7 Tips for Marketing a ‘Boring’ Brand on Social Media

 In Hootsuite

We expect big name brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola to come up with fun and engaging social media marketing campaigns.

It’s the businesses that sell less-than-glamorous products like toilets, or hard-to-grasp concepts like antivirus software that aren’t so easy to market on social media. Does that mean you should leave social out of your marketing strategy? Absolutely not.

Chances are, there’s something exciting about your business. A backstory? The contributions you make to the local community? Your company culture?

Whatever it is, finding passion in what you do is the first step to marketing your business on social media. After all, if you can’t show interest in your own company—how will others?

7 ways your so-called boring business can have fun on social media

Your business exists to benefit the customer. That might be about providing entertainment, educating, or making someone’s life easier or more enjoyable. Adding value is what the consumer expects of you.

What sets a business apart from the rest is added value. How does a company go above-and-beyond to delight their audience? This is where so-called ‘boring’ brands can really come out on top.

1. Use your expertise and educate the audience

Instead of being just the go-to for your product—why not be the go-to for industry advice or information?

3M Canada is the mastermind behind all things sticky—think Post-Its, Scotch tape, and Nexcare bandages. They are also recognized as a wealth of industry information.

With the launch of the 3M Health Care Academy, the company has a platform to showcase its health care expertise in the form of webinars, training videos, and product tutorials.

3M Canada regularly uploads both fun and informational videos to its YouTube channel. For example, the video below, “What if Scotch Brand Tape was all we made?,” is hilarious but significantly differs from 3M Canada’s video on renewing old water infrastructures to keep water drinkable.

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2. Leverage what’s already popular

Celebrities are the epitome of what’s popular and UNICEF took this into consideration when they paired up with David Beckham to produce a YouTube campaign called ‘Violence marks forever.’ This video campaign is a stark difference from the charity’s previous ad concepts such as selling dirty water and admonishing social media altogether with its Likes don’t save lives campaign.

Beckham’s cameo was a hit—it generated 190,000 responses on UNICEF’s U-Report social platform.

[embedded content]For brands who don’t have the deep pockets needed to hire a celebrity spokesperson, a local social media influencer with a small but dedicated audience may work very well. For tips on how to find and work with influencers, check out our guide.

3. Tell a story

Effective storytelling can help make your brand more relatable.

Once known as a faceless financial provider, PayPal’s display of real people using its product resulted in a 327 percent increase in engagement. PayPal uses a similar format to the one popularized by Humans of New York, combining a visual representation of an individual with their thought-provoking story. In PayPal’s version, the people share a story about how they use the service in their personal life.

Bella Koh is a woman of many hats. Co-founder of @fleaandtrees, Instagram personality (a.k.a @catslavery), food stylist and mother of one, she certainly has her hands full. However, even between the quick moving, high energy joys in life – her work and her family – Bella ensures that she takes time to step back, relax and appreciate each day and what it brings. This is best represented in the vintage accessories and lifestyle items that are sold in her online lifestyle boutique, Flea&Trees, which she runs with her husband, @dearterence. They use the hashtag #slowliving to remind their community, and themselves, to appreciate all of life’s joys, no matter how big or small. As a consumer, Bella uses PayPal for everything from dinner to diapers, however it has helped her most in running her business. Knowing that the online sales experience runs smoothly for all parties gives her peace of mind and most importantly, the time to embody her slow living lifestyle. #paypalit

A photo posted by PayPal (@paypal) on Jun 10, 2016 at 9:34am PDT

4. Be human

Social media is a great place to showcase authenticity and maybe even change the perception of your brand.

This is where Wikipedia has hit the mark. Anyone who’s combed through the pages of Wikipedia (shoutout to students of the last decade and a half) knows that the site depends on charitable donations to stay afloat. On Twitter, the online encyclopedia takes the time to personally thank followers for their donations.

Engaging the audience on social media not only demonstrates that there are real people behind the brand, but it can also help build brand loyalty.

5. Be memorable

Become memorable by having not just an online presence, but an online personality. Brands like Merriam-Webster have made a name for themselves on social media by giving an edge to their company’s voice.

Sassy brands get a lot of attention. Being quick-witted and funny on social (even if it’s a squabble) is one of the best ways to make a lasting impression on your followers.

6. Promote your company culture

Your product is just one part of your company. Albeit, it’s a massive slice of your company, but not the whole pie.

Even if your business sells something that’s difficult to make exciting—like funeral caskets, for example—your focus can be directed elsewhere. Highlight the fantastic work environment, or your employees. Post content that shows off life at the office, talk about how talented your team is, and even develop a culture hashtag like the one we have here at Hootsuite, #HootsuiteLife.

7. Share relevant content

A junk removal franchise, 1-800-GOT-JUNK often posts content that doesn’t involve clutter (not exactly stimulating stuff.) Instead of using its social media handles as ongoing promotional feeds for its service, the brand’s blog publishes content relating to home decor, home maintenance, and renovation how-to’s.

This content is useful to their target customers—people who are getting rid of things in their home to make room for new purchases.

Sharing relevant content with your audience is also an opportunity to position your business as an industry expert.

No matter what you’re selling—whether it’s uninspired or so complicated you need a Venn diagram to explain—the whole point of social media is to be social. You need to be out there—creating, connecting, and maintaining a presence online.

Social media is a platform to establish and shape your brand perception to your liking. So take your so-called ‘boring’ brand, find its fun, interesting, or exciting side, and show it off on social.

Whether your business is traditionally fun or has been dubbed ‘boring’, make the most of what you have to offer using Hootsuite. Schedule posts, engage with followers, and measure the success of your efforts. Try it free today.

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This post was originally published on Hootsuite

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