Don’t Look for Social Media Hacks to Grow, Focus on the 3 P’s Instead


Does your social media look like everybody else’s?

Or does it reflect your people, your place, your passion? No other business can replicate you, your reason for what you do and where you do it, and above all, the passion that fuels you to excel.

Convey those three elements on social media and you have a winning strategy that resonates with your peeps (and is inviting enough for new ones to come aboard).

Those three p’s transform your social media into an engagement-building platform with a subtle advertising tie-in. Too many companies make the mistake of taking a heavy salesy approach to every post, or searching for the quick hack, rather than conversing with their audience with no expectation of getting something in return.

Think of your main social media feeds in terms of storytelling rather than selling one of your brand’s products.

Here’s how that plays out practically.

Start by brainstorming with your team.

Ask yourself (and each other) what types of people you’re speaking to and what messages would be of value to them.

Tap into the personalities on your team. Be careful not to think too corporately. Every business has its stars. If you’re a winery, maybe it’s your winemaker. If you’re a restaurant, perhaps it’s the chef. When you can fit elements of personality and humanity into a post, it elevates your storytelling. Telling your story in an authentic, visual, creative manner connects to your audience.

Dancer Kamilah Turner performs in front of the new TC Walker mural in downtown Gloucester Monday October 26, 2020.

If you’re the CEO, and you want to be the focus of your social media, make sure you’re relatable enough to your audience. Sometimes the not-so-obvious stars in your business communicate best with your following. Instead of that winemaker, maybe a tasting room associate is a better choice. Let your stars shine so your social media shines, too.

The core of every social media campaign is passion. You can talk about your passion on social media or you can show it.

And it’s ALWAYS better to show.

Silver Hand Meadery owner Glenn Lavender gets a close look at some bees that formed a swarm around a queen on a tree outside the meadery Friday April 24, 2020.

The key is to do that in a manner that engages, as sending out a one-way message is not what marketing is about anymore. If you’re not getting comments, shares or any relevant engagement, it’s probably because your content is stale. The best campaigns don’t talk at a customer; they talk with them.

Take a look at this short video on Silver Hand Meadery’s Instagram feed to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

You can relate to owner Glenn Lavender, right? Suddenly, you’re craving mead with your corned beef and cabbage after spending just a few minutes with his post.

Use images strategically, especially on Instagram. It’s one thing to tell folks that The Williamsburg Winery’s new chicken salad sandwich is now on the menu. It’s another to show a close-up of the scrumptious specialty photographed on a plate on a table at the Gabriel Archer Tavern.

You want to be awesome on social media, right? But telling people you’re awesome, telling people your business and team are awesome fall flat. Do you enjoy listening to a braggart at a party? Show how you make the best beer, show that your Cab Franc benefits from the oak-aging treatment.

Crabbing with Chris Pritchett, his son Coleman and Wayne Taylor out of Tappahannock, Virginia Monday August 10, 2020.

Ooze passion.

Smile while you’re talking.

Be social not stiff.

Remember this, too.

You’re not judge and jury about what is interesting and what is not. You’re an insider in your business, but nobody else outside of your own team is.

Something as simple as a chef dicing and chopping veggies might seem overly simply, that seemingly routine task is a fun video for your audience.

That’s why Jacques Pépin’s videos work so well on Facebook. What he’s doing isn’t all that elaborate, but in just a few minutes time, you see how much he enjoys cooking and his style of demonstrating every step fills you with confidence about trying it out in your own kitchen.

Be all about your business. Don’t just talk about it. Have fun. Think outside the box. And above all else, once that dialogue starts on one of your feeds, do your best to keep the conversation flowing. That’s what today’s social media is all about.