As a business owner, you’ll have all sorts of questions about how you can leverage social media. How can you get the most out of it? Where should you hang out? How long should you be spending? What good looks like?… the questions are endless! As a social media marketing professional, I’m constantly fielding these questions, so, I felt it might be of value to collate the questions and answers that are most relevant to small business owners and offer them up here for you! So, here goes!
Where should I have a presence online?
The social media landscape is changing all the time. Something new appears, and the kids jump to the new shiny social media platform soon to be followed by the marketers and responsible adults. As a business owner, you need to be transfixed on your ideal client. Where are they going to be hanging out? What’s their mindset when they’re using that platform? That should give you an idea of where you need to be present and what content you should be sharing in order to get in front of your prospects and nudge them along the journey of them becoming a paying client. Not all social media platforms are created equal – so don’t anticipate putting an equal amount of effort into each social media platform.
What’s the point of social? What am I really going to get out of it?
If you are posting away on social without a clear strategic objective – stop. You’re wasting your precious time! For each social media platform you are active on, you must know what your aim is. If you’re looking to generate traffic to your website from Facebook, this will affect the strategies you use. (You’re more likely to have a detailed paid advertising strategy in this case.) If you’re using LinkedIn to create brand awareness, the imagery and video you use will more often than not include specific branded elements. If you’re using Twitter to uncover new opportunities, you’ll say less and listen more!
You might have two or three clear objectives that span the whole of your social marketing activity. However, I would consider drilling down and being clear as to what each platform you are going to use should be creating for you. Without going into too much detail, here’s an example based on my business:
- Objective 1. To appear an expert in my field
- Objective 2. Lead generation
- Rationale: This is where my prospects hang out and are in a buying mindset
- Objective 1. Brand Awareness
- Objective 2. Customer Retention
- Objective 3. Employer branding
- Rationale: Clients follow us here to see behind the scenes and get to know my team, it is an excellent and cost-effective platform for getting into the minds of my suspects and those who are not yet aware they need my services. If I want to build my team, this is where I can show what it’s like to be part of team GU.
- Objective 1. Reassurance Marketing
- Rationale: It’s unlikely I’ll get business from Instagram, but in today’s online world who would work with a marketing agency who doesn’t use Instagram?!? Having a presence here ticks a box for prospects who are doing their due diligence.
Where’s the ROI of social? It’s too hard to measure.
If you’re sitting there thinking you’ve been posting on LinkedIn for years now and never had a lead, you wouldn’t be the only one! The problem is quite often business owners are transfixed on measuring results in the wrong place. If your social media activity is working, your business is growing. The phone will ring more often, and you’ll get more leads coming into your business from people who don’t remember where they first heard of you. If your social media activity is working, people simply just know about you and will reach out in the way that suits them when the time is right.
There are, of course, indicators that show us we’re doing things the right way, or that allow us to tweak our strategies. I rely heavily on Google Analytics to tell me which social media platforms I’m receiving clicks from, which pages are getting the clicks, and whether those users click through to another page or not. If I get the initial click from Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, I know whether or what to tweak in my content strategy. If they disappear from the site seconds later, that gives me information to act upon too. When it comes to reach and impressions and how many people liked that post or watched that video… I don’t care! It means nothing in terms of my bottom line!
I’m more interested in measuring the volume and quality of leads coming into my business. In writing this article, two enquiries have landed in my inbox. One from a LinkedIn connection who engages with me regularly. The other from someone I’ve never heard of who has filled in a form on our website. A quick search and it turns out we have a ton of mutual connections on LinkedIn and friends on Facebook. When I speak to this person and ask where they heard of us, I’d put money on them struggling to think before saying ‘I think it was a google search’ because they don’t know!
That’s how I know social is working for me – and when my clients experience the same, that’s how I know what we’re doing is working for them!
Oof… doing social is like a full-time job, isn’t it?
Yep. It can take over if you let it. However, if you create a clear strategy and make firm decisions about the tactics you’ll use to implement that strategy, you can keep things in check. It’s about having a plan and sticking to it, that plan may include diarising time slots that allow you to do what’s required. Part of your plan will be to use specific tools that help make you more efficient or may even be to outsource elements that you find the most time consuming or you’re least enthusiastic about.
What’s one thing I should do straight away?
The answer to this is going to be different for everyone reading this article. When I’m asked this question, my approach is to immediately look at the content you’re creating and talk to you about how you give value to your audience. From there, we might talk about increasing that, or about what form it takes. The conversation might even be around how you tweak the distribution of the content you create. But that’s just the starting point! So, if you’ve stuck with me through this article and you’re still reading, then I think the best advice is to reach out and ask for help. Whether that’s from me or another social media marketing professional. (Obviously, I’m hoping you’ll pick me!) Either way, you’ll have someone in the know looking at your efforts with a fresh pair of eyes, and able to constructively feedback with improvements that will help you up your social media marketing game.
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