How your small business can loom large in a sea of content.
With 70 billion pieces of information and media shared monthly on Facebook alone, the challenge isn’t creating online marketing material for your small business. It’s how to stand out from the crowd on social media.
These three tips can help your business do just that, and boost customer awareness and search engine visibility—not to mention your bottom line.
1. Position yourself as a thought leader.
Instead of being another choice on a checklist for customers, become the relied upon expert in your field. Literally write the book or training manual on the subject your small business knows best, and you can become a recognized expert in short order.
Begin by compiling
a tip sheet. For the time-swamped small business owner, write down one tip
every day until you’ve compiled a couple dozen. Thanks to the rise of e-readers,
books can now be as brief as 2,000 to 3,000 words. Better yet, to create them,
all you have to do is export to a PDF (free using Microsoft Word) or email your
Kindle reader’s unique email address with a copy of the document, which will
quickly be formatted for display on the device. Voilà: Just like that, suddenly, you’re a
Still can’t find
the time to jot it all down? Create a system: Write articles, blog posts and
newsletter clips about a topic until you’ve got enough for an entire volume. Or,
work backwards, taking content you already have and compiling it into a larger
manuscript. As added incentive, any material you create can also be
reincorporated as posts into your website, blog or newsletter, and used for
content marketing and outreach efforts.
2. Get audiences talking.
Grab audiences’ attention at a glance. How? Stop playing it safe: Take a singularly arresting approach that grabs and pulls in readers and viewers on sight with eye-catching themes, headlines and descriptions that demand they stop and look. (The more nondescript your titles or promotions such as “New Accounting Trends for 2014,” the less interest they'll generate.)
Then create supporting videos or articles
that take a contrarian or unique stance (e.g. “10 Reasons to Fire Your
Accountant”), and make a point to pull readers into the narrative by stating
your case in the first two lines or 10 seconds. It’s not about being pithy or
controversial; it’s about being different and being succinct. The more unique
your opinion, stance or insight, and the more quickly you can convey this
stance at a passing glimpse, the more likely you are to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be afraid to invite audience response
either. Ask thought-provoking questions, and ask your customers and fans to
weigh in. For example, you might offer your opinion on the latest breaking
industry trend—one whose slants breaks with seemingly common wisdom—and ask your
Facebook followers to respond with their take on the subject.
3. Make it personal.
Put a human face on your business. The more you do so, the more you’ll boost empathy and enthusiasm.
Just one example? Photo- and video-sharing
solutions make it easy to provide a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of your
operation, introduce your team members and promote your enterprise’s values.
Likewise, don’t be afraid to surprise and
delight readers or viewers with your personality either. Where appropriate, you
may wish to consider inserting the occasional laugh, unexpected surprise or
guest appearance from like-minded business owners or community all-stars. As
long as you keep things polite and professional, the more original, entertaining and true to form you are (for example, we often
skewer industry buzzwords in our event speaking videos), the more content will resonate
with customers who share the same interests and values. People buy brands as
much because they empathize with brands’ values as the actual value of the
brand itself. Build a sense of connection and community, and you’ll continue to
build your business as well.
Bestselling leadership and innovation speaker Scott Steinberg heads management consulting and corporate training firm TechSavvy Global. A top-rated provider of keynote speeches, workshops and seminars, and bestselling business author, he’s been seen in 600+ outlets from CNN to NPR. For more, visit his website at AKeynoteSpeaker.com.