Most businesses now realise the importance of social media marketing, and therefore many business owners are starting to create and implement social media marketing strategies. If, like many other business owners, you are planning on investing time on a new social media marketing plan for 2016 this article may be of use to you.
Once you have decided to create a new social media marketing strategy for your business, the first thing you should do is establish what your goals are going to be for your campaign. Start by asking yourself the following question……………..What do I want to achieve from the campaign?
Ultimately any sensible business person will want to achieve improved sales, but in order to use social media to improve your profits, you need to build great relationships with your followers and earn their trust. Doing this will turn your social media followers into loyal paying customers. With this in mind, your main goal when it comes to social media marketing cannot be to increase sales. Don’t get me wrong, this should most definitely be one of your goals, however it should be your end goal! Not your starting goal.
There are certain steps you need to take in order to get to your end goal, (which should be to make money from social media marketing.) Many business owners and marketers for that matter too, believe that you can chuck a load of cash at a paid social media campaign and it is guaranteed to get you the end result you desire. Well actually no! This isn’t always the case. Paid social media campaigns, such as Facebook Ads, are a great marketing tool that work brilliantly, however you can often see results that are equally as good and more cost effective by implementing a strong organic social media marketing strategy.
I personally would rather use paid social media campaigns to compliment a good organic social media marketing strategy, as and when I want to. Rather than relying on paid social media marketing for results. I don’t believe businesses need to rely on spending money on paid social media marketing campaigns in order for their business to profit from social media. In my opinion, if you set yourself the following 3 goals, in the below order, you will be able to profit from your businesses’ social media.
So the first thing you need to do is establish what stage you are at as far as your social media marketing is concerned. The easiest way to do this is to evaluate your social media following.
Goal Number 1 – To have a decent amount of targeted followers that are interested in your niche
Are you just starting out with your social media marketing? Have you failed to build a strong following despite being on social media for some time? Do you have a decent amount of followers across all of your social media sites? Whatever the answer is you need to establish it, then set a goal based on that answer. For example if you have a very small following you need to work on increasing your following, and actively seek out new followers that are from your target market. For some great tips on how to do this check out the following article: 10 Minutes Is All It Takes To Find Your Local Customers On Facebook
If you already have quite an established following you need to evaluate how well you have been engaging with those followers, and work out how many of those followers fit your target market. If you have a thousand followers but only 10 of them would ever be willing to invest in your products, this technically makes the other 900 pointless as far as the end goal for your social media marketing campaign is concerned. For example if your business only serves the UK and you have 100 followers from India, you will never be able to turn those 100 followers into paying customers as you are unable to send your product outside of the UK.
To summarise, your first goal should be to build a following of people that fit your target market so that you actually have followers to build relationships with and market your products and services to. Once you have achieved this goal you should move on to goal number two, which is to build great relationships with your followers.
Goal Number 2 – Build Great Relationships with Your Followers
Never under estimate the power of having good strong relationships with your followers on social media! When I am working with clients they often ask……….What do you mean by building great relationships? How do we do this? So I think it’s best that I explain, as you too may be unsure. Building strong relationships is such an important part of social media marketing I want it to be clear! Otherwise this article is pointless!
So here is what I mean when I say “build great relationships with your followers”
1. Ensure your followers feel that they know and understand you and your business by posting regularly about what’s happening in your business and the industry you are in.
2. Make your followers feel valued by writing posts that ask for their opinions or thoughts on matters that relate to your niche. Show them that you care by always responding to any messages or comments you receive.
3. Earn your followers trust by showing them you are an expert in your field by providing them with great content that relates to your niche. Post regular photos of your products so that they can take a good look at what you have to offer. Or if you are in the service industry you could post photos or (even better) videos of you or your team providing the services you advertise.
Building good relationships with your followers will give you an edge over any of your competitors that are not making an effort to do the same. Think about it……… If you had the choice of doing business with a company that is active on social media and responds to all of their customer comments, questions and messages, or a business that has set up an account made a post or two but other than that pretty much ignores and undervalues their followers, which one would you go for? I know which one I would choose!
In fact here is an example of an experience I have had personally, which shows how being active on your businesses social media accounts can benefit you as a business owner as well as your customers.
Last week I made an online order from a well-known high street store. I was buying Christmas gifts for my daughters and I selected the free delivery option, 4 days later the order arrived at my home. When I opened the parcel I realised 4 of the items I had ordered and paid for were missing! I was furious so I tried calling them……………No answer I was left on hold and then cut off, this happened twice!
So I tried emailing them, I received an automated email back advising me they would respond to my email within 3 days! I didn’t feel this was quick enough, as I had been left out of pocket due to their error, and was becoming frustrated. So I decided to contact the company via Facebook.
I sent them a private message on Facebook and explained what had happened. Within 1 hour a member of staff had got to me via Facebook messenger and apologised for the error, she offered me a full refund for the products I was missing, along with a £10 voucher to encourage me to spend online with them again. As a customer this helped me, as I received a fast response, and a resolution to my problem.
It also helped the company I ordered from as they were able to resolve my issue in a way that left me feeling valued. If they were inactive on Facebook or were not monitoring their social media messages and notifications, this would have never happened.
By the time they had returned my email 3 days later! Or I had eventually got through to them on the phone I wouldn’t have been as forgiving. It would have been highly unlikely that I would have ever ordered from them again. In this example, Facebook most definitely saved the day!
You know what they say “A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world” On average it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for just one unresolved negative experience, something all businesses that operate within a service industry should keep in mind.
Once you have achieved the above two goals you are able to start working towards your end goal, which leads us on to goal number three!
Goal Number 3 - Turn your followers into paying customers
You now have a decent amount of followers who know and trust you and your business so it’s time to start making money from your organic social media marketing by turning your followers into paying customers. If you focus on ensuring you achieve the first two goals I mentioned above, you will find it a lot easier to sell your products and services to your customers via your social media accounts. Your followers will trust you and are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
To achieve your end goal of profiting from your social media, put the following things into place.
Produce Content Daily
Produce as much content as you can. Start of by writing 3 posts per day for each social media site. As a general rule try to make one of them fun and more sociable, ensure the second post links to valuable content, such as an article that is relevant to your niche (Not one written by any of your competitors) and the third post should point back to your own content, which could be a blog post you have written or one of your website pages such as a product page.
Evaluate Your Results
Once you have posted in this way for a month evaluate how things are going and see which type of content your followers tend to prefer on each of your social media networks. For example, your Facebook followers are likely to prefer the fun posts and your LinkedIn followers are likely to prefer the links to useful content.
Whatever the case may be, you can evaluate the situation and this will help you to decide on how you want to move forward with your social media marketing. And figure out which type of posts are converting and attracting the most traffic to your website. You can evaluate your social media stats by checking your social media insights, you can also use google analytics and your website stats. As they will tell you how many visits you have had to your website via referrals from your social media accounts.
If you use software such as HubSpot (which I would recommend) it will tell you exactly how many leads or sales you have had as a result of your social media marketing, allowing you to find out what works and what doesn’t work! To find out more about HubSpot and how it can help your business check out this article: What Does HubSpot Do? An Overview Of How It Can Transform Your Sales & Marketing.
For more tips on how to turn your social media followers into paying customers have a read of the following – How To Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Loyal Customers
Posted by Kerry Baker
Social Media Manager, The JDR Group