for your own business by leveraging the massive opportunity that social media offers.
Here's the Strategy: 1. Document -> 2. Distribute -> 3. Engage
The easiest way to generate posts for social media is to document what you are already doing. This method makes it so that you don't have to "think up" what your content will be, which is a major time and energy expense. When you are working on a project, offer, or product, take a moment to share that moment or process with your audience. Be sure to sprinkle in the reason why it might be relevant or valuable to them. For example, as we're writing this article we'll take a brief break to share with our Instagram audience through a short video that we're doing this so they can come check it out and benefit from the lesson. On Facebook and LinkedIn we'll write a post and include a supporting image.
Want Our Team to do this for your business?
1. Document - (Content Collection/Creation):
The actual message/story you create and the mediums you use to communicate them are all important. These include updates, announcements, market research efforts, testimonials, educational information, entertaining content and impactful stories.
- Some things really just need to be simple. Don't be afraid to use written word as your medium for your entire post when you have a short and simple message or update to share (ie: "opening early at 7 am today", "We're hiring immediately for servers and dishwashers. We're accepting resumes and applications on a drop in basis during normal business hours" etc.).
- It is important to also use writing to supplement the pictures you share, such as on Instagram. This is an often under-used skill. Although Instagram is image-centric, failing to post a complete and descriptive caption can actually leave your viewers confused or disinterested because they're missing what you assumed they'd understand by looking at the image.
- Another important use of the written word is to add subtitles to your videos. It is now known that a significant portion of videos are consumed with devices on mute - so if you're videos aren't subtitled, you actually are disqualifying your content from a certain portion of "could-have" viewership when those people realize they can't watch it on mute.
Photographs are a simple yet powerful medium to communicate your message to your audience (it's been said that a picture says a thousand words). Whether you use your smartphone or a professional camera, the key to a picture's effectiveness is to ensure that they're communicating the right thing. Use the "ask some friends" method to check if the picture(s) you plan to use actually "say" what you want them to. Be sure that the pictures you share at least contribute to an image of professionalism and are relevant to what you're doing.
While very effective when used for events and other announcements, graphic flyers and posters tend to be an overused medium and can come off as "loud" or obnoxious if not created with care. Here are some helpful tips when creating flyers or posters:
- Keep the design clean and balanced
- Keep the aesthetic on-brand (feel free to ask us about creating an official aesthetic brand identity)
- Keep it simple and only include necessary details relevant to the event or announcement
For ease of use, be sure to try out some mobile apps that enable you to create custom graphics on your phone. We use Adobe Spark Post but Canva is a popular option. One great feature that these apps often have built in is the ability to publish the graphics you create directly to social media, or share them to your computer so you can upload them into your post scheduler.
This is a clever option for people who communicate best by talking. The simple way to proceed is to record your conversations and your thoughts/ideas. We do this via our podcast, but really all you need is a phone call recording app on your phone. If you are a service based business, this can be especially useful for gathering testimonials and valuable knowledge clips. The audio can either be translated to text and shared as audiogram.
Videos are the most robust form of online communication since they're the combination of all the other mediums. Videos are a great way to "sell yourself" while sharing information with your audience since it affords them the opportunity to "see you", which can be a major factor in building trust and familiarity. Videos can take quite a bit of work to create, depending on the situation, but they can also be something quick and to the point like an Instagram Story. Either way, the power of video is that it can be rich in information and offers a way for people to become familiar with you faster because they can "read you" and get a better feel for your genuine intentions.
Consistency x Quality x Visibility
1. When it comes to distributing (posting) your content, keep in mind that consistency is important because it fosters a sense of familiarity. Experiencing continuity across all interactions with a business goes a long way in building that "trustable" feeling we experience from larger businesses. With that in mind, having a regular posting cadence, whether that's once a week or three times per day, creates that feeling of consistency for your brand. We highly recommend using a post scheduling software (eClincher and Hootsuite are just two of many) to help you automate that posting schedule.
Use task batching - block off a specific time once a week, or once a month, to get all that social media stuff out of the way so you can get back to running your business. Using a post scheduler doesn't prevent you from making spontaneous updates if you have something you need to share right away, but it allows you to plan content around events that are happening in your business ahead of time, create that consistent image, and free you up to do everything else.
2. The three types of quality content are: Education, Entertainment & Impact. Feel free to shuffle the type of content you are sharing, but ultimately make sure your pieces fall into one of those three categories.
3. The final part of the distribution formula is the number of platforms you're posting to. Not all platforms will be the best place to market your business but keep in mind that the more places that your content goes, the more people will see it. For example, if you create 3 pieces of content and post them to 4 platforms, you've really just created 12 locations of visibility (an efficient way to get more "bang for your buck").
Follow Up and Engagement:
Finally, you need to set aside time to engage with the people who interacted with your posts. Like their comments, respond to their questions, and make people feel welcome to interacting with you!
Pro tip: Spend some time yourself or delegate to an employee the task of engaging with other peoples content that is relevant to your business (from your business account of course). For example, if your business is home cleaning, search 5-10 hashtags related to a persons potential need for house cleaning (examples: #messyhouse #4kids #carpetsucks #endlesslaundry) based on the circumstances in their life that they're sharing. Then, go comment on their posts with something helpful or insightful that might help them. It's an easy enough strategy that increases the visibility of your business and simultaneously shows your desire to be helpful to them.