Getting customers to notice your business isn’t easy – even for experienced entrepreneurs.
If it’s the first time you’ve ever had to tackle the murky world of social media marketing, it can seem like an impossible puzzle to figure out.
So in this post I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned through helping first time entrepreneurs create interesting content that puts your ideal customers in contact with your business.
1. Make your posts easy to share
When you first start your own business, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a large enough budget for advertising to compete with others who are more established in your industry.
The best method to grow awareness of your brand is by creating content that people want to share with their friends.
Interjecting humour into your posts is one way of doing this.
You could also provide interesting information that gives your customers the opportunity to feel smarter than their friends.
Ideally, you should use both.
That doesn’t mean that every post needs to be laden with the most interesting facts about your industry framed in the most amazing comedic writing.
Instead, go for an 80/20 split. Use either humour or information as the primary basis of your post, and then decorate it with the other.
This works because it keeps people’s attention right up to the point when you give a Call to Action. If you don’t know what a Call to Action (CTA) is just yet, don’t worry – we’ll cover that later on.
2. Start with a bold image
Social media posts that feature striking images are 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than other forms of content.
Although you need written content to inform your market about what it is you do and why they should choose you over your competitors, you need to use every trick you can to get the writing in front of people’s eyes.
Take a quick look through this site, and you’ll notice how every article is accompanied by an image. Whenever somebody shares them on Facebook, that image is prominently displayed.
But it’s not enough to just pick an image that looks pretty and be done with it.
Everything you do has to support the overall message. Think of your social media posts as a machine. The writing, images and links are all cogs – and for the machine to run smoothly they have to be perfectly designed to work in sync with each other.
If any part of the machine doesn’t fit, the whole thing breaks down.
3. Offer free advice
If you want people to do business with you, they have to see you as an expert.
Of course, you can’t just turn around and tell people you’re an expert. Like the age-old saying goes: show, don’t tell.
The best way to demonstrate that you’re an expert in your field is to offer advice for others.
For example, if you were a plumber you could write a post like this:
“The Top 10 Plumbing Problems You Can Fix Yourself – And How to Do it”
Sure the title might be a bit wordy, but everybody loves being able to save money. By teaching them how to fix their problems for free, it demonstrates that you know what your customers need and that you have the knowledge to help them.
You might be wondering why you would want to teach your customers to fix their problems without you – after all, doesn’t that mean you make less money?
In short, no.
You see, when a big problem comes up that can’t be solved by the customer themselves, who do you think they’ll turn to?
Right. It’s the guys who demonstrated their expertise in the industry – and that could be you.
In fact, you make more money this way than by trying to keep your customers dependent on you for every little thing.
By freeing yourself up to only take on big-ticket work, you can spend more time growing your client base and focusing on large projects and less time working on low-paid grunt work.
And remember, if you don’t offer the advice for free, somebody else WILL.
This doesn’t mean that you offer to train somebody how to be a plumber, or whatever it is you’re doing. That would be impossible without years of training. Instead, you offer the tidbits of knowledge that anybody could use, and use that as a springboard to offer your services for the really tough problems.
Of course, if you don’t have the skills that sets you apart from regular people, you’ll need to get there before you position yourself as an expert. Authenticity is key, and even somebody with only cursory knowledge of your field can quickly pick up when somebody has no more idea what they’re doing than themselves.
4. Show behind the scenes
People are obsessed with only showing the finished product.
Stand out by showing a work in progress. Show you and your team hard at work creating the next product, meeting with satisfied customers, brainstorming ideas – anything.
This gives you a chance to build a buzz for what you have to offer before it’s available to the public.
If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to have people banging down your door and scrambling over each other to be one of the lucky few who could get their hands on your product before they were all gone.
Showing behind the scenes is a great way to build that buzz in an organic way. This is the whole reason that kickstarters and early access projects are so exciting. People love the opportunity to lord it over their peers as being part of an inner circle.
In fact, making your customers feel special is so powerful that it deserves its own section, and we’ll get to that in a minute.
5. Include a call to action.
You can spend hours crafting social media content that’s full of interesting facts, has beautiful images that grabs people’s attention and never lets go.
But it’s completely worthless if you don’t include a call to action.
YouTube videos are the perfect example of how a call to action works.
At multiple points in the video, somewhere near the beginning and again at the end, you will often be asked to “Like and Subscribe”.
This is what a call to action looks like.
Depending on your goals, you might want to build a larger following, or you might want to ask for the sale.
It doesn’t matter what action you want people to take – you have to bite the bullet and go for the ask.
Before you start a social media post – keep in mind what the purpose is.
Don’t write content just for it’s own sake, that’s a waste of time.
Instead, decide on what you want people who see it to do, and then create your post in a way that’s designed to do exactly that.
If the goal of your post is just to inform, then make sure you include a call to action that encourages people to share it with other’s they know who would find it useful.
6. Make your customers feel special
Everybody wants to be part of the ‘in crowd’.
Being part of a group of people that’s better in some way than others is a powerful motivating force in our lives.
It’s the reason why a Rolex costs more than other watches that do the exact same thing – it lets people feel that they are part of the elite.
Your social media posts should elicit this same feeling in your followers.
Position your brand so that your customers can feel superior.
One way to do this is through a post that highlights the differences between them and the others.
“10 ways that [product owners] think differently”
“What [your target audience] know that others don’t”
This works on two levels.
Firstly, by letting your existing customers and clients know that they’re part of the elite, it increases their brand loyalty and gives them a positive feeling about themselves when they think of your business. It encourages them to share the post because it lets them show off without appearing to be aggressive.
Secondly, it makes others curious. They want to know how they can get in on the action too. In this way, it lets you expand your reach by making a point of what your target market could have, but are currently missing out on.
You need to be realistic with this though. Making wild claims without anything to back it up is going to have a negative backlash. Support your claims with evidence. This gives the one-two punch of being emotionally satisfying whilst having undefeatable logic.
7. Encourage participation
If you want to establish yourself as the go-to brand for your industry, you need to show how your existing customers are absolutely rabid about what you do.
Invite your followers to share their stories about how your products and services has changed their lives for the better.
This is much better than just telling people you can solve their problems.
Instead, by providing real examples of how you’ve done exactly that you create a powerful, grass-roots campaign that makes others more willing to come to you because they’ve seen the proof in action.
If you can’t dedicate yourself to creating content marketing masterpieces, have you thought about hiring a freelance writer?