10 Ways to Use Social Media for Your Business That You Haven’t Heard Before

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Contributor at Fundera
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
Rieva Lesonsky

Have your business’s social media posts become boring and predictable? If you’re feeling frustrated with them, your customers probably are, too.

Get their attention and keep it with these 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing again.

1. Use Facebook Photo Albums

Instead of just posting photos on Facebook, create albums. While this doesn’t work for every type of image, the advantage is every time you add a photo to a Facebook photo album, the site re-shares the entire album. This not only alerts people to your new photos but also encourages those who haven’t done so to check out the rest of the pictures. You can create an album for an event (such as a trade show or conference), but you can also create albums for things such as bestselling products, #TBT (throwback Thursday) photos, funny memes, or images of your staff.

2. Use Facebook Live Videos to Promote Sales

You’ve heard of online flash sales—why not host a real-life flash sale and use Facebook Live to advertise it? Set up your displays and do a quick live video of you walking through your store showing off hot-selling products and sale items. Include some “doorbusters” to draw people in, like a $200 product for $75. (You can limit how many are available to protect your profits.) Be sure to let people know when the sale ends, too.

3. Share Your Company’s Music Playlists

Sharing your favorite playlists is a great idea for a retail store, salon, coffee house, or restaurant that has background music playing during business hours. However, it doesn’t have to be limited to these types of businesses. If employees play music while they work, have them create and share playlists. (Just make sure the songs are G-rated.) You could put together a playlist with each employee contributing their favorite songs, or playlists like “Warehouse Workers’ High-Energy Hits” or “Chef’s Tasty Tunes.”

4. Tell an Intriguing Story

Go beyond sharing images with captions crammed with #hashtags. Instead, write a story that piques followers’ interest. For instance, a beauty salon could share a photo of a customer “before” a major haircut, then tell the story of why she wanted to make the change (recovery from cancer, getting a divorce, new baby, lost 100 pounds, etc.). Tease readers with “See the new look at (link to your website)” to drive more traffic. Does your business support a charity? Post a photo of someone the charity helps, along with their story and a link to donate.

5. Power Up Your Twitter Images

Even on Twitter, images get more attention. But with so much competition in the Twitter stream, your images really need to stand out. One way to get noticed is by using animated GIFs in your tweets. (GIFs are images that move, like little film clips.) GIPHY has tons of GIFs to choose from, or you can even create your own.

You can also stand out from the pack by adding multiple photos to a tweet. This helps tell the story of an event better than a single image can do. Be sure to choose photos that are not only appealing on their own, but also look good together.

6. Have Fun with a Mascot

Does your business have a mascot? Even a pet or inanimate object can become a mascot of sorts on your social media accounts. For examples, look at how Travelocity’s traveling garden gnome makes an appearance in all its TV ads. Or check out the Instagram account of fashion designer Marc Jacobs’ dog, Neville (who’s so popular he recently released his own coffee-table book). If you’ve ever played “Flat Stanley” you’ve got an idea how this works. Work your mascot into posts—the sillier, the better—by showing it at a trade show, with a customer, accompanying you on a sales call, etc.

7. Host a Monthly or Weekly Challenge

You can create a sense of community among your followers and get more people returning to your social media pages by hosting customer challenges relevant to your business. For example, a personal trainer could create a weekly fitness challenge (“Do 100 crunches every morning this week”). A pet store’s challenge might be “Teach your dog a new trick this week.” A tutoring service could ask children to read a book a week. Encourage readers to share videos or photos proving they took the challenge.

8. Tweet Up a Storm

Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters, but you can get around this by “tweetstorming”—that is, stringing a series of tweets together to form a longer thought. You can turn key phrases from a blog post or facts from an infographic into a tweetstorm. Help readers keep it straight by including a number so people know which order the tweets go in. You can tweetstorm by writing one tweet, then hitting “Reply” on the previous tweet, deleting your handle and writing the second tweet, and so on. You can also use an app like Storm It to simplify tweetstorming.

9. Celebrate Silly Holidays

You probably already post holiday-related stuff on social media, but did you realize how many holidays you’re ignoring? See this “Weird Holiday Calendar” to find out. Choose some holidays relevant to your business to give your followers a laugh (and a reason to buy from your business, like National Beer Day for a brewpub). Hold a contest, promotion, or sale related to the holiday. This list of hashtag holidays explains how to choose the right hashtag for a holiday to get the most attention on social media.

10. Use Social Media IRL

What are your most popular products or menu items on Instagram or Pinterest? Why not highlight them in real life (IRL)? That’s what retailer Nordstrom did. When they noticed certain products getting lots of engagement on Pinterest, they spotlighted the products with signage in the stores. Put up signs or hangtags, or create a display highlighting “Popular on Pinterest” or “Trending on Instagram.” Then be sure to use social media to encourage shoppers to come in and buy.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Contributor at Fundera
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
Rieva Lesonsky

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