Pictured above is the Broadway Theatre with their message "Wash Your Hands and Love Each Other" during the first week of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Be a good citizen.
Part of owning a business means being part of the community. No business survives without the tremendous support of the people here in the city. The success of our businesses is so deeply connected to the welfare of our community that it’s impossible to separate them. Being a good citizen means voting, understanding the specific needs of customers and playing an active role in advocating for positive change.
Pictured above is our beloved river valley and the Delta Bessborough Hotel.
Context is key.
Inspire people with your local love and show off the city. Stock photography is tricky since it will never give context to your images and videos. When you are creating content, you should always be looking for opportunities to let your audience recognize the setting. The more familiar content can feel, the better it will perform. Get creative, it’s doesn’t always need to be a shot of the majestic Bessborough. Show off neighbourhoods, local shops and familiar faces.
Pictured above is the new building for OUT Saskatoon.
Business and community.
Under ideal circumstances our city's non-profits run on tight budgets and with minimal people power. During a crisis their resources become even more precious. As local businesses we need to find ways to support the community organizations working tirelessly to make our city a better place. Collaborations, donations and volunteering are simple and scalable ways to make a difference.
Pictured above is a mural by @pineapplesforprimeminister on the back of Foster's Shoes off Broadway.
Work with local creatives.
We all need art for our websites, publications, promotional items, physical spaces, etc. Finding people in the community who can create relevant work for your business is huge. Not only does it support our local economy, but it also allows a creative in YXE to deliver art that is sensitive to the community we live in. A local artist understands the nuances of our culture and can reflect that in their work.
Pictured above is the quirky neighbourhood of 33rd Street in front of Glitch Gifts and Better Off Duds.
Know who you are.
People say that Saskatchewan is a fly-over province. That people often overlook us nationally or internationally. Embrace your weirdness. It’s so important that we are transparent with our audience. Don’t try to make your business look like something it’s not. The things you think no one will be interested in are the exact stories that will endear your most loyal customers to your business for a lifetime.
What can we learn from a clown about making inspired social media? Maybe nothing, but I’m tempted to suggest slightly more than nothing. You see when clowns explore they do it through creativity, empathy and vulnerability. I’d argue the best content needs just a sprinkle of all three of those magic ingredients. Wouldn’t you?
The creative process.
As content creators we often work under a certain amount of pressure to produce amazing work in a comically short time frame. It’s easy to fall into bad habits and feel bored with that we are producing. The process becomes a bit like a conveyor belt just pumping out more and more stuff. I ask, how can we spark our creativity when we need it most? Believe it or not, there is a creative process and it’s as unique as you are snowflake.
When are create content we always know what we want to say, but it’s the how we say it that’s way more important. Empathy is a key aspect of clowning and content. It’s sympathy in action. It’s looking at your audience and not just seeing them but helping them. Without this ingredient we can’t expect to connect digitally or beyond. It’s curiosity that allows us to observe the situation closer and begin the practice of understanding another perspective. I mean, how many viewpoints have you considered because there exists far too many to count. So, let’s choose to examine at least a few.
Where do ideas come from?
When we were kids, we could turn a wooden spoon into a mighty sword and engage in a monumental battle against good and evil. Until it got taken away to finish making dinner. Being at play is where ideas live. Allowing yourself to be free of function and explore things with a non-judgemental lens is where your mind begins to invent. In clowning there is an innate sense of curiosity and whimsy. Allowing ourselves to freely experience emotions is a powerful and productive tool when developing ideas. Remember, there is no spoon.
We live in a world that requires protection. It’s difficult for us as individuals and as businesses to put ourselves out there genuinely. So how are we able to be vulnerable, sounds impossible right? Well it requires a safe space, room to breathe and flourish. Finding this place is key to allowing yourself to open up and access the good stuff. This is where you can begin to truly develop the foundations of the most meaningful and connected concepts. Once you are able to unearth these gems, you can begin the process of polishing and preparing them for an audience.
To create is to make something that has never existed before. There’s nothing more vulnerable than that. -Brene Brown
There is no one size fits all when it comes to supporting a business with social media, but let's be clear: everyone successful has some level of assistance. So how do you know what kind of help you need and what questions to ask? Here are 9 ways to know it's time to find help with your social media.
1. You love social media.
Ok maybe you don’t need to love social media, but you need to see the inherent value of the platform. Once you believe that you can achieve your business goals through this medium it’s easy to understand why you would dedicate time, money and resources into development. If you still think Facebook is only for sharing taco casserole recipes then it might be too soon.
2. You have more money than time.
Many businesses start with an abundance of time and hopefully shift to profitability. Once this tipping point is reached it’s usually an ideal time to figure out what can be taken off your plate and what can be outsourced. At this point, it might be the right timing to involve an agency to take on either content creation or full management.
3. You are mostly over learning.
For many businesses even though they are involved in the process they don’t have an interest in understanding the mechanics of social media. If you know that learning the skills has zero interest for you, then it’s important to train staff or find an agency early on.
4. You don’t have the equipment.
Creating beautiful social media requires a decent amount of equipment from cameras, accessories, lighting, etc. A lot can be achieved with a cell phone camera, but truly inspired social media has a mix of both casual and produced content. Owning the proper equipment and knowing how to use it is a huge asset. At T Squared we have multiple photographers and videographers that understand the structure of social posts.
5. You are too close to see the big picture.
Running a business is emotional and often it's difficult to see things with fresh eyes. An agency provides a new perspective and can look at the situation as a new client would see it. Understanding the customer journey is key to how we build out our goals, dictates the type of content we create and influences the tone of the copywriting. We as communicators can never assume people know anything about what our business does or even cares about it. Building foundational education designed to attract and keep clients only comes from understanding the big picture.
6. You lack strategy.
If your social media has no strategy, then it’s time to get one. Building a strategy based on the key messages of the brand is the best way to maintain consistency. An agency can provide you with the tools to harvest content internally, through user-generated channels and scheduled posts. In other words what can we find, what can we make and what already exists. Great social media isn't a guessing game it's very intentional.
7. You are big on teamwork.
When you agree to work with an agency, like T Squared, you are going to need to trust us. You will hand over passwords and we will have access to digital spaces that some employees may not have. We must be able to do our work to the highest level, which requires us to see how things are moving internally. This allows us to be able to make recommendations and optimizations for future content. We always work as a team with our clients.
8. You want to build a brand legacy.
Creating quality content can be done monthly or quarterly. This is something you can achieve on a project-based schedule or integrated with full management. With T Squared we fit best with clients who have an abundance of stories to be documented. We are designed to create original content and feel it’s the best way to build a brand legacy, not just social media noise.
9. You are ready to do the work.
So, you decided you want to hire an agency and now it's time to run off to Mexico for an extended vacation! Sort of. We can do a lot of work at the management level, but we are just a part of the mix. As things grow there are messages to respond to, comments to reply to and stories to share. We are there to turn on the phone, but once it starts ringing you will need to be ready.
There is no one solution for every business when it comes to social media. You need to know the resources you have in-house and identify where you need assistance. Some clients only need content and others need full management support. You may also just need a little encouragement and some education. Check out our Social Hour series below for our monthly workshops. But If it’s time to find help with your social media, reach out and let’s start creating the brand story you always wanted. Book a consultation to start the conversation.
Created by T Squared Social. We are a Saskatoon based social media agency with a focus on education, content creation and management. We love making great content and helping people with their social media.