If you think social media is about selling, think again.
If you think social media is about selling, think again. Advertising is about selling. Social media is about sharing: sharing your expertise by positioning yourself or your business as the expert. After all, you are the expert, right? As the expert, your role is to share your expertise. A little social media 101 for those still trying to sell instead of share.
Substitute your own product or service in the following example and the thoughts still hold water.
You’re on social media to make people happy. Your ongoing presence on social media should be designed to keep them happy.
Just for a moment, imagine your business as one that sells kitchen knives. You’re not on social media to sell those knives. You do that through your advertising. You’re there to speak to the importance of having the right knife for the job. You’re there to teach people about knives and respond to their questions or comments about your company and its knives. You’re making connections and carving out conversations through your knives.
Kitchen knives come in a variety of styles and each is designed to perform different tasks in the kitchen. So, talk. Talk about knife blades, handles, edges and blade materials that work best for various jobs. Talk about the importance of keeping a knife sharp. Talk about the history of knives. Develop interesting associations with other subjects through your knives. The list is virtually endless and there are endless ways to talk about it all. Think creatively. But keep in mind that social media is a forum for conversation, for imparting information that will teach people something or help them in some way. Give people something to think about. Get them talking. You’re on social media to make people happy. Your ongoing (consistent) presence on social media should be designed to keep them happy. Make sure that they want to keep coming back to hear what else you have to say.
Be creative. Be original. Be funny, if you wish. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Allow your social media content to spread its wings. Dream up unique ways to present and share information about your company and its products or services. You’re the expert — you own the valuable ‘insider’ information. You know things about your product or service that nobody outside of your company knows. So, share. Use video. Stream video. Show and tell. Show people having fun with your products — make your content a social event. And don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing this (you probably raised your eyebrows at that comment). But if you enjoyed creating the content, then it’s almost certain that your enjoyment will be reflected in your post. Don’t shy away from ‘funny’. Social media has an incredible sense of humour. Be creative. Be original. Be funny, if you wish. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
You might be saying, “Miriam, not all businesses are fun. Mine’s quite a serious business.” I understand. Some of you are in businesses or organizations that require a great deal of tact and diplomacy. But all businesses have a human connection. To be successful that’s what you must reveal on social media — the heart of your business. Share your heart. That’s what social media is about.
Bottom line: If you believe in your business or organization then you’ll have lots to share.
This post underscores the difference between sharing and selling. Bottom line: If you believe in your business or organization then you’ll have lots to share. The beautiful thing about this very social forum is that it’s accessible to all of us and it’s affordable.
So you’re a small company that lacks the budget to compete with the big guns. In social media that doesn’t matter. You don’t have to compete. You’ve (hopefully) identified your niche; now expand it, solidify it, and secure it. Create a following. Extend your reach. Build brand loyalty. Social media is not governed by borders. Want to stretch your content’s wings internationally? Social media is the passport that allows you to travel anywhere, even on a small budget.
… you’re delivering value. And people everywhere love value.
Through well-written content that is varied, interesting and engaging, you’re delivering value. And people everywhere love value.
What else adds value? Sharing different content, on different platforms, via different formats, while staying true to your brand’s culture across platforms — that’s valuable.
Do it right. Position yourself or your business as the expert. Share. Give. Respond. Reveal the heart of your business and people will seek you out.
We learned it in kindergarten: People don’t like people who don’t share.
If you’re not feeling particularly creative or confident about your social media efforts then reach out to someone who can help you develop a strategy; one that leaves room for your efforts to evolve over time. As the world’s most successful brands will tell you, the long-term payback of sharing over selling is worth the effort. If you’re going to be successful, a presence on social media is no longer a choice and sharing is a necessity. We learned it in kindergarten: People don’t like people who don’t share.
About the author: Miriam Hara
Miriam is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of 3H Communications Inc., a full service branding and advertising agency. Her experience has enabled her to bring together strategic business savvy with an all-encompassing creative vision to product and service marketing, which she shares here, in her many posts. Join the conversation, register here. Miriam’s own brand of marketing experience and expertise is the basis of her marketing ebook series including Content Creation Understood, the most recent addition. Download it here. You can also find Miriam on Google +.