Have you ever wondered why some small businesses get constant recognition online, while others keep struggling? The answer to this question is not simple. In a world where 3 billion people and counting have access to an Internet connection, the visibility contest has never been harder to win.
The concept of popularity is, honestly, quite subjective. Some niches are so small that you can consider yourself popular with a few dozen customers. Other niches are more competitive and making a major dent requires more work.
Regardless of your industry, one of the only things that will allow you to stand out online is creating and sharing content that your customers crave.
This is the topic of today’s article. I have prepared a list of five content types that perform well.
How do you remember information? Do you need to picture a specific scene or is it attached to a memory? If so, you are part of the visual learning crowd.
Actually, a majority of people are visual learners. That is because the brain is wired to absorb visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Actually, 90% of the information that comes from the brain is visual!
That explains why infographics have been all the rage for the last four or five years. When done well, they put “digestible” and skimmable to the forefront. So, you can use them to make boring content like stats, survey results, how tos, and guides more appealing, while tying it to the services you promote.
Remember: Pinterest users love infographics! They have a viral potential there that you will not find anywhere else.
You know the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, according to Dr. James McQuivey, a minute of video is worth 1.8 million of them!
Whether this number is true or false is not the question. To me, it speaks to the increasing role videos play in the lives of online users. For example, people around the world spend an average of 6 billion hours on YouTube every month. And Facebook videos have 4 billion daily viewers!
While some of the most viral videos come from big companies with gigantic budgets, smaller businesses have also done a great job. Case in point. Watch this short documentary on Paulie Gee, the owner of Paulie Gee’s pizzeria in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Created by Liza de Guia, the video shows how Gee makes pizza; he also speaks about his passion for food.
I don’t know about you, but after watching this video, all I want to do is click the share button and tell my friends about the pizzeria. And if I lived in the area, I would definitely eat there!
The secrets behind great videos? Authenticity and the desire to entertain and / or educate. Quality comes second.
Ideas for video content: how tos, tutorials, reviews, and interviews. And if you feel like showing your company behind the scenes, you can do it directly from your mobile device. Think Meerkat, Periscope, or Instagram, for example. With Animoto, you can also put together quick videos mixing music, clips, and photos.
It’s Saturday but we are busy creating another incredible piece! Stop by and see how it’s done! #MasterJeweler #MasterPiece
Posted by Turley Jewelers on Saturday, May 23, 2015
In 2012, I conducted an interview with Nick Kellet, the co-founder of a new service called List.ly. In the article, he revealed that 30% of all blog posts are lists.
“Bloggers know Lists Posts get more eyeballs. Lists prove we’re smart (we expect to know stuff on lists) and lists make us smarter (by filling in the gaps in our knowledge). Lists always give you a positive experience.”
“List creators are typically Bloggers, but people also create lists for personal consumption. Business users also use it to test, validate or flesh out ideas.”
Lists are like written infographics. They are skimmable, usually quick to read, and often provide useful takeaways. They are also easy to write.
Examples of list posts from the Paper.li Blog:
- Productivity: 10 Tools to Get Stuff Done
- 15 Easy CSS Changes to Customize Your Paper
- 21 Tips for Better Visual Sharing
- How to Build Your Micro-Community After Only 30 Days of Blogging
4. Case Studies
In this day and age, people do not want to read about the awesomeness of your products and services all the time. They would much prefer hearing from other customers. That’s the reason why case studies are so useful.
With case studies, you let customers show others how they have used your products and services successfully. It is about their perspective and experience, and as such, a great way to make them part of the story your company is sharing with the world.
Since feedback does not come from you, case studies are very inexpensive to create. And the icing on the cake: You get to learn how useful your products truly are.
5. Inspirational Stories
In 2012, when Barack Obama was re-elected to the US presidency, the Tweet he shared quickly became the most retweeted of all time. While it no longer holds the top spot, it still has people talking three years later.
Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
The success of the above Tweet can be summed up in one word: emotion. One of the biggest personalities in the world sharing a private and vulnerable moment with millions of people, highlighted by simple words? What a way to bring us together around a common cause!
People want to be inspired. They want to feel a connection with you. And, as a small business owner, you can create that positive experience for them.
“How,” you ask? Unlike big brands, you probably are the only person behind the Twitter handle or Facebook Page of your company. You know many of your customers by name. And if you serve a local customer base, you may even live in the same neighbourhood as some of them! In a nutshell, you are aware of what they like.
Share inspirational stories to make them feel closer to you and start positive conversations. Did you learn something important for your business recently? Did someone teach you specific lessons? What motivates you to be an entrepreneur? What role do your passions play in your business? Write a post or create a video. You could also try to find a quote, video, or article that sums up your experience.
When sharing lessons, ensure that the takeaways are much more about your customers than they are about you. Relatable stories sell too!
Examples of inspirational stories:
- 5 Lessons My Dad Taught Me from Running a Small Business (Tim Reed)
- Tragedy to Triumph: 7 Entrepreneurs Who Beat the Odds (Nicole Fallon)
- What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People (James Altucher)
What other types of content perform well on social media? Any good examples?