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I’m an international marketing coach, top-ranking podcast host, speaker, interiors lover and black coffee drinker.
It has really never been easier for us to share our message. In the good old days, we relied on advertising and working with publicists to actually get our messages out there and while they are still fantastic ways of reaching our ideal customers, we have the power to share our own messages directly and have conversations with our audience for free through social media. How lucky are we?!
But despite this, it’s actually not any easier to stand out and have cut through in the market and in some ways, it’s harder than ever to make an impact with our audience because there is so much noise out there.
So how can we actually attract that attention from the right people, maintain that attention and turn it into results for our business?
Let’s look at the four types of content for us to share on our social media PLUS some of the common content sharing mistakes business owners make.
Let’s get into it!
1. Posting without purpose – a.k.a “panic posting”.
We’re like, “crap, I haven’t posted anything for three days!”. So we think “I’ve got this photo, let’s just whip together a caption and push it out there”. Now this is not the worst thing you can do, but what can happen is that you can also find yourself posting content (and some people posting a lot of content) without it getting us any closer to our goals. And what I hate to see the most is people wasting their time and efforts on activities in their marketing that are really doing nothing for their business.
So this is what happens when we’re sharing content that doesn’t really have a purpose. And this also means that we’re not building a meaningful and strong brand and connection with our audience and they’re probably not engaging with our content.
2. Push marketing
Social media in my definition, is not a content sharing platform. It’s actually a relationship building platform. So we need to be careful that we’re not passively pushing out content and waiting for the results to start rolling in.
We need to make sure that we are having conversations with our ideal audience and our customers and potential customers through our social media. And that’s the power of social media. We’re not just paying to have our an advertising space or paying a publicist to get ourselves into the media, but social media allows us to have that two way conversation, which is incredible to have that insight and that access to the people that could want to vibe what we have to sell.
3. Never selling or only selling
We can fall into the trap of never serving our audience through our content or never selling, and we want to make sure that there’s a bit of both going on.
Now the danger here is that our audience can either tune out if we’re never serving them with great value content that they’re actually interested in, or if we’re never selling to them, then they actually don’t understand what we do, what we sell, and how they can buy from us.
So it means that we’re either not going to be able to build a brand because people will just switch off. They’re not interested because all they’re hearing are sales messages like “buy my stuff”. Or we might have a great sized audience, but they’re never buying from us because they never actually understand how.
In fact, studies have found that posting too many promotional messages is the number one reason that people will unfollow us as businesses online. So we really need to make sure that our brand has a personality behind it more than just its products and services and what we sell.
The right marketing mindset
I want you to keep this in mind that social media is a marathon, not a sprint. And I wish we could just get on there for one week, and “Boom, done, results.”
But when someone first follows us they are often probably not quite ready to buy, they don’t know much about us or our brand or our business and we need to warm them up a bit first through our content so that they actually can connect with us, understand a bit about what we are about, trust us and then when they are ready, then buy from us.
Because how often do we go onto someone’s website for the first time and buy from them straight away?
How often do we see someone’s post on social media for the first time and then click buy on their website?
Rarely, right?! So we can’t expect our audience to do the same. Most of us need to be nurtured through businesses’ content before we go on and buy.
So let’s look at the four types of content that I’ve identified over the years of working with different businesses that we can share to help us meet our business goals.
There’s no shortage of pretty pictures to share for a lot of businesses. I hear you if you’re an accountant, probably a bit more difficult! But I work with quite a few photographers and stylists. There’s a lot of images out there, but it can be difficult when you’re like, “what the hell do I share with this?”.
You could have the same products, the same offerings, the same price as your competitors. So you’ve got to be thinking, “what’s going to set me apart and what can’t be replicated”.
Well, your competitive advantage is you.
There was a research project done by the University of Oregon that found that brand likeability increases when we see faces in marketing. Plus, when we have a human face in our marketing, people feel as though they know who they’re talking to and they’re more likely to actually engage with us too and with our content.
So how do we go about building connection? Well first of all, I need to make sure that I can see you in your content or see your team or the people behind the business. In your captions, tell us why you started your business or what you love about what you do.
It’s really fundamental that you understand the challenges that your ideal customers face and the ultimate desires that they have when it comes to what you have to offer.
And if you can craft stories that share some of your own experiences, and shows your audience that you too have faced similar challenges and you wanted what they want too, so that they can see themselves in your own story – this is so powerful.
Value is about why people keep coming back and actually click “follow” on your social media. They’re probably not going to do that if you’re only sharing sales messages.
The first example is educational content. This could be lists. So for instance, “my five favorite tools or tips or trends or ways to this”. Or it could be a guide, i.e. “your guide to choosing…” and thinking about how you could just help your audience. You could also do some how to’s, so some video tutorials if videos the platform that you really enjoy, go for it.
Credibility is all about ensuring our audience knows they can trust our brand.
Some ideas would be if you’ve done some guest speaking, showing some images of this. If you’ve been featured in the media, sharing some images or showing this in your Instagram stories or including this in your Instagram bio.
If you’ve been to some industry events, then you could share some summaries of this or some takeaways.
I really encourage you to be your own PR, so share the word when you’ve been asked to speak at an event or you have had an article written about you or you’ve won a local award – get that out there because that’s that credibility for your business!
Many people can fall into the trap of sharing all this other great content based on connection with themselves and their audience and sharing lots of valuable information or tips or entertainment value, but they feel like they can’t ask for the sale.
They don’t want to be too sleazy. They don’t want to annoy that audience. Or on the flip side, some people are only sharing posts that are like, “come by my stuff!”. And when this happens, your content is pretty boring because it’s only about your products or your services. That’s not a great way to build a community around what you do.
So what we want to think here is what irresistible offers are you making? Don’t talk about the features of what you have to tell – talk about what it’s going to allow your customer to then have or do or be.
We can use Instagram to sell on there, but often Instagram is best used as an audience building and a community building platform. We will occasionally be talking about “this is what we have to sell”, but often we need to move our audience through our content to the next step of working with us before the sale happens.
So we need to make sure we have call to actions in our content so that you are always giving your audience the next step to go. That is so, so powerful.
Alternate between these four types of content and I find that the connection and the value content is some that you’ll probably be sharing more of. You’ll be sprinkling through a bit of that credibility and also that promotional content too.
Before you go and post next, I want you to think, is this actually driving my business forward? Does it fit into one of these content categories? And if not, maybe pause, just re-craft it a little so that you are posting with purpose.
Now, get it started. Get some content out there, start testing with these different categories and over time you’re going to find out what really, really resonates with your audience and elevates your business.