Eighty percent of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook yet even with other mind-blowing statistics like this and all the social proof in the pudding, some people still believe social media doesn’t grow business.
Are you someone who has been hearing about how social media CAN grow your business but nothing has really changed for you yet? The phone isn’t ringing more and you feel like you’re wasting time. You’ve been posting status updates in your Facebook business page for quite some time now and Tweeting and even regularly updating your status in LinkedIn. It FEELS like you’re doing enough and you THINK you’re doing “it” right but obviously something’s missing, right?
Yet you know if you stop, or if you don’t have any social media visibility at all, your business could end up disappearing, especially because you see competitors all over the social scene.
After reading today’s article, you’ll improve, get your phone ringing more, start saving time and using time more efficiently.
Ready to start?
Social media TOOLS you’ll need before you get started
Here’s a list of tools you’ll need to purchase. Most likely you already own these:
A wall calendar (place it near your computer)
A smartphone WITH a stylus for the keypad (instead of using your fingers)
A laptop, iPad, tablet, Mac or other device you can connect to the Internet with (in addition to your smartphone). Ideally, your device should also be able to record video.
Social media CONCEPTS to embrace before you get started
Next, you’ll need to embrace these concepts to grow brand awareness. If you don’t believe these things will help you, read the next section, below, which has some statistics that give you an idea of how pervasive social media is:
Social media is a gateway to connecting with new clients, new friends, fans and followers; and new joint venture partners
Social media is a “space” online in which I can connect with people to start conversations that may lead to more business
Social media is a “place” where I can attract my tribe with my vibe tm and lead them to subscribe to my emailed newsletter/eZine or blog (by capturing their attention every week in their inbox, I stay top-of-mind with them.)
Social Marketing is like my “toolbox” and I am a “carpenter” – it’s up to me, not the tools, to build my community of fans, friends and followers, many of who will become clients or refer business to me
Social media statistics that give you an idea of how pervasive social marketing is
So now you have a better idea of how important social marketing has become. Also, when you do some research on the demographics, you’ll soon figure out where your ideal clients are hanging out the most. If you’re not including social marketing as part of your marketing plan, you’re essentially trying to build a house without nails. It could stand for a while but it won’t stand for very long.
Here’s how to use social media strategy and tools to get results
First, set a goal.
Example for a solopreneur: I will get two new clients within 30 days by efficiently using my time to build relationships in LinkedIn and Twitter.
Example for a retail business: I will get 10 more customers dining in my restaurant (or purchasing a product from my store) every week by efficiently using my time to build a community of fans in Facebook.
Next, build your Very Important People list (VIP).
Figure out who the 5 best people are in LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest, that could possibly refer business to you. Just remember to serve them by retweeting or sharing their content with your tribe and sincerely commenting on their blog posts. It’s best to begin with local people, even if your business is not limited to locals. But HOW do I figure that out, Lori? No sweat, my friend! Here’s how:
For Twitter: go to Twellow.com and join for free. Then go to the section called “TwellowHood” and search for people in your city and/or neighboring cities.
For LinkedIn: login in and use the Advanced Search tool so you can narrow down several descriptors of who you want to connect with. The Advanced Search in LinkedIn is a goldmine when you know how to “dig” with it.
For Facebook: use the Search Graph to look for “Friends of friends who are ____________ (fill in the blank with your ideal client.) One example would be “entrepreneurs.” Another example for chefs and restaurant owners: “foodies.” Facebook pulls data from profiles of people who have listed details about themselves. I was able to pull up data on 100 of my friends of friends; who are entrepreneurs, female, in Denver, Colorado. What can I do with this data? I can narrow my list down to people I would love to help and whom could use my help with social media management, SEO and video marketing. Here’s where you need to decide how to approach these folks. Personally, I would not go about it in an aggressive manner. How would YOU like to be “friended” only to find out that you were “targeted” as a possible client? Never, ever pitch right away. Think of these new friends as new friends. You’re expanding your circle of friends. As you get to know each other through Facebook, you’ll know when it feels right to reach out further and phone each other to meet in person. That’s when the real magic happens in whatever way feels right for the both of you.
Three times per week for the next 30 days, interact with each of these people in all of these ways:
1. Share their content. In Twitter, this would be a re-tweet. In Facebook, there’s a share button on all posts to make it easy for you to share with your friends or fans. In LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, you can also pass along your VIPs’ content to YOUR networks. They’ll soon notice that you are being helpful and supportive of them.
2. Talk to each of your VIPs. Icebreakers: ask about that upcoming event they’re promoting; ask about their blog (“how do you come up with such great topics to write about?”). Give them a “way to go!” type of message that’s encouraging.
The Tools of Social Media Management
Be sure to use the tools listed above to keep yourself organized and consistent. I could also list a lot of websites that are like tools in keeping you efficient and ahead but I chose to focus on these types of tools so you can have the basics. Think of these as the hammers and nails in your toolbox. The equivalent social media tools of the “lever” and “measuring tape,” etc. will be covered in other blog posts.
A calendar keeps you consistent and on track. If you’d rather use a spreadsheet as an editorial calendar instead of a wall calendar, go right ahead – just post a note somewhere near your computer or iPad that reminds you to go check your digital calendar for today’s content and daily tasks.
A timer keeps you efficient. Set it for your alotted number of minutes for each time you log into one of your social networks or else you could find yourself having spent 90 minutes really doing nothing. This is typical behavior for the unfocused, unorganized business person trying to build business with social networking. You won’t build business if you’re not organized in your marketing, as well as other things and tasks you perform within your business. Have focused intent and you’ll get the results you seek much faster.
Your brain is a tool you should use to gather content to share; to write your own content that establishes you as the expert you are; to drive the business.
Your Common Sense is the most useful “tool” of all because, really, you should know when and where to do business-related tasks no matter how mobile you are. You should know that if you’re at the playground with your kids, the phone should NOT be part of this time. Your kids are young now and want to play with you and spend time with you. When they become teenagers, that might be a different story.
Today’s business owner simply must have a smartphone because we’re so mobile meeting with our clients; meeting prospects; speaking to groups; dropping off or picking up our kids. And yet we must stay in touch with our business even as we’re on the go during our day. You can more quickly and efficiently interact with your social networks (fans, friends, followers) when you have a smartphone and a stylus to “type” with. The stylus saves you time because otherwise, you’re “fat-fingering” the touchscreen which was built for Lilyputians and not human fingerpads. Download the mobile apps of your social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, FourSquare, etc. and if you don’t have notification ringtones set up to notify you of someone engaging with you, be sure to check your networks at least once per hour. Remember: you’re growing your tribe and you must respond to your tribe members whenever they reach out to you. You can respond in, literally, 30 seconds or less, with a stylus instead of your fingers.
Hopefully, these tips have helped YOU and perhaps the “A ha!” light bulb lit up today or an epiphany popped into your mind about how YOU can grow business with Social Media Marketing.
Really, it comes down to this: if you know how to network face-to-face (and that is a skill in and of itself!) then simply take your networking skills online and use the tools of technology to GROW your network. Remember that saying: “Grow your network and grow your net worth”? It’s true.
I’d love to hear about your progress, or if you agree or disagree with anything I’ve written here today, so be sure to comment below or Tweet me or report your progress and triumphs on my Facebook fan page so you inspire others.