How can being social increase my profits? And what does it mean… “being social”?
If these are questions that pop up in your mind every time you log in to Facebook or make a new connection on LinkedIn, then this podcast is for you. Click on the Play button above this article to listen to the entire podcast episode.
Who is Samantha Riley?
An entrepreneur by definition, Samantha started her first business while her friends were still in Uni; since then, she’s founded and run multiple businesses. As she puts it, Samantha loves the business of doing business.
She is currently the co-founder of Stress Free Start Ups, a company that focuses on helping business owners “overcome the startup phase faster through marketing, systems and integrated technology”.
What does Sam love most about social media?
She says it is the global scale at which you can interact with businesses and people that makes social media such a fascinating place for her.
The big gap between social media marketing and business owners
The industry is still too “young” for a lot of business owners, therefore problems don’t fail to arise…
Business owners are lost on how to implement social media strategies, and a great number of them don’t even know that there IS a strategy behind this marketing.
The main problems that arise as a result of this “gap” can have a significant negative impact on any business:
- Failing to understand that there IS a strategy involved, or WHAT the strategy could be
- People saying how many hours they spend per day “doing social media”, but failing to gather relevant information on their strategy’s success (KPIs)
- Not knowing how to implement a social media strategy in a way that is leveraged
- Embracing the wrong way of thinking: “I tried it and I can say for sure it doesn’t work!”
What’s the starting point of every social media strategy?
Each strategy is tailored to your specific business, therefore it is unnatural to find 2 identical social media strategies for 2 different businesses. However, there are some “common features” of these strategies, features that can be adapted to every niche.
So here are the first steps to take when creating a social media strategy from scratch for your business:
1. Understand your ideal customer and then ask yourself: “Where does my target audience prefer to hang out?”
You may be surprised to find out that, even if you thought everyone is on Facebook, the platform of choice for your prospects is Pinterest, LinkedIn or YouTube.
2. Understand that different types of customers like to hang out on different social media platforms
As I said in point 1, we all have our “platform of choice”. Thinking that you will find your target audience on a certain social media platform just because “everyone else is there too” is a wrong way of doing business
3. As a result of point 2, you can use different social media platforms for different purposes
Let’s say you like LinkedIn, but most of your clients are on Pinterest. You can still continue using LinkedIn with the end goal of connecting with business owners whose businesses are complementary to yours. And you can use Pinterest to attract more prospects and customers into your business. This way your business is growing from 2 sides: B2B and B2C.
4. Decide upon your end goal: What exactly do you want to achieve through social media?
- a.) Build relationships
- b.) Stay in touch with customers
- c.) Get new customers
- d.) Increase sales and profits, etc.
Step 1: The “Being Social” guidelines
Once you know all that, and once you know where your target audience is hanging out, you can start “being social”.
Begin by using one platform only. Think about the content you want to share and about the content that directly interests your target audience. Find a balance between the two:
Imagine you’re at a party and, while everyone wants to dance’n’sing’n’have fun, all you do is talk business the entire evening. NOT very entertaining, huh?
It goes the same with social media marketing. Yes, you want to sell; but no, people don’t want to be sold stuff in places where they like to hang out for fun.
So on social media you need to sell your stuff the social way: open conversations, be funny, bring people into your tribe, ask them what do they like to eat, read, play, watch, view. Entice them.
Step 2: Learning the art of social from your competitors
If you don’t know where to start from, have a look at your competitors. Go to their website and search for their social media widgets; if they have a big following, it means they have already done their marketing and research so you can totally leverage off that.
Create a spreadsheet, list the top 5 companies to follow and create a competitor analysis: number of likes, frequency of posts, post types, platforms they use, engagement they get and stuff like that. Doing this will help you identify patterns in your competitors’ social media strategies: what are the days for posting links to new/old blog content, at what time of day they post photos/images, etc.
Once you’ve done that, start jotting down ideas for your own strategy:
- Schedule regular posts for the week/month
- Post ad-hoc content
- Decide upon the type of content to share (links, images, shares, written posts, recommendations, tutorials, videos, teasers, etc.)
Listen to the podcast interview with Samantha to get more tips on creating your own strategy. We share valuable nuggets on the type of regular posts to share per week (like Friday Funnies). Click on the Play button to listen to the podcast now!
Step 3: Being the Master of Time
Time management. That’s one area we all want to improve at all times. So what are the best time management tips you can get when dealing with social media strategies as a small business?
Here is a short list of the things you can do to plan ahead and schedule your social media strategy:
- Create a spreadsheet with all the posts for the week/month
- Have a look at the times of day you should be posting
- Schedule posts directly on your Facebook page; avoid using 3rd party apps except SproutSocial (they have partnered with Facebook, therefore the reach of your posts will not be affected, as it happens with other 3rd party scheduling apps)
- Schedule 3-4 posts per day: morning, noon, afternoon, evening.
- Bonus TIP: if you’re just starting, start with only 1 post per day.
- Always reply to and interact with your followers, those who comment and share your posts.
Bonus TIP: when you do a post, like it both as your business page and as your personal profile; share a post on your personal profile every once and then, but avoid being spammy.
Step 4: Implementing these extra 3 BONUS tips
- 1. Hire an intern to help work out a strategy and help integrate all the social media work together. They can schedule all your posts and manage your entire social media; it is a win-win situation for both you and the intern.
- 2. The next step once the intern is gone: hire a VA offshore. I have been successfully working with an entire offshore team for years and I can’t imagine what my business would be like without them.
- 3. Have all the systems and procedures recorded by the interns or VAs so you can be sure you will not lose “your business flavour” ( which translates with brand identity / business personality).
By doing all that on a regular, consistent basis…
- a. You’re creating social proof
- b. You’re allowing people to use social media as a trustworthy customer service (through messaging) because they can find you in places where they are hanging out.
- c. You can be generating REAL business just by having an active social media campaign (revenue, profit, etc)
Step 5: Listen to the upcoming podcast with Samantha & Fiona
The next podcast with Samantha and I will treat the topic of Facebook Ads. If you want to grow your knowledge on the best way to use Facebook for business, then make sure you don’t miss out on this baby.
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Connect with Samantha:
You can connect with Samantha Riley on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StressFreeStartUps
Or you can check out her website at” www.stressfreebusiness.com.au