You can probably think of a million ways a company or brand you love can use social media. Here, try this activity with us for a minute:
Think of your favorite local restaurant or bar. What can THEY do to engage with customers?
Well, they can post Happy Hour Specials on Facebook. They can post pictures of their nightly specials on Instagram.
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They can go LIVE on Social Media during “Game of Thrones Quizzo” on Wednesday nights. There are TONS of ways a well-loved bar or restaurant can engage with its VIPs and potential customers.
Now, think of your favorite sports team. What are they doing that makes you want to follow them on social media?
They’re probably posting pictures of their mascot doing something crazy in the locker room.
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They’re discussing post-game highlights in videos with a few players after a win. They are sharing memes of funny moments or big plays (Ahem, The “Philly Special”). They are posting behind-the-scenes pictures of the team en route to the next playoff game.
It’s pretty easy to be engaging on social media for many types of brands and organizations. But what about the rest of us?
We believe it’s not just important for big companies and brands to use social media, but we think individuals and small organizations can use social media to reach their audience too.
Just Don’t Be Boring
Mike is a commercial insurance agent. He sells professional liability insurance, cyber policies and E&O. What’s E&O? I don’t know. I fell asleep halfway through his blog post explaining it.
Samantha sells real estate in a mountain town 90 minutes away. The homes she sells are really impressive, but I’m a renter living in a city no where close to ‘vacation home’ status. I love looking through photos of a home I can’t afford just as much as the next girl, but at the end of the day, Samantha’s posts are just clogging up my feed and I unfollow.
Walt is a wealth manager. He posts articles about complicated financial stuff that I feel like I’m supposed to understand. But I don’t.
All of these 3 individuals need me as their client. I have a business and need commercial insurance. I have friends, some of whom have disposable income and would definitely be the target market for a vacation home. And I need to better understand my money and how to invest it and make wise financial choices.
But what Mike, Samantha and Walt do is boring. They may be interesting individuals, but I’m not going them a chance to earn my business because I don’t want to follow them on social media (let alone give them my email address for their mailing list).
But what if Mike became a small business expert? What if he shared stories and articles about daily struggles (and achievements) of other small business owners like myself? What if he shared a “Tuesday Tip” for small business owners and found resources we would consider valuable. And shared that information in an approachable and interesting way. I’d probably follow a commercial insurance agent.
What if every Thursday Samantha posted a list of all the activities happening in the mountain town that weekend? What if she was THE area expert on new restaurants and bars and shopping and all that is happening in town? I’m often looking for things to get me out of the city on a beautiful weekend. If Samantha becomes an expert and shares information in a way that connects with people, you better believe I’m going to be following along. And a few years down the line when I have a friend who mentions wanting to buy a cabin in the woods, I’m going to remember the girl that’s been sharing really helpful information for all these years in my Insta feed.
And what if instead of talking about complicated financial topics all the time, Walt started doing a Facebook live talking about sports. Walt is a funny guy and knows a lot about every sport in his city. What if he took a money spin on it and talked about how XYZ player should invest the 13 million dollar bonus he just got for switching teams (I’m making up words here, guys). I’m going to be honest- I wouldn’t personally follow Walt, but I know a lot of people who are looking for a good personality to share their thoughts and opinions on sports. Plus the money spin!? It’s unique!
The point is, each of these individuals have something really useful and valuable and HELPFUL that is adjacent to what they do in their businesses but not exactly what they do. They may not immediately sell a lot of homes, start managing a ton of new portfolios and close a lot of deals, but as they build an audience, they’ll be surprised at what happens.
Everyone needs a brand, not just businesses and organizations, but even those of us as individual proprietors. You have one, whether you know it or not. And you need to ask yourself if your brand is something that people actually care about, beyond just the product you sell. Is your brand… boring?
This process is what we do at Method Agency every day. We work with brands, organizations and individuals to craft their story, identify their audience and find out how they can be helpful to that audience.
Once you know who you are trying to reach, become an expert in something other than the product you’re selling. Be helpful and you’ll stand out. Build your brand and with time and consistency, you’ll be amazed at the results!