One of the biggest breakdowns between good business practices offline and online is the (incorrect) belief that things work completely differently online. For example, we all know that social media moves fast, but that doesn’t change the overall sales process. The process of a potential customer becoming aware of you, getting to know and trust you, taking a look at what you have to offer (once the need arises for your product or service), and then eventually buying works the same way offline as it does online. Also, you need to respond to people online in the same friendly, timely manner as you would offline if they walked into your brick and mortar store or called you on the phone.
Another offline vs. online comparison is the need to talk about other things besides just your sales pitch. Whenever I train people on social media best practices, I always explain that you can’t be all promotional all of the time. You need to post about things that aren’t directly promoting your business. I liken it to a cocktail party with an insurance agent (sorry insurance friends!). If you were out at a party and one of the party goers took every chance he or she had to ask you, “Hey, when’s the last time you priced insurance? Are you in need of additional coverage? Have you made any recent large purchases that would require more insurance? I promise you I can get you a great deal on insurance!“, what would you do? You’d stay as far away from that person as you could, avoiding every chance at eye contact or direct communication. And you’d do that because no one wants to be endlessly sold to.
So now that we’ve covered that you can’t post, “Buy from me! Buy from me! Buy from me!” with every social media update, the next step is to determine what else you can and should post about.
That’s where content curation and my personal phrase, “relevant and complementary”, come in.
I’ve used this phrase to describe the mix of content you could and should post about beyond your obvious sales-related social media updates. By “relevant and complementary”, I mean topics and content that tie in to your business and ideal customer. Local and regional businesses should also incorporate relevant news and events that are relevant to their audience. Don’t forget images, articles, video and GIFs that are appropriate for your audience and have some existing virality on your social media platforms of choice.
Also, this content does not need to be generated by you (hooray!), and can be curated from other sources.
Here is an example of a mix of relevant and complementary content for a real estate agent:
- Staging tips from agent
- Mortgage, financing and downpayment information
- HGTV, DIY Network and other articles
- Curb appeal, gardening and outdoor entertaining articles
- Celebrity real estate news, real estate rankings (best places, most affordable, happiest cities, etc.)
- Funny real estate stories (Lighter Side of Real Estate)
- Photos of new construction trends the agent can capture while touring homes (e.g. waterfall-style bath filler, built-ins in mudroom, etc.)
See how all of the above topics relate to people who are looking for an agent to hire and help to educate them about what they’ll need to know for their upcoming purchase or sale?
The goal of incorporating content curated from other sources is that you can position yourself as someone who knows what’s happening in your industry today (vs last year), and as someone with a wealth of knowledge behind them, and you are doing so without having to create all this content yourself. Content curation like this also keeps people more engaged with your social media accounts because they are much more likely to like, comment, retweet, pin, and share this type of content in some way versus a post about you selling your wares.
Have I convinced you to curate more content for a more well-rounded social media content strategy?