There’s an old saying in the news business – if it bleeds, it leads – that points to a reality in human nature: bad news travels fast. We also see that everyday in social media and it can serve a purpose when it comes to the greater good. For instance, news about a physical danger, such as summertime thunderstorm systems racing across a region or resources in an emergency, should travel fast and social media is hard to beat when it comes to immediately reaching a vast audience. We also see how outrage is easily contagious and you’ll see a rash of angry posts with people sharing a news story about situation that is truly terrible. Or, maybe the story isn’t quite accurate. Either way, the outrage is real and prompts people to like, comment and share. And so on and on and on. What about your small business posts? They are not likely to become as viral as the outrage of the week, a major news story or a video of a dog riding a unicycle.
Your customers probably like your page, but if they are not liking and sharing your posts, it is not enhancing your digital profile as much as you might like. Once customers and employees share a post, an array of new audiences unfold like petals on a blossoming flower. Suddenly, hundreds or thousands of people who don’t like your page or even know your business are seeing your post in their news feeds. Moreover, they are seeing it sharing by a trusted source: one of their friends.
Why should people care about your content?
While I do think there is a lot of value to buying Facebook ads and other sponsored posts (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.), arguably it may be more meaningful for people to see organically shared content. Now, for the content itself. You want it to represent your company culture and brand. If you are sharing an article from another source, put some thought and your own voice into the introductory wording that explains why you are sharing this article and what it means to you. Don’t just do this for the sake of posting. Spare your audience something vague, e.g., “check this out!” They will tune you out. What does it mean to your business and how is it valuable to them. In newsroom parlance, why do we care? When creating the content yourself, write clearly and succinctly in social media posts. Read your draft out loud. Does it sound natural? Does it illustrate who you are and what your approach to the market is? Does it answer an implicit question: why should someone buy products from you? You will want to convey that you are a friendly, approachable subject-matter expert. This is not necessarily an immediately gratification game. You want to keep dropping a line here and there to stay front of mind. For example, I receive a regular newsletter from a garden nursery. It’s not the cheapest garden center in town, but I feel loyal to it because of the free advice the newsletter dispenses. Here’s the funny thing, however, about social media: unlike a newsletter, a page’s posts will not keep coming to everyone who likes a business page. To stay engaged, the audience needs to show it cares. If they don’t like your posts, subsequent ones are likely to drift out of the slipstream of their newsfeeds.
Liking and sharing To See It
Ever notice that issue with posts and groups you think you follow? If you don’t participate in a group’s ongoing chatter, you might not see notifications about it anymore. To test that proposition, last night I posted a video to a closed group I’m in but have not seen notifications from in aeons. Today, the notifications from that group were revived. It’s as simple as liking the posts from a page to keep it percolating in your stream. This is why you want to craft content that people will feel spurred to like and share. You even see like and share contests. I just voted for a dog’s picture in a like and share contest for a dog treat bakery. I went as far as to like the bakery’s company page even though it is in a far away state. Why? Because I felt connected as a fellow social media marketer who wanted to help their efforts. Besides, I love dogs. Share the love on social media and be sure to like and share posts by businesses you support. As for you business page, make sure your best customers and new fans are also liking and sharing. Give them something to love and share.
For more information on content creation, contact consultant Katharine Fraser.