I was recently asked a question by a few business owners that I am connected to by a Facebook group. They asked me to suggest alternatives to print and local paid advertising. They were hungry for creative ways to reach their audience and set themselves apart from the rest of their industry. The recommendations I have are not easy or quick, but if done correctly will yield amazing results.
Who is your target audience?
When I first started my marketing company I was a little too confident and thought I could help everyone. Anyone that owned a business needed my services. I had a solution and they had the problem. If they just called me I could help. While part of that was true and rings true today, you have to know your target market.
For example, if you are a horseback riding instructor you would obviously market to people who wanted to better themselves as a rider; however, you will be much more successful if you narrow that market down. Are you currently working with riders under the age of 25? What is their primary riding discipline? What social media platforms do they use the most? Knowing your target audience is essential to being successful in business.
Many of the individuals in the Facebook group have tried print advertising with little to no return on investment. While print advertising is not irrelevant, for most small businesses you will not get the return on investment with print the way you would by creating consistent content on the right social platform. Creating your own dynamite content is a huge part of setting yourself apart on social; however, just because you post (Even AWESOME content) doesn’t mean you will get recognized.
What is the key to creating content that people share?
Business is about connecting. The person you connect with will not always be your client. They may be a bridge to a handful of clients. You MUST understand this. Over the years I cannot count on both hands the number of people who have tried to sell me on what they do or their product. It is a huge turn off. If they would get to know me first and find out if I am a potential or a bridge for them, they would do themselves a huge favor.
I think advertising yourself now is more about getting to know the right people, period. There is no quick way to do this. It takes time. I have been at this for 9 years and I still have a long way to go. You can be the best at what you do and still struggle. Many of you have heard people say, “the struggle is real”. Well it is. When you are a business owner the struggle never stops, nor should it. It will get easier, but you will always be growing and growing can lead to pains from time to time.
I wanted to share a few nuggets from a MUST READ book to help you better understand how to, not only create great content, but how to get it shared. The key to marketing yourself and your business is to find and connect with raving fans to share the content you create. Your job is to develop a community that will do more than just click the like button.
Creating content that will keep them connected and invested in that community is paramount.
So here are a few things that will give you some insight into why people share and take action on certain posts. These thought provoking tips are from my very talented friend Mark Schaefer’s book, The Content Code. The entire book is outstanding and every page is packed full of wisdom that you can use for your business. In chapter three he talks about building share-ability into your content, which is vital to your online success.
Think about what motivates you to stop and share a social media post.
What was the last post you shared and why? What made you do it?
I will give you a short book report on this section of Mark’s book.
5 reasons people overcome apathy and share content
To be useful
Most of us want to be helpful and to be seen as someone that provides value. I personally enjoy when someone tells me that what I shared provided them a good laugh or something they can use and then share with their community. It makes me feel like I have helped someone, even if it was just to bring them a smile. People share content that they know will be appreciated.
To define ourselves to others
The more people know about you the easier it is for them to understand you. One can tell a great deal about who I am by looking at what I post. With election season upon us, it is very easy to tell which way many of your friends will vote by what they post. Agree or disagree with what the posts are; you certainly have a better understanding of who they are. In business, many of you may have heard the phrase, “people do business with those they know, like and trust”. You can use amazing content to help people to get to know you.
To grow and nourish relationships
Let’s face it, if it were not for Facebook how many friends from high school would you actually still keep in touch with? When you share information it helps you to stay connected to those that you already know have the same interests, and it allows you to connect with numerous other people you may have not found otherwise. I have connected with new people that have the same interests more times than I can count because of what was posted by a friend. Just recently a friend of mine posted some statistics on how much adoption costs. She tagged me on the photo because she thought the numbers looked off. I commented about adoption through foster care being almost free. That prompted a few comments from others, and as the conversation went on I became friends with another local foster family. Cool, huh?
You know that feeling you get when you post something and lots of people comment? It feels good and you feel valued, right? In his book, Mark shares that 70% of participants in a New York Times study shared content because it allowed them to feel more involved in the world. Simple as that.
To get the word out about causes and brands
Do you have a favorite charity or brand that you just adore? We have a number of those here at Yellow Barn Media, but one unique charity that we have always loved and supported is Heifer International. Yes, I said Heifer International. So what do they do exactly? They give livestock to villages all over the globe to provide, not only food, but sustainability for families long term. For example, you can give a gift of a flock of ducks or chickens, cows, sheep, goats and more starting at a gift of $20. It makes my heart happy when I share content like this and others respond and rally around the cause. As people we like to belong and when we all work towards the greater good, it is just a great feeling.
As a business owner there are so many things to consider, but creating content is always going to be right up there as something that is crazy important. Wherever you choose to share content, it is crucial that your content is amazing and that you think about the psychology of why people share.
So here is your homework.
Read The Content Code by Mark Schaeffer.