Social media marketing can leave even the most seasoned entrepreneur exhausted and filled with frustration. We all start on this journey in a similar fashion–a head full of dreams and a heart filled with hope. Everyone dreams of the successes that lie ahead when they start their business. Sure we all know there will be challenges and pitfalls along the way, but we’re sure there will be a solution waiting for us when we cross those bridges.
Social media has been changing the business landscape for ten years. Some industries have been slower to feel the effect and some are completely immersed with their digitally savvy consumer. You may be just starting out, you may be starting over, or you may be ready to throw in the towel, but it is time to step back and look at how to incorporate social media into your marketing and business objectives.
Let’s all go back as if we were just dropped off at the same place…the starting point for our businesses. Even if you have been at this for 10 years, I want you to take each of these steps as if you are just starting today.
What is your business objective?
Of course to make money is the main objective for most, but is your business objective to become a well-known and well-respected business consultant? Is it to have a fitness studio with hundreds of students and a thriving team? If you are a realtor, perhaps your business objective is to build a thriving real estate brokerage that will be profitable with or without you doing all of the selling. This objective is important to get clear on because it will be the CORE of all of your marketing. It should drive every decision in your marketing.
Who is your ideal consumer?
So many people will say, “everyone is my ideal consumer,” and that is why their marketing is too vague. You need to focus on not just the person who will buy from you, but the person you would like to do business with. We have had several people “buy from us” that I shouldn’t have allowed to. These were people who were too high maintenance and frustrated our entire team day after day. Create a detailed profile for the perfect customer. If you have a couple different types of consumers that you serve, create two separate profiles. You may likely need to use social media differently for each persona.
Where do these ideal consumers hang out?
I hear so many people say, “My customers aren’t on social media.” You might as well say, “My consumers don’t use mobile phones or computers at all” and this may be true. You might be targeting those over 90 years old who live in rural farming communities and they still have a wall mounted phone with party lines (wow, how do I know about such ancient things?). If this is truly the case, then buy yourself a horse and get off social media altogether. Although you would miss the great tweetchats that go on each week in the agriculture world– #AGchat or #FarmChat.
You need to do some research to find out which social media sites your ideal consumers are on. You might do a survey of current customers, asking which social media channels they are most active on, or if you don’t have current customers, you need to mine your competitors and organizations that are complementary to yours but serve the same type of consumer. If you are a realtor in the luxury home market, look at resort hotels, luxury car companies, golf clubs or country clubs in your area. Find those social media pages on every channel and see where people are most active. What are they talking about, or engaging with? Take note.
What type of content do your ideal consumers engage with?
You started this one in the last step. You need to really dig into as many pages and profiles that you can to find the ones that have people sharing, liking, and commenting. Make note of a few things: What type of content is it? Video, funny images, short question type posts, long-form blog content? How often those pages are posting. Do they post once a day? Multiple times a day? When do they post? Are they posting in the early morning hours? Throughout the day? At night? Make note of the ideal times to post. If you keep notes on the pages, profiles, and information, it could come in handy if you decide later to do some targeted advertising to reach these same people.
Let’s talk lead generation
Before you start posting content on social media channels let’s go back to step one and revisit the objectives. If you want to reach people in your city to join your fitness studio, or you want people to hire you and your firm as consultants to help their leadership team, then you will want to start building an email list as well so you can get more specific with your marketing. To do this you can create some bigger pieces of content that people will exchange their email or contact info for when they download them. These bigger pieces can be resource guides, tip sheets, ebooks, video tips, a webinar, and on and on you can go. Any piece of content that people find valuable enough to give you some information in exchange for, is considered a “lead magnet” or “value offer.” You will then use social media to pull people toward these pieces of content. These lead-generation type posts will be mixed in with other content ideas you came up with in step four.
Now you can build those social media accounts
After all of this planning, and hopefully, creating of content, it’s time to open the doors to your social media accounts or do a “re-opening” if you have been using social media for awhile but without focus. Before you invite people to connect or come to LIKE your page, be sure you have it set up and ready. Put some interesting and visually appealing content up. Be sure you have filled out your profile and company information completely. Add that all-important profile pic [Read TIPS FOR GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA HEAD SHOTS]
BONUS: Download our “20 Types of Facebook Posts to Increase Engagement”
Once you’ve gotten through these steps, prepare to put blinders on and stay focused on the tasks at hand. There will be many shiny objects calling you away from your plans, showing you new social media tools to try, new “critical” techniques you need to use. I, for one, will be someone shouting those things from the sideline but don’t listen. Stay the course. If what you are hearing doesn’t align with your #1 (business and marketing objectives …in case you’ve forgotten already) move on. If you can see how it fits into your own plan, implement and experiment.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions on this.
I know evolution is a slow process, but we’ve been using social media channels in our marketing for over ten years, and I still get daily questions like, “How do I make social media work for me?” “How to do I build my social media presence faster?” “Why isn’s anyone following me back or clicking to buy my products?”
Very few people want to know how to listen to customers better on social or how to discover what their ideal customers are wanting to read or engage with on social media channels.
Here are 5 reasons you haven’t been able to make social media work for you and your business, regardless of how long you have had accounts set up:
Everyone wants to know how to get thousands of followers and fans right out of the shoot. Three weeks after setting up an account people wonder why no one is following them back or buying their products. Building a following on any social channel takes planning, writing, focus, consistency. All of those words that equal WORK. Who wants that route? Just buy 10,000 fake followers for $5 and we can all pretend they will buy from you.
You need to do some research (and no, there’s probably not a cliff note version of a book at Barnes and Nobel to give you all of the answers), go to competitor pages and see what type of content they post that people find interesting. Make a list. Don’t say you have no competition unless you have all the customers for what you are selling. Look at the images they share. What type of questions or tips do they share? How often are they posting? Now take the time to create great content that your potential audience would like. And if you are concerned about posting good content before you have an audience there to read it, keep in mind, you don’t want to invite people to an empty house. You need something interesting and helpful there before you start inviting people to join you.
Once you start posting, don’t stop. Do it daily. Multiple times a day, and before you groan too loud saying you don’t have time, keep in mind the organizations that have large followings are doing the work. They are not getting the engagement by posting once in a while.
You Don’t Really Care What Other People Have to Say
In face-to-face conversations, you know those people who watch your mouth move while your talking, just waiting for you to stop so they can tell you all about themselves? That’s what many people do on social media channels. They don’t want to spend time having to read other people’s posts or engage in groups where you’d have to spend time actually listening to other experts and people discuss things that aren’t about YOU.
On social channels, you have to be…SOCIAL! It isn’t all about you talking and everyone else listening. It’s about you listening and answering and listening some more and asking some questions and listening to the answers before you talk again. For some of you, I can almost see you reaching for pencils to jam in your ears already. Relationships are built on two-way conversations, and on social, it is those small conversations with hundreds of people. (Go ahead…poke just one in.)
If all you are doing with your social marketing is posting content with no conversations or responses, you may as well just stick to your website that you think is interactive because you have the words CONTACT US on it. Social may not be in your blood, and you can check if you pull that pencil back out!
Your Content Isn’t That Great
This is a hard one. We all fall in love with our own content and are convinced that everyone else will as well. Like the 2009 movie with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It could be you need to pitch what hasn’t been working and give your brand a makeover because they’re just not that into you…YET.
We need to consistently be refining our message and finding the voice that is both authentic and yet one that will connect with the audience we are seeking. There’s an old joke, “Be yourself. Unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!” You just may need to tweak how your brand is coming across in your content.
Many of us have gone through management or leadership training where you take a communication style assessment or behavioral assessment to discover our strengths and “areas for improvement” when it comes to building relationships. We learn where we need to adapt. It is the person who can most easily adapt that survives and thrives in any environment.
The bottom line in any communication or relationship is to be able to adapt to the styles of others if you want to be successful. Our content is no different. We have to see what people engage with and what they don’t, and then make changes accordingly. Do you write using language that is too “verbose?” Do your images need more visual appeal? Go back to your competition and see what is working there and then make some adjustments.
You Have Siloed Your Marketing
Many companies suffer when their marketing team is siloed from the other departments as if they don’t need input from everyone. Social media has been siloed from many marketing teams as well. People see these channels and activities as separate, not needing to coordinate or blend with other company objectives. Whole campaigns are created in some organizations without giving social consideration. No input or thought about how ideas and objectives can be met on social channels.
Another way we put our social marketing into a silo is when we don’t tell our face-to-face audiences about our social channels. We have a website without links to social channels (or the links that are there don’t work). We have business cards with no reference to an online presence. Our email signature never eludes to other ways someone may want to connect.
One of my favorite quotes came from a presentation by Avinash Kaushik, who said, “If today’s social tools are not in your blood it is difficult to imagine their power & use them for good.” There are many who know they should be using social media tools in their marketing, but they truly cannot fathom how they can work to build relationships and ultimately impact their business. These are the ones who end up saying, “social media is a waste of time.” Their short-sightedness and impatience will never allow success in.
You’re Too Busy
This is by far, the most common excuse (or reason) I hear for why people are not experiencing success using social media in their marketing. After all, you have real work to do. You have a business to run. Perhaps the good news is, you won’t have a business for long if you don’t learn to use today’s tools to connect with your audience. Think of all that free time you’ll have.
I live and breathe this industry 24/7/365 and I know the struggle. It is very real. There are too many things to do in a day. I don’t have time to sit on Facebook or Twitter, and don’t even get me started about Snapchat. Because this is our industry, of course, I make time for these activities, but when it comes to payroll, bookkeeping or paying taxes, I don’t have time for those things! But if I don’t do them, or hire someone to do them, I wouldn’t be in business very long.
Instead of using this excuse for why you have spent a few hours here and there over the past 10 years (adding up to a gazillion hours) and still haven’t made progress, commit to making time to do it right or hiring someone to help you. Of course, you can always stop those time-sucking activities like watching television and spend that same number of hours per week working on your marketing.
So admit it, which one of these reasons has been holding you back? Are you ready to make a change and start seeing some progress? Join our free Facebook Group: DIY.social for tips and encouragement to stay on track with your marketing, and don’t forget to download your free resource, “DAILY, WEEKLY, MONTHLY SOCIAL ACTIVITIES.”
How to Correctly Set Up a Facebook Business Page
I’m sure there are many reasons people avoid using their real names or photos of themselves on a Facebook page or profile as they set them up. Perhaps they are wanted by the FBI, their high school reunion coordinator, or their mother. This mistrust of Facebook and any other social media site, causes people to want to wear a mask and set up pseudonyms to protect their identity while they wander around the “social” web. Kind of ironic when you think of it.
Many who have avoided Facebook all these years, feeling rather smug about bypassing the bandwagon that everyone seems to have jumped on, are now realizing they are truly left behind when it comes to business marketing. After all, you can avoid the bandwagon all you want, but if your customers have all jumped on it, you are left standing in your puddle of pride…alone. (TWEET THIS)
The 2-Faced, Facebook User
There are people who enjoy using their social media profiles with their own names, but when it comes time to create a business page or profile, there is a fear of connecting that business profile to the personal profile. This causes people to break the rules of Facebook and some create a second personal profile with their real name but they use a work email. They plan to use this profile strictly to manage the business page. they just don’t realize that anyone searching for them will now find two profiles and it causes problems.
The Masked Business, Facebook User
Then there are those who break another Facebook rule and they create a personal profile using a business name. From that profile they create a legitimate business page. This is usually done all using the business email for that personal profile and anyone needing to access it, simply logs in using the single email. The problem with this scenario is you are giving everyone a single login password which is risky, and like the scenario above, it causes confusion when a customer searches Facebook for your business and finds two entries, a personal profile and a business page.
The Bound Business, Facebook User
There is an option to create a business page as a business account, solely using a business email, and not attaching any personal profiles at all. The page is set up but then the person trying to actually use the page to connect with others, comment on other pages and post realizes they have very limited functions available to that page.
One thing to note. Facebook is a free service (many will now argue this fact since we must pay to promote many posts to have them seen by your target user) and their revenue comes from advertising. When you log into your business page you are not seeing ads down the right hand side. Only when you log into your personal profile are you flooded with ads. This is one of the reasons I believe Facebook wants everyone starting from their personal profile and then jumping over to manage a business page.
So what’s a person to do? How can you maintain your own personal Facebook connections with your friends and crazy relatives, while managing a business page for your business or a company page where you work? Even if you are simply setting up a page for someone else and then you want to remove yourself, follow these steps:
How to correctly set up a business page using your personal profile.
- Create a personal profile (if you are one of those who have been standing in your puddle of pride and are just now creating your own profile). Even if you don’t intend to use your personal profile for networking, create your profile and then set the privacy settings tight. If you already have a personal profile move to step 2.
- After logging into your personal profile, go to Facebook.com/pages to begin creating your business page. You will select the category for your business page that best matches the type of organization you have. Don’t lose any sleep on this step, as you can change this later in your business page settings.
- Be sure to fill in the ABOUT section for your business with a link to your website, ways to contact you or the business, hours of operation (if that is appropriate), and more. This is where you will put the email address and or phone number that you want your business audience to use. It may be completely different from the information you use on your personal profile.
- Load some content with visuals. Like moving into a new house, decorate a bit before inviting everyone over.
- Now start inviting people to like your new page. This is where you decide whether or not to invite your personal contacts or simply start from scratch inviting people your business is trying to connect with. (see our post on “4 Tips for Better Social Media Management” to build that page from scratch)
- Now when you log into your personal profile you will see the business page that you manage in the left hand column of your home page. You can also find pages you manage in the drop down gear icon in the upper right of your page. I suggest going to your business page from the gear icon, because it automatically changes your identity from personal profile to your business page identity. Anything you post on the page from there is seen as coming from your business, not from you personally. The only way anyone would know that it is you posting, or that you are even connected to the page, is if you tell them, or if you comment as yourself, which you can do by going from the left column and selecting “Post as Gina Schreck (your name) once on the page (look at the top, right under your business page name). This will post your comment on this business page, as well as showing that post on your personal profile since you posted as yourself.
- The last step is to add another person on this business page for security purposes. If you ever got locked out of your Facebook account, or penalized for something (there are things that can cause Facebook to throw you in Facebook jail for 24-48 hours or longer. See my experience here) you want someone else to be able to login and post for the business. If anything ever happened to you, like missing work because Nordstrom had a 3-day sale in their shoe department, or you decided to move to a remote island, you must have someone else on the page who can log in and post for the business. Adding others as a page admin, also allows you to remove yourself if you ever leave, and the page remains intact with the other admins running it.
We know that Facebook is a powerful way for businesses to connect, get feedback and build business from their target audiences, but it does take work. Take the time to set up your account correctly. Plan your content to be interesting and helpful, and don’t give up too quickly. It takes work AND time! Let us know if you have any questions, or if we can help you manage the daily activities that will grow your online presence and business.
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