One of the key objectives of any social media marketing campaign should be to become a top influencer and a top thought leader.
To do that you need to be become an authority: you need to be viewed as a tip top carpet cleaner, the best of the best. Once you reach this point, you will control the hearts and minds of your audience.
But how do you get to this point? The answer is incredibly simple, but also highly complex… You deliver value.
Why Value = Influence
When you visit any web page, blog or site, you do not do so out of charity. You don’t do it as a favour to the owner of that blog.
Rather, the only reason that you visit a web page or website is so that you can gain something from the page and what you’re looking to gain from visiting is information or entertainment.
We watch fail videos on YouTube because we want to be entertained, and we read fitness blogs because we want information that can help us to get into better shape. It’s only if we find this information or entertainment to be high quality, that we’ll then think about returning to that page or site in future.
As such, the website is providing value and it’s through this value that you eventually come to trust the brand and when that same person recommends a certain product, for example your professional stain remover, you will be much more likely to trust them.
How to Offer Value on Social Media
Many businesses are still stuck in old ways of thinking.
Specifically they are still infatuated with the idea that marketing is something you do at someone.
That is to say that they are creating adverts or messages that they show to as many people as they can to raise brand awareness and to increase their chances of buying from them.
But the world has changed thanks to the web.
This kind of traditionally marketing was useful in a time when users were limited about the information and entertainment they could get but now we’re not forced to view any message that we don’t want to and smart marketing has evolved to respond to this.
Now the marketing has to offer something in return; enter content marketing, video marketing and social media.
Even the old ways of selling on social media has changed too … the outdated way of using social media was to post lots of promotional messages and images and hope someone buys from you. Outdated yes, but this is still what you see a lot of businesses doing, a lot of the time.
Now ask yourself: who is this for? What purpose does this serve from the user’s perspective?
The people following you on social media will either:
a) Already have a carpet cleaner they use regularly
b) Don’t have a carpet cleaner they use or know about and they hire a DIY machine
So, in other words, your messages serve zero purpose. Those messages won’t be seen by people unless they already follow you unless someone shares them. And why would anyone share them?
The Better Alternative
So, what might a better strategy be for your business?
Well, let’s say that you create a Facebook page and a Twitter account aimed specifically at small businesses. Through this page, you then share lots of useful tips and information, all explaining how they can optimize their business, improve customer satisfaction, get round budget limitations etc.
You build an active community so that small business owners can discuss the topic of business and you share lengthy posts that provide true insight into the operations of successful small businesses.
Then, every now and then, you also share a more marketing oriented post. People will now want to keep reading your social media account and maybe even share your posts because they’re offering genuine value.
Now they’re a captive audience and when you come to promote what you’re selling, you’ll have them (hopefully) eating out of your hands.
Or how about a Pinterest board where you share ideas for home decors? On this page, you could post all sorts of unique hacks and tricks that can make a room look more beautiful. Homeowners and those that just have an interest in interior design might sign up and start following you.
And again, every now and then, you could post an idea that includes your own products – thereby subtly marketing to that audience in exchange for providing all those good ideas.
It’s important to realise there’s a give and take here and it’s a much more demographic and powerful way of marketing.
Want to know if you’re doing this right in your carpet cleaning business?
Then ask yourself this: if you shut down your social media account tomorrow, would anyone care?
If they’d genuinely be sad and feel like a useful service is now missing from their lives, then congratulations, you’re providing value! If no one would notice and many people would in fact benefit from having a less spammy feed… well then you’re approaching your marketing the wrong way and you need a serious rethink!
Want a little rule to remember how you should approach this?
Remember the ‘1 in 7 rule’. This is a rule that simply states that one in every seven of your posts should be explicitly marketing whatever your product or service is. The other six should all be offering value in other ways – though still on-topic.
But What is Value?
But let’s take a break for a moment and get slightly philosophical.
What is value anyway? This is an important topic to consider. So far, you already know that your social media accounts need to be as valuable as possible. We’re no longer going to be using every single post to shout about how great our products are!
So now you’re trying to add value instead and only occasionally marketing.
So, what is value? A simple way to look at this is to state that ‘value’ comes from improving people’s lives. You have provided value if that person’s life is in some way better than it was before – even if that’s just for a fleeting moment (as might be the case if you make something funny).
The longer-lasting the effect is and the more people you can affect, the more value you’re providing.
But this is again where a lot of people go wrong: their content isn’t really offering any actual value it’s just masquerading as value!
These are the articles and the blog posts that do nothing other than provide tired, derivative advice. The same goes for social media posts.
Don’t just create generic content without giving it your full attention and then expect to sell. You won’t. Write about something your passionate about, in a unique and interesting voice and then you’ll become an influencer.