Why should you take part in social media marketing for business?
If you’re the owner of a small business or work as the marketing manager of a business, and you aren’t on social media; why not?
I’m sure you’re at least curious about social media.
Especially considering all the hype surrounding it.
Social Media is everywhere, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
If you’re at all skeptical of the value offered by social media marketing, I recommend checking out: The Top 15 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
Social Media Marketing can be rather intimidating to the uninitiated.
So, what is, so amazing about social media marketing that you don’t seem to get?
If you don’t understand why your business needs social media, then I suggest you keep reading.
More importantly, how do you use social media marketing for business?
Why Should You Use Social Media Marketing for Business in 2019?
- It’s Where Your Customers Are
- Social Media is Extremely Cost Effective
- Stay Top-Of-Mind With Customers
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Reputation Management
- Reach & Connect With Prospective Customers
- Generate Buzz Around New Products
- Sell Your Products or Services
Social Media may seem very complicated, and to a certain extent, it is. More specifically social media marketing is complicated.
Not to worry, you’re certainly not alone.
Even experienced marketers have been vexed by social media.
There’s no shortage of businesses that have failed at social media marketing.
They usually either do nothing or spin their wheels with ineffective strategies.
If you want to be successful at social media marketing, be forewarned.
It requires a significant investment of time and patience.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING = HOSTING A PARTY
It may be helpful to think of social media marketing as hosting a party.
As the host of this party, think of your followers as your guests, and your content as the food and entertainment.
To get people to show up at your party, you’ll have to provide great food and entertainment (Content).
This will help to keep your guests (Followers) happy.
Hopefully, they’ll tell their friends, family, and co-workers about your amazing party.
GETTING STARTED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
To establish a great presence on social media, you need to identify your target audience.
Brainstorm how you’re going to get them to show up, and to “Like” or “Follow” your page.
As with a party, you’ll need to send invitations to your guests.
You could send out emails, advertise, or ask people face-to-face.
For example, “Thank you for shopping with us.
Make sure to follow us on Facebook to get coupons and insider deals!”
Take some time to research brands that have been successful on social media.
Identify brands that you like, and follow or like their pages.
This way, you’ll experience them marketing to you.
If they have a large, engaged following, then they are obviously doing something right.
You just need to figure out what that is.
- Which posts are their followers engaging with by liking, commenting on, or sharing?
- Are any of their posts self-promotional?
- How often are they posting?
- What is the ratio of fun and engaging posts vs. self-promotional?
Take notes about what you like and dislike about their page.
Remember, you’re trying to reverse engineer their strategy.
What types of content they are posting?
Identify their successes and failures.
SPYING ON THE COMPETITION
1) Log In to your social media account (I.E. Twitter or Facebook).
2) Use the Search Bar at the top of the screen to enter keywords relevant to your business. (e.g. A mechanic would enter keywords such as ‘Auto Mechanic’ or ‘Automotive Repair’ or ‘Car Repair.’)
3) Make a list or bookmark 5-10 accounts that you find in your industry. You should aim to find companies that are doing well on social media.
4) Inventory what you like and dislike about their social media marketing strategy. For Facebook, look at their cover photo, profile picture, types of posts, posting frequency etc.).
5) Identify what’s working for them. How can you reverse engineer their strategy?
Once you’ve identified, liked and followed several businesses, track their activity.
As you watch these brands, try not to look at their content from the perspective of a customer.
Instead, be somewhat cynical.
Identify the actual purpose behind their marketing strategy.
What’s in it for them?
Furthermore, how are they disguising their true purpose as fun and engaging content?
BRAND EXAMPLE: REI
One of my favorite brands is REI.
When I walk into an REI, I feel like a fat kid in a candy store.
In addition to having great stores, REI does an incredible job on social media.
REI’s social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter consist of two types of posts.
1) Engaging/Fun Posts – Makeup around 90% of their posts. Consist of posts by REI and their Followers. Users share their passion for the outdoors. Plus they get to show off the equipment/gear they use.
Goal – Engaging/Fun posts help REI’s brand equity and raise brand awareness.
2) Buy Our Stuff Posts – Makeup around 10% of their posts. These posts focus on attracting and converting people into buyers.
Goal – Buy our stuff posts, are as the name implies, trying to get people to buy their stuff.
REI is great at sprinkling “Buy Our Stuff” posts into their newsfeed in a tactful and unobtrusive way.
They will share around 9 “Fun/Engaging” posts for every 1 “Buy Our Stuff” post.
They’ve been so successful on social media for two reasons.
The first is, they provide so much value to their audience.
The second is that they ask so little in return.
Before we dive right into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Etc. it’s important to define some social media marketing goals.
Your boss may have a specific, “Hard” goal such as getting new leads or increasing sales.
As marketers, our goals are more general “Soft” goals.
Like increase brand awareness or nurture the brand’s image.
For the most part, social media is best for achieving more general “Soft” goals.
And is comparatively not that great at specific, “Hard” goals like capturing leads or sales.
COMMON SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING GOALS:
- Encourage Reviews – Customers are increasingly turning to reviews when making buying decisions.
- Thus, you should be actively encouraging your happy customers to leave reviews.
- Reputation Management – Social media allows you to track conversations about your brand. You can see both positive and negative discussions, and you can use the platform as a reputation management tool.
- Stay Top-Of-Mind – When a customer buys a product or service from your business, convert that “One Touch” to “Many.” Encourage customers to follow you on social media. It allows you to remind them about your business, products, and/or services and entice them to come back.
- Build Customer Community – Social media is great for bringing your customers together. Encourage interaction among and between customers and encourage connections.
- Encourage Social Shares – This is a very important goal of social media marketing. Getting customers to share your content with friends, family, and co-workers is huge.
- Monitor Customer Feedback – An upset customer may not leave a scathing review on Yelp or Google. They may instead, trash your business in a Twitter or Facebook post. Tracking brand mentions allows you to step in and respond to angry customers. At the very least you can calm them down so they stop telling the world how terrible you are.
- Go Viral – Every business would love to have a social media post go “Viral.” But, there’s little you can do to deliberately achieve this social media marketing “Black Swan.”
- Nurture Brand Image – An active presence allows you to control how your brand is perceived. Use consistent messaging, and be cognizant of what you say and how you interact with people.
- Increase Word-of-Mouth – I suppose it’s technically Digital Word-of-Mouth. Either way, every brand wants people talking about it in a positive way. Social media is where a lot of these conversations take place.
THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
The aim of the goals above is to create a virtuous circle.
When your social media strategies begin paying off, you’ll have a positive feedback loop.
It works like this:
You receive several positive reviews on Yelp.
The more positive reviews you have, the more customers you get.
These new customers, leave more positive reviews on Yelp.
Leading to still, more customers. The cycle continues.
You receive several likes, comments, or shares on Facebook.
Facebook rewards you by showing your content to more people.
These new people like, comment, or share your content.
Facebook rewards you again, by showing your content to even more people.
The cycle continues.
With Twitter, the more followers you have, the more likely it is they will share a discount or special offer.
The more people share your discount or special offer, the more followers you’ll get.
The more followers you get, the more people share your discount or special offer.
The cycle continues.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING REQUIRES A PROMOTION STRATEGY
Returning to my analogy of “social media marketing is akin to hosting a party.”
I also said that “Content” is the “Food & Entertainment.”
Regardless of the social media channel, you’ll need a system for producing content.
Which is why in this section, I will go over the elements of your content production system.
I’ll also provide tips and tools you can use to help with producing content.
Now, would you throw a party without doing any planning?
What kind of food and entertainment will be available?
Furthermore, you wouldn’t plan a party, setup or decorate, and do the shopping for it all on your own.
Well, social media marketing is no different.
Enlist help from other employees at your company.
They’ll help to make sure the food and entertainment (Content) is fresh and stays on schedule.
CONTENT PRODUCTION SYSTEM
It’s best to break the production of content down into manageable steps.
Also, keep in mind, you want your content to position you as a “Helpful Expert” to your customers.
The content you produce and share on social media should be part of your overall Inbound Marketing Strategy.
1) Identify Content You Can Easily Produce
Before producing any content, identify your own and others skill sets.
What type of content will be easy to produce for you, other employees, or your customers?
Are you or your co-workers passionate about people using your products or services?
Do you have expertise in something that will be interesting or of value to your target audience?
- Write blog posts extolling the benefits of your products or services
- Use your phone to take photos or videos of people using your products.
- Encourage UGC (User Generated Content). Customers can take photos or videos while using your products.
- Take photos or videos “Behind the Scenes” at your company.
2) Create Buyer Personas
It’s important that you produce content that your customers will want to engage with.
Take a few minutes and brainstorm buyer personas.
What type of content they will find interesting and engaging?
I highly recommend using HubSpot’s “Buyer Persona Tool” to help you create a buyer persona.
Identify the keywords related to your content.
What is your target audience searching for on Google?
Does what your customers are interested in, intersect with your products or services?
Having identified buyer personas and keywords, brainstorm what type of content interests them.
Look at things from the perspective of your buyer persona.
For Example, let’s say you’re a wedding planner.
An obvious buyer persona would be the bride-to-be.
What would she be interested in?
What are her “Pain Points?”
What “Problems” would she’d like to solve?
Perhaps she’d search something like “How to budget for a wedding,” or “Best places to get married in Phoenix.”
3) Creating Content
Having identified your buyer personas and keywords, it’s time to produce some content.
Try to align the content you can easily produce with the content your customers want.
For Example, let’s say you own a Restaurant. Your customers love to share photos and videos of themselves.
Especially when having fun at your restaurant during birthdays and other special occasions.
Incorporate this into your Content Production System:
To identify customers coming in to celebrate a birthday, have each server ask when they greet the table.
“Is anyone celebrating a birthday this evening?”
If it’s a “Yes,” ask if you can take a picture of their celebration and post it on the restaurants’ Facebook page.
It’s likely they will share it with their friends.
4) Curating Content
Not every piece of content you share on social media has to be your own.
You should also be sharing other people’s content.
Effective social media marketing requires a lot of content.
A steady stream of content is what will keep your audience engaged.
Keep your Newsfeed updated with fresh and engaging content.
The best way to do that is to curate other people’s content.
Content curation consists of identifying great content and sharing with your audience.
Why would you want to promote other people’s content?
This is a valid question, and sharing your own content is certainly ideal.
With your own content, you control the message.
This allows you to promote your companies products or services.
Few people have the resources or required to produce a sufficient amount of content.
There is still great value in curating content.
Doing so saves your audience time and positions you or your company as a “Helpful Expert.”
Sharing other people’s content on social media will keep you “Top-of-Mind.”
5) UGC (User Generated Content)
Keep in mind that social media is just that, “Social.”
You don’t have to do everything on your own.
Get your employees/co-workers to help.
Additionally, encourage your customers to get involved.
User Generated content is both free and engaging.
Users love to share their content especially if it’s on a prominent page.
Hold Contests – Contests are a great way to encourage User Generated Content.
Encourage Interaction – Sometimes, all you have to do is Ask.
For example, don’t just post a photo to Facebook or Instagram.
Instead, post a picture with a question that invites users to take part.
Conduct Surveys – Surveys can provide great insights into your audience.
Facebook has an App that you can use to add surveys to your Facebook Page.
Use Hashtags – This applies mostly to Instagram, and to a slightly lesser extent Twitter.
You can create a hashtag that your customers can use when they post about your products or services.
REI does this with #OptOutside.
If you’re serious about social media marketing, then you should be leveraging the power of a blog.
Blogs are a great source of content for social media, offering many benefits.
Build Trust – Posting helpful, engaging, and informative articles.
It will help to position you as a “Helpful Expert.”
Are A Great Source of Content – In-depth, blog posts can become “Evergreen” Content.
The type you share again and again on social media.
Recommended Reading: How To Write Long-Form Content For WordPress
Boost SEO – Writing articles around your keywords will help get your site to the top of Google.
A better Google ranking delivers more traffic, where visitors can consume your content.
They could then share your post with their audience.
Your blogging objectives, in terms of social media marketing, are to
A) Establish your brand as a “Helpful Expert.”
B) Stay “Top-of-Mind” among your audience.
C) Encourage “Social Sharing.”
We’ve covered a lot of information.
Now you have a better understanding of why and how to use social media marketing for your business.
Remember, marketing your business on social media is like hosting a party.
You’ll need lots of food and entertainment (content) to keep your guests engaged and happy!
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this, or don’t have the time to invest in social media, I completely understand.
An alternative to doing everything yourself is to use a digital marketing agency to handle your social media marketing.
Using an agency frees you up to focus on other areas of your business.
Our aim is to provide small and medium-sized businesses with the services they need to be successful online.
For a Free Consultation, or to find out how Cre8tive Digital Media LLC can help with social media marketing for your business, Contact Us.
How are you using social media for your business? Let us know in the comments!