Can you transform your business with a $37 instagram course? Probably not, but it’s hard…
I have been involved in social media, in many different forms, for years and years. And one thing I can promise you is that your business is not boring – even if you think it is.
I often find myself working with business owners who tell me that the reason it is hard to write about their business is because their business is boring. But you know what? Every time, without fail, I am actually so interested in their business! So before we do anything else, I have to tell you something very important – I need you to be a goat in a tree.
Be a Goat in a Tree
Now what does that mean? It means I want you to think about the cool goats in Morocco (I have a shot of them below). These goats in Morocco are amazing. Why? Because everyday they decide that they are going to go and live in the trees, hanging out in the branches. Our goats don’t do that here in New Zealand and Australia, so I find it absolutely fascinating and I have so many questions for them like, what is it like for them up in the tree? Is it difficult to get up there? What made them decide to do it in the first place? Where do they eat?
But do you know what that goat is probably thinking – ‘huh? All I do is go up in the tree. There’s nothing special about that.’
So you’ll get where I’m heading with this. You will never find the special things about your business until you start thinking about it from an external point of view. Because other people will be interested in the things you are doing in your business, even if you don’t think they will!
Repeat after me ‘there is no such thing as a boring business’.
Why is social media so necessary?
Now, I know people still want me to tell them they don’t have to do social media, and every now and again I will say you don’t have to do this platform or that platform. And I actually hear business owners breathe a sigh of relief when I tell them that. But, some form of social media is extremely necessary. It is still one of the fastest ways to build trust by showing up, on time, posting on a regular basis and showing people you are there! It helps to remind those who have used you before to use you again and it gives people who haven’t seen your business before an idea of who you are and what you do.
So as much as I would love to say to you that you don’t need it, social media is a crucial part of your marketing. There is no point in throwing a temper tantrum about it and getting upset. It just is what it is.
I don’t enjoy social media posting either, but I do it because I am invested in helping people, like you, to understand social media better. You need it. Yes, I understand that you don’t like doing it. But your customers and clients need it from you.
So what I am trying to say is yes, social media is definitely very important for your business and even if you don’t like it, you just have to suck it up and get over it.
It starts with who
Like everything in marketing, it starts with who. Who are you targeting? And so we are going to go through the big five social media platforms that we normally recommend, and then you need to choose are the ones that are going to fit best with your clients.
For example I work with businesses, so of course Linkedin is going to be one of the ones I will use. And if you’re working B2B, or direct with professionals, Linkedin would be good for you too. If your business or offering is very visual – like food and jewellery – Instagram is very important because it is a visual platform. For locally-based businesses, like a hairdresser or a tradie, Google My Business has to be one of your big five.
Choose from the big five
1. Google My Business
Owned by Google, you literally Google ‘Google My Business’ to find out how to start your page. What happens is a listing will show up on the right side of the results page for people if they are searching in your local area/region for what you do. Here you can put up posts and updates, as well as interact with your local audience. It is a very powerful tool to use and you can download it as an app on your phone. If you are going to use Google My Business, I would want you to be posting on there a couple of times a week, making sure you answer questions and keeping it really interactive.
Facebook is one of the oldest social media platforms and there is still plenty of power in it. So if you are a locally based business, Facebook and Google My Business would probably be the two I would recommend for you.
Instagram is all about the imagery but over time it has relaxed a little bit. It used to be all about posting perfection, whereas now (thankfully) it is all about reality. Instagram has a huge wealth of ability to interact with people and if you have a slightly younger market, or you have things you want to sell – it is a really great place to build your brand and make sales. Check out our blog on how to make the most of it.
But bare in mind you will need to have good images and good captions for it to work well.
Linkedin is where you want to go if you work with business owners or people who are employed. And if you want to use Linkedin better, you can read this Linkedin blog for more tips.
For those of you who could use video in your social media – if you are an engineer/inventor/have an opportunity to create ‘how to’s’ – Youtube could be one of the best ways to interact with your audience.
Google My Business and Youtube are owned by Google, Facebook and Instagram are owned by FB and Linkedin is owned by Microsoft.
So what you need to do is choose two of those to focus on. Because we are all just small business owners and if you can just do two well, that is better than spreading yourself thin across everything. If you have a bigger team, by all means do more than two, but most business owners only need to focus on two. If that sounds too much, choose one and do that really well, and then add the second one in later.
What you should post:
This is the thing people find the hardest of all and because content creation is tricky for so many people, we have broken it into seven main areas to give you some ideas on where to begin.
1. Information about you and your team
People buy from people they trust, from people they like the look of and from people they like the sound of. So it is really important to share regular information about you and your team – which means people can understand who actually works in your business, find out a bit more about what you do and discover new ways to interact with you.
So one of the first things I suggest you do is check out a blog called 20 ways to show off your business. You can then go through the list, write answers to it and there you have a whole bunch of posts to share. If you have a team, you only have to do two or three each and there will be enough for a whole year – if you are posting them once a month or once a fortnight. It is a really great way to create great content that is relevant and shares a little bit about the personality of your business.
2. Answers to questions that come up all the time
Create posts that are FAQs. Make a list of all the different types of questions people ask all the time about what you do. So it might be like ‘how do I enrol in this programme’, ‘why is this such-and-such important’, ‘how do I change a tyre’, how do I use hair straighteners’, ‘why do I need to give notice on an appointment’? Brainstorm all of the different things that people ask then all you have to do is answer them and they can be posts!
3. Facts, tips and useful information (Goat in a tree!)
It’s time to be a goat in a tree. Think about all the different facts and tips you can share – make a list. It could be a handy hint on how to use a tool in a new way – like hair straighteners – or it could be how to pack a bag for a picnic using honey wrap to wrap sandwiches. Don’t forget to think about the different things you could do with videos or descriptions on how to do things step-by-step. People love DIY/How to videos.
4. Fun and light stuff
Having fun and sharing light hearted stuff is also really important. You don’t want to be serious all the time. This year I am hoping to do parody songs, because I love singing and I am going to make that my fun thing. But you could have your dogs coming to work or funny memes or jokes, just things that lighten the mood a bit.
5. Behind the scenes insights and stories
Behind the scenes is really important because it helps people to see the processes of what you are doing, gives another sneaky peek to your team and how things work, and it helps people to see the culture of what you are doing. So take people behind the surface of what they would normally see as a customer – like your desk, your work environment, looking at how you pack things for sending, how you put items together or how you create webinars. Think of different ways to show people what you do and the process that is involved.
6. Testimonials, reviews and case studies
These are such an important part of your marketing, and it is a great idea to share them on social media. Ask people to review you on Google My Business, and then you can use and share those reviews on other platforms. We have also recently done case studies, and these are great when you have worked with people on big projects or over a period of time, showing what happens when you work together with other businesses.
7. Occasional promotions and sales info
If you do too much of this, it starts to feel like an overload for those on the receiving end. So you want to pull back on that and do more value adding with the other types of posts mentioned above. A rule of thumb is that for every 10 posts, only one or two should be promotions and the rest of it should be stuff from one to six.
So that’s all the different things you can post and what I recommend you do is write (or print) out the list, go through it and brainstorm all the ideas you have for each.
In terms of a method, this is actually how we do it.
1. Make a schedule of when you are going to post and where under these headings
Using a normal calendar, I print one off and make a schedule under these things of what I am going to do. I might do a team thing once a month, FAQ once a fortnight, facts and tips/useful information once a week, fun and light stuff once a fortnight, behind the scenes once a month, testimonial/case study once a fortnight, occasional promotion once a fortnight – and so on. Then I put all of those into my schedule and it gives me a plan in place that I just have to fill out.
2. Brainstorm and collate information under each of these headings
I then brainstorm and collate all of the information under all of those headings, with an aim to schedule all of the posts in advance.
3. Schedule all the posts in in advance
I take a topic – say the team ones that I have written – schedule all of those in for the year, then I go to the next one which is FAQ – schedule all those in, moving through the list. If a year sounds too much, you could do it for a month or three months.
Scheduling posts all in advance means it is all done, all sorted ahead of time and you don’t have to worry about it. I highly recommend doing this to make sure you don’t forget or get caught at the last minute trying to put something together.
4. Answer comments and questions of anyone that responds
And lastly, what is really important is that once you have created all this great content, you must answer questions of anyone who responds to your posts. Engage with them so they know there is a real human handling that ‘boring business’ of yours.