If you think social media’s about selling, think again. Advertising is about selling. Social media is about sharing: sharing your expertise by positioning yourself or your business as the expert. After all, you are the expert, right? As the expert, your role is to share your expertise.
A little social media 101 for those who are still trying to sell instead of share – substitute your own product or service in the following example and the thoughts will still hold water:
You’re on social media to make people happy – your ongoing presence on social media should be designed to keep people happy.
Just for a moment, imagine your business as one that sells kitchen knives. You’re not on social media to sell those knives, you do that through your advertising. You’re on social to speak to the importance of having the right knife for the right job. You’re there to teach people about knives and respond to their questions or comments about your company and its knives. You make connections through your knives and to carve out conversations.
Kitchen knives come in a variety of blade styles; each blade is designed to perform different tasks. So, talk about them. Talk about knife blades, handles, edges, blade materials that work best for various jobs. Talk about the importance of keeping a knife sharp. Talk about the history of knives. Develop interesting associations with other subjects through your knives. The list is virtually endless and there are endless ways to talk about it all. Think creatively. But keep in mind that social media is a forum for conversation, for imparting information that will teach people something or help them in some way. Give people something to think about. Get them talking. Give them a reason to come back to your site regularly. You’re on social media to make people happy and your ongoing (consistent) presence on social media should be designed to keep them happy.
Be creative. Be original. Be funny if you like. Be a fun brand. And don’t take yourself too seriously.
Allow your social media content to spread its wings. Dream up new and interesting ways to present and share information about your company and its products or services. You’re the expert, you own the valuable ‘insider’ information. You know things about your product or service that nobody else outside your company knows. So, share. Use video. Stream video. Show and tell. Show people having fun with your products – make content a social event. Be colorful. Be unique. And don’t forget to have fun. You might’ve raised your eyebrows at that last one, but if you enjoy creating the content, then it’s almost certain that your enjoyment will be reflected in your social media post. Don’t shy away from ‘funny’. Social Media has an incredible sense of humor. Be creative. Be original. Be funny if you like. Be a fun brand. And don’t take yourself too seriously.
This post underscores the difference between sharing and selling. Bottom line: If you believe in your business or organization then you have lots to share. The beautiful thing about this very social forum is that it’s accessible to all of us and it’s affordable.
So you’re a small company that lacks the budget to compete with the big guns – in social media that doesn’t matter. You don’t have to compete. You’ve (hopefully) identified your niche; now expand it, solidify it, and secure it. Create a following. Extend your reach. Build brand loyalty. Social media is not governed by borders. Want to stretch your content’s wings internationally? Social media is the passport that allows you to travel anywhere, even on a small budget.
… you’re delivering value. And people everywhere love value.
Through well-written content that’s varied, interesting and engaging, you’re delivering value. And people everywhere love value.
What else adds value? Sharing different content, on different platforms, in different formats, while staying true to your brand’s culture across platforms is also valuable.
Do it right. Position yourself or your business as the expert. Share. Give. Respond. Do it all authentically. Reveal the heart of your business and people will seek you out.
We learned it in kindergarten: People don’t like people who don’t share.
If you’re not feeling particularly creative or confident about your social media efforts then reach out to someone who can help you develop a strategy; one that leaves room for your efforts to evolve over time. As the world’s most successful brands will tell you, the long-term payback of sharing over selling is worth the effort. Actually, it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. We learned it in kindergarten: People don’t like people who don’t share.
Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so we need to master the art.
Main image via Shutterstock