How to Use Content to Make Your Business Stand Out
New businesses are popping up every day and the competition is getting fiercer with every single one. Most markets are super saturated already, so you have to rely on some tricks in order to help your business get noticed. In a sea of similar companies, you need to make yours stand out and believe it or not, you can do just that with the smart use of content. Not just any kind of content will do the trick, so you have to be careful about what you post, where, and even when, exactly. Content creation appears to be a creative job, but if you want it to succeed for your business, you have to make it into a science.
Social media content engages your audience and keeps them interested
More than anything else, the last few years have seen the monumental rise in popularity of social media platforms. Far from being the days of young Facebook, when it was only used by college students in a very small circuit, social media is now part of our everyday lives. In fact, it is so pervasive, that it has become a major aspect of promoting any business, no matter what field you are in. You may think that social media is for kids and teenagers, but you would be wrong – studies show that social media is used by all age groups, young and old, and your business can reap the benefits.
The key is not only to have a social media presence and engage with your audience, but create social media content. Now, content on social media includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more recently, even Snapchat and every single one of these platforms comes with its own advantages.
- Twitter – Twitter is excellent for short, promotional messages, or humorous posts. In 140 characters or less, you have to hook followers and advertise your company through whatever means you find to be successful. Any company can benefit from Twitter.
- Facebook – Facebook is great to get to the slightly older crowd: parents, grandparents, middle-aged people, etc. While the young set is still present on Facebook, the numbers are weaning. Facebook lends itself to longer posts, including promotional ones, advertising content on your blog or webpage, but also engaging with your audience.
- Instagram – Hugely popular especially with the young generation and with women, particularly, Instagram is the new selfie platform. Instagram is entirely visual, so if your company relies on or can benefit from visual content like pictures and short clips, then Instagram is your platform. It’s also the easiest to generate content that goes viral, which will increase your popularity tremendously.
- Snapchat – Snapchat is newer to the game and its pull is communication through pictures that self-destruct in a number of allotted seconds. Aside from its obvious Bond-like appeal (“This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds”, anyone?), Snapchat first became insanely popular among teenagers for sending silly pictures or keeping up with someone through snaps of their day. Then, it bled into celebrity life and now more and more companies have seen the advertising opportunity and have migrated to Snapchat.
Regular features keep people coming back to your page
Attracting new customers and visitors is the ultimate goal for a company, but your main traffic will always be comprised of people who already follow you and who come back. That is what you should be focusing on – bringing people back to your page time and time again. Obviously, that has to be done through your content. But don’t be like most companies who post haphazardly and with no rhyme or reason; that’s not going to attract people. Instead, make sure to post regularly, and go even further – institute a regular feature that people will come back for.
For example: let’s say you’re a company who manufactures or sells coffee: you can create a series about the history of coffee, or how coffee comes to exist in its final form. The episodic nature of the content will keep people hooked and coming back for more, because they want to find out what comes next and are interested in following the subject on a weekly basis, or however often you decide to post. This works on every age group and is something your competitors don’t have.
Helpful content is appreciated and it brings brand loyalty
Whenever you are creating content, the most important aspect is how useful it really is to your readers. The number one thing you should always have in mind is value to the reader. This is true regardless of why you are writing and for whom. Empty content that is just filling up space will not get read, liked, shared, and it will not motivate people to come back. You will not attract more customers and will not be able to defeat the competition. “Value” is the only word you should know and here is a super helpful checklist that you can use to make sure that you are ticking all the proverbial – and literal – boxes.
But it’s more than just meeting an external link quota and making the text easy to read; it’s about the information itself. What is going to distinguish you from all similar companies is your genuine desire to help your readers through your content. To that end, start posting content that teaches your audience how to do something, or reveals secrets or unknown facts, content that can impact their everyday existence or enriches their life in some way. Whether it’s recipes for DIY cleaning products, office hacks, or some other kind of information, content that is truly valuable helps strengthen brand loyalty and sets you apart from the crowd as “one of the good ones”.
Promotional content helps customers discover the benefits in your products or services
We’re talking about business, here, so promoting yours is going to come up eventually. Most people think that posting promotional content on their pages may turn people off and be social suicide of sorts, but it’s actually not. Your readers will actually appreciate promotional content, but that’s as long as it’s posted in a smart way and its aim is to really inform people, educate them about eh products or services and help them discover their benefits.
For example: don’t just do a daily post about how great your company is; that is sure to make people roll their eyes. That is the definition of what we call empty content: “We’re great! We’re the best! We promise! Buy from us!” What? Why? What do you offer? Why are you better? Remember the point I made earlier about value. Now, if, instead of empty promotion, you make an in-depth series about each and every one of your products, or the way they’re made, or how you source your materials or talk about your business ethics, then that is going to attract some positive reactions.
People want information, they want details and they want answers. Want to really get over the top? Show your product or service in action. Do live demonstrations and comparisons between your company and other similar ones, sell yourself and highlight your advantages, as compared to another business. People like to make their own minds about things and they will believe your claims when they see them. As long as you have a great product or service that you believe in, this should be a piece of cake.
Thought-provoking content that prompts people to re-evaluate
Last, but not least, people like to be challenged. We appreciate a good laugh, a funny joke, or other meaningless interactions, but when it really comes down to it, we are deeply compassionate and we want to get involved in things that matter to us. Many companies avoid getting political, because they believe that drives business away and that’s true – it will drive some of your potential customers away, at least those who oppose your views. But the rewards are much more valuable, because people love a company that is not afraid to stand for something.
Whether it’s a social issue like child poverty, gay marriage, equal rights, gun control, etc., a natural disaster whose effects need to be mitigated, or a disease that is ravaging the country, take a stance and don’t be afraid to post content that is related to these issues. Thought-provoking pieces can be immensely appreciated and they can increase brand approval and loyalty. Even if you don’t express a strong opinion, acknowledging problems and taking steps to solve them is a major move for a business and it was shown to work. Starbucks, Target, GE, The Body Shop, and many others have demonstrated social responsibility and you know what? Everyone knows their name. No other proof is more powerful than that.