Social media is a powerful tool for your business. When it first started entering our lives in the early 2000s, social media was hard to measure. Throughout the years, customers began to use various platforms for hours every day. New analytic tools became available as well. Today, social media has become a major source of growth.
Spreading the word about your business and promoting it used to be expensive. You either had to spend money on costly billboards with no real form to measure their success or pay an agency a lot of money to get your name out there. Now, with little to no cost, you have access to 3.5 billion people that all gathered in the same places (45% of the world population).
Your prospects are already out there; you just have to throw out a hook worth biting.
Social media is the best way for a business to build and share their brand. They can increase customer engagement through their posts and content. When they position themselves as a valuable and relevant option for customers, they can increase their conversion and sales.
How can businesses effectively utilize social media? When a business doesn’t have a real plan, they are shooting in the dark. They can waste time, money and resources trying to promote their brand without fully taking advantage of what the platforms have to offer.
Today, most businesses have some sort of social media presence. It might be a Facebook page without a clear purpose or a Yelp page that hasn’t been claimed yet. Before any business decides on a plan for their social media, they should assess what they already have.
Review all your social media platforms. This includes popular platforms, review sites, and any interactive website that gives your business control to engage with your customers. Make sure all your pages are up-to-date with the right logos, brand identity, descriptions and other identifiable information about you.
This is also a great time to evaluate what platforms are unnecessary. Does your senior facility really need a TikTok account when the majority of its users are from Generation Z?Probably Not. Clean out the clutter so you can focus on the most effective platforms.
Once you audit your social media platforms and make the necessary changes, you have pruned the trees and you are ready for the next step.
Every business needs to know who they are selling to. That is why most of us have a general idea of what our target audience knows. But even in a target audience, the differences between individuals can be substantial.
For example, if your target audience is mothers of children under 15 years old, you would be dealing with many different types of people.
Imagine this segment and think of the many variations you are dealing with. Mothers who are well off vs. low-household income; stay at home moms vs. full-time working moms; mothers of only daughters or sons vs. mothers with both a son and daughter; college-educated mothers vs. high school educated mothers; the variations go on…
All these different types of people have slightly different needs, motives, and interests. Though they might make up a similar group with something in common, the way you talk to them and pitch your value can be optimized for maximized results.
Create buyer personas within your target audience. Think of all the aspects that might affect the way you would communicate with someone or the "pain points" that a customer might prioritize.
The best way to do this is to act like you are writing a novel. Put yourself in the shoes of each type of customer and think of what they might want. Once you have a general idea, go to the source. Send out surveys, have conversations and develop your personas based on that information.
By developing these buyer personas, you position your social media for effective results. Each platform can attract different personas. Each post can be for a certain group. Private “Groups” on social media will have a segment of your audience.
Creating buyer personas equips you for the next step, choosing relevant platforms.
As mentioned before with senior citizen facilities and TikTok, certain platforms might not be the best for your brand and business.
Picking the right platforms is important on a couple of levels. One is focusing on what is most important. You have limited time and resources and being scattered all over the internet won't help you get the best results. Another reason is that if you don't curate for the right platforms, you might not be in relevant spaces and will go unnoticed.
The best way to find the right social media platform is by thinking like your customers. You want to find out where they virtually meet. Where are they hanging out? If you need to target the creative arts community, chances are you will get more results by investing more time in Pinterest than LinkedIn. Pinterest is for a creative audience where LinkedIn is for business and recruiting.
Once you know where your customers are, begin setting up profiles and accounts on those platforms. Start creating a presence and begin to build your brand.
When you have established yourself, begin looking deeper into each platform. There are thousands of special interest groups. Some are based on interest, location, and all sorts of other differentials.
Join relevant groups and begin adding value to the communities and having conversations. Make sure to read all of their rules and expectations to make sure you do not violate anything. Many groups do not allow promotions, but you can advertise yourself by being a productive and helpful member of the community.
When you pick the right platforms, you can use your resources to establish your business as a leader in the industry. Prospects will begin to notice you because you are hitting the right places and connecting with the right people.
The secret to social media is to be very intentional and consistent. Stick to the plan! When you create clear objectives, you and your team can develop the right content with specific results in mind.
The best way to develop your objectives is to establish a general goal for social media as a whole. Social media is a strong way to spread your brand and increase engagement. So something like "increase our reach to XXXX people (probably measured by likes) and get XXXX to perform a certain action".
Not all platforms are going to lead to direct sales. Some might build your brand and reach which will indirectly increase sales. Some will get you more sales. Both types of platforms are important for the long-term growth of your company. You need awareness to grow your sales. You need direct sales to grow your business.
Look at each platform and decide what you want to do. For example, Instagram is a visual platform. You share pictures and videos. This is a great tool for building a brand and sharing the WHY behind your product. Use it to attach strong feelings and emotions that promote action. People will be inclined to choose you because you have connected with them.
Twitter is great for quick news and even customer support. Facebook is great as a home-base and sharing deals or quick ways to buy your product (it is also the largest platform available so it is great for reach). LinkedIn is great to connect with the business community and offer corporate sales or packages.
Review the platforms you have chosen and create mile markers for the results you want to see.
Every business should have a good sales funnel. For example, if you sell custom websites for small businesses for $8,000, that might be a hard sell if they don’t know you. A good funnel will have a $500 product with immense value and immediate results. When the business sees the results, they might purchase your $1,200 product.
They like that too and decide to jump in with the $2,999 product you have. Their sales are better and they feel good about their business. Now that they trust you, they decide to get the website they’ve wanted for so long and spend the $8,000. Not only did you get a sale that might have been turned down in the beginning, but you made a bigger profit totaling $12,699.
Your social media should have a “first.” What is the main thing you want them to buy? The one thing that requires the least amount of risk and will appeal to the majority of your audience and buyer personas? What is the product that will win them over?
An A/C tech knows they can offer discounted tune-ups, even at a loss, and most of the time they will find something that needs a repair or could use some maintenance. They make the extra sale and now they have won over a possible customer. If they have a good sales funnel, they immediately offer a pre-paid plan so that customers never have to worry about maintaining their A/C again.
Creating an effective social media strategy is all about being intentional, developing clear goals, choosing the right platforms, communicating and connecting with the right people.