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Why Social Media should be social

Monday 23rd of July 2018

Matt Southam

The title sounds like an obvious statement but many small businesses treat social media like they would any other marketing platform - by placing adverts or only talking about their products and services.

Today I want to explain why I believe the aim of social media should be to connect with, nurture and build relationships with people. This should be done with great content and with your brand's personality.

Let's kick off with some stats to reaffirm why you should be on social media. Facebook now has over 2 billion monthly active users. Instagram comes in behind but still with an impressive 800 million monthly active users and Twitter commands 330 million monthly active users.

If you are opening a physical shop you wouldn't be blamed for wanting to set up in a busy high street. That is where the people already are so you can benefit from their footfall. If you are looking to market your business then why not go to where people are already hanging out - Social Media Platforms.

But here is where some businesses fall short, they don't market themselves well as they treat social media as a duplication of their website.
Your website will be set up all about you, it will be predominantly about the products and services you sell and how someone can buy them. This content is great for your website, if someone is on your webpage then they are already looking to see if you can help.
Social media is different. You are interrupting peoples social time, so for your brand to break through the noise you need to be more social.
If all you do is place adverts or simply post about your own products then very quickly you will see engagement (likes, comments. shares) dropping. Facebook is not silly, they want users to get a great experience out of the platform, so show people what they want to see.

The Facebook Algorithm

Facebook wants to show people what they want to see. Makes sense right?
You may have noticed that generally, you see posts from friends and family that you regularly connect with. It is the same with business profiles. If you are posting content which no one interacts with, Facebook will stop showing your content to people.

So how do you get people to interact with your content?

Social Currency

Social currency is the principle that people share content to make them look good. This could be making them seem cool or funny or perhaps just in the know of the latest info.
Sharing a boring advert makes them seem, well, boring!

Create emotion with your posts. Tell a story about your product not just what the product is. Facts tell but stories sell.

Show that you are in touch with the latest trends, but also show that you are human. Good content + personality is a winning combination

Fun content shows you have a personality and are not just a faceless corporate company. This is incredibly important for small businesses. You may not have the resources to compete with the multinational companies but what you do have is a small business with a personality and real people. You may even sell an exact same product as a competitor, in which case you can't compete with the product so compete with your people.
Humans love humans. Share photos of people enjoying using your product or your staff ready to help (ask them first before you start snapping photos!)
Explain why you love something using words that connect with people.

You should never completely stop posting about what it is you actually do, but by adding some personality and some fun into your feed you will improve engagement, show you are human and have fun in the process!

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