Social Media Tips for Small Business: Don’t Sell, Add Value

It's a Tale of Two Brands

I don't know much about social media. I'm no expert. But I know what most people know – value and consistency play a large part in any social success. So why am I writing about social media today? Because in a call the other day, I shared my insights on two brands using Facebook as an example.

As I did it, I realized I'd not written about it. And if you're looking for social media tips for your small business, then this is one of those “do this first” tips I would recommend.

So we start by looking at two brands: Nike and Converse.

Take a look at their facebook pages.

NikeAnd now look at the Converse facebook page.

ConverseWhat do you notice? If you're like me you'll quickly compare the sites and notice a major difference. Converse (the makers of the boring canvas shoe that hasn't changed in decades) has three times the likes of Nike (the constant innovators in the shoe game).

How do we explain this?

Well, I can tell you this. You won't find out why one has more than the other by looking at the R&D spending. So it's not innovation. You also won't find out why by looking at sales, so it's not the product.

But that's what we normally ascribe community engagement to, don't we? Especially when it comes to software products (where I spend most of my time). We think we need more features. More innovation.

But that's not always the case.

No, in order to understand the 3x multiple, we need to look a little deeper at their pages.

What Social Media Tips for Small Business can we learn?

When you look at Nike's wall, you get a look at a well-designed wall with images that look like they may have been designed for billboards. Really good looking.

NikeWallBut after you move thru the various posts on their wall, you begin to notice something. It's all sales.

Sell. Sell. Sell.

Now head over to the Converse wall.

ConverseMusicDo you notice the difference? For every post about a shoe, you see several posts about music.

In fact, almost all the posts on their wall are about music. Some are well-known artists but many more are not as well known. What is Converse doing?

They're not selling. They're adding value.

Don't Sell. Add Value.

It's easy to see how Converse could develop a larger community when they're more focused on adding value to their community (having found out what they're community loves) than they are in pure selling.

You know this already instinctively. When someone else focuses on pitching all the time, without developing trust and without adding value, what do you do? You put up walls. They ask, “Can I help you?” and you say, “No, I'm just looking.”

Even if you might be ready to part with your money you start by saying “no” because it's your natural reaction to sales.

But think about all the people that you trust who add value in your life (tax consultant, etc). You go to them for advice. And normally, you follow it.

So as you spend time online, in social media channels, don't sell. Instead, add value.