So, you want to take control of your business and finally build a strong social media presence?
Before you can start experimenting with social media automation and segmentation tools—before you can even schedule your posts—you need to build an audience.
However, gaining a foothold on social media is one of the most intimidating challenges you’ll face when you choose social media marketing.
But just because it’s challenging and sometimes disappointing doesn’t make it impossible. It’s still doable, and businesses are already seeing results.
For example, Martell Home Builders, an Atlantic Canadian Homebuilder prior to using social media marketing to build a presence, relied heavily on realtors to keep sending them clients and growing their revenue.
Interestingly, the moment they switched to social media and actually built a community that loves their brand, the company was able to create a direct-to-consumer model the increased their lead and customer acquisition—and they were no longer reliant on realtors to bring them business.
If you do it the right way, social media marketing will grow your business. The audience is there and they’re eager to hear your brand story.
According to Statista, the number of social media worldwide users is expected to reach some 2.72 billion by 2019, around a third of Earth’s entire population. Social media spending is also predicted to reach $17.34 billion in 2019, only in the United States.
Establishing a presence online and engaging your customers via social media is a great way to improve customer experience with your brand.
In the rest of this article, I’ll walk you through the straightforward technique on how you can begin your social media marketing adventure—an interesting one at that.
You need a “social” mindset shift
Before launching a social media marketing campaign you need a social mindset shift. This means you don’t think of using social media as a platform for generating sales (though, it is) and making quick money, it’s about building relationships.
At the end of the day, it’s this relationship that will give you the opportunity for scaling your business. Scalability is the keyword.
“To reach the widest audience possible via social media marketing, you’ve got to shift to a mindset focused on scalability” — says Dakota Shane, a Social Media Consultant.
You’ve got to understand why people join become active users of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more. They want to use social media platforms to connect, communicate, and belong to a community. It’s that simple.
Adopt that mindset. Though your aim is to do business on social media but being too pushy won’t cut it. But rather, use social media to create a real connection with your customers—then connect your customers with your brand.
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most respected social media influencers in the world, yet, he hardly pushes anyone to buy his products.
He’s more focused on answering questions, documenting his journey in the form of content, and helping his loyal fans. Gary knows how to infuse personality into his posts too, which encourages a lot of engagements.
Now that you know the “essence of social media” and how to actually get more results, here are proven techniques that will help you build a presence, and in turn, a raving community of fans.
1. Develop a social media plan
You can’t afford to waste time on social media. Funny enough, you’ll be clicking on every interesting link you see on these social networks if you don’t have a plan.
To be successful with social media marketing, do yourself a favor and develop a plan—in other words, have a SMART goal that you’re targeting.
S.M.A.R.T., an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound goal has over the years become the best model for setting business goals that are proven to get you results.
Let’s briefly discuss each of the terms, and see how it can help in our social media plan. This is critical to your building a thriving social media presence that will impact your business.
i). Specific: Your social media marketing goal should be super-specific and well-defined. When your goal is well defined, it’ll present opportunities for easy flow of thoughts and ideas to help you achieve maximum results.
Let’s say you have set a specific goal of connecting and engaging with your target audience on Facebook and Twitter, your social media plan, therefore, hinges on how you can get this result.
A practical step you can take to design a working plan is to quickly create a social media posting calendar so that you can fill it up with posts that will be tweeted and shared on Twitter and Facebook respectively.
Do you see how a social media plan helps you to actualize your specific goal? Next, let’s measure your progress…
ii). Measurable: You should be able to know when you’ve achieved your specific goal. It’s quite simple when you have a benchmark or target for defining success.
Here’s a simple example of a goal that’s measurable:
“I’ll get 730 Twitter followers in 60 days.” Don’t say I’ll get followers this month—it’s not specific and measurable. Or, is it?
iii). Attainable: Don’t set vague or generic goals. It must be a goal that’s achievable. For example, “I’ll create my brand’s Twitter handle, follow 100 users (potential customers) on Twitter and start connecting with 10 of them each day.
Don’t say “I’ll connect with 1,000 users each day.” No. It’s hardly achievable.
iv). Realistic: While you’re excited about social media marketing, don’t lose sight of your budget, resources, knowledge, and time.
Ensure your goal is factored in as well. Don’t say, you’re going to run social media ads when you know you don’t have enough money for ads. It doesn’t make sense.
v). Time-bound: Time is a critical factor if you want to be successful in social media marketing. For example, “I will run my social media campaign for 4 months and I hope to see significant results,” that’s time-bound and attainable.
2. Target a specific crop of people
Some marketers make the mistake of targeting every Linkedin and Facebook Group for their campaigns. No, don’t do that. Instead, identify the groups that discuss topics related to your brand or product, and participate in their conversations.
For example, if you’re an SEO expert, join “webmasters, search engine optimization, and bloggers Groups. If on the other hand, you’re a small business owner, then you need small business groups.
A quick search for “small business owners” on Facebook will give you this result:
For your social media plan to work, you need to be “focused.” Don’t click every shiny banner ad on Facebook, don’t follow every influencer, stick to brands, people, and marketers who can bring you closer to achieving your set goal of building a social media presence.
Content is powerful but only if you know how to create engaging ones. It’s no secret that social media users are sick and tired of reading the same blog posts, tips, and generic content.
They want to be challenged. They want memorable content. You can only achieve this if you identify indirect content opportunity—they’re everywhere.
It’s consistent with brands to draft social media plans based on concepts that are directly related to what they sell or do. But you’ve got to go beyond that.
Don’t stereotype your brand. Be open to related content ideas and opportunities. For example, if you’re a real estate company, your social channels timelines should not only be filled with property listings, home-buying blogs, and other real estate related content.
How about adding some interesting flairs to your social channels, say you share tips on Home decoration or interesting famous home footages from movies?
Most of your customers may have seen those movies; it’ll spark excitement and of course get them engaged with the content.
More importantly, content creation will no longer be a challenge for you, since it’s a time-sensitive task for social media teams, taking up 18.5% of the day,” according to the Future of Social, 2016.
Engagement is an important social media metrics you must take very seriously. According to Invesp Conversion Rate Optimization, 64% of marketers said that increasing audience engagement is crucial for their social media marketing strategy.
It’s high time you look beyond building a following, you should strive to build a tribe on social media like Seth Godin. A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.
Imagine the love, trust, and support a good leader gets from a local tribe. What about leveraging social media platforms to build and nurture a tribe for your brand instead of merely increase the number of followers?
The difference between a marketer who has a tribe and the one that has a social media following is when both of them make a tweet, the one that has a tribe will have a lot of engagement—replies, retweets, and likes. However, the one with huge fan base might just get a few likes and a few comments here and there.
According to Seth Godin, it requires 3 essential elements to build a tribe.
- Motivation: Motivate your tribe, share the message of your tribe and send tweets about your tribe. Provided it’s about your audience, you’ll definitely get them engaged.
- Connecting: Connect with your followers. Give them the feeling that you have a personal relationship with them.
- Leverage: Leverage several social media channels to connect with your tribe—Post a video and share the same to several video sharing website so you can reach more audience and increase the number of loyal followers in your tribe.
Every serious marketer I know uses an editorial calendar to plan what and when to publish content. Having an editorial calendar allows you stay organized, focused, and productive.
Here’s an example of an editorial calendar for social media.
While posting content to social media networks, ensure that each content is unique for each platform—you could tweak the headlines or create a new one from scratch.
You should understand that a tweet needs to be short and include your brand’s hashtag, a Facebook post will be a bit longer; it should have a captivating headline and it’s obvious a Google+ post would include a summary on what post is about.
Automating your social media tasks can make a huge impact on the number of leads you generate.
According to The Annuitas Group, “Businesses that use marketing automation to acquire and nurture prospects experience as much as a 451% increase in qualified leads.”
Posting on several social media channels can be very tedious. If you want to increase productivity and achieve better results, you should use social scheduling tools.
Based on your social media content editorial calendar, use scheduling tools to automate the content in your calendar. However, be careful not to automate human interactions: replies and comments. They can be annoying, with no real human touch. Here’s an example:
Automated interactions are so fake and most times the comments are irrelevant. It’s annoying and can hurt your bottom line.
Here are some tools you can use to automate your social media posting:
- CoSchedule: CoSchedule is the all-in-one editorial calendar for content marketing and social scheduling. The interesting thing about CoSchedule is that you can carry your team along in the workflow.
- Hootsuite: This tool has become an essential tool for managing social media, tracking conversations and measuring campaign results both on the web or mobile devices.
- Buffer: It basically does the same function as Hootsuite but in a unique way. You can leverage this tool to take your social media marketing to another level while you focus on other marketing activities.
If you want to land in the feeds of those who aren’t following you already, track what’s trending on social media and join the conversation. It’s pretty easy to find the trendy topics on Twitter.
Log into your Twitter account and take a look at the left-hand side of the screen:
Click on any of the trending topics and see what’s being discussed over there. Try to contribute as well. This will aid you in generating more followers and attract new followers to your tribe.
Do you think that Facebook ads are better left for Facebook ads expert? No. You got it all wrong. Don’t be afraid to spend on Facebook ads.
If you want to increase your brand reach, it makes sense that you invest in social media ads as well. It doesn’t matter what your budget is.
Many people think that social media marketing is 100% free. That’s not true if you want to get optimal results from your social media marketing efforts.
Dare to invest in paid ads. It might turn out to be very profitable, especially with the decreasing Facebook organic reach, marketers need Facebook ads now more than ever. The easiest way to get visibility boost online is to use social media ads.
Social media ads done well can boost your bottom line a great deal. The most interesting part of it is that social media websites already have a lot of insights and data about their users.
So it’s easy to narrow your ads to a more targeted and specific audience to make your ads clicks and impressions more profitable.
Ideally, start with a small budget and stick to ads that are giving you the best ROI.
What can $1/day for 30 days invested in Facebook ads do for your business?
Brian Carter, a prominent Facebook Marketing and Advertising Expert and Bestselling author of the book “The Like Economy” showed that by consistently investing $1/day for 30 days, He was able to reach 120,000 people or 4,000 people every day.
Keep your targeting very narrow. Don’t try to target everyone on Facebook.
In conclusion, get smart with social media, build a cult following for your business, build a tribe and add value to people’s lives and businesses.
That’s the only way to establish a strong presence on the major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn).