When was the last time you used a phonebook to look for a product or service you needed? I thought so…I don’t remember the last time I picked up a phonebook…period! The first place people look these days is the internet. I always say “Google is my best friend!”
There are two billion potential customers using social media worldwide. Well, 2.13 billion by 2016 according to estimates. For that reason, you really need to seriously consider moving your business advertising onto social media so people can find you easily. But, before you dive in, you need to have a plan. Set some goals. What do you want to get out of going onto social media? How many customers do you want to gain? What’s your favorite social media platform? That one’s important because you’ll want to start with one platform and when you are consistently generating 10 leads a day with that one, you can add another one. The best way to pick that platform is you need to know where your potential customers/clients are hanging out. If they’re on LinkedIn but you pick Facebook, they’ll never see your posts.
Create Your Customer Avatar
Your first step in going online is to Create Your Customer Avatar. If you don’t know what that is, read my blog post in the link. But, basically, it’s your ideal customer/client. Who is he or she? How old are they? Where do they hang out? What magazines do they read? What are their hobbies? What keeps them up at night?
Research Your Competition
Researching your customers gives you insight into how to talk to them. But researching your competition will tell you what they are responding to.
Choose the three or four of the biggest companies/practitioners in your industry, then:
- Find out which social media platforms they’re active on.
- For each company, look at several weeks or months of posts on each platform.
- Identify what gets the most engagement (“Likes,” shares, comments) from their audience—also, what gets the least.
Do they post a lot about their products and their brand? Do they post content from other sources? Video content? Do they ask questions? Run contests?
In short, see what’s working for your competition and what isn’t. Prepare to do the kinds of things that are working.
Plan Your Messaging
Once you have your avatar(s), figure out how you’ll market to them. This is similar to what you would say in your other marketing methods like brochures, etc. It’s simply communicating a core benefit of your product or service. To do that, you must know your audience and what is important to them.
Decide Which Platforms Are Best For You
There are more than 200 social networking websites. The largest by far is Facebook (1.5 billion users), followed by Qzone (a Chinese site with 629 million users), LinkedIn (332 million), Instagram (300 million), and Twitter (284 million).
Dig into each of them and see if their particular environment is a good fit for your business and the products or services you sell.
Chances are good that you are not going to use them all but will find one or two of them particularly well-suited to your business. For instance, for B2B, LinkedIn is perfect, whereas Instagram would be a better B2C platform.
Create and Activate Your Media Plan
Once you have an understanding of who you’re targeting, what your social media platform is, what your message will be, it’s time to plan out your media schedule. Working with your purpose and the messaging you worked out, create content. This can be video, photos with text, infographics, etc. The main things to remember are:
- Use a variety of content to engage your audience.
- The content needs to be appropriate to the platform.
- Include suitable content curated from other sources.
- All content must align with your overall messaging.
- Don’t just talk about your product, your sale, etc.
- Think of how you can bring value to your audience’s life.
- Post regularly.
On that last point, “post regularly,” it helps to create a weekly schedule (also called a content plan or media plan.) Use a spreadsheet and enter the dates, times, and which content items will be posted where and when. If you’re already using an editorial calendar, begin adding your social media to it.
Not every social media platform is created equally and you really need to know what your goals are and where your customers and prospects hang out before you decide which platform to use. In this article on the mobe.com website, they outline what the different social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, & Instagram) are good for, so read that and figure out which one is best for your business.
If you decide that Facebook is the platform for you, I’ve got you covered there! I recently took a course given by my mentors, Bill & Michelle Pescosolido, who have made over $1 million using Facebook alone, over the past 5 years, and I did a review of the course, module by module. Click here to check it out!
I hope this article helped you figure out where you’re headed on the social media marketing path! I’d love to see your comments below and, by all means, if you have any questions, please ask. I’d love to help you!
Till next time,