For many businesses, social media is a joyous playground of interactivity, rich with B2C communication and countless acquisition opportunities. However, hidden away in the dark, damp corners of social are the ‘boring’ brands; those businesses with such niche followings that they feel separated from the idea of a social media strategy. This needn’t be the case – here’s why.
If you’re one of those brands that believes it’s got nothing interesting to say on social, then this post is for you. It’s time to change your outlook, shake off the doubt, and step into the light that is social.
The first thing to understand is that no matter what you may think, every industry is interesting in its own right. No matter if you create cat litter, file taxes or manufacture road signs, somewhere, someone out there will be interested in, possibly even excited by, your brand.
For example, most millennials would probably consider supermarkets ‘boring’, yet brands like Tesco and Asda are absolutely killing it on social media, and have gained a large following because of it.
You’re only boring to those who aren’t in your target market – Harry Gardiner @Hr_Gardiner
Even if people aren’t hanging about around the water cooler talking about your business on a daily basis, there are plenty of opportunities to make your brand noteworthy.
Social media is essentially a free public relations platform that allows you to directly target and communicate with your audience, so why on earth wouldn’t you take advantage of this?
So we’ve established that you’re certainly not boring, but that doesn’t mean you’re not invisible. In order to be heard on social you’re going to need to be slightly different from your competitors.
What makes your company special? What are your business’s unique selling points?
If you’re currently sat there thinking that there’s nothing particularly special about your brand, then not only do I feel very sorry for you, I’m begging you to think again.
Take a look at the clip above. It’s a scene from the very first episode of Mad Men, in which the advertising legend that is Don Draper helps giant tobacco brand Lucky Strike find their hook.
“It’s toasted” is a slogan that helped Lucky Strike stride beyond their competition, and completely differentiated them from their competitors; despite the fact that toasting is a standard process for most tobacco.
Another great example of this in action is Blendtec and their ‘Will It Blend?’ videos. A blender, at the end of the day, is just a blender, and Blendtec realised this early on. In order to make their brand noteworthy, they thought outside the box (or should that be blender?) and decided to test whether a variety of products will blend.
They filmed themselves blending everything from a tin of spam to the Apple Watch. Not only does this show off the product’s immense capabilities (is there anything it can’t blend?), the videos are also immensely entertaining, resulting in social gold.
The moral of the story? Identify your strengths, wherever they may lay, and translate them into USPs.
Once you’ve uncovered what makes your brand stand out, it’s time to showcase your USPs to your audience.
Don’t have many followers on social media? Don’t panic! Every business has to start somewhere, and yours should begin by sharing relevant content to those that are interested in your brand.
Use tools like Buzzsumo and Uprise.io to find influencers and key sharers within your industry and explore the content your audience is sharing. Use that knowledge to influence what you share, who you’re sharing it to, and what platforms you’re sharing it on.
And that last part is particularly important. Not every brand is active on every social media platform. Certain organisations lend themselves better to particular platforms. For example, brands that rely on slick visuals to sell their products will be better suited to the visual social platforms such as Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest. On the other hand, B2B-based brands may be better suited to using professional platforms such as LinkedIn.
It’s important to know where your audience are most active, and focus on those platforms.
So you know what makes your brand strong, who’s got a vested interest in your content, and which platforms you’re going to be using; but let’s take a look at how other brands are using this knowledge to implement truly awesome social media campaigns.
The idea of trying to remove a stripped screw, or clean a dirty grill, sounds frustrating and dull, yet they’re problems that almost anyone who’s ever attempted DIY has come across before.
DIY-brand Lowes identified several problem areas such as these, and sought to help their customers by providing easily accessible resources. Instead of simply creating a blog post, they decided to take their efforts to social, and apply their DIY know-how to a series of six-second Vines.
These ‘DIY hacks’ are helpful, easily understandable, and mesmerising to look at. They perfectly showcase how a little bit of creativity can go a long way.
It can be tough to keep your social pages fresh and interesting, even for a global brand such as Siemens.
However, Siemens succeed where others have failed by not just concentrating the on the pros and cons of their products, but instead focussing on the positive impact that their brand has on the world around it.
We’re all interested in living a quality, healthy life; and Siemens utilises social to showcase how their brand is helping each and every one of us do exactly that. From questioning what the city of the future will look like to highlighting how their research has helped improve businesses, Siemens are a great example of how B2B content doesn’t have to be boring.
Top tip: There’s more to the world than your brand. Use your social platforms to speak about topics that matter to your audience, as well as the benefits your brand can offer.
Do me a favour and take a look at these stats real quick:
They’re impressive by any brand’s standards, but to think that these stats belong to a stationery brand – that’s pretty amazing.
3M’s amazing social strategy has helped them take a simple sticky piece of paper, and build a loyal following. 3M understand that there’s a lot of creativity behind the use of Post-it Notes, so they’ve harnessed this imagination in their social interactions. From Instagramming quotes of popular fiction novels (on post-it notes, of course), to showcasing colour charts and sharing user generated content in the form of business stories, the Post-it brand has gone from strength-to-strength.
Top Tip: Your fanbase is your biggest asset. Encourage user-generated content to increase engagement and further build a connection to your audience.
You’ve seen how the big boys do it, and hopefully this has inspired your own plans. Now it’s time to take this knowledge and apply it to your social media.
Check out my video below for more advice:
Got any tips you’d like to share? Comment below, or Tweet me @Hr_Gardiner.