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1. Adopt A Positive Mindset
Love it or hate it, social media can be an effective strategy for achieving both customer and sales growth. When social media is used strategically, you can attract thousands of fans excited to purchase your products or services.
The Craft Gin Club has over half a million Facebook followers. That’s the equivalent of packing Wembley Stadium 5 times with ready made customers! They’ve only been around for 4 years!
Whilst social media marketing often receives bad press for being complicated or distracting (especially if you’re not a millenial), these beliefs are usually formed from a previous bad experience.
Adopt a positive mindset by embracing all the benefits that social has to offer and you will have a much better experience.. There is a learning curve, like any new tool. But, with a little know how, a plan and a commitment to take action, you can achieve great results.
If you‘re afraid that you might receive negative comments, prepare for it. Accept that it’s going to happen. Negative comments are part of the social media experience. See them as valuable feedback. Thank the user for their input or block users and hide comments if you have to. Don’t let a minority stop you from building a valuable customer base.
2. Get Clear On Why You’re Using Social
Be clear about what you want to achieve with social media. Align everything you do on social to the business objectives you want to achieve for the next 3-6 months. If you want to build your following, consider putting £10 a day into a “Like” campaign or working with an influencer. If you want brand engagement, think creatively how you can make that happen e.g. running competitions, giveaways, polls or featuring client stories. Write a plan and put it into action.
3. Choose The Right Platform
Many of us migrate to the social media platform we know, like and trust. You need to choose the one where you know your audience hangs out. The most popular is Facebook with over 1 billion active users worldwide, followed by Instagram.
If your audience is older then start with Facebook. The age demographic is older there than on Instagram, that has an age demographic of 18-44 year olds. Do some research by looking at which platforms businesses in your niche are using and enjoying success on. Success is determined by how much engagement they’re receiving.
Too often I see businesses on too many platforms. This creates social media stress, leading to fatigue. Then the motivation dips and the business comes off social. Start with 2 platforms. If you experience low follower growth or engagement on a platform whilst others perform well, don’t be afraid to drop it.
4. Check Your Branding
You probably know that branding is more than your logo and the colours and fonts you use.
When it comes to social media marketing you must ensure your branding is clear to your audience. If you try to attract followers and your messaging, brand voice and values are “off”, you’ll confuse them. You might even attract the wrong people.
Check your branding is clear and consistent across all media channels.
Create a brand style guide displaying your logo, brand colours, fonts, images, copy and filters. This will create brand consistency, strengthen your brand identity and help you stand out from the crowd.
5. Make A Statement With Your Bio
I’ve often landed on a company’s social media bio and not understood what’s on offer.
Tell a first time visitor exactly what you do, what you offer and how you serve them.
Include your USP, and again, ensure your bio is consistent across all social media accounts.
Quite often, it’s your bio that people look at first. Consider what you want them to do after reading your bio. Is it to check out more information on your website or download a free coupon? Ensure you add the link with this call to action.
6. Create A Content Plan
You need content for your social media posts. I encourage business owners to create a content plan. Without one, you’ll find yourself rushing around for something to post. Your accounts will lack impact and your followers will disengage, then leave.
A blog that you update weekly or fortnightly, will enable you to curate strategic content for social media. The blog can include business news, personal stories about your journey, your mission, brand values, customer feedback and of course product news. The trick is to align your content plan to help you deliver your business objectives.
For example, if you’re promoting a coupon code to drive sales, you need to create excitement and urgency. As part of that campaign, consider creating content to highlight the product benefits (excitement). Reference this content across social with the coupon code and a call to action to redeem before the closing date (urgency).
7. Build A Relationship Before Selling
Social media is no different to other marketing channels. You need to build a relationship with your audience before selling to them. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. Very rarely can brands sell to a cold audience.
Once you grow your fan base, find ways of engaging with them for a period of time. During this time, they will begin to like and trust you. Once trust is established, you can invite them to check out your product range.
8. Embrace Video
All social media platforms are giving priority to video. Instagram have IGTV. Facebook launched Facebook Live, then there’s Snapchat and Youtube. The social media channels love video content and display this media in news feeds ahead of other media. This means your video content will get pushed out to larger audiences and that means more eyes on your brand.
Video is not only loved by social media, it’s loved by audiences because its quick and easy to consume, its entertaining and they can get to know and trust brands almost instantly.
If you feel anxious about appearing on video, remember, almost everybody does to begin with.
Mix up content to include, behind the scenes news, how to’s, recipes and competition winners, videos. Don’t just shoot videos of your product on a plate! I see that so often and it’s not very engaging! Create content that will inspire, educate and engage your audience.
9. Invest In Ad Placements
Due to the many changes in social media algorithms, only a small proportion of your followers (around 3%) see your posts! Shocking right? There’s a reason for that. Social media has become a “pay to play” platform. The social media giants make their revenues through advertisements. They are therefore, pushing businesses like yours to use paid ads to reach more people.
Having said that, compared to traditional marketing channels (radio, direct mail etc) you get targeted ads for an affordable price. For instance, I’m running a Facebook Like campaign for a brand which is costing them less than 20p per like. He is growing his fan base by around 200 fans per week at a cost of £40 a week. Many new fans are already purchasing from him and he has a client base ready to learn more.
Whilst people are on social to connect with friends and family and not to shop, we have been conditioned to respond to ads.
10 . Save Precious Time By Using A Social Media Scheduler
Schedulers allow you to preload your posts ahead of time. That saves you valuable time. There are many options available depending on which platforms you use. Take a look at Hootesuite, Later, Loomly, Quuu and Co-Schedule.
I load my social media every Sunday evening. Once loaded, I’m available to respond to comments and attend to other parts of my business.
Schedulers also allow you to post consistently. Ad hoc news is a turn off for your audience. They will lose interest in your brand and that could be farewell to a potential customer. You get out what you put in.
On the plus side, you no longer need to post several times a day. In fact that can harm your account. The social media platforms prefer quality over quantity these days. Post awesome content twice a week and get your fans excited and talking. Soon you’ll build a strong customer base, eager and inspired to buy from you.