It's easy to do social media when you work in a fun industry, right? Selling consumer items direct to adoring fans makes promoting on social so straightforward. When you work with a "boring business" or an industry that isn't as exciting, you may think that social media can't be worthwhile for you to connect with customers and prospects.
So many of the business-people I meet have this attitude: "I think it's cool, my kids love it, but I don't get it, and I don't think it would work for my business." Because something is new and different, or because the business or the industry is too dull, they think there is no way they can use social media to get attention. This is such a fearful and backwards way of thinking, and it is a waste of the tremendous opportunity that social media has to get extremely targeted attention at a great price. Let me dive into some specific ways that you can get your business, no matter how dull, some actual attention on social media.
1. Reaching Your Audience With Engaging Facebook Ads
Facebook is the number one platform for lots of reasons, but the biggest is that they give you as a business or a marketer all the tools you need to target your exact ideal customer with whatever you want. For "boring businesses," this opens up a world of possibilities. No matter what kind of product or service you are selling, your customers are on Facebook, some of them nearly a whole hour per day. Right now you can get your content in front of someone that lives in your town, likes x, y, and z on Facebook, has whatever job title, and has been to your website before, for pennies compared to the rising cost of Google Ads. Your Facebook ads are more engaging and more targeted and the time is now to get on board. You can create relevant content and serve it directly to the people who won't think your business is boring.
Let's think about a software company trying to reach a very specific group of companies in an account-based marketing campaign. You know the companies you want to sell to, you can find out who works there and who makes the decisions, and you can create a very specific Facebook ad to target people at those companies that mention the direct way your software can help solve a problem for them. It takes time, it takes effort, but if you want to actually do something with Facebook and not just post a blog for two likes and no clicks, this is what it takes to get your business some real exposure.
Action Item: understand your audience, choose a very specific offer that will reach them, build and create an ad with real creative and design, launch it for $5/10/20 a day, and watch the results. Facebook shows you everything you need to see to understand what went well and what didn't, and if you aren't sure, you can ask us or Google it. Bottom line: the time to get started is now.
2. Using Instagram To Connect, Not Just Post Pictures
Instagram, and specifically Instagram influencers, is quickly becoming one of my favorite forms of marketing because it leverages a passionate audience, creative collaborators, and residual value in a very vapid medium.
I hear from business owners who are confused and annoyed by Instagram because they don't think their business or industry is photogenic and they don't know what they would post or who would care. Too many people see Instagram as just something you have to post and ignore, instead of seeing it as a tool to interact with the people you want to be your clients and customers. Those people are on there, more and more every day, so you should be on there as well, proactively going to find them and reach them with something valuable.
How do you reach these people with value? Enter the influencer. Wherever your "boring" business is, there are kids, college students, 20-somethings, even older, who have thousands and thousands of followers. Not all of them are local, but some of them certainly are. Reaching out to these people is as simple as sending a DM or an email and ask them if you can pay them to hold a meetup at your business. Fans want to meet their favorite Instagram star and their parents have to drive them there, and instead of sitting in line, Dad is wandering around looking at your products. You're paying for attention immediately, and in the long-term. If you pay the influencer $1,000, 500 people show up, and some of them make a purchase that day, you've got a metric for the immediate ROI on that sort of partnership and can grow from there.
Action Item: use Instagram to tell the story of your business: what you do, who the people inside it are, and what the customers you serve are like. Connect with people on it and provide them contextual value that is relevant to them and their interests without asking for anything in return. Let your product, service or team speak for itself. Create a network of influencers and test the waters to see what they look for in partnerships and how you can create something successful together
3. Getting Your Name Where People Will See It On Snapchat
The most intimidating of all the current social media mediums, Snapchat has some challenges with business use as a sharing platform. Without an open, searchable network, you have to build your following by scratch and then provide consistent interesting content for them to connect with. There are fewer opportunities to link them to your site, so my recommendation is not to spend all your energy there if that sacrifices time on some of the initiatives from above.
But even if you can't create fun, interesting 10-second snaps that have anything to do with your business, there's still a fantastic way to get your business in front of targeted users. Geo-located filters let you select an area on a map for certain hours or days with a custom filter for people to use on their photos. Lots of businesses use it at their own locations to provide an impression when users are there, but my favorite use is when you place a filter at unrelated places your ideal customer will be.
If you have a less exciting business like an IT support firm, a test prep center, or a medical practice, you can think of fun and interesting places where your ideal customers will be and how you can reach them. Put a filter at a high school from 2-5 PM promoting your auto dealership or test prep during a school day, or on the weekend at the mall, or one for your IT support firm at a large tech conference. You might not think there is going to be any sort of engagement or return, but you don't know until you try, and getting your foot in the door with a custom filter for a couple hours can be as affordable as $20. You owe it to your business to try new mediums like Snapchat because obviously, the tried and true social media tactics aren't working.
Action Item: pick your target audience, find a place and time you think they will be there, design a fun filter with a value proposition from your business, and run it. Analyze the impressions and track the results. You won't know the impact until you do it yourself. One hour of your time and $20 could get you a data point to see what it can do.
The opportunities on social media are out there, but it takes an aggressively creative mindset to be able to recognize and actualize them so they can materialize results for your business, no matter how dry or dull or boring your business might be. If you have a marketing manager and they aren't thinking this way, they aren't doing their job. If you have a marketing agency and they aren't pitching you ideas like this, they definitely aren't doing their job. Nobody gets ahead in social by doing the same old thing on the same old platforms over and over. Try everything, find opportunity, and create separation between yourself and the competition.