When I talk to non-users about social media, these are some of the most common complaints I hear:
– “There isn’t enough news about my business.”
– “Why is anyone interested in what I had for breakfast?”
– “I just don’t know what to say.”
These people may be right, however, they’re missing the point.
Social media is not solely about broadcasting news; it’s a conversational medium. Your objective is to engage with people, not ‘shout’ advertising at them. True, you can mix in press release announcements among other content. But why should anyone be interested in updates that solely comprise news of your organisation?
It’s better to share links to interesting articles about your industry, give hints and tips that demonstrate your expertise, or just ask a relevant question for research and development purposes.
It’s fair to say that social media has a reputation for being full of trivia. I think of it like a jumble sale; you have to rummage around a lot of rubbish to find the hidden gems. Yes, some people do tell the world that they’ve just made a cup of tea, what the weather is like, or discuss the latest celebrity gossip. Their objective is to start a conversation and build relationships.
When you meet a new client face-to-face, you might talk about the weather, the journey, or what was on TV last night. So it’s fine to include a certain amount of chit-chat in your social media output.
The clue is in the word ‘social’!
People do business with people they like. If your updates come across as trustworthy, interesting and likeable, they will check out your profile, and book or refer you when the time is right.
Most people don’t search the Internet looking for adverts. Apart from e-commerce, people go to the Internet for two reasons — information and entertainment. So that’s what you need to provide them with.
Include useful information on your website or blog, to make it ‘sticky’. That makes it more likely that people who visit the site will stay and return. Link to these added-value pages throughout social media, and check your Analytics to see the change in site visitors.
For entertainment, you can link to YouTube videos that are a good fit with your brand, for example. Click the ‘share’ button and you can even embed the code so the video plays within your own webpage.
So there you have it. In my view, your social media content should comprise a mix of information and entertainment, interaction and added value. And once you have a decent content strategy in place, you will never run out of things to say. Your friends, fans and followers will grow, and ultimately, it will drive traffic to your site and boost your sales.
After all, that’s the whole point, isn’t it!
I originally wrote this article for Fresh Business Thinking.