Last year I wrote about the importance of tracking your traffic, and talked a little bit about how important it is to create great content (articles, videos, interactive tweets/Facebook posts). I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not just important to produce content to market your company or brand, it’s the most important thing. In fact, I believe that businesses who fail to produce new and vibrant content will see a significant decline in business over the next 5-10 years.
Seth Godin (an international marketing superstar) decided about 10 years ago that he was going to publish new content to his blog EVERY DAY. His daily posts range from a few sentences to a few pages long. But by doing so, he’s amassed an army of followers (300,000 on Facebook alone). Now, when he publishes a new book or product, he has loyal followers that are happy to pay a few bucks for his latest creation because of all of the great, free content he’s produced.
How are you interacting with your customers, clients, and friends? Producing high quality, high-touch content is the difference between you and your competition… I guarantee it.
I live in Bloomington / Normal, Illinois. A couple of years ago, a local guy who has lived here his entire life created a Facebook page devoted to conversations about the local bar/restaurant scene. Two or three times a week he posts tidbits, updates and gossip about places to eat. Sometimes he posts the history of one of my favorite dishes, or when a place is about to close. When there is a new post, I read it every time, and after I’m done reading that post, I click over to his page and go back a few stories to make sure I didn’t miss anything else.
I’m not alone. His page has almost 8,000 fans (in a town of just over 100K). Think about that! He’s got almost 10% of the entire town who love his posts (not to mention the thousands that read it from a shared post of one of their friends).
Rewind your brains to 10 years ago. Pre-facebook, pre-smart phones, pre-tablets, pre-sharing every cute picture of your dog. If someone asked me if I would spend time out of my day looking at photos of a kitchen of a new restaurant that was being built, I would have said you’re crazy. If you asked me if I would PUBLICLY comment on an article about a new fast-food chicken place coming to town, I would have punched you in your throat (I was more violent about social media back then apparently).
The fact is that we crave content. No matter what the form. Maybe it’s a photo, maybe it’s a new article, a tip or trick, or the best ever content…. gossip. Gossip doesn’t have to be bad (although gossip within a business it’s deadly… but I digress). It can be a rumor that there is a new Chevy’s coming to town (I’m starting that rumor because I want it to be true).
I’ve never met the guy who writes the Blo/No Restaurant Scene page. But over the last few years I’ve become incredibly loyal to him and his brand. He’s never steered me wrong. His fans are fun to interact with…. and to be honest, I love knowing the information before other people who don’t read his posts (cue the gossip). When we’re driving around town, I love the power of knowing that the patch of dirt near the mall is going to to turn into a Portillos (again, starting a rumor… I’m desperate).
If the guy wanted to monetize his information (by publishing a book, starting a youtube channel with advertisements, open his own restaurant, etc), I’d be the first in line to support him. Why? Because he’s given me so much free content over the years.
What does this mean for your business or brand? It means you can no longer sit and wait for customers to come to you. Billboards are dead. Print media is dead. Direct mail is dead. As consumers, we’re tired of being sold to. We’re tired of companies begging for our business. We don’t trust anyone that says “you’ll love our service!” You have to prove it without shoving it down our throats.
You must actively create content in order to stay relevant. If you’re a home remodeler, you must post pictures of your “before and after” work. If you’re a heating and air conditioning company, you must write an article about the dangers of carbon monoxide being released from old furnaces. Here’s the most important thing: Build loyalty and you’ll never have to ask for the sale. The fans of your company will deliver sales to you.
If you shared that before and after picture (and I’m making the huge assumption that you’re actually good at your job), then let your social sharing do it’s job. There is someone out there who will share YOUR photo on their spouse’s timeline with a caption like “See! We can do this to OUR kitchen!” Then their friends get onto that thread and give suggestions on where the wine rack should go and how important a double oven really is. Don’t forget that ALL of that happened outside of your page (which means you didn’t see it), but it’s happening…. you’re slowly building your online personality.
When you log onto your business Facebook page, you’ll see the area (to update your status) that says “what have you been up to?” I would challenge you to change that wording in your mind to “Insert Something Clever.” You want to be clever, charming, entertaining, informative, personable and most importantly… REAL with your customers. By giving them “behind the curtain” access to your company they’ll trust you more. They’ll be more loyal. They’ll understand your company is made up of humans. They’ll become family. They’ll be rooting for you. They’ll feel like they’re part of your success. And… while they may not need your services right now, they’ll immediately tell their friends that do.
It’s a big task. I know. But it’s imperative you do it. There were naysayers ten years ago that said their company didn’t need a website. There are still naysayers saying their company doesn’t need a Facebook page. For those of you who poo-poo’d the idea of being “online”, this is your opportunity to be ahead of the curve.
If you don’t have the time to devote to building your brand’s personality online (or maybe you’re lacking the knowhow or talent to produce such a brand), you should consider hiring a media marketing firm that specializes in this.
Look for a company that specializes in content creation. Don’t settle for someone who just “helps you set up your Facebook and Twitter accounts.” If you want to compete at a pro level, you’ll need a firm to help you with all aspects of cultivating your online personality. From web design, video production, photography and ESPECIALLY writing unique, funny, and (most importantly) clever content.
A complete media marketing company like that will represent you and your brand (and share your company’s SOUL) so well you would think they’ve been part of your team since the day you opened your doors.