Regardless of industry, we are all salespeople and have something to sell. Nonprofits sell to volunteers and donors. Restaurants sell to patrons. Manufacturers sell to other businesses. And, like most organizations, we all need to sell prospective employees on why they should work for us.
These are challenging times for most businesses, especially those in the non-essential category. While the virus is likely to make some businesses stronger, many are looking to get back on their feet and navigate through a post-covid-19 world. Although selling may seem like a priority, it’s not the right mindset.
Regardless of the economic climate, let’s consider why you support some of your favorite brands. There is a strong likelihood they exhibit some of the following qualities.
A solid reputation
Above-average to great customer service
Have a high follow through rate (do what they say)
Good to great quality in the products or services they offer
Easy to work with (quick communication, easy returns/exchanges, fast shipping)
Reliable – Services performed/completed on time, pricing is always as quoted
Reputation – The majority of Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor reviews are 4-star or better
These traits demonstrate that a company cares about its product, services, employees and customers. That is a reputation most companies strive to have. When you have it, the residual is that people want to do business with you. The problem is, how do you demonstrate these qualities to prospective clients and those unfamiliar with your brand? Well, instead of talking at prospects or being transactional, here are some tactics to help improve your messaging on social media.
1. Stop the coupons, discounts, and promotions
When sales are down, most companies think they should run a 30% off sale or offer a free consultation. Most people see past the free consultation and know it’s more of a full-court press with a sales pitch at the end, followed up with a slew of annoying phone calls and emails. Businesses tend to forget that a pattern of these tactics can cheapen or tarnish your brand. And, a pattern of such tactics will leave consumers or businesses expecting or waiting for the next promo.
2. Branding first, not selling
If your sole focus is sales, your marketing will appear narrow, uninteresting, desperate and add no value to your followers. Most consumers don’t engage with and have a tendency to tune out the brands that publish promotional focused content. Meanwhile, if you’re focused on branding, your content should revolve around people, quality, process, company culture, community, history, values, etc.
3. Leverage creative content
Generic, stock photos and memes just aren’t going to cut it these days. These visuals do nothing to help you build a relationship with prospective clients or elevate your brand. Take a minute to think about the type of content that grabs your attention and gets you to stop and consume a post or ad. Chances are, it’s visual, colorful, playful, educational, uplifting, accompanied with creative copy, and might come in the form of a video. You don’t need to be a photographer or graphic designer to generate creative content. All you need to do is document all the cool things your company does.
So what are the cool things your company does? Nonprofit sponsorships, team building events, partnerships, awards, and community events are just a few examples of themes you can post about.
4. Focus on adding value to your follower’s newsfeed
Content that focuses on conversions is not likely to be effective or to elevate your brand. If your business has been shut down due to the latest pandemic, you may not need to lower your prices. What you need to do is continue to connect with your followers.
When we near the end of the virus, people are going to want to know what’s new, when your facility will reopen, the precautions your business will take to keep people safe, and how your team survived.
In the interim, I’m seeing some businesses get in front of the camera to record a short video to let their customers know they are missed and they look forward to seeing them soon. Other organizations are leveraging tools like ZOOM to host educational webinars or live Q&A’s.
While the occasional promotion is fine, the bulk of your content and messaging should revolve around adding value to the newsfeeds of current prospective followers. You can do this by sharing news, educating, inspiring, empowering, answering questions, being positive/inspirational or entertaining. If you’re not adding value to your website or social, you leave no reason for people to follow you.
5. Spend (more) money on ads
According to HubSpot, organic reach on Facebook is somewhere around 15 percent or less. Meaning, if you have 1,000 followers, it’s likely that only 150 of your followers might see your post. And, if 10% of those folks engage with that post, you might have 15 likes. Unfortunately, we have seen this number decline year to year. Why? Because Facebook is becoming more of a pay to play game, so having an ads budget it’s essential to your social media growth and success.
Social media is one of the only forms of advertising where you can set the budget, timeline, while also choosing things like gender, age, location, personal interests, place of employment, etc. This makes platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram some of the most effective means of advertising in the world. And by the way, it’s also very inexpensive.
If you’re looking to push promotions, sales, coupons, downloads, etc, social media advertising is the place to do it. However, boosting a couple of posts without a strategy is not likely to provide much return on investment. Success with ads comes from testing, strategy, and creative content.
6. What do your customers have to say
Almost nothing is more powerful and persuasive than a video testimonial from a happy client. You can tell the world how great your product or service is. But, why wouldn’t someone expect to hear that? Facebook, Google, and TripAdvisor reviews help build trust, brand equity, and can also provide a strong boost for your SEO (search engine optimization). While Google and Facebook reviews are extremely helpful, video testimonials are even more powerful. When getting started, call 5-6 clients and ask them if they would be willing to leave a review. If you can explain why your asking and how it could impact your business, this increases the likelihood of follow-through.
7. Be vulnerable
Keep in mind that customers and clients don’t connect with businesses, they connect with people within businesses and for any one of the reasons above.
During times like these, your customers want to hear from you, they want to see you, and believe it or not, they want to know how the latest pandemic is impacting your business. That requires you or your team to get in front of a camera and share.
Share your quarantine stories, talk about how your business has been impacted, positively or negatively. Talk about how your business will evolve in a post-covid-19 world and more importantly, will your team be doing to help keep people safe.
Just remember, the purpose of social media is to be social which means highlighting your people, telling your stories and occasionally getting in front of the camera.
When it comes to social media, we’re just scraping the surface and no one tactic or post is going to bring you success. Social media takes time and requires a strategy so invest some time, resources, creativity and be consistent. Make your page a resource for your followers and results will build over time.