The lessons I learned as a social media newbie

social media

I’ve been in small business for 13 years – almost as long as Facebook has been around. While I knew I should probably be using Facebook and Instagram to promote my home organisation business, I’ve never had much interest in social media.

But I’ve gone from being a social media newbie to a case study featured on national TV. Amusingly, the ABC described me as “Australia’s answer to Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo” after I started posting home organisation videos during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Within minutes of the story going to air, a woman sent me a Facebook message with a photo of the inside of her fridge and asked me for advice. I’ve even had customers recognise me in the store and tell me they’ve watched my videos.

It’s been incredible to connect to people in a new way and to provide them with content they find valuable and want to share.

This is what I’ve learnt about using social media to promote my business.

  • Be authentic and relatable – social media users like to connect with people, not products. I filmed my videos on a smartphone in my home and showed people the inside of my fridge, pantry and wardrobe and I spoke about my wife and daughters.
  • Post timely and valuable content – with many people working from home or unable to go out because of social distancing, I provided them with useful tips on home organisation, including setting up their home offices.
  • Reward your followers – We ran a Facebook competition during April that offered entrants the chance to win a hands-free soap dispenser. The competition proved to be popular at a time when people were being told to regularly wash their hands. More than 500 people entered and the post was shared about 100 times.
  • Be entertaining and light-hearted – I posted funny memes and photos. Giving people a reason to laugh in difficult times was a welcome relief.
  • Spend money on Facebook advertising campaigns – I used a digital marketing expert to ensure important posts reached the right audience. Because of the popularity of these posts, I kept costs down to a few cents per like when similar campaigns cost more than $1 per like.

Essentially, I applied the same principles to social media that I use in store.

I wanted to build rapport with people and give them a good reason to spend their money on my products – you can only do that if you are genuine and know what you are talking about.

A lot of what’s on Facebook and Instagram is scripted and staged and that’s the opposite of what we tried to do.

We gave followers real-world examples, not glamourous magazine-style videos and images.

With fewer COVID-19 cases in South Australia, I kept the store open and my 15 staff employed, while others around us shut for weeks. It’s too early to say how much our social media activity contributed to sales, but it’s certainly complemented our marketing efforts.

We’re never going to have millions of followers like some influencers have, but we’re growing and targeting the right customer base for our business and that’s what matters most.

Dave Strutton, Owner, Howard Storage World Mile End