How can I use social media to grow my business?
This is something I practice daily; I use social media to grow my own consultancy business.
Some of us might also say we do a lot on social media but we are not seeing results; I hear this on a regular basis from potential clients and some of my audience.
There are things to bear in mind before you set out to use social media to grow your business:
1. Have a goal in mind:
What are your social media goals? What are you looking to achieve? Do you want to brand your business or create a followership? Are you looking to actually sell online? What are you looking to do?
This is the first step; determine your social media goals.
Your strategy for branding is different from your strategy for social selling; likewise, your strategy for building a following only would also be different.
(i) Who are your target audience and where can you find them?
An example is, you will find a lot of young people on snapchat as a social media platform.
You need to determine which social media platform is right for your target audience.
There is Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I always tell my clients, if your business is visual based (e.g. Caterers, bakers, decorators, florists etc.) then Instagram is a good platform for you because it is a visual platform. I know Facebook allows you to share pictures as well but there is an area for text but Instagram is basically focused on visuals.
Think about your target audience and the kind of content you will be sharing before choosing a social media platform. You can also choose more than one social media platform to market your business. I always advise my clients (sole business owners), never try to learn and use more than two social media platforms at a time for your business except you have staff helping you. What happens is, you spread yourself too thin, and end up not doing anything or getting any results at all for your business.
Start with two platforms, learn those platforms, share content on them, get to know your audience, get established on them before you move on to other platforms.
(ii) What content does your audience want to see?
If your target audience is business owners, they might be looking for things in marketing, administration etc. find out what content your audience wants from you.
Inspirational quotes are big on social media; everybody wants encouragement; that is something I always advise my clients to share. This is needful if your target audience is individuals.
One very important thing to share is tips and tricks from your area of expertise. What tips do your target audience want? What value can you give your target audience that is going to make them want to follow you on social media?
Don’t be about selling alone, give value; always give 80% value and 20% promotion.
Be consistent. If you are invited for a program and you get to a place, the windows are dusty, there is wood all over the floor and the place really looks old and unpresentable; I can assure you that you would hesitate to go in there. That’s the same feeling when you have a social media account and you don’t do anything on it, it looks like an abandoned property.
If you are in business, you can’t afford to let your social media platform go dormant for a week or two.
You need to post consistently and regularly so your audience knows you are truly in business.
2. Track your results:
Some business owners just use social media without looking at the “return on their investment”(ROI) – you need to know how your social media is working. Make good use of Facebook insights for your Facebook page. For Instagram, you can use “iconosquare” and twitter also has twitter analytics. Do people like your posts, engage in the comments section, what are they saying? That gives you an idea of where their interest lies in your business.
3. What is your budget for social media marketing?
You should have a budget for social media marketing, no matter how small; this will determine what you will want to do with your platforms.
Consider Facebook advertising, it is fantastic for businesses. Do these adverts well and you will get a proper return on your social media platforms. You can also consider Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
One mistake people make on social media is trying to sell on social media; social media is a place to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.
Let people get to know you, like you and trust you, then they will buy from you. Share something of value, inspirational quotes, humor and even puzzles. Entertain your followers. Three things to do with your social media posts: Inspire, Educate and Entertain your ideal client. Have your ideal client in mind for everything you do on your social media platforms.
4. Give away something of value to your ideal clients:
Take people away from the social media platform where you met them to somewhere you can build a relationship with them, that’s what we call an email list.
Give away a free eBook, a free report, a set of audios, a set of videos etc. in your area of expertise. I have done this myself. When you have an email list, you can ‘court’ your ideal clients by building a relationship with them off social media. Then you continue to give value, recommend products etc. social media is for you to build relationships with your ideal clients, not for you to sell and sell and sell to them.
Don’t stuff your audience with too many sales campaigns; otherwise, you will turn them off. People can hide or unfollow your posts on Facebook for instance; add value, so you don’t turn your audience off.
Remember, social media is like dating; develop the know, like and trust factor with your target audience and they will buy from you!