What should you share on social media?
This is a question that still haunts many small business owners, even after all these years (for reference, LinkedIn launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010, and TikTok in 2016).
The advice we tend to share with our clients is quite simple.
Start with defining your customer value proposition and work backwards.
The content you share should bring to life the reasons why customers should choose to buy from you, rather than from one your competitors.
Given that people are highly unlikely to be scrolling through their Instagram feeds in a quest to discover your product attributes, the challenge is to create and share content that people actually want to see.
No two businesses are exactly the same, and so it follows that no two social feeds would be the same either.
But there are some rules of thumb.
If you sell handmade wood-burning stoves then you might want to commission a series of beautiful videos that tell the story of the manufacturing process – from the choice of materials to the skilled crafts people involved in making the product.
The quality and craft are what your customers are buying into, after all, so give them a glimpse behind the scenes.
You might also want to show how the wood-burning stoves look when lit in people’s homes to sell the lifestyle.
If you want to be known for providing an outstanding service, then it often makes sense to share customer stories that help to underscore the point.
John Roberts, the founder of AO.com, once explained how a member of his team had suggested they should invite customers to share photos and videos of their newly purchased appliances.
“I could not imagine anyone would want to show off a bloody fridge or a washing machine,” Roberts joked.
But they did, in droves.
Getting customers involved helped raise awareness of the brand when it was still quite new. And as images and videos were often accompanied with a note about how the delivery driver had helpfully installed the product, and taken away the packaging, this differentiated the brand from established competitors, like Currys, that were not exactly known for offering great customer service.
It is a cliché, but people really do buy from people. And so we almost always advocate that the people behind a brand are placed centre stage on social media.
And the stats bear this out. Posts and stories featuring authentic video and photography of people usually perform best.