Earlier this week I sat down for coffee (okay, it was a vanilla chai because those who know me know that I don’t actually drink coffee) with a restauranteur in Indianapolis. The conversation was wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about the restaurant chain and its expansion plans! We started talking about current marketing initiatives, and he shared an opportunity with me that he was very excited about:
“Andrew, I was just offered a great deal. A local publication is offering me the front cover, a centerfold article, and monthly ads in each publication for just $20,000 this year. I really think this would be a great route for us to go! What do you think?”
My first reaction is a snarky “wow, we are charging way too little for social media! Haha” but then we talked through it a bit. What if we put that $20,000 on the table and look at other ways to spend it? What if we decided $20,000 was enough for us to contact a food critic from the New York Times, fly a private jet to pick him up, wine and dine him at your restaurant, and fly him home – all in exchange for a simple write up/blog post/something?!
Let’s pretend this actually happens…now what? Well, every publication in Indiana picks up the story and writes about it. Food critics from the region flock to the restaurant to write their own take on what this industry-leading expert wrote. You earn more media and publicity than you ever would have with $20K in ads hidden in a print publication with hundreds of other ads.
Does the math actually work out? Who knows. The point here is this:
My favorite social media tactic is….
Too many times we ask about social media growth from the standpoint of “what can I do?” when we could easily be asking “what can my fans/friends/employees/neighbors do?”
I was meeting with a health network who had yet to start their social media channels. The competition had 40,000 Facebook fans and this group asked me “when we decide to get started, how do we get to 40K followers QUICKLY?!”
I asked: How many employees do you have?
Okay, so if you can get 30% of your employees to invite just 30 people to like your page you will have 40,500 followers by the end of the week.
Why do we overlook this amazing opportunity for growth? “Leverage” is really all about trading resources and adding value.
A few years ago, we worked with a company on a video project that was entered into a national competition to raise money for breast cancer. The video team pitched a clever idea that was really creative and fun! I really loved the creative approach, so I just asked one simple question: “Instead of having these people walking down any street, can they walk down Main Street in front of Coney Island, then in front of the Tincaps Stadium, then in front of the Embassy Theater?”
Everyone looked at me like I was crazy… “um….sure?”
Sorry, I should have clarified my intent. See, Coney Island has 50,000 Facebook fans and some of their posts reach 150,000 people organically. The Tincaps and Parkview field collectively reach 70,000+ people. The Embassy has 25,000+ followers on its platforms. These companies don’t have any reason to share our video if we just shoot it on any street. Sure, they still may, but as soon as we put them in the video for free it gives them a compelling reason to want to share!
This is leverage. Add value to someone in exchange for value in return.
Leverage is the entire premise behind influencer marketing. Here are a few strategies that might help your band grow its social media presence through leverage:
Look at your Instagram following number. Let’s say you have 1,200 followers but you want to grow. Start by identifying some relevant accounts (if you’re a fitness brand, talk to fitness instagrammers). The accounts you are looking for should have between 750 and 1,200 followers as well. Reach out and say something like “Hey! I love what you are doing and I think more people need to know that you exist. Would you be interested in a quick collaboration? We can shoot a quick photo/video together and I’ll share it on my IG with a shout out for you, and you do the same for me? Maybe we can add 50 of each others followers this way?”
In this case, leveraging realistic numbers is important. Don’t reach for the 10,000 follower person because you have nothing of value for them (until you have more followers than they do).
Talk to your neighbors. Maybe you’re an accountant and your office is next to a coffee shop with a decent Facebook following. You head over and chat with the owners “hey guys, I’m trying to get my business out there on social media a bit. I’m wondering if I can offer you guys a trade: I’ll do your taxes for free, you just bring some coffee over later today, take a photo, tag us and give us a shout out to all your friends!”
You don’t have to be an accountant for this. Just think through the value you can add to someone, and trade it for some value they can bring you.
Set up a selfie spot that entices people to want to share photos of your brand.
Reprint your coffee sleeves or coasters with text that says “This Quote is Instagrammable!” then a funny quote or saying that would make people want to take a photo for their Instagram story or Snapchat.
Ask your employees! See above when I chatted about the health network. Sometimes we overlook our best resources. Every couple of months I mention it to my staff “hey everyone go through our company social media and see if you have anyone else to invite. Thanks!”
Ask your customers! If you’re a restaurant, you might have 200 people walking through your doors each day. Imagine if your servers asked every one of them to post on social media? “Hey, I see you have your cell phone. I’ll make you a deal. If you post a photo on Instagram and tag us, I’ll comp you a piece of our world-famous chocolate cake! What do you say?”
Heck, it’s as simple as just asking: do you like us on Facebook yet? Do you happen to follow us on Instagram? With a couple thousand people walking through your doors per week you are bound to increase your following by 200-300 easily.
Even as simple as taking a selfie or having someone take a photo of you and the person you are meeting with after a successful meeting!
These are not all tactics that will work for you and your business, but they should absolutely get you thinking about new ways to push your brand forward! There are thousands of people with cell phones in their pockets, it’s important that you understand that and do your best to leverage every opportunity for your business.
Remember…social media is not about what you post or how you post it. It’s about them. How do I get YOU to post about ME? It’s better for you to tell people “Cyclone Social is awesome!” than for me to tell people “Cyclone Social is Awesome!” – find ways to leverage your customers, your friends, your families, your neighbors, your resources…literally anything and everything can be social, it’s your job to make it that way!
Let me know if you have any questions! Comment below: Seriously, I challenge you to comment with questions, ideas, or scenarios - and I also challenge you to brainstorm these questions with anyone else who comments.
THANK YOU ALL!
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