How to start creating social content that works

Most social content that businesses post is not working for them. Much to their frustration, it doesn’t get any engagement and it doesn’t result in a flurry of sales. It doesn’t have to be this way. When it’s done right posting on social media can be really effective and consistently drive sales. In 2021 the average person will spend 100 days of the year scrolling on social media, so there has never been a better time to post!

If you’ve tried posting on social before and it hasn’t worked then now is the time to take a fresh look at how you can get it working.

In this article, we’re going to look at how to plan authentic, value-adding content to engage your customers and nurture them into becoming some of your best customers. I’ll be upfront and tell you it takes the 3 things that every business owner hates hearing: time, planning and consistency. If you’re finding your marketing isn’t working it’s because you’re lacking one or more of these 3. Let’s look at how you can start getting it working for your business.

Firstly let’s overcome 2 of the biggest misconceptions about posting on social media.

Man facepalming

Social media doesn’t work

We talk a lot about posting on social media and when we speak to some business owners about it they roll their eyes and say ‘I’ve tried that and it didn’t work’. What they are often referring to is a handful of posts they did that got one like and an email newsletter they sent out that was terrible. So they gave up.

They often compare themselves to another business that is doing really well, posts consistently and spends time and money making it work, compare that to their lack-lustre attempt and use this to justify to themselves not trying to make it work for their business, as they will ‘never be as good at it as they are’.

Here is the truth that a lot of business owners don’t want to hear.

Social media works – posting and interacting will get you more customers. We’ve worked with over 400 businesses and the ones who are active on social media are consistently doing better and charging more for what they do.

Audience 3

My customers don’t use social media

Your customers are on social media, 50% of the global population use social media and the average smartphone owner will spend 100 DAYS of 2021 scrolling on their phones. So your audience is there waiting to hear from you, to make it work you just need to post the right content (more on that later).

I can guarantee that posting ‘every now and then’ on social and sending an irregular newsletter won’t work for you, or anyone else out there. If you want to make it work you need to be visible and help your customer and show them why you’re the person they should follow to success. The best bit is it doesn’t take a lot of time to get started.

Audience waiting

Your audience is waiting

Your customers are using social media a lot and they often don’t even know that they’re looking for what you do or sell. They don’t open Instagram and think “I wonder what my accountant has been up to this week”, but they might see your post and then remember that they need to ask their accountant a question or get their tax sorted out! 

So attracting new customers online isn’t as hard as it seems at first glance. If you can show the customer that you can help them solve their problem and that you understand what their problem is then you will have their attention.

Audience with phones out filming stage

Your audience wants to hear from you

Once you have their attention you need to engage your audience, and one of the best ways to do this is to be authentic. It takes a lot of courage to step forward and be seen, however, if you hide away behind your business it’s probably costing you business. If you’re trying to build trust then you need to see the person behind the business, otherwise, you’ll just look like a scam or a drop shipper, and people don’t trust those companies at all.

When customers are choosing if they want to buy from a small business online a big consideration is trust, they are trying to work out if they can trust you to deliver. Whatever you sell online, products or services, you need to show them that you can deliver on the promise. With established brands, customers have the reputation and social proof to reassure them that they will deliver, with a small business you need to earn this trust. That means you need to show them you making it, doing it, living it and the results in action. You need testimonials and visual evidence that they can trust you. Customers often want to choose your business, they’re just lacking the trust to do it.

You

You need to be you

If all you give your customers to care about is the price, then that’s what they’ll care about. So if you want to charge more for what you sell then you need to give your customers something to care about. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to post about your story, why you run your business, what drives you, motivates you and what makes you different. I know this can feel a bit daunting but it’s not all selfies and talking to camera videos, you can write blogs, take photos, make how-to videos or even start a podcast. There are lots of ways to get your message out there, but it has to be authentic.

Not for everyone

Your business isn’t for everyone and that’s ok

The huge burden that a lot of business owners place on themselves is that they try and serve everyone. The quote above is from Seth Godin the author of This Is Marketing, and what he tells us in this book is that your business will not be able to serve everyone, in fact, you should actively try and put off those who are not the right fit. This will allow you to focus on working with the people who are the right fit and whom you enjoy working with the most.

So when you create and post your content focus on who does like it and who interacts with it, rather than those who don’t. For example, if you have 100 followers and your post gets 10 likes or shares then that’s great! That’s 10 people who are the right fit and 90 people who either thought it wasn’t for them or simply didn’t see it. Focus on the 10, not the 90 it’s a lot less work.

Post it note saying start

Where and how to start

If you’re thinking “this is all very well Simon but where on earth do I start?” Then here are my 5 steps to making engaging content:

  1. Bullet point 12 problems your customer has that you can help them with. Write them as quotes and use their language eg “I don’t know where to start with social media”
  2. Write a 500 (ish) word blog that answers one of these problems
  3. Find 5 quotes/thoughts/ideas from your blog and post these as 5 separate posts with a link to the blog. You can use a photo or make an image in Canva to make it look more appealing.
  4. Email a link to the blog to your mailing list with a short excerpt to get them interested.
  5. Make a short video of you talking through each blog. You don’t have to read it perfectly to the camera just talk it through, it can be rough and ready, you’ll get better every time you do it. Then post it to YouTube and share on social.

Repeat steps 2-5 for each problem. That’s a 12 week content plan right there.

There are hundreds of ways to make and create content so this is just an idea to get you started. The most important thing is that your content is useful, authentic and consistent.

Clock

You do have time

As I said at the beginning of the article to make posting on social media work you need time, planning and consistency. Which are the 3 hardest things to find in any business, but we have seen this work over and over for businesses that make the time. We only see it fail when a business gives up or when they don’t commit to being really authentic. So here are our top 3 tips:

  1. Spend time making the content useful for your ideal customer.
  2. Plan out your content so you can make it manageable to create and you don’t waste time trying to work out what you should be created each time.
  3. Be consistent, set a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

Give it time to work, the first 50 posts are a warm-up, keep going and it will grow and grow.

The audience you build from useful, authentic and consistent content will reliably deliver you new customers who are ready to buy. It will always outperform Ads and it will keep working for you over and over again so it is worth the work, but you have to believe in yourself and the process.

If you want to know more about how to get marketing working for your business then download our free small business marketing guide and sign up for email updates to get marketing inspiration direct to your inbox.