“Read all about it!” used to be called on the streets – that was how we used to be enticed to buy a newspaper and find out about the latest news. It’s clearly not the same anymore. Now the buzz is all about getting an audience to ‘follow’ you, so that you constantly have ‘listeners’ to what you have to share. But its not as simple as it seems.

One question I get asked by Tech’s, Beauty Therapists and Salon Owners all the time is, “how do I get more followers on Facebook/Instagram?” It’s a good question but it’s definitely not the Holy Grail. I’m sorry to break it to you all but FOLLOWERS MEAN NOTHING. There we go – I said it!

You can do a quick Google search and BUY followers, but the number of followers your page or profile has, is a redundant number. It’s more of a step back in time to when the social platforms allowed you to talk directly to the whole of your audience. The sad truth these days – in particular with Facebook – is that the platforms hold back your exposure to your followers, as they want you to pay for the privilege. After all, they have to make money too.

After all, this is why you have a social media presence at all: to communicate and attract customers.

So if social media is no longer about followers, and likes, and the numbers – what is it about? It’s pretty simple and very logical, it’s about your customers and you, just like your business is, every single day of the week. Your business exists because of you and because of your customers. If you provide a service, at a high enough level, in a way that draws customers, then you are able to trade successfully. After all, this is why you have a social media presence at all: to communicate and attract customers.

When we get wrapped up in the different social media platforms with all of their bells and whistles, it’s easy to forget the fact that it is all about our customers. So as long as we remember to communicate and build trust with our customers they’ll keep them coming back. But how do we continue to build relationships with our customers? The answer is to make constructive use each platform’s features in a consistent way.

All too many businesses change what they say and how they say it when they flick between Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram, forgetting that they’re losing brand consistency and as a result can break trust with their customers. When you communicate as your business it’s important to remain consistent in your tone and how you ‘speak’. That doesn’t, however, mean always copy and pasting the same message across every platform as different content may suit a particular platform. What matters is that it’s still YOU speaking across all of them in the same way that you speak to customers face to face.

All too many businesses change what they say and how they say it when they flick between Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram

The key features that capture the attention of users of my top three platforms are:

  1. INSTAGRAM – Boomerang and Moments
  2. FACEBOOK – LIVE Video and Videos
  3. SNAPCHAT – Instant videos (that are then deleted within moments)

The biggest trend across all three is video. 

There is a progression in features used by the different platforms as ‘content blindness’ makes previous ones ineffective: users are becoming ‘blind’ to content that they see the most of. With Facebook, users scrolled past text updates and stopped more on photos. Now photos are commonplace, users are stopping more for videos and animated GIFS (short animated images) with largest uptake being on LIVE videos. Instagram users are focussing more on the moments that appear on a feed at the top of the ‘app’ screen – similar to how Snapchat works in that it allows users to post short recorded ‘live’ snippets to their followers that disappear by the next day.

your content should always be about your customers

Users find themselves drawn to video and in particular LIVE video because often it includes some insight or ‘behind the scenes’ look at their favourite brands or celebrities – and now other businesses are making the most of this trend with really strong results.

Before I hone-in on what makes a good live video I want to remind you of my earlier point: your content should always be about your customers.

When I started this post by saying that followers aren’t important, it’s because the emphasis should be on having a loyal audience that enjoy what you do and want to come back for more. It doesn’t mean that you have to be the most polished video maker or that you need to be super creative, it just means you need to understand your customers and deliver content that they will enjoy.

“BUT WHAT WILL THEY ENJOY?” I hear you cry – well, you can find that out next time your customers are in for a treatment: what they like, why they enjoy coming back to you, what’s the most interesting thing they’ve seen on social media this month, or just ask them what would they like you to post about. You’ll soon see a trend that will answer the question for you.

now your social media can really start connecting with SALES rather than merely hunting followers

A good starting point, in the meantime, is to offer content that is relevant to your expertise (Nail Care and Nail Glam’?), something that provides an insight and something they won’t find from just anyone. This is why you often see ‘how to’ videos and ‘step by step’ as it is interesting for those not in the know. So why not post a video of your ‘top three tips for looking after your nails’? It might also be a chance to plug that cuticle oil retail sale!

This is the start of the journey to gain exposure and, in time, to increase custom – so now your social media can really start connecting with SALES rather than merely hunting followers. By creating good content your customers will be happy and will want to share with others which, in turn, will get you noticed by more potential customers.

So what makes a good video for Facebook or Instagram?

  • LIGHT FANTASTIC. Make sure that you light the room as well as you possibly can. Your phone or camera len’s job is to capture light to get that video recorded so give it all the light you can. It will really show when it comes to posting your video or going live
  • STEADY AS SHE GOES. Get a tripod, or at the very least stand up your phone or camera somewhere (unless you’re doing a ‘selfie’ or ‘walk around’ style of video), as your viewers will find it easier to watch and focus on what you’re talking about
  • DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY. It matters more that you’re smiling and talking clearly that it does how well you ‘present’ in your video. Make some mistakes and laugh along with your audience – just make sure the mistake isn’t with your WORK. Worry more about what you’re doing and keep your speech slow and clear
  • MAKE IT LIVE FOR A REASON. If you can pre-record your video then do that. It means more chances to get it perfect before posting. If you’re going LIVE then make sure it’s to make the most of being live – for example you’re revealing a new treatment or you’re doing a live Q&A etc. Demo videos are often best recorded.

Remember the FIVE KEY POINTS:

  1. It’s about your customers, not the number of followers, so make it all about them and what they want to see.
  2. Find out what your customers want to see by asking them when they’re next in for a treatment.
  3. Use the benefits of the platform: VIDEO is key at the moment and Facebook offers great LIVE broadcasting.
  4. Use your expertise to show that you’re good at what you do. It builds confidence in your customers and encourages them to share how great you are with potential new customers.
  5. Make the content great by trying, lighting the room well, steadying the camera and speaking clearly.

[This post was originally created and published online for Scratch Magazine 2017]

Tom

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