Social media is a tremendous driver for business growth, everybody knows that. But there’s this little problem of saturation with this media, or rather, with the Internet itself. There’s too much information out there. Too many businesses are trying too hard to be heard, to stand out from the competition. The result? A lot of same ole, everything seems stale, and consumers are in a real danger of ending up desensitized to your efforts.
How do you get more people to check you out online then? Thankfully, we are not out of ideas yet and there’s still a lot of novelty out there when it comes to using social media. Here are three excellent ways in which you can beat the crowd, capture the imagination of your target audience, and make the most of your social media presence.
Entertain, Entertain, Entertain
So what do you do on your social media? Wish your followers good morning and talk about the weather?
Well, here’s a suggestion.
Don’t bore people; they have too many alternatives to turn to.
Don’t educate people; they don’t like being patronized.
Don’t write endless posts on your blog; they don’t have the attention span for it.
But do entertain them and they will give you all the time in the world.
It’s amazing how no one runs into the problem of a short attention span when they are watching a gripping supernatural drama. Their eyes are glued to the screen for decidedly more than five minutes, and they are literally all ears for what the director is showing them.
In fact, if you were an alien species and your only point of contact with humans was inside a cinema running 300: Rise of an Empire, or at an NFL playoff between the Seahawks and the Broncos at Super Bowl, you would think they have amazing attention spans!
The moral of the story is that people have a deep need to be entertained, not just informed. If they aren’t giving you the time of the day, it’s probably because you haven’t excited them enough.
So what should you do?
Your options are many but for starters, take inspiration from Hollywood and learn a thing or two about the combined power of stunning graphics and storytelling.
Well, that’s great, you say, but how does that come into picture (no pun!) when you’re selling something as boring as cement or wooden hangers for a living?
Maybe you could try creating a short video about a Terminator-lookalike punching a hole in a toilet wall? Or you could spoof Carrie Bradshaw and her closets? Good parodies and spoofs are always well-received. The videos that go viral on the Internet usually have a funny or weird element to them!
You don’t need an advertising agency to this for you. Neither do you need to spend a ton of money creating a decent video that you can put up on YouTube or your social media pages. All you need are a few creative sparks within your company. Video technology is advanced and accessible enough for even amateurs to make good videos.
If you do manage to crack people up with your videos, they are very likely to give you not just that all-important thumbs-up but also share the link with their friends.
Master a Social Media Platform
You can be all over the place, but do you want to be? Different social networks have different characteristics; you need to find platforms that are best suited for your purpose and master them thoroughly.
What is it about Pinterest that lends itself beautifully to fashion and beauty products? That’s right, stunning pictures! That’s the sort of thing that has women all over the world check out Pinterest multiple times a day and thanks to that many companies have started taking Pinterest seriously. Shopify being an ecommerce platform is telling its customers how to get it right on Pinterest. Instagram has spawned yoga millionaires – housewives who first started sharing their progress on new asanas and eventually went on to run full-fledged businesses thanks to an ever-increasing number of followers.
What is your specialty? What is that one thing you can do so well that others would want to take a cue from? Figure that out and find your platform. It could be Twitter, it could be Pinterest, or it could be Instagram. You can be on as many platforms as you like, but there will be one or two that will be your thing.
Bathe Your Users with Attention
Facebook has been a universal success for many reasons, but one of the most compelling of them is that it gives spotlight to every individual. Everybody feels they can have a stab at being a star in their own group. Put up your most flattering selfie, talk about your bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas, or link to your favorite music video. It makes people feel important, like they matter, and like others are interested in them and are talking about them. You are not just another human (of the 7 billion and counting) on this planet, but a person with a face and a story, and it’s all out there.
Why not take this a bit further and make people stars on your social media page for having won a competition? Don’t just give them a mention. Invite them to send a video, write a blogpost, or contribute to your portfolio of Pinterest pictures. Have them share their life with you and your followers, and watch the Domino effect take place.
People love the spotlight shined on them. And the combination of great pictures and real life stories of your followers is a heady mix for ‘lurkers’. (This is also the kind of stuff that is driving blogosphere.) If you can make it happen for your loyal customers, you’ll substantially grow your customer base sooner than later.
Keep at It
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither were any of the fastest growing businesses of our time.
Everything good takes work (of the smart kind) and patience. But thanks to social media the chances of something going viral, and getting fast-tracked to success, are always present. The above ensures your social media strategy is smarter than that of your competitors, and that you’re thinking out of the box, which isn’t easy to do given the size of the box!
Invest in a robust website and only use the best technology, since this is a tech-driven game. If you’re too busy to think about an innovative social media strategy yourself, it might even be less expensive to outsource it to a competent team and collaborate closely with them using project software like WorkZone orZoho, depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of the work.
Whatever you do, don’t play this medium lightly or you’d be selling yourself way short!
This contributed article was written by Rohan Ayyar, Project Manager at E2M solutions, a digital marketing agency in India.
Image credit: CC by Daniel Iversen