“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
– Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu
It all started a few years ago with a People magazine cover featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger. No, he wasn’t in the news for his latest blockbuster movie. Instead, he was “trending” because of an inappropriate relationship with his nanny. Still, as I was flipping through the pages to get to the juicy details, I came across a page advertising Dell computers. I called Dell’s 800-number. Fast forward $2,000 later—not only had I purchased a new laptop but had also experienced an epiphany regarding social media: It isn’t about advertising, per se. It’s about entertainment, which then leads to sales.
If you’re resisting social media, then without a doubt, you’re heading in the wrong direction. It’s time to forget everything you thought you knew about marketing and advertising because what was, isn’t now.
Don’t get me wrong—traditional methods of advertising such as television, radio and newspapers do still work, but they’re typically expensive and can reach only so many people. Social media, on the other hand, can reach thousands in an instant, several times a day—even on a small budget. Because of networks such as Facebook,Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter, for the first time in marketing history, the little business fish really do have a fair shake at competing with the bigger sharks.
Still, some business owners are dragging their feet regarding social media. When I ask them why, I hear every excuse in the book. Who has time for posting? I’m busy with clients! Facebook is a time waster— just a bunch of pictures of babies and people’s dinner entrees. I remind them that the reason Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is now worth a reported $66 billion is because he understood the power of sharing with others. It isn’t necessarily because he’s a technical wizard (though he probably is) but because he figured out a way to match technology with the human desire to connect. He also recognized the potential of the cumulative effect, in which a series of repeated actions has an effect greater than the sum of each individual action. In other words, when 20 people share a post or video with 20 of their friends, who turn around and do the same—there’s practically no limit to how far your posts can reach.
If you’re hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon because you think your posts have to be lengthy, technically-written blogs or dazzling prose—or that your pictures and videos should look as though they were shot by a professional, you can stop worrying. Yes, you should take some time to think about what you’re posting. Yes, your words should be accurate and for heaven’s sakes, spell- and grammar-checked. Oftentimes, however, the posts that go viral are those that are simply funny, cute, heartwarming, trendy, and/or provocative—poetry not required.
A recent example is Jenness Farm, a small New Hampshire business that makes goat’s milk products like face cream and soap. Since the company already had goats (duh), and goat yoga has become a real thing on social media (Why, you ask? Because yoga is healthy and goats are adorable!), it promoted goat yoga classes on its Facebook page and website. The farm’s owner reported that not only did the post create tremendous interest and excitement for both the classes and the farm, but he also got a nice write-up from the Huffington Post. How’s that for free advertising?
Tap into Social Media Mania
In social media, timing is everything. Like the goat farm example above, once a trend “starts” on social media, it spreads like wildfire. The key is to “piggyback” on the trend before it becomes yesterday’s news. Keep abreast of what’s hot in the skin care industry and think of ways in which you could piggyback on those trends. An example that comes to mind is the world’s current obsession with Korean face masks/beauty products—or as it’s popularly known, K-beauty. The Hanacure mask tops the list, frequently posted on social media by mask-wearing celebrities. Could you add a K-beauty treatment to your services and promote it on social media, perhaps with some cute or funny videos of your staff wearing the masks?
We used to think that human’s biggest addictions were drugs and alcohol, but there’s a new addiction kid on the block: social media. Experts estimate that the average person spends about two hours a day on social media, and that number will surely increase. While this information may not be the best news for people who can’t put down their smartphones (or their partners), it’s a great reason (and opportunity) for the small business owner to post regularly, using what’s at your fingertips to grow your business—like wildfire.
Top Tips for Creating Social Media Mania
1. Think visual. Keep in mind that videos and images beat out straight content when it comes to capturing viewers’ attention. A picture truly is worth a thousand words, and maybe a thousand shares.
2. Boost it. Consider boosting (i.e., paying for) posts that instantly get a lot of feedback (likes, shares, etc.) from viewers to reach an even larger demographic.
3. Engage. When someone says something positive about one of your posts, respond with a “Thank you! We’re glad you liked it” or other appropriate comment. Viewers tend to get more engaged with Facebook pages when business owners are regularly involved in their posts.