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Changing the way businesses think about social media | NZBusiness Magazine


For many business owners social media has a reputation for being ‘too hard’ and a ‘time-wasting pain’. Christine Westbury is on a mission to change this perception.

“We are noticing that businesses who are leveraging social media for story-telling, brand building and employment attraction are standing out among the crowd,” shares Christine Westbury. “The truth is, social media has evolved the way we perceive and learn about businesses. People want to see the humans behind a brand, who they will be working with and the ‘good’ they are doing in the world.”

A human-centric approach to social media helps employee recruitment, too. This has been a major headache for many businesses over the past 18+ months and it’s been difficult to attract new talent as the pool has been small (thanks closed borders!). Add in the fact that people have been reluctant to move during uncertain times and it’s been a tough market.

Imagine it from the job seekers perspective – they’re more likely to seek out an employer who fits their personal values and who prominently showcases an exciting, fun work culture.

“It’s about playing the long game,” says Christine. “Pulling together a people-focused social media strategy shows you are human; it proves the people within the business are real and not robots which are just, boring. Sharing the stories of how you got to where you are, the stories of clients, the stories of your people, and the wonderful things you are doing is key.”

It’s a common misconception that social media is ‘all about how great we are’.

“If we look at what works for our clients, it’s not ‘about us’ content – it’s content that solves the problems of the people they are hoping to reach,” says Christine. “Take time to think about the problems of your target audience. How does your business solve these problems and what value-based content can you share that speaks to these issues?

“So often we see ‘We are the best at xyz services/products’ posts, which, unfortunately, do not perform well on social media. People want to have their problems solved.”

People want to see the humans behind a brand, who they will be working with and the ‘good’ they are doing in the world.”

Typically, businesses will fall into three camps; businesses that post often and use a strategic approach to social media, businesses that start with the best intentions but lose momentum or accountability, and businesses that don’t post at all.

A strategic approach involves multiple topics, mixed content types, and storytelling to build out the brand; more easily achieved by looking from the ‘outside in’. Without this, content often stagnates as brands only cover one topic, such as hints and tips. The other scenario sees an internal person within the business get tasked with social media, only to lose enthusiasm, or move on from the company, leaving the social media accounts looking forgotten.

Finally, there are the businesses not posting at all, who are missing out, and not seeing the value of social media for more than just lead generation.

If you are looking to make improvements to your social media strategy, try these three tips:

  • Engage a photographer and pull together a collection of photographs; capture the team, projects, and clients. Having a content bank makes it easy as you can simply draw out an image that matches the social media caption and avoid stock imagery (which is a social media sin).
  • Take a moment to brainstorm the problems you solve for clients. How does your business add value and speak to that problem? What hints, tips, free consultation or free content can you offer? Craft content to these problems.
  • Create a calendar of social media posts and post regularly – consistency is key for building a brand online. And, if consistency is going to be a challenge; delegate or outsource to a social media management agency.

Social media isn’t ‘too hard’ and the best advice is to just start – review what works, try new things and keep the momentum going.

“Show the people behind the business, keep it problem-centric, try different forms of media and tell stories,” says Christine. “Because, if you are not on social media or doing it well, you could be missing out. Go on, give it a go.”

Christine Westbury is the founder and CEO of Blackjet. www.blackjet.co.nz@blackjetnz  





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