One of the hardest things for any small business hitting the Internet for the first time is social media. Most people have been on Facebook or Twitter personally. They post photos of their vacations, make comments on recent events, and sometimes tell a few gaudy jokes about their friends and family. So, when those same people happen to be business owners or entrepreneurs and create their professional profiles, they struggle with the transition to a more formal profile.
Unfortunately, most of them will overcompensate. Instead of being themselves, they put on the “boss” hat and start writing wall posts that read like press releases instead of casual messages. It turns off prospects and sounds entirely too much like a sales pitch.
What’s the Solution?
The right tone for your social media profile should land somewhere in the middle. It should be informal without stooping to rudeness or crassness. It should be entertaining without being irrelevant to your business. It should be intriguing without being random. The perfect social media profile is one that will draw in your prospects with interesting content that relates to your business, while personalizing both you and your brand.
My favorite example has (and will continue to be) Coca Cola. I don’t drink their soda, but I can appreciate the way they have leveraged social media. Their Facebook page actually started as a fan page a few years ago. Instead of having it shut down, however, Coca Cola embraced the creators, inviting them to their factory, gave them free things, and helped to produce content about the iconic brand.
Today, the Coca Cola fan page has more than 8 million fans and continuously uploads new community created content. They have personalized their content, added links to products and moderate a discussion board with more than 400 topics.
Your Facebook page probably won’t have 8 million fans anytime soon, but it can definitely take advantage of the same style. The goal is not to sell people your product, but to show them why the “image” of your product is desirable. You’re selling the culture and style behind what you do, not the actual service. That will come later, once you have people interested.
How to Sell a Brand
Branding for a big company like Coca Cola is easier, if only because they have billions of dollars to work with. You don’t have billions of dollars. You probably don’t even have thousands of dollars in your advertising budget. So, you need to be creative and that means adding value to your page. Give people something they cannot find anywhere else.
For a lot of businesses, that means information. Say Jim the Carpenter wants to go on Facebook and get more clients. He could write a few notes about Carpentry and the materials he uses, or he could create short videos of himself completing creative projects – gothic birdhouses, hanging balconies, blacklight decks. Most of his clients won’t have any interest in goofy stuff like that, but the videos will be entertaining and show off his skills in a way that articles never could.
Hopefully I haven’t forced you to set the bar too high. The idea is to show you that Facebook is a fantastic tool that can help you skyrocket your income, but it needs to be used differently than pretty much everything you’re used to. Press releases, advertisements and coupons won’t get the job done on Facebook.
You need to show the world your business is interesting, unique, and finally good at what you do. Fans will flock to a company they can enjoy and benefit from at the same time.