How do I use social media to market my business or myself? How often should I post on social media? Which social media network do I need to be part off? What type of content should I post? How do I generate sales from Social Media?… These are all questions I hear many times when talking about social media marketing and the answers are never the same. It all depends…
Do your research
Social Media Marketing or any type of marketing nowadays requires some marketing research about your customers, how they consume information, and how they buy. Every product or service is different. Where B2B sales tend to have longer sales cycles that require tons of information to be shared before you can land a new sale, B2C sales tend to have shorter sale cycles that do not need that much detail. Understanding your target audience and their buying process is vital in a good social media strategy.
Pick your network
Once you understand their buying process and what type of help they need to move from a research phase to a decision making phase, you can target your audience through different networks. There are over 200 different social networks, so it is very important that you understand which audience is on which network and how they prefer to communicate. Consumers nowadays demand interactivity with their brands. If you are not responding to Tweets, Facebook comments, or actively listening for opportunities through social listening you are missing out.
Entertain, Educate, and Promote
The right strategy for any social media platform is to entertain to grab their attention, educate to move them to the decision making phase, and promote to close the deal. Building trust by focusing on help instead of hype will position you as a thought leader in the industry and will bring in more inbound leads for your business. The modern consumer will research and educate themselves before ever talking to sales person or business owner. Over 70% is eliminated in the research phase, therefore it is very important that you gain trust and help them with their buying decision.
Create Top of Mind Awareness
By constantly being in the space of your prospects through social media and blogging you stay in their Top of Mind awareness. Many times people will forget about what you do and how you can help if you do not constantly remind them. One time I attended a network event and one of my LinkedIn connections came up to me and said: “I see you every morning on my LinkedIn feed with very valuable information about marketing”. That is exactly what I want. Not all of this content is mine, but I feel that my connections need to read this because it helps them on making smart buying decisions and they will remember who offered the information.
Another part of social media that is many times misunderstood is that it is a social network, not an advertising outlet. Many times when I visit my LinkedIn groups I see article after article posted with no engagement whatsoever. Treat your social media as you would treat a networking event. You wouldn’t shout out products or articles to a group of people without any engagement why you think this is important, would you? When you see good content, share it and tell your follower why this is worth their time and attention. This will create trust and thought leadership and will put you on the top of their list when they need or want more information. When you share in a more conversational manner you also start discussions and you can learn more about their needs and uncover opportunities.
Choose your medium that works best for you and your buyer
Once you understand your audience and their buying process, you want to find the medium that grabs their attention and converts to the highest amount of sales. Video has proven to be the most effective type of content to attract buyers and convert them into leads. This visual content is easier to consume, sticks longer, and can appeal to emotions. However, not everyone is comfortable with the media, so you have to find the medium that works best for you and your buyers.
Social Media Marketing works
Still not convinced that social media works and is worth investing time and money into? What if I told you that it has the potential to increase your revenue by 40 times? The ALS Ice bucket challenge is probably one of the most successful social media campaigns ever built. During the summer of 2014, they were able to generate over $114 million in donations, which is 40 times higher than last year. Over 2,330,000 Youtube videos were created about the ALS Ice bucket challenge, and over 28 million people joined the conversation in Facebook. The reason why this was so successful is because it created the social pressure through the call out of needing to support a good cause, the accessibility of the program – everyone has access to a bucket of ice and a recording device, and it was entertaining to see someone dump a bucket of ice over themselves.
What does the future bring?
As more and more people join the social networks, they are filtering out messages so that we are not bombarded by information overload. If you want to continue to use social media as a way to connect with your buyers, you will need to either pay for posts or create engaging content that entices consumers to respond . Grabbing someones attention to read more or watch a video is going to be your biggest obstacle. With the need to grab attention you are not just competing against your competitors, you are also competing against posts from their friends and family. With more and more data being collected by the social media networks, it will continue to raise concerns on privacy but it will also give the business the opportunity to target more effectively. Digital marketing is all about conversion and reaching out qualified leads that are ready, able, and willing to buy.
How do I find the time to do all this?
There are several free tools out there that will help you manage your time in marketing yourself on social media. Hootsuite and Buffer are two free tools that you can use to schedule your content posts for the week. Remember to post when most people are active on the chosen networks. To gather content you news reader sites such as Feedly that can collect valuable content from several sources, so that you always have plenty of content to share. Just be careful not to share anything from your competitors 😉
Should I pay for Someone to manage my social media?
Although the social media channels are free to sign up (for now) and creating posts are also free, you will soon learn that social media marketing is not free. Time is probably our most valuable asset and it is very easy to invest many “free” hours into your social media strategy. If you can find the time to invest into a social media strategy, and you have the expertise and capabilities to engage with your buyers, you can definitely manage it yourself. However, once you notice that it is taking up too much of your time and you lose out of other money making opportunities, it will benefit you to explore outsourcing options.