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As a business owner you know that social media evolves constantly. What worked a few years ago doesn’t work as well now, and what works now probably won’t work as well in a few years. But how can you use social media to create attention and build an audience for your business? Kevin La, aka Sydney Food Boy, tells us about his journey building an audience of more than 300,000 followers, plus his top quick social wins for business owners without a lot of time.
How has social media evolved?
My social media journey began with Instagram in 2019. It was a hard time to grow an audience – it took me half a year just to gain my first 1,000 followers. Instagram posts at the time consisted of photos and the odd video, which felt out of place on the platform. Most of what you would see on your Instagram feed was from people with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers. You wouldn’t often see small, up-and-coming pages. As a small-scale creator, it was an uphill battle.
This all changed when TikTok started to gain popularity. TikTok introduced short-form vertical video to the social media space, something the world had never seen before. Shortly after, Instagram and YouTube followed suit with Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.
I spend most of my time working with Instagram Reels these days. Short-form video is, as of right now, the best medium on social media to engage your followers and catch the attention of new users (and hence, potential customers). Reels are quick, snappy and attractive. You are also able to repurpose the videos you create for Instagram Reels to post on TikTok and YouTube Shorts, or vice versa.
How can businesses leverage social media?
Social media is an incredible vehicle to put your business in front of a new audience. It’s not nearly as expensive as traditional forms of advertising, such as television, radio or print. Through social media you can create community networks, build customer loyalty, attract new customers and retain current ones. You can even conduct market research. Best of all, you can portray your business how you want it to be portrayed. Here are a few tips.
1. Engage with your community
Community engagement is, in my eyes, the biggest advantage of social media for businesses. Social media gives you the opportunity to build a community for your business. Even when you are just starting out, you are able to get to know your followers by responding to their comments, asking them questions, and being approachable.
My number one rule for running a social media page is to respond to all comments and messages. Think about it like customer service at a retail shop. If you walk into a store and the staff completely ignores you, the experience isn’t memorable. But if you walk into a store and you’re greeted, asked how your day is and whether you need any help, you immediately feel more positive about the shop you have visited. Chances are that this is a shop you would like to visit again in the future. The same psychology applies to social media engagement.
2. Tell a story
My second tip is to be personable. As a social media consumer, I’m definitely more intrigued by social media pages where I see a person or story behind it. Let’s use the example of a restaurant. Any restaurant can hire a professional photographer to take photos of their food to post on social media. The difference-maker is the story attached to those photos.
Here are a few prompts to help (these can translate to different businesses):
- What’s the story behind each dish on the menu?
- What does your favourite dish mean to you as a business owner?
- Why did you start the restaurant in the first place?
- How does it make you feel to serve these particular dishes?
Use the captions of the post to tell your story. Or you can use voiceover/subtitles on a video to weave these stories into the content. If your audience is able to resonate with the content that you post, there is a higher likelihood they will become a customer.
3. Video (really) works
I believe that in the current social media landscape, it is extremely important to utilise video content. Short-form vertical video is currently being prioritised on all social media platforms. Yet not every business uses it. This may be because it’s hard to dedicate time to create engaging and watchable videos. I believe it’s worth the time investment to get video content on your social media. If you can’t do it yourself, seek help. The businesses that are uploading videos about their products, their processes, their staff and their day in the life are being seen on social media.
What social channels should a business use?
I run three different social media channels – Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Each has their pros and cons, so let me run through them for you in the context of maximising your business reach.
I believe Instagram is the best social media platform for building a community. You can interact with customers on a personal level by asking questions or making polls on your Instagram stories. You can also connect your Instagram to your Facebook page so any post you make gets shared there too.
Demographic: Between 20–40 years old, and the Facebook demographic is older than that.
TikTok is great for sharing videos that can potentially go viral online, or at least reach many people that might not have seen you before. The For You page of TikTok constantly shows a user new videos from different people, and unlike Instagram, TikTok’s For You page is the first thing you see when you open the app. With a bit of luck, TikTok can bring you new customers pronto! That being said, it is more difficult to build a strong community here.
Demographic: Most of the user demographic is a bit younger here; mostly 13–30 years old as an estimate.
I would not recommend traditional YouTube videos for most businesses. YouTube videos take far too much time and effort to create, and it would be difficult to justify dedicating your business resources to this venture. YouTube Shorts, however, has been a recent introduction to YouTube, and it is a place where you can repost the videos that you have already created for Instagram Reels and TikTok.
Demographic: The YouTube Demographic is the most widespread, depending on your video niche. My demographic is mostly aged 18-44, but I’ve seen many channels appeal to younger audiences and others an older audience. Almost everyone watches YouTube.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.