Social media is an incredible way of marketing and making more money for your business. If you do it right.
After spending thousands of hours on social media content across very old (MySpace) and very new (Musically, Snapchat, Vine, Peach, etc.) platforms, I want to share with you what you need to know on social media to succeed in business and more importantly prevent failure.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the results social media can bring for a business. But when you simplify it, there’s only four.
1. Social Media Amplifies How You Treat Your Customers
If you treat a customer horribly or delight them, their experience will be amplified and spread much further thanks to social media. It’s the biggest revolution in the century for businesses.
In the old days, if a business pissed you off, you might might tell a couple friends or family. Now, that customer can tell 500 friends on Facebook, 5,000 on Twitter, or 100,000 on YouTube. You don’t know who’s walking into your store; it could be an influencer.
Notice how I didn’t say “millions of people.” While there are social media influencers who can do this, don’t believe the people who hype it up. It’s possible for posts to hit a viral reach that large, but it’s rare. Those events usually can’t be manufactured and numerous factors have to align. A YouTuber or Instagram influencer can have millions of followers but only maybe tens of thousands engage with an average post they release.
Here is an example of amplification in a good way:
Karim took a joke about his last name by the receptionist at the Hyatt the wrong way. He tweeted about his frustration, and the Hyatt responded with a handwritten letter and complimentary food and beverage.
Let’s put aside whether or not he should have been offended. The point is that he shared his story and how great he felt at their response. It quickly went viral and 13,580 people commented, 61,438 liked it, and many more probably saw this. Now, that’s incredible, free, positive PR that couldn’t have happened any time before in history because it was started completely by a consumer.
Here are examples of amplification in a bad way:
United Airlines offered money for passengers to get off an overbooked flight. When everyone refused, they had security guards forcibly drag a passenger off. Another passenger immediately caught the experience on his smartphone and shared it online. The video got millions of views.
Thousands of people reacted in outrage to the incident. PewDiePie, the most subscriber Youtuber with 55 million+ subscribers, parodied the video. It got over 3 million views. If you look at the video, there are plenty of Tweets bashing he shows in it bashing United that got thousands of likes. Plenty of other influencers like Ellen, Joe Rogan, and Jimmy Kimmel covered the topic, attracting millions of views.
Another parody on Facebook got over a hundred thousand likes. Just one comment expressing their disgust towards United got thousands of upvotes.
A day after the incident Emirates Airlines released their own video addressing (and maybe even poking fun) at the CEO of United Airlines and explaining why they’re better, which got over a million views. Emirates is known for its premium flying experience. Many of the comments praised Emirates and got hundreds of upvotes.
Thanks to the mass market of smart phones and 4G, any customer can capture a customer experience and upload it to social media or the Internet in a matter of seconds. That is huge for businesses. It essentially punishes horrible businesses more and rewards good businesses more.
This happened less than 24 hours ago from writing this. Someone from Time Warner did a HORRIBLE job installing cable. It was captured onto Youtube and has already achieved 687,716 views.
Here’s another one:
A customer upgraded his room for a Holland America cruise for $600. He got a noisy repairman screeching by his window. He uploaded a video on YouTube just explaining his story and showing the noise. It got millions of views within 24 hours.
Getting such a high amount of views is a rare, extreme instance but smaller versions of this are occurring all the time.
A customer found out that a hotel had a fishy key policy. Every key worked for every room. He had no following on social media. He posted a 1 minute video to Youtube. It now has over 3 million views in 24 hours. This happened a day before I wrote this.
It seems that the hotel chain that owns this hotel found out and made a comment saying it was a “malfunction.” This is not a era where obviously false excuses fly. The internet quickly lashed back.
The internet used to be assumed to be a place of anonymity, where you could possibly get away with more scamming. In reality, it’s a place where you have to be more honest than ever.
Choice Hotels should have owned up and admitted their mistake rather than hiding it as a “malfunction.”
An Amazon delivery man was caught by a security camera stealing a wallet from the home. This video reached over a million views in a day.
It’s easier and faster than ever to share your thoughts with a few taps on a phone to thousands of people.
Even if a great or bad customer experience doesn’t go viral and reach millions, it could still reach hundreds or thousands in your local area, which is still huge.
You never know how many followers the next customer that walks into your door has.
He or she could have 1,000 reach or 10,000 reach or 10 million reach. It’s a wise idea to really take care of your customer as it matters even more in this era. The rapper Iggy Azalea had 5+ million Twitter followers. She went on a 30+ tweet rampage about how bad her pizza delivery service was because her phone number got leaked to the whole world from the delivery man.
More and more internet services have come onto the market to make customer awareness even better. Yelp.com has allowed people to truly understand the average customer experience of all local restaurants through their rating system online. In the past, people relied on 1 to 5 people telling them how they liked eating somewhere. Now, they can reference 100+ people who voted and left a review on Yelp.
In the past, people found out about new restaurants in their local area through fliers, billboards, mail, word-of-mouth, and maybe commercials. Now, it’s hard to miss something since you can literally do a geography search of your local area on Yelp and sort by average rating.
The Internet and technology have changed so many industries and will continue to. Uber has become one of the largest transportation companies in the world buy owns no cars. AirBnB does a similar thing with houses. Amazon and Youtube have changed the delivery, retail, education, and entertainment space. It’s far beyond my understanding to tell you exactly how these companies did it. But I do know that we live in a very interesting time.
Is this a good thing?
I’ve talked to a few small business owners and they usually say it’s a bad thing because they say one false negative review on Yelp can destroy a business. Also, there’s the issue of disproportionate bad press. When you have tens of thousands of employees at Amazon, is it right that one bad egg gets millions of views of negative coverage? Some even say that only the employees and customers who hate you bother to leave a review.
I disagree. I think it’s overall a good thing. I believe the people who complain usually run their businesses worse than they should. If they were really so confident about how much they delighted their customers, it doesn’t take much effort to ask your past clients to leave a review. They could easily ask their customers and they should be delighted to do so. And those numbers would easily overwhelm the hate comments online.
Social media creates a huge opportunity for businesses to get ahead by amplifying the great experiences they can give their customers. Business owners and managers shouldn’t try to manufacture this by trying to create an artificial experience and try and make it go viral. This process reflects a process that isn’t indicative of the average experience of a customer. Instead, they should try to delight every customer they have as often as possible. Over time, the social media amplification will take care of itself by law of large numbers and because you’re actually over-delivering.
Even in this day and age there are businesses that just don’t care. In the last couple years, I’ve experienced horrific customer experiences with my local gas station, my cable company’s phone customer service, and a car repair place. There is definitely room to get ahead and those who will might get rewarded more for it now.
I think if you hold true to over-delivering, one or two false reviews can’t replace the truth. And as you get bigger, someone with influence will eventually talk about it.
2. Social Media Can Act As A Channel For Customer Service
People aren’t going to take 20 minutes out of their day to drive to an insurance business to learn about car insurance when they can learn more instantly by Googling it.
Similarly, people would rather send a quick tweet at Pizza Hut for a failed delivery or Netflix for a tech glitch. It’s up to you to decide how fast and high quality your response is.
3. Social Media Can Help You Find New Customers Online through search or social referral.
People can find you on social media or the Internet through search engines. If they search “great exercises for knee pain”, you can be the highest ranking Youtube video or Google result and capture new prospects for your fitness or chiropractic service.
Youtube and Google are the top search engines in the world. There’s very little competition (on the western hemisphere) for the time being on other search engines, other than Yahoo, Vimeo, and Bing. They’re really far ahead and expanding their competitive advantage.
What’s important to you is to know that Google and Youtube are the most visited websites in the entire world and will continue to be for at least the next 3 years.
That’s a lot of potential traffic that can be driven to your business.
What social media does is also allow people to find you through social sharing, virality, and social referral. They all kind of mean the same thing: it’s really easy to click a button and share a video, photo, or article you’ve read with your one hundred or ten thousand followers.
It’s a great way of new people to find out about you. For Instagram and Facebook, I also see a lot of individual social referral. It’s kind of like one-on-one word of mouth referral from days past. They see something they really like and tag their friend into the conversation so that they’re aware. I see this a lot.
4. Develop and cultivate the relationship with your fans and prospects so that they know, like, and trust you more and more.
If you really capture them and intrigue them with your content, they will binge watch what you already have. If you already have a library of uploaded videos, photos, or articles, you can slowly keep giving free value and show off your personality until they really trust you and know who you are. I personally have 600+ Public Youtube videos on my self-development channel that people can binge watch.
If they relate, they will buy from you. People buy from people rather than corporations. That’s why personalities help.
There are over 2,000 Youtube channels with at least 1 million subscribers on each. That numbers growing every day. The #1 most subscribed had 43 million and growing. Many of these channels are self-made and run by young people.
Many also function like TV channels in their own special, down-to-earth way. They generate so much viewership that they make their money through ads, commercials, and sponsorships similar to how a TV show does.
The top YouTube channels don’t have to sell their own products because they make enough off ads. Youtube has created a monetizable marketplace that has attracted a lot of competition because they have lowered the barrier to entry for someone to start so much. There’s so much incentive to begin.
Because of that, it’s gotten pretty competitive and it often works a bit like a Hollywood style infrastructure where a majority of the creators on there aren’t making much but the successful make sometimes millions a year. It’s very similar to the acting industry: many aspiring actors working as waiters to get by while a small percent who are thriving.
A blog, Youtube channel, Facebook page, or Instagram page can function as a way of getting people to binge watch all your content and really see if they trust you and relate enough to buy or become a raving fan.
How To Make Great Content on Social Media That Other People Want To Follow and Share
That brings us to the question of how do you make great content? This is something most businesses get deeply wrong.
I wish I could say this was easy or simple, but it’s hard. Honestly, there’s often a mixture of talent, luck, creativity, being unique, persistence, and hard work altogether. And even then, it won’t always work.
It’s sometimes kind of like asking how to become a great comedian. There are so many people you are competing with. You have to stand out in a unique way. Plus, many platforms on social media have their own unique voice, inside language, and style that you have to adopt or it just won’t work well.
Plus, many platforms on social media have their own unique voice, inside language, and style that you have to adopt or it just won’t work well.
For example, Youtube has a really short attention span audience generally speaking. Unless you really produce INCREDIBLE content, people zone out. That’s why ideal video lengths are usually between 3 and 12 minutes long. Those are what usually do best on there.
Musical.ly, another newcomer social platform (that I think is just a fad), has its own style similar to that of Vine. You have to have a bit of a swagger on it. There is a lot of somewhat fancy camera movement many of the stars on there do to sync with the music they lip sync to.
I thought it was a rather dumb app (and still kind of do), but cannot help but to acknowledge that some of the top stars got 7 to 10 million followers on there within a year. And these people were self-made with no following before that.
What’s even crazier is that the best ones were able to translate 15 to 30% of that following to other platforms effectively like Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram. For the average eye, that might seem like much. But to the trained eye, that is huge. It’s been notoriously hard to transfer followers across platforms. This is based on me studying thousands of people over the years.
Those numbers are high above industry standards. Only some of the top most followed people on Youtube or Vine like Pewdipie, Markiplier, or Nash Grier have been able to effectively do it.
So that brings us back to this question. There are thousands of hours of Youtube video that are being uploaded every second online. Most of it goes unwatched. How do you make incredible content that people actually care about?
99.9% of great content falls into 3 main categories: Entertainment, How-to/information, and Emotional relation
Think of any video, article, photo, or anything else you’ve seen online. It falls into one of those categories.
We watch a prank on Youtube because it’s funny and entertaining. We look at fitness videos to learn how to do things. And a pregnant woman might watch a lady crying about how tough it is to be pregnant online to relate.
What ties all of these together is value. People won’t just do what you want of them unless they get value in some form in exchange. They won’t watch your content or read your stuff or look at your photos if it’s not valuable in at least 1 of these 3 ways in a considerable way. That’s why most businesses who first start dabbling with social media fail. You look at their Youtube channel and they’ve posted only 9 videos and all 9 were 2 minute videos that were 100% non-valuable. All they said in the videos were “BUY MY PRODUCT!” or “Buy my stuff!” No one cares or would want to watch this. It’s not rocket science why you only have 2 subscribers and 5 views. Most likely those were spam followers too.
If you look at their Youtube channel, they’ve posted only 9 videos and all 9 were 2 minute videos that were 100% non-valuable. All they said in the videos are “BUY MY PRODUCT!” or “Buy my stuff!” No one cares or would want to watch this.
People don’t turn on TV to only watch commercials. Why would they subscribe to your channel if all the content on there are ads?
It’s not rocket science why you only have 2 subscribers and 5 views. And most likely those were spam followers too.
Almost a year ago, I was at a huge restaurant and you could tell they went through hundreds of Heinz ketchup bottles a day.
It was pretty busy. I checked out the label of a bottle and there was valuable real estate on each label that told people to follow them on social media. They listed all their platforms.
I checked out their Vine account. It had a hundred followers and a single lackluster 6 second video.
A year later, I was back there, and again, I saw how fast they went through Ketchup bottles. The labels on the bottles was probably being shown to thousands of people a week.
Guess how much that real estate worked?
I checked their Vine again and it still had the same one video on there and nothing new. A very small percentage of people would be incentivized to even want to go to your social media page if you don’t have something valuable to give them for doing so (like a coupon code or anything). Asking is just not enough.
And you’re just disappointing them even more if they get there and you realize it’s a ghost town that hasn’t been updated in over a year. I would have removed that social media icon on the labels because it was costing them valuable real estate to put it there and probably extra ink costs. It was clear that they were manufacturing tens of thousands of bottles like that a day. Instead, I would have double downed on producing incredible content on one platform and really got the real estate on the label right and made sure people were converting. Then, I would have put out more and more great content. It’s just an idea.
I would have removed that social media icon on the labels because it was costing them valuable real estate to put it on the label and probably extra ink costs. It was clear that they were manufacturing tens of thousands of bottles like this a day. Instead, I would have double downed on producing incredible content on one platform and really got the real estate on the label right and made sure people were converting to followers. Then, I would have put out more and more great content.
Anyhow, I hope you got something valuable out of this.
To summarize, social media for businesses, at it’s core, only does 1 of these things:
1. Great customer service
2. Amplify good or bad interactions and experiences with customers
3. Capture new prospective customers and fans through social referral (tagging or sharing a friend on Facebook or Instagram for example) and/or through search engine traffic
4. Turning those prospective leads and followers into raving fans and people who trust you and like you enough to buy.
You can do this by producing consistently highly valuable content in the form of entertainment, how-to, and/or emotional relation.
Thanks! I came up with all this myself after observing social media for thousands of hours, hearing others talk about it, and thinking about it constantly in my free time.
What’s the #1 thing you learned from this that you can take actio non today?
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