I’m going to start with a quick story.
Just skip over it if you just want to move down to the facts – I honestly wouldn’t blame you…oh yeah and there is cursing in this post too…so just do what you need to do.
A bunch of years back I was working as a social media marketing consultant for a brick and mortar startup “burger joint.” It was in a small, densely populated, high income metropolitan area and my contract began 6 months before the opening. My job was to generate enough awareness for the joint’s opening day festivities. Of course I had no product content or pictures, the location was in disarray filled with construction workers, the owner was a madman who made my skin crawl and I was working in an area where I knew no-one. It kind of sucked.
So, as I built their website, I tried to figure how the hell I would promote this place on social media without showing their product – burgers, which they weren’t making yet.
Twitter is my least favorite platform, but for this project it was my best bet. Twitter doesn’t rely on visuals like Facebook and other sites and I could tell the story of the build without having to write too in depth about anything.
So for 6 months I tweeted all about the build out. I tweeted about menu items and asked for advice on types of napkins and what colors to use for the tablecloths. I followed all the locals and joined in their lamenting about the local NFL and NBA teams losses, as well who was running for what office (played the middle of the fence on that one). I even bitched about the traffic issues ( a common complaint), which I watched on WAZE when I wasn’t in the area.
I tweeted, we got closer to the opening, the owner continued to be an ass and I secretly wondered if anyone would show up at the opening since I hadn’t shared one single pic of their food.
I shouldn’t have worried.
It was a Friday night and around 10:30pm my phone rang. It was the lunatic proprietor informing me that they had just received all of their permits. Great, I thought. After a soft opening, maybe a friends and family night they would probably open in a week or two. This meant I had a bit more time to build the buzz, maybe do some additional advertising to stack the deck in my favor and get a decent crowd for opening day.
The lunate had another idea. He explained to me that he was going to open Saturday (the next day) for lunch. I tried to explain all of the reasons this was a bad idea (there were so, so many), but the bottom line was they weren’t ready. The staff hadn’t been trained enough, they hadn’t had practice runs, etc. I was told that while some of that may be correct, I should stick to what I was paid to do and that was to make sure that when the doors opened, there were customers. But wait, not too many customers. This nut job explained that he would like me to make sure there were just a few customers since they really needed to practice more. I know, it made no sense.
Long story long, Saturday at 10:00am (1 hour before opening), I sent one tiny little tweet out that said in the smallest possible way that I could – doors open in an hour. That was it, it was so small surely no-one would show up which is what I was now hoping for so whatever disaster lay ahead at least only a few would witness it.
On a beautiful Saturday morning in the middle of September the doors of an 80% read burger joint opened in a tiny, upscale east coast metropolitan town to a line of hundreds of people that circled 2 city blocks and didn’t dissipate for 7 hours. I was there to watch the chaos in the back of the shop that fortunately wasn’t seen in the front of the shop. The lunatic and his poor staff figured it out and the place continued to be successful long after I left (which was the following week.)
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Youtube are the top social media sites used in the United States for businesses and brands.
Before you decide which social media site works best for your business, first answer these questions – keep your notes somewhere close and we will get an answer for you at the end of this:
- Are you brick and mortar or online product or service?
- What category does your business fall in to (you may have more than one that is okay)
- Brick and Mortar
- Ecommerce of anything
- Visually based – restaurant, photography, apparel, beauty, animals or something similar.
- Pay for service, webbased information or entertainment
- Storytelling, blogging
3. What type of content do. you have available right now that you could share? Pictures, products, stories, maybe just an idea?
4. Will you be able to make long form videos (these are someone staged, tutorial types).
5. Will you be able to make short casual videos?
6. When will you launch? (if you haven’t already)
7. How much time a day can you focus on social?
8. What social sites are your customers hanging out on?
Okay, that is not close to everything but it is just enough to come up with a plan.
Looking at your answers, I want you to only pick one social media site for your business. Just one. You can add more as you grow, but social media marketing is an enormous time suck and if you go all in on one you will have a much better chance at success and growth!
Facebook – Good for restaurants and other brick and mortar stores. Facebook has great location based options for businesses as well as offers for products that are on sale, and coupons etc. Short form videos are best here and can be used in stories. Facebook Live is a great video option, again for location based videos. Facebook is also perfect for informational based companies – meaning sharing tutorials, lists, stories, news, entertainment posts.
Instagram – Heavy visuals, great for photographers, makeup artists, before and afters, pet based products, food. IG is for a more personal, casual approach and perfect if you are selling any kind of apparel. Short form videos work with Stories. IGTV is good for longform videos if you don’t want to go on Youtube.
Pinterest – Again, heavy visuals and shopping. Pinterest is a a great way to have your photos direct the user directly to your website (make sure the pix have links). Pinterest is also great if your company has products that are easily categorized into separate areas – ie Pinterest Boards
Twitter – Twitter is a tough one for a lot of people. You either tweet or you don’t get it and hate it. Twitter has worked wonderfully for me when I had a specific issue that only Twitter could address (The Quick Story). If you are information heavy, news based, pumping out blog posts constantly, and are interested in more B2B marketing, Twitter may be right up your alley! Linkedin also fills these spots but your voice must be much more professional on Linkedin. Think of Linkedin as the office Christmas Party without the booze, drugs, and illicit sex (I don’t know, I hear Corporate Christmas parties are like this but I wouldn’t know).
and then there is Youtube. Obviously if you are tutorial based, Youtube is where you want to be. Videos take time, a lot of time but if they are a major part of your business, youtube will be fantastic for you!
Look at your notes, look at the little descriptions and narrow it down…to just one. And GO ALL IN! Commit hard to working it every single day and that focus will enable you to build your audience quickly.
Last tip – Do not wait for your company to launch. Start now by telling your story as you go and when you open the doors you will have a line of people circling 2 city blocks too!