I was having a conversation with a client of mine today. This client has been running his own business for a few years now and the business has really taken off in the last couple of years, and he is having a lot of social media success due to having a great product and also due to him putting in a lot of hard work.
The first year he was in business he was relying on redundancy money to live whilst he built the business. And the very sensible thing he did early on in that journey, well right from the beginning – was that he created a unique way to solve an existing problem. And he also didn’t expect instantaneous results.
A guy I know – James Lavers – was talking about this on Facebook live today. And it really is a critical piece of the puzzle.
You see what most businesses do is one of two things – both are almost doomed to failure. They either try to create a unique product or service. Or they tackle an existing problem in the same way everyone else does. Let me explain what I mean.
In scenario one a business tries to solve a unique problem by creating a unique product, or service. And you know what – that is pretty hard to do. Not many people pull that one off. When you create a truly unique product, something no-one has seen before – you are solving a problem your audience doesn’t even know they have. So, you need a big education piece first before you can even start to sell your thing. And you need a big budget. Now if you are James Dyson and have some cash behind you then maybe you can do it. But it is tough to do as a small business.
And whilst you CAN educate a market about a new thing, it is a longer and harder route as a startup, then tackling a problem that already exists and just doing a better job of it than some of your competitors. You don’t even have to be the best at the beginning, just better than some of the others, and if you have picked a big enough problem, then you are going in the right direction.
In scenario two – the other big mistake that businesses make – is that they try and solve an existing problem in the same way as everyone else. What I mean by that is – they open up an accountancy practice and they just try being an accountant. They open up a hairdresser and they just try being a hairdresser.
Now – if you have entered a very vibrant market, one with lots of customers, and you work really really hard at it – and you undercut your competitors (which is what you generally have to do if you are trying to solve a problem the same way as your competitors), then you might be able to eventually get enough clients to sustain a business. But that is hard work. And often fails.
No, if you really want to succeed in your business you need to take an existing problem, and solve it in a unique way. You need to have a great product or service, which does what it says on the tin, but more than that – you need to be able to tell that story. And you do need both. Amazing marketing with a shit product doesn’t work any more than an amazing product or service with shit marketing.
This is the missing secret that most businesses don’t understand. The secret to social media success doesn’t lie within social media. Ok, there are plenty of cool things you can do with social media but they are all dependant on you having a proposition which a) solves a big problem, and b) solves it in a unique way.
Most businesses don’t have that. And then they expect to go on social media, create a presence, start selling their stuff and that people will come and buy it. They won’t – don’t waste your money.
You need to have a GREAT product or service that SOLVES your client’s problems in a UNIQUE way. Now that doesn’t mean you have to re-invent the Dyson. It just means that you need to have something that your competitors don’t (or maybe they do but they haven’t packaged it up and presented it like you have).
Assuming you DO have that unique solution then I can share with you now ….the secret to social media success is……to remember it is SOCIAL media. No-one goes to social media to be sold to. They go to be educated, informed, inspired, motivated, entertained – and most importantly – to feel like they are important.
What makes people feel important? Well, finding out stuff before their mates know about it – so they can do the big reveal or gossip. Also – finding cool stuff to share with their mates. And most importantly of all – being acknowledged.
As a business, you have to see social media as a way to start relationships. You can’t just sell your stuff and expect people will come and buy it. Why should they? If they wanted to buy something they would go to Google or YouTube and do a search.
You need to put effort into starting or joining conversations. And when you do go down the advertising route (and you need to consider it nowadays with the low reach of organic posts) then you better have something good to say. Just because you can (if you know what you are doing) drive traffic to your website or landing page, that doesn’t mean they will buy when they get there.
And – going back to my client – that is why his business has done well in general and specifically has had such social media success. Because he HAS something worthwhile, he HAS something unique which clients can see will solve their problems. Now does he actually do anything very different from his competitors? Not really. Does he have his service packaged up in a way that looks logical, powerful and unique? Yes.
If you need some help with packaging up your proposition then you can do one of 3 things.
- Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for one of my 3 monthly free strategy sessions.
- Come along to the next Leading Women in Business Mastermind on September 26th (check it out here)
- Book one of the last 2 places on our ‘Get Shit Done Retreat’ in Majorca in October (all inclusive, 4* Spa resort, single room accommodation), for 5 nights and 4 days of getting stuff done in YOUR business. Read all about it on this link And if you are reading this after October 2nd 2018, email me for details of our next event.
And just remember – social media is a bit like a proverb – it can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. You better have some silk in your business if you want social media to help turn that into something of value.
Read last weeks Blog about Facebook Watch here