Welcome back to FYI FRIDAY. For the past two weeks, we’ve been chatting about how to use Facebook for your business, including setting your page up to look professional, in week one and how to get your content in front of your target audience, in week two.
This week we’re going to discuss how to come up with a never-ending supply of creative content and exactly what you should be posting.
Coming up with new content can be a real headache and something that I know puts business owners off of using social media as much as they perhaps should. So, here are my top tips…
Content List and Pinterest
I have a content list, that I use to keep track of ideas and inspiration. Actually, I have two; one on my phone and one on my computer. Whenever an idea for an interactive post, a question or anything else hits me, I write it down in my list so that I can use it later.
I also use Pinterest to store great shareables; Quotes, horsey graphics and images. There’s an amazing wealth of post ideas on Pinterest, so even if you use it for nothing else, I’d advise signing up just for content inspiration. And, naturally, you can follow me at https://www.pinterest.com/sophieccallahan/
When I’m scheduling my social media for the week, I always refer to my content list and to Pinterest, and these tools makes the job easier.
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
So, I want you to start brainstorming. Come up with ten interactive statuses that you can use on your page, that your audience will enjoy. (We spoke about ‘interactive statuses’ in last week’s FYI FRIDAY post) And then I want you to sign up to Pinterest and start pinning content ideas.
Another way to apply content marketing to your Facebook page is by using it to tell stories about the work you do. Rather than posting adverty (yup, I made that word up!) statuses about how great your product is, why not talk about how great your CLIENT is.
If you follow my page, you will see that when I share photographs from recent shoots, I always share my clients’ stories. This is great content marketing!
What I’m doing here is making the post less about how great my photos are and more about how great my client is. I’m evoking emotion by telling a story that my readers can enjoy and relate to. And I’m giving my audience something to engage with. It isn’t just a photo of a horse and a person. The horse and owner in the photo suddenly have a back-story and an identity, so readers find it easier to relate, comment and engage.
If I just share a picture of a horse, people might think ‘Aw, nice horse’ or ‘Aw, nice photo.’ And if I’m lucky they may even click the like button. But if I share with them that this horse has recovered from serious colic surgery and defied all the odds, for example, it gives a new level of meaning to the image. Suddenly people start leaving their best wishes on the photo, or they start identifying with the owner because their horse also had colic surgery…
But even when they aren’t actually talking about how great the photos are (although the hope is that that does happen too) I’m evoking emotion in them that they will then relate to my work and my brand. I’m also giving them a reason to ‘tune in’ next time I post. They want to read the next story. And the next. It’s like a little online collection of short stories for people to read whilst they procrastinate at work. I also use my blog for this too.
This has been so successful for me, that people have told me numerous times that I should put all of my stories into a book. Who knows. Perhaps this is something for the future.
Obviously not every horse I meet has a traumatic medical history, (thank goodness) but I have found it to be true that everybody does have a story of some kind. You just have to find it and practice at becoming a storyteller. (Vlogging is also great practice for this)
TALK to your clients. Firstly, studies prove that when you ask people questions about themselves, it makes you more likeable but secondly, you’ll discover their story and then you can use it in your content marketing.
So, how can you incorporate your clients’ stories into your content marketing on social media, if you’re not a photographer?
If you’re a therapist, can you do a before and after shot and tell the story of a horse who was in pain under saddle and is now winning at events?
If you are a retailer, could you get pictures of your clients using your products and tell their story? It doesn’t really matter if their story doesn’t relate to your product directly.
If you work with other businesses, write about their stories on your page. Do a weekly ‘in the spotlight’ feature. It’ll be content for you and great promotion for them, too. Everybody wins.
To maximise the benefits of content marketing, you need to become the narrator of your clients’ stories.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Post The Personal Stuff
Another thing that people love to read about is you and your life. Going back to what we said at the beginning of this series, about the profile picture and the ‘about’ sections, it is so important to inject your own personality into your business.
There are lots of people out there running similar businesses, but none of them have you. People will do business with you because they like you, so it’s imperative to develop your very own online voice. Show people what you are about… Take a picture of your work space. Of your horse/dog/kids/husband. Share a selfie of you with an exciting location in the background, on a day out, on a hack or at a horse show. Take a picture of your food or drink, a book you’re reading and would recommend, a film you’re watching, a favourite restaurant you frequent.
One of my favourite platforms for this is Instagram. I would say, although I use Facebook the most, that Instagram and Instagram Stories is where I give people the best overall insight into who I am as a person and what my life is like.
I do also push many of those posts across to Facebook, too, but I don’t want to completely bombard Facebook with personal photos of my life, so I pick and choose what to post where. As a general rule, I won’t post more than one personal photo to my Facebook page per day, but I will upload multiple posts to Instagram Stories and choose one of those to use on Facebook and Twitter, too, mixing it up with my other content.
Something that I get asked about a lot, are competitions and giveaways. I have used these quite a bit in my social media marketing, especially at the beginning. When I very first started, I used Like and Share competitions, which actually got me a huge amount of traffic.
However, I’ve since found out that ‘share’ competitions aren’t actually allowed on Facebook, so obviously I’ve stopped doing them. Liking the post can be an entry requirement, but you can’t ask people to share, as part of the competition. You can, however, add ‘Please share this with your friends’ at the bottom, as long as it isn’t a requirement of entering the competition.
I am definitely an advocate of giving free stuff away, despite so many people thinking it’s a sin to give anything away for free. I think as long as it has a purpose (growth of your business or significant exposure) and you don’t do it too often, it’s a great way to delight your audience and get more followers that are interested in what you’re offering.
Don’t be too precious! Nobody ever became poor from giving too much!
(Make sure you follow Facebook’s rules and regulations regarding hosting a competition on your page. You can find a great article about that at Social Media Examiner)
Next week, we’re going to delve into my handiest hints and tricks, to help you really boost your Facebook page, including scheduling, using your insights, joining Facebook groups and more!