Social media is a very tricky thing. People will try to tell you they are experts at social media, which isn’t exactly true. They are experts at keeping up with the ever changing pace of social media.
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate and it’s understandable to hire a PR firm or marketing firm to help you with social media, some owners like to do it themselves. I wish there was a simple step-by-step process that I could give you, i.e., Here are steps A, B, C, if you do them you will be a pro. But that’s the problem with social media, there are no steps. There are very general guidelines. The problem with guidelines is that they are always changing and expanding as well, so I wanted to share the guidelines that don’t really change.
Now I could list them out and you would read them, but I always believe association is better to remember what you have to do, then pure memory. So that is why I want to talk about a video that went viral, that’s about Ashton Kutcher. So first, watch the video.
Now, while you may or may not like Ashton Kutcher he gives a fantastic speech. Now, I know in it, he doesn’t talk about social media, but what he does in the speech (and why it went viral) are the same things you have to think about when writing a blog post, sending a tweet, taking a photo on Instagram, etc.
So, let’s break down his speech.
- The inside edge: Right in the beginning he tells us that he is giving us an insider secret. Let’s face it, everyone wants to be a part of a secret, they want to know something no one else does and your customers want to know more about your business then just what the public sees. They want to know more about you as an owner, they want to know what happens behind the scenes, give them a taste of it with a social media post here and there. Take a picture of the large shipment of pet food you received. Take a video of a unique grooming job being done at your store. Let people see what they won’t always see at the store.
- Hook ’em: Ashton comes out admitting he is a fraud. Wait, what’s that you say, a fraud?! Well, he admits his real name is Chris, not Ashton. This is the hook that social media posts need to begin with. Something that keeps them reading, keeps them coming back and in the beginning of your post or Facebook update, there needs to be a hook. Whether it’s the link on a page to lead to something else, or a reason for me to click on something, you need to hook me in. Make it interesting that not everyone knows. “Survey indicates new record about pets.” It’s not the whole story, but it’s the lead, something that gets that person to interact with your site, making click on an ad, get that coupon or just spend more time on your website. Get them with something interesting to grab their attention.
- Lists make life easier: There have been recent blogs started by companies/retailers about sometimes helping customers, personal experiences, tons of different things. The problem is, if you write a blog post with a giant wall of text, no one will read it. Lists (just like this one) break things down to make it easier to read. Something you can do with social media posts is give a hint at the list. Maybe share one of the interesting points on your list. Again, comes back to hooking people in and lists are great. It’s the same reason Buzzfeed has become so popular, people love lists, take advantage of it.
- Keep it vague: Ashton breaks down the three things he wants to talk about, opportunity, being “sexy” and living life. Now most people have heard the speech from their parents, “take advantage of opportunities, live your life to the fullest,” But I guarantee no one heard the “be sexy” talk from their parents. Don’t lay down all your cards when explaining what you’re going to talk about. He lets you know what two of the things he will talk about, but the third, who knows, now I have to listen and see.
- Inspire or Advice: While going on through his list of three things, he gives a great speech but it’s inspiring and it is great advice in life. Whatever you’re sharing with your customers, be passionate about it, give them advice that helps them, betters their lives. We are all in customer service based jobs and we need to make sure the customer is rewarded for their time spent reading your tweet, Facebook post or blog.
- Bigger Mouth, Bigger Audience: Now, I am not saying, be that loud obnoxious person who yells at their audience constantly or pushes things on them, talks over them. By bigger mouth, I mean, a celebrity. Someone people listen to. Now, I know that most likely, you don’t have a budget to hire a celebrity to talk for you. But you don’t need one. Thundershirt is a prime example. They sent a Thundershirt to Dierks Bentley’s dog, and tweeted at him about it. He responded on Twitter thanking them. Now, if I were a betting man, I would say that Thundershirt had a lot more page views that day on its website, its Twitter page and maybe even more sales and they didn’t have to pay for it. Interacting and helping celebrities then acknowledge them on Twitter or Facebook is one of the easiest things you can do. Let them respond and now their audience has heard of your brand or store.
I really do wish I could tell all retailers and product designers that if you follow certain steps exactly you will be able to be successful at social media, it doesn’t work like that. Though there are some general guidelines that people who are successful on social media use and I hope these guidelines help you when planning out your next social media campaign or post.