Hands up if you spend AGES every week on social media sites and have nothing to show for it except a lot of wasted time and a bit of a headache?
And yet you see all these businesses allegedly making tons of money using Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest to not only bring in sales and customers but get them noticed by the media too – I know, it’s so frustrating!
And yet there’s no reason why you can’t use social media in the same way – it’s not rocket science and there’s no magic ingredient.
There are just a few little secrets you need to know to make sure that your social media works FOR you and becomes a killer marketing tool that brings you fab new customers and I’m going to share them with you right now.
1. It’s Just Like Real Networking
(Yes, that thing you do in real life with real people rather than just on the internet). To attract customers and clients from social media, you need to remember that that the same rules apply for social media as they do for traditional marketing: building trust, positioning yourself as and expert, giving value and building relationships! In the same way that you wouldn’t walk into a random networking meeting and expect everyone to buy from you having never met you before, and knowing nothing about your business, you can’t expect social media networking to do that for you either. It takes time – not loads of time but more than you might expect to get well known, attract the right sort of people into your network and get them to buy.
The same 3 strategies you’d use for successful in-person networking also work online:
- Give to get – offer to help other people first, no strings attached, and there’s a good chance they will return the favour.
- Listen more than you talk – watch what people are asking about on social media, see what they are struggling with, see how you can help them. The best social media marketers spend much of their time as a ‘listening station’ and then use what they find to produce products and services that they already know are in demand.
- Follow Up – If someone enquires, follow up with them, no matter how busy you are. If someone has taken the time to enquire, then respond. And then follow up again a week or two later, because people have busy lives.
2. You Need To Know What You Want
What’s the reason for you using social media in your marketing anyway?
What do you want your fans and followers to DO?
Do you want to drive them to your website? Or buy something there and then from the Facebook page? Or sign up to your email newsletter list? Or fill out an enquiry form? What do you want them to do? I’m very clear about what I want my fans and followers to do when they find me on social media. I want them to sign up to my email newsletter. So every other post on Facebook has a link to my irresistible freebie 55 Fabulous Ten-Minute Marketing Tips for Women Business Owners and all of my blog posts have a box at the end where people can sign up for it too. I want them on my email list so that I can take my time building a relationship with them.
3. You Need To Build Relationships
You’re not in it for the short term. Remember, it takes time to get to know someone and the same applies with social media.
People want to get to know you a little, to understand what you do and what you stand for. Even though social media gives you amazing possibilities to quickly connect with new fans, you still need to take that time to build credibility, trust and ultimately a relationship with that person. They’ll also want to know how you can help them and they’ll need time to want to get to know you before they buy, even if it’s a virtual relationship. The better they know you, the more they trust you and the more likely they are to buy from you when they are ready to buy.
4. Just Be Yourself
People buy people, even if it’s in the virtual world of Social Media. Let your personality shine through in all that you do and you will attract people who like YOU as you are.
This will be your USP (unique selling point) because even though you might feel that you have competitors, they are not you. You do things YOUR way and that makes you different. Of course you need to act with integrity and remember not to post anything that you wouldn’t want your granny to see – remember social media posts are around forever and you wouldn’t want anything coming back to haunt you.
5. Get Into The Conversation
Remember, social media is just another form of networking. It’s a two-way conversation for you AND the other person and you need to participate or no-one will know you’re there.
Social media gives you an excellent way to connect with your audience, to show that you know what you’re talking about and to answer questions about your topic and your business. Ask questions, post interesting articles, share customer testimonials and product reviews, announce specials and ask for opinions. It might feel like you’re talking to yourself until you get a level of engagement on your page but it will come, if you keep experimenting with different content ideas. The people you converse with on your Facebook page are usually those who end up becoming raving fans and customers, so take your time to create engaging posts, tweets and pins and remember not to just ‘post and run’ – Stick around and see what happens!
6. Talk To Your Ideal Customer
Social Media gives you a great opportunity to attract the RIGHT customers for your business, rather than attracting any old Tom, Dick or Harry. The things you post and the way you say them will resonate with certain people so you need to be very CLEAR on who it is you’re trying to attract. If your ideal customer is a young mum then she might be interested in childcare, social events with kids, fashion, family recipes, etc and you’d write in a very informal way. If your ideal customer is a retired professional man you would have an entirely different, probably more formal but still conversational approach (and yes, he’ll be on social media because he’ll be keeping up with the family around the world, no doubt).
7. Be Consistent and Set Your Limits
Social Media can make a whole morning vanish in a flash and you’ve got a business to run! Make sure that you plan your time and set a timer if you know you’re going to get sucked into the Social Media vortex. Know what you want to achieve before you even open up your browser so that you don’t get distracted. You need to be posting consistently so that people know you’re around and get to know you and what you stand for. You can schedule Facebook posts from within FB or schedule all your social media using Hootsuite – that way you can spend an hour loading all your social media posts for the week and then you only need to come back to answer questions or reply to comments. There’s no point focusing all your attention on social media if your business is getting neglected and going down the pan.
Girls Mean Business Actions for This Week:
Work out what you want to achieve from your Social Media:Do you want more people on your list? To take up an offer? To raise your profile? To make more strategic connections? What do you want people to DO when they see your posts? Get clear on your outcomes.
Work out WHO you want to attract:Pin down that ideal customer. Who are they? What age, sex, occupation? What can you help them with? What messages can you put in front of them that will achieve your objectives? Make a list and do it!
Pick TWO social media platforms: Don’t try to do everything at once. Pick the two social media platforms where your ideal customer is most likely to show up and focus on them.
Get Busy: Plan your social media into your week. You now know who you want to attract and where they’re most likely to be found on Social Media; you also know how you can help them so come up with your list of messages and schedule them into your Social Media accounts for the next 1-2 weeks.
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Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.