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How to Answer The Question, “What do you do?”

what do you do

“So, what do you do?”

That’s a question we business owners get all the time, whether we’re at a networking function or making small talk in an elevator. We all get this question from the various people we meet. And it’s how we answer this question that determines whether or not we’re going to be on someone’s radar when it comes to referrals and other things that generate business. 

I was recently asked “What do you do?” by my daughter, and it kind of caught me off guard. I started explaining “Oh, I help small businesses with their social media plans.” And as soon as I started talking I realized that meant absolutely nothing to her! It’s just a bunch of words that make no sense in her world. So that got me thinking about how I need to start answering this question when it comes to people who ask me, whether they’re fellow business owners or potential clients, etc.

I’ve narrowed it down to “I help local businesses gain more loyal customers.” 

That’s a very intriguing statement that typically leads to more questions from the other person, but it’s also easy to understand. You want to make sure that people fully grasp exactly what you do when you’re asked this question. So I’m going to give you three tips on how to use social media to answer this question for your business.

1. Talk about your results.

When you are filling out your profiles on your social media accounts, it’s very important that you tell people exactly what you do. But I don’t really mean what you do, but the result of what you do. It’s the result of what you do that people really care about. 

For instance, if you’re an air conditioning repair company, you can tell people that you own an air conditioning repair business. But what would be even more effective would be to talk about what you really do, which is something like “We help people become more comfortable in their own home.” You can phrase it any way you want to, but in the end, you want to let people know that you exist to get that air conditioner working so people can be comfortable again.  

In our case, business owners don’t actually care that we do social media marketing. What they do care about is that we can help them become more profitable and more trustworthy. We help businesses generate more leads. These are things that trigger an emotional response from a business owner. Me saying “we manage social media campaigns” really means nothing to a business owner. So keep that in mind when you’re filling out your business profiles—think about emotional connections.

2. Show it in pictures.

You can explain what you do and the results you get through your social media posts. For example, by taking pictures and showing off what you do and the result of what you do, that will help you transfer exactly what you do to your end audience. That “what do you do?” question is a very basic thing, but if you just flip it around a little bit to the result of what you do, you can get great results. It’s great to say that you mow yards, but it’s another thing to show off the yards you’ve cared for and let people know that you gave those homeowners more time to give back to their families while you managed the beautiful, lush yard for them. 

3. Show it with video.

You can also show what you do, and the result of what you do, through using videos. 

4. Tell stories.

You want to explain what you do through a story. This has been the most effective method for us in our business, sharing stories of our current clients with potential clients. I don’t go into a client meeting and talk about impressions, click-through rate or things like that. Those are just buzzwords that make a business owner’s eyes glaze over. What I do is I take a similar business and show, through a story, how we helped them. Maybe when we started with them they had one truck, but now, through different methods of social media marketing, we have been able to grow them to where they have several trucks, more employees, etc.

When you can relate these stories to people, whether through videos or social media, that’s what triggers the referral. I’ve said this before: We don’t buy with our heads, we buy with our gut and our heart.

So fill out your social media profiles, let people know the results of what you do, share posts to illustrate what you do, shoot some short videos, and most importantly, share stories to help people relate to the result of what you do. 

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