Just Being Sociable

What would us Brits talk about if we didn’t have our rubbish weather? Forgiving the pun but it’s a real ice-breaker if you’re stood next to a complete stranger and want to break an awkward silence. Politics, sport and religion are risky as conversation starters whereas the weather is a safe opening gambit.

And in a way, coming up with conversation starters on social media is an area where a lot of small businesses struggle. They’re not sure what to post and while the weather is perfect if you sell seasonal products like winter tyres and barbecues, it’s not so relevant if you’re a dentist, for example.

The temptation for many companies is to self-promote but social media is all about engaging people in dialogue and encouraging interaction so it’s wiser to hold back on obvious advertising.

If you’re not sure where to start or are fast running out of ideas, we’ve put together a ‘Top 10’ of what we think makes good content to post.

1. Industry statistics: share findings from some of the latest surveys and research to prove you’re up to date with what’s trending in your industry. Add your own opinions and encourage debate.

2. Quotes: social media loves a good quotation so post some inspiring or humorous pearls of wisdom that reflect your type of business, its personality and values.

3. Behind the scenes: put a ‘face’ to your business through photos and stories of the people in your office, shop, or factory. Share their achievements; provide ‘snapshots’ of their skills and capabilities.

4. Reviews: the best advert still for any business is personal recommendation and social media really lends itself well to customers leaving testimonials that big-up your products or services. Reviews can also be negative so respond appropriately or interact with them to a different channel.

5. Offers: the sheer immediacy of social media is great for last-chance-saloon offers or your current special deals. Giveaways are also a pretty good incentive to engage your audience to retweet something, for example.

6. Ask questions: use imagery to invite comment or pose questions to get people engaged in debate. Why not start a poll or even canvas opinion on potential new lines e.g, new ice-cream flavours.

7. Weekly/monthly roundup: summarise some of the best news, whether it’s your own business announcements, trade updates or national occurrences.

8. Local focus: if your business has a regional bias then report on what’s happening in your local community.

9. Images: Instagram is all about the image but using photos, graphics and videos on Facebook and Twitter will help ensure your post isn’t lost in news feeds.

10. Self-promotional posts/tweets: as we’ve already touched on, social media is all about building relationships and reputation so use self-promotion sparingly in your feeds.

And if you’re really stuck, look outside your window and see what the weather is doing. Apparently, you can chip a tooth just from moderate shivering so if it’s cold outside and you’re a dentist…

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