Last weekend, my wife and I saw stand-up comic Keenen Ivory Wayans (@keeneniwayans) perform at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick, NJ. (Great comedy venue, by the way, following them @StressFactoryCC). As with any sort of live event, the room was filled with people looking into their phones and tablets to photograph the show.
Early in his set, Ivory Wayans did something really interesting. He called out the crowd for using their cameras and told everyone that if they wanted a photo, he’d pose for them. He took ten seconds, posed for the crowd, and then told them to put the phones away. Most people did and went on to enjoy a fantastic set. Ivory Wayans had a triple win: everyone was happy to get a good on-stage shot of the actor, the crowd then went on to enjoy the rest of the set, and lots of people posted those photos on their social media, which in turn helps promote both the venue and Ivory Wayans’ stand-up tour.
The opening act, Melvin George II (@notcool1), took it even further, actually working his website (www.notcool1.com) into the act, getting people to visit to purchase downloads of the show. Maybe Melvin George II didn’t stick in people’s heads right away, but Not Cool 1 sure does.
The point here for small buinsess is to adapt and engage. Even in live stand-up, these two performers embraced digital and social media to enhance their performances, engage the audience better and provide a memorable and funnier overall experience. They didn’t give long sales pitches or tell people to do anything specific; they didn’t have to. By making people feel part of the experience and giving them something to do to stay connected, additional engagement happened organically. To follow-up, both comics engaged with fans on Twitter and Instagram to thank them for their comments and tweets, which surely helped them get more followers and fans who will be interested in future shows and other projects.
For small businesses especially, learning how to adapt your business to social media and learning to get people to want to engage with you is vital. Daily sales pitches for the latest product or service will get redundant and boring very quickly. Creative and interesting content, and by offering people the opportunity to engage with you and your brand, will create a more involved and invested audience. This creates new possibilities that you may not have even considered to convert followers into customers and clients.