Social Media For Small Business Training - The Marketing ShopI’ll start with one of the messages I deliver at every single training programme I conduct and to every customer we work with here at The Marketing Shop, social media is not about sales!  Yes, you might not like it because ultimately we’re all in business to make sales but social media is about communications and yes, by all means you should get sales as a result of using social media but if you’re only interested in social media as another sales channel you’re probably going to be disappointed as it’s a whole lot more than that.  And as it’s a whole lot more than just sales, the right effort will bring in those sales for you anyway!  

Confused?  Well think about the social media channels you personally use and what you like to see on your facebook or twitter feed for example. How do you feel about seeing a local shop forever tell you about how wonderful their latest offers are but never actually referencing an important local or national event – do you get bored? Do you become blind to their updates? Do you unlike their page?

Social media is a place where you can communicate with your customers but it’s a two way thing, you want them to talk to you too. They may not be as vocal in terms of comments as you like but where there’s likes or clicks to your website you’re doing something right.  If you’re not getting the clicks, likes or comments and you are guilty of overdoing the special offer updates, here’s a list of ten ideas for content that’s shareable and a little more interesting for those who’ve taken the time to like or follow you – and to keep them there!

1. Company news – new product ranges or brands, change of opening hours, in-store events, staff news.  You might not have thought about it before now but people like to see businesses doing well and if there’s news worth sharing internally quite often it’s news for the outside world too.

2. Industry news – sometimes there are developments outside of your business that are worth mentioning to your clients. If for example your business is car sales and there is a change in legislation around the NCT (national car test here in Ireland for those overseas) or road tax rates, isn’t this something that affects your customers?  In every industry there are authorities that share essential updates, make sure you’re following all those that apply to you and pass on what’s relevant.

3. Questions – do you use your social media for research?  Or would you simply like to run a simple competition by asking people a question in order to enter a draw?  I’m not a huge fan of the ‘fill in the blank’ type questions on smaller business pages but when there’s an active community or it’s the right question you can get a good reaction.

4. Behind the scenes photos – we’re all naturally a little curious about what goes on behind the scenes so share a little about what goes into making your business the success it is.  Perhaps you’re a restaurant, why not introduce the chef to those who regularly dine with you?  Or you’ve got a range of delightful handmade chocolates on offer, could you have somebody take a few photos of the process involved?

5. Customer reviews – obviously we’re talking about the positive ones here but why not tell people when somebody says something nice about you?  A positive review is always welcome and while people don’t often like to boast, all’s fair in business so tell people – and you’ll frequently find that when you share a review you get positive comments reinforcing that review too!

6. Tips – people love short-cuts and new ideas so think about how you can help your customers. If you’re a hairdresser perhaps you’ve got ideas on getting the perfect up-style without a stylist or if you’re in admin you’ve got a fail-safe way to keep on top of your emails?  You’re not giving away all of your expertise, just enough to whet their appetite and maybe just make their life easier too.

7. The ‘Throw Back Thursday’ post – a photo sharing where you were in business this time 5 or 10 years ago.  In some cases you might have photos of products you offered at one point or staff events that are good for a giggle or a trip down memory lane.

8. Meet the team – if you’re a sole trader this is obviously a little tricky but perhaps you’ve got a virtual team or partners to share. People like to learn a little more than the professional bio of the person on the company website or Linkedin, at the end of the day sales are often quite simply down to people we like and finding out that of the two consultants you’re thinking of doing business with one shares your passion for motorbikes might just be the deciding factor everything else being equal.

9. In the news – sometimes there’s an event taking place or a development in the world that just deserves a mention regardless of what you’re selling.  It can be something as simple as wishing the national team well in an important match or it might be a big event taking place in your local town that deserves a shout-out.  Don’t jump on the bandwagon, nothing looks worse than somebody hogging a trending hashtag with something totally unrelated as people often don’t like an opportunist.  But if it fits your brand and ties in with what’s appropriate think about whether you can share it.

10. The inspirational quote – we’re all familiar with them, there are pages with millions of likes who do nothing but share them.  When it comes to your business however these might fit occasionally.  They’re not of course for everybody but if you’re a business consultant for example, quotes from recogised leaders in business might be appropriate.  Don’t overdo them though, sometimes like in everything less is more.

There are many more options for shareable content, in the above I haven’t even mentioned creating your own content as this is deserving of a blog post of its own.  It’s a flavour of what you might look at when you’re sitting with a blank facebook page that just needs something posted this week.




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