11 ways a non-visual business can compete on social media

Social media loves pictures. But what if you don’t have a photogenic business? Here are 11 ways you can compete on social media with a non-visual business.

If your business is not visual, how do you compete in the world of social media? How do you attract people’s attention, excite them and make them want to follow you and engage with your posts?

Professional service businesses, like life coaches, accountants, software providers and beauticians in particular can find social media a struggle – as Jocasta Tribe from Marketing for Mums knows all too well. If you find social media a bit of a struggle, here’s her advice.

11 ways a non-visual business can compete on social media

Too many businesses are struggling to use social media well. I know of one service industry small business who just writes their Facebook posts in capital letters, accompanied (if at all) by just an image of the company logo. But posts like this are never going to cut through the clutter and allow you to be seen.

With just a little knowhow, you can easily create a visually colourful and engaging social media feed, whatever your business. So, let’s rise to the challenge and see what opportunities are available. Here are 11 ways a non-visual business can compete on social media.

1) Think variety

It’s all about variety. Post a range of visually appealing content. Use video, live video, infographics, graphics (text overlaid on a background), eye catching imagery and blogs.

2) Focus on your clients

Look outwards rather than inwards. Let’s say you’re an accountant. Are you just doing your clients’ accounts, or are you a piece of the jigsaw which makes them the success stories they are? Do you work with a restaurant, a marketing business, a cake making shop, a florist, a bobsleigh company? Visual businesses who wouldn’t be who they are without your help?

If so, share imagery relevant to their expertise, a piece of their story and the support you provide, of course with their approval.

A great example of another non-visual business doing just this is Vistaprint. They recently captured my attention with their small business commercial on TV. It was a captivating story of a happy photographer shooting on location, and ended with his business card and the link back into Vistaprint.

3) Pimp up your core communications

Make sure you’re not just colourful and interesting, but useful to your followers, and play to your strengths and expertise.

So again, if you’re an accountant, continue to share facts and figures, important policy changes, advice on VAT returns and information which will be of use to your audience. After all, your target audience will want to engage with you for your expertise and what you offer to them.

Be true to your business offering and fulfil the need that your audience has. But do this in an attractive way. Can this be done as a live video on Facebook? Can it be a story? Can it be a live question and answer session? A pre-recorded video or slideshow? Great imagery or a simple but stand out graphic? There are tools available to make this easy – try iMovie or Ripl for quick video production.

4) Use words to command attention

Sometimes it’s not what you say or even how you say it, but how you present it that counts. Even just one or two words can be incredibly powerful if you use them properly. As can an inspiring quote.

And one way to make them stand out is to create visuals from them. There are some great templates in Canva and Wordswag that can help you to make an attractive graphic featuring text on a bright background or image in minutes. You can also animate graphics and make these stand out further.

5) Use stock imagery

Remember to upgrade your blog posts or text based posts with attractive, on-brand images. Head to sites like Pexels, Pixabay or Unsplash for a huge selection of fantastic imagery, which are free to use under the Creative Commons Zero license. Then, when you share your blogs on social media, make sure that the images you have chosen help them to stand out.

6) Share a bit of you

Remember to add personality and reality to your brand; a personal touch. If you’re our accountancy example, let your audience understand who it is that will be doing their accounts if they were to work with you.

I’m not talking cheesy head shot selfies, or pictures of what you’re eating for dinner. And you certainly don’t need to share your secrets or photos of your nearest and dearest. Instead, think about what will resonate with your target audience. You need to know who these people are, and what makes them tick.

When you know the kind of thing your audience connects with, you can share those kind of posts. Here are some quick examples:

  • A quote that has personal meaning for you.
  • Your desk first thing in the morning ready for a day of work.
  • A picture of a beautiful sunrise on your way to a meeting.
  • A bunch of flowers sent by a happy client, and how they make you feel.

All these examples are ways to connect what you do with who you are. And help you to build genuine, emotional connections to your followers and customers, helping them to get to know, like and trust you over time.

7) Share gifs

If it’s appropriate for your business, share a gif – short animated images playing in a loop, which help us to convey a feeling or a reaction. A gig is a bite-sized piece of entertainment that lasts just a few seconds. Head to Giphy to find relevant gifs to share, or make your own at gifmaker.

8) Use video

Social media loves video, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it for your business. You could do a behind the scenes video, an introductory video, an interview between you and a client, or create a video which stitches testimonials from your clients together.

There are so many different ways you can use video to bring to life your offering on social media. Try iMovie or Ripl for quick video production.

9) Use live video

Or, if you’re feeling really brave, share a live video. Live videos are natural and less polished, making them feel more authentic and enabling you to connect with your audience.

You can use videos to announce news to your followers, or even hold a live Q&A session or interview with an expert, with you answering questions your audience type into comments. The video can then remain online for people to watch afterwards.

If you do want to maximise your live engagement, make sure you promote your live date and time well in advance, and give people a reason why they should turn up and watch.

10) Link to your brand story

Most businesses have a brand story – a reason why they exist. So what’s yours? What experiences led you to start your business? What catalyst finally made it happen? What challenges did you have to overcome to grow a successful business? And are there any memorable or funny stories along the way?

We all love a great story, and connect with brands that are able to engage us in theirs. So bring your business to life by telling your own stories. Even better if you can illustrate these with images to help them stand out.

11) Be creative

The social media algorithms (particularly Facebook right now) seek and reward engaging content. Content your audience are going to interact with and start a conversation over.

So be creative, and test a range of different ideas for your business. Then measure the response to see what it is that your audience wants. Once you discover the kind of content mix they love, do more of it!

Jocasta Tribe is the founder of Marketing for Mums.

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