Social media can be simple or complex – it can also be a lead generator or a time waster – depending on how you use it.
If you were to try each of the various platforms in this graphic shown you would be quickly overwhelmed. I don’t know of any business that is successful on every one of these platforms.
But simplified – the heart of Social media is your brand. Your brand is the perception that the market has of your product or service. The market will determine the perception of your brand whether you participate or not. The only way to encourage a great perception is to actively participate. Social Media engaging provides a public face for your brand. Allowing your company to quickly target new markets or prospects.
Social media now drives 31% of all referral traffic. So it is important that your brand is present on Social media. It is also important that you have a complete strategy to capitalize on that referral traffic.
Social media is also a great way to determine the best methods of interaction with prospects. More about this later.
How do you choose the correct social media platforms to best represent your brand? Start by answering these questions:
What is my brand about?
- Is it clearly defined?
- Do I know who I serve best?
- Do I have a clear vision for my company?
Use the brand information to set up profiles across all social media platforms. Look for the words your prospects and clients use to include or to decide how best to communicate. For example if you audience speaks about seeing things, use Video. If your audience uses the words listen or hearing – then use Audio. Even if your audience prefers one method, you have to use methods that are most comfortable to you. Eventually, you can outsource creating the other types of content.
Rule #1: Be consistent about how you present your brand to build awareness. Use the same headshot and the same descriptions of services. This consistency will ensure that you deliver the best branding message across all platforms. It takes an average of 10 marketing-driven “touches” to move a lead from the top of the funnel to revenue. So each of those “touches” must represent you and your brand consistently.
How am I marketing my company?
- A great marketing strategy can make a huge difference in without costing too much. But the strategy must be effective and tracked. Start by deciding on what activities are important to your business.
- Is it blogging, video promotion, or an amazing website for products (think Amazon)?
- Am I more comfortable with writing, drawing, talking, presenting, or teaching?
- Can I define who my best client is and create a profile for that person?
- Do I know how to get in front of that person?
- Do I sell products or services?
- Do I have a team of salespeople or am I the only salesperson?
- Do I have a strategy to get to know my prospects and clients better as they grow with my company?
- Do I have a variety of products or programs that move clients through our lifecycle?
Don’t try to be everything to everyone – that won’t work. Spend time wording your site for your specific solutions and area of expertise.
Focus on the niche and transformations that you can offer and draw in the best clients for your business. That doesn’t mean you have to turn away everyone that doesn’t fit that image when you are starting out. Your highest return on investment will come from working with those clients in that way. But, if you are just starting out the description of your ideal client will change as you work through a few. Just get started and fine-tune the process as you learn.
What are your social media goals?
- Do you want engagement, leads, sales, or something else?
- Which social media platform is the best for my prospects? It is easy to find prospects on the big social media platforms. With 58% of the entire adult population on Facebook, I am sure you can find your prospects in that crowd. But with the big platforms also comes a lot of competition. There are smaller platforms that will put you in front of your prospects quicker.
Pick one to two platforms to focus on and spend 20-30 minutes per day on that channel. The first few weeks should be getting familiar with the channel and how to interact with it. Then be consistent in your efforts on each channel. Whatever channel you connect with make sure that you are responding people. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation either. Social media is like a cocktail party. There are different etiquette for different platforms. Once you have the etiquette basics, start a conversation. That is how you grow your connections. It will never be enough to just show up on Social media. It will be about the social part.
Which social media platform fits how you like to market and will help you reach your goals?
- Some social media platforms are set up better for visual materials (Pinterest and Vine). Others that are more set up for blog promotion (Triberr and Tumblr)
- If you goal is engagement, then consider those that have a lot of room to connect. Quora as an example is a great way to provide answers to questions but is texted based. If you are a good teacher, Quora may be the perfect channel for you.
- Is your business set up to respond to questions within a 4-12 hour period? Try Twitter. It has great short term engagement and a huge following. Twitter is also great for companies to show how responsive they are.
- Could you use visual demonstrations such as online videos? Then Vine or YouTube may be a better fit.
Fitting Social media into your marketing.
53% of Americans 12+ who follow brands in social media are more loyal to those brands. Marketing is about building momentum for sales. Creating a recognizable brand is pivotal to creating marketing momentum. So creating Brand loyalty with social media is important to a successful marketing strategy.
The 80/20 rule is important to your marketing in many ways. If you spend 80% of your time producing content, you only have 20% of your time to promote it. Which results in great content that no one is reading.
- If you spend 20% of your time producing content, you have 80% of your time to promote it. Your content will need improving after publication. But that content has a better chance of getting read. The more it people read it the more likely they are to engage with it. Social media is a great way to get content seen with little cost. It is part of your 80% promotion activity. This is one of the ways that social media needs to fits into your marketing.
- Make sure that only 20% of your social media posts are directly sales related.
- Make sure that 80% of your posts have some type of call to action (CTA) or engagement. Such as:
♦ Asking questions can be a fun way of engaging with prospects
♦ Create interesting visuals. Images or quotes grab attention so that they get shared more.
♦ Run contests, both to collect leads, and to create engagement.
All roads must lead back to your website; this is the main way that Social media fits into your marketing.
Regardless of the social media platform, the goal is to get them signed up to an email list. Because once prospects are on your email list, then you can communicate with them at any time. (Don’t break the SPAM rules though – no one likes SPAM)
- Why an email list is the goal:
- Social media audiences belong to that platform. The platform can change the rules or ban your account without any notice.
- Promotions are limited on some platforms or require buying ads.
- SEO results are still important and your website is critical for SEO
- You need prospects to provide data somewhere secure to actually turn them into customers.
Other things to consider about integrating social media.
- Is your website set up to integrate social media platforms and promotions?
- Do your customers want/need to see more solutions on your site or would they benefit more from tips and integration options?
- Do you have staff that are interested in talking about the company? Are you willing to appoint a person to this position? Create a brand guide and make it fun. Great team members can do wonders for you brand.
- It shows your personality – people buy from people
Implementing social media marketing is a commitment much like any marketing program. The success of it is dependent on the infrastructure put in place to support it. With the correct tools and team members, social media can be a profitable way to generate more leads.
Just remember; that whatever you choose, social media is about relationships, not selling. The goal of these platforms is to be social. Social connections build relationships. Those relationships will bring leads back to your website and result in a sale. But the platforms themselves are not for selling.
Do you have a social media marketing plan? Please share your social media strategy or questions in the comments section or contact me for more information about how to integrate Social Media platforms into your marketing plans.