Do you have a local business on social media that's not getting the traction you thought it would? Are you wondering how to better interact with your customers online?
You're not alone. When it comes to writing social media messages, writing for your own company can be surprisingly difficult which leads to a lot of frustration.
Faced with these two things, it's not a stretch to see how it can lead to bad habits that end up being more of a waste of time than anything close to helping your business.
Let's take a look at what makes good social media messaging and 5 examples of local Cape Cod businesses who are getting their social media right.
Small businesses can be especially vulnerable to bad content.
(Which ultimately leads to being unfollowed.)
Small businesses owners are often in a time crunch and it can be tempting to throw something up on social media just to show some sign of life. "Look at us! We're doing the social medias!" Right? (No.)
We've all done this kind of thing to some extent. But publishing content without a solid purpose has a negative effect.
Your customers are smart people. They can tell when something is valuable and when something's just a piece of internet junk.
Creating social media accounts that people want to follow takes time. It's a choice you make. Which means creating bad content is also a choice you make.
If you want to have social media pay off for you, you have to be willing to put in the effort.
Get to know your customers just like you do in person. It will pay dividends but there is no fast way to go about it.
Social media is a treasure trove of personal connection if you do it right.
It's time to tighten up your social media game and start connecting with your customers the right way. Give them content that they want to interact with.
Your customers want to know the business they'll be working with. They want to know what your business ethic and standards are like. Wow them with your company's values.
But you can't just tell them that you're amazing, you need to show how amazing you are (and you are amazing).
Show off how amazing you are without overtly selling yourself.
As a local business you need to focus on what makes you different than everyone else out there.
You may not think that you're terribly special but how you stand out from the rest makes a big difference to your customers, even if it's in seemingly small ways.
Social media is the PERFECT outlet for this.
Let's look at local landscapers an example.
I can throw a rock out my window on Cape Cod and it'd hit a landscaper (you probably could, too, but let's not—I don't condone violence against landscapers).
As common as they are to find, I can unequivocally tell you that each one of our Cape Cod landscaping companies are different.
Some landscapers are on the larger side. They employ a lot of people and take care of businesses and rambling estate property.
Other landscapers prefer to keep a lean crew and work on smaller projects—helping average people have beautiful lawns and helping them get some time back in their day.
Others specialize in only sustainable, edible landscaping.
Because of these differences, each company has a plethora of things they can say to their customers in all sorts of ways.
It would be a mistake for the edible landscaper to post about the latest mega irrigation system to his audience... it has no value to them.
But the edible landscaper could post about sustainable lawn watering and get a lot of engagement with that because it's something that is relevant and useful to his customers.
The same concept goes for:
wedding photographers, fried seafood restaurants, souvenir shops, mini golf courses... any profession.
Because everyone has a unique twist on the way they approach their business.
Let's take a look at 5 examples of Cape Cod companies who are doing their social media right.
5 small businesses on Cape Cod that are getting their social media right.
1. Cisco Brewery
You might know them as one of our local Cape Cod craft breweries. But if you follow them on social media, it doesn't take long to see that Cisco Brewery is much more than craft beer.
This company has done an amazing job creating stories that capture your attention. They create content that's so fun and intriguing you can't help but want to invest your social media time in them.
You can take a quick look on any of their social media platforms and see that they're deeply involved in local environmental causes.
They've teamed up with OCEARCH to create a craft beer that funds research & education on sharks and ocean conservation: Shark Tracker Light Lager (which also has it's own Twitter handle @shark_tracker)
Their social media is loaded with images and videos that are as entertaining as they are educational.
They've created many branded hashtags but my favorite by far is: #DrinkBeerDoGood. Saving the World one Can at a Time!
That hashtag is on point, on brand, and in 15 characters it tells you everything you need to know about Cisco Brewers.
Their cheeky sense of humor is palpable and infectious. And they've done an amazing job with branding and interacting with their customers.
What they could improve:
There's nary room for improvement in Cisco Brewer's social presence. The only thing I could find was there's no reference to their Instagram account on their website.
2. MidCape Home Centers
Your local home improvement store on Cape Cod. If you hate Home Depot and love to shop local—you likely shop here for your big home improvement projects.
MidCape Home Centers is deeply customer focused and heavily involved with the local Cape Cod community.
They recently refocused their their social media efforts in the last 8 months to create more engaging content.
Community projects that involve their employees and their customers are in the spotlight.
There are video demos of products, contests, and photos of dreamy completed projects that you wish were yours.
It's important to note is their use of photography. Professional photography of their products is key to making customers wish the featured product was theirs.
Their Facebook profile makes sure you know how you can get to them by public transit, or where to park if you're driving yourself.
What they could improve:
It's important to use the same (or similar) brand avatars across each social media platform. Consistency is key with branding and it helps customers quickly identify if they're following the right account.
It would also be good to have their other social accounts listed in the About section on Facebook to help guide readers to new outlets.
3. Cape Cod Package Store
Cape Cod Package Store is a quaint liquor store in Centerville, MA. CCPS is a forward-thinking little store that packs a huge selection of wine, beers, liquors, and olive oil (!!).
With an app of their own, customers (of legal age) can place an order for delivery. It's a great system for customers who are tech savvy.
CCPS is also invested in supporting local charities and organizations which you can easily discover as they promote their functions on social media with the use of Facebook events and posts on Twitter.
They also do a good job of engaging with customers and other companies in their industry—which definitely gives them a broad reach and shows you that they're know they're not just appealing to individuals but also to companies.
They're always featuring a variety of brands that they sell in the store. And they mix that up with a good dose of humor that's relevant to their customers in a way that makes them relatable and shows off a nice part of their cheeky personality.
Head over to Pinterest, while CCPS doesn't "sell" product over there, they do a great job of showing off their personality and creating interesting boards related to spirits and entertaining that are helpful for their customer base.
What they could improve:
It's important to use the same (or similar) brand avatars across each social media platform. Consistency is key with branding and it helps customers quickly identify if they're following the right account. Sizing varies for each platform and it's best to create an avatar that doesn't have elements of branding cut off.
Definitely key in on the app and delivery features more. Those are two crazy helpful options for customers to highlight as a business.
They should show their social media icons on their website so people who go there know that they can interact with them on those platforms.
4. Cape Cod Celebrations
Jamie Bohlin is a popular events planner on Cape Cod. Her company, Cape Cod Celebrations, plans weddings, family reunions, proposals, and corporate destination events (and everything in between).
But what do you put on social media when your service doesn't create or sell an end product?
Jamie does a fantastic job of curating content to spread throughout social media networks.
As a planner it works in her favor because it provides inspiration and ideas for clients who want certain events.
There's no shortage of tips and tricks that an events planner can supply for their clients. One special touch that makes Jamie's posts unique is that she makes sure to mark the 1 year anniversary of the events she's planned.
This is a fantastic way to create evergreen content, keep it personal, and it allows you to personally tag each person involved. It creates a huge opportunity to be seen by friends of friends.
I love that Jamie has created her own branded hashtag on Instagram (#yourvisionisourbrand) it's a perfect way for clients to see every post that's been tagged with it with a single click. It's very smart marketing.
Cape Cod Celebrations also does a great job giving followers a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to work with her and her crew on Instagram.
Pinterest is a wealth of event planning boards to get lost in for hours and hours. It's the ultimate content curation platform.
What they could improve:
When using Pinterest for business, the account should be converted to a business account to take advantage of all Pinterest for Business has to offer, like, analytics, verifiable (clickable links), and the opportunity to showcase your 5 most important Pinterest boards right underneath your profile.
Instagram hashtags will not work with punctuation marks. They will only activate up to the first punctuation mark so a hashtag for an anniversary date #7.14.16 will only be active for the hashtag #7.
5. Harborview Studios
Harborview Studios is mostly known for their elegant take on wedding videos (although they also do corporate work).
Social media is challenging when wear all of the hats in your company. But, it's not impossible.
The wedding industry has a long sales cycle and can be a tough industry to stand out in.
Knowing the value that social media has in the wedding industry, Sean knew that his company would benefit immensely by upping Harborview Studios's social media game.
He started the his new content push in February, and engagement & customer acquisition has increased noticeably.
Sean has used social media to demonstrate his personality to clients. He doesn't tell you that he's fun to work with, you can see it right on his Instagram and Facebook pages—an essential element for brides and grooms when choosing a wedding videographer to work with.
To further add to his social reach he utilizes tagging. By tagging the couple he's working with and all the vendors associated with the party (along with any custom hashtags the couple created for their wedding) he's able to get his Facebook and Instagram posts seen by more people.
He also uses social media to showcase short sneak peek wedding trailers that he's working on. It's an exceptional way to get customers (and friends of customers) excited to see the final product.
Sean knows his demographic *loves* to open packaging—so he Instagrams his branded HVS mailer packaging just before it gets shipped out. It's another way to tantalize and excite your customer base.
What they could improve:
His Facebook Live analytics have shown that his Live videos get a lot of traction—a good feature to explore while it's in the height of its popularity.
Since 15% of Twitter users will unfollow a brand within 3 weeks if a brand hasn’t made a strong enough effort to keep them engaged early—it's important to engage through visuals.
Adding visuals to a tweet will increase impressions, overall reach, and likelihood of being retweeted.
Now that you know what good content looks like... what are you going to do about your own social media?
First of all start low and slow. You don't have to post a lot, just try to be consistent. People love consistency.
Figure out who your audience is and what goals are important to you.
Website traffic is a good place to start if you don't already have a goal in place. But be wary of getting hung up on vanity goals.
Know that the number of followers doesn't necessarily equal success. If you're a local business that has 10,000 followers but only 500 are quality follows who want to buy from you? It's not as impressive as you first thought.
Make sure you talk to your customer like you're both human. Don't be afraid to show your personality. These things are things that help you connect with your customers in person, right? It's no different online.
In general, if you can't see yourself say something to a customer's face, do not feel compelled to post it online.
Remember, this is about extending your community not making a sale. Sales will follow the relationships you create online. Give your customers good content and they'll be more than happy to sing your praises from every mountain top.
Do you know a small businesses doing social media right? (Maybe your own?)
I'd love to hear about them. Leave a comment below, or reach out to me on Facebook @igcdesign.