Any form of digital marketing can seem daunting to a small business, after all, you’re busy building your sales funnel, managing your employees and especially, keeping your overhead low.
But here’s the thing, social media augments all those pieces, from driving traffic to your website (sales funnel), managing your employees (delegate task & build your culture) to the biggest detractor, keeping your overhead low (social media costs a 10th of what conventional marketing costs).
I don’t have time for social media
Time is one of the greatest enemies a small business owner has. There aren’t enough hours in the day to truly get everything done, so adding social media to the list is not an exciting prospect.
This is why you delegate the task, either to your employees (whom you MUST train to follow your brand guidelines, and strategy) or to a social media company that builds a strategy with you, and executes it on your behalf.
Once you understand the ‘why & how’ of digital marketing, social media becomes much simpler to understand. Effectively, you’re building relationships with your audience, community and industry just by engaging with them as you would an event, except you can do it from the confines of your shop. Hell, you don’t even need to put pants on. (side note: pants are for suckers)
So what’s my goal?
Your online goals should always reflect your offline goals.
Looking for new customers = 1. Profile your ideal client 2. Find out what social media channels they use 3. Engage them by searching the keywords that reflect your business and their conversation.
Want more sales = 1. Building a campaign that captures the attention of your ideal clients 2. Offer an incentive to get them through the door or through your website’s e-commerce cart if you sell online. 3. Capture their information like name and email, and build an email list to use for future campaigns.
Want to build awareness = 1. Become active on the channels your ideal clients are using and start conversations 2. Go to local events where your ideal clients attend and engage with them offline AND online (online interactions after meeting someone in real-life reinforces their perception of you, such as remembering you)
Ok, I understand the ‘Why’, but what about the ‘How’
First thing first, you need to understand who your clients are. This is called by a variety of names, persona profile, client profiling etc.. basically, you create a profile of who your client is, both male and female. Here’s an example if you owned an extreme sports apparel shop:
- Name: John Hammond
- Gender: Male
- Age: 32
- Likes: motocross, extreme sports, summer
takes lots of pictures of his adventure, so do his friends
- Dislikes: Reading long articles, the daily grind Channels: Instagram, Facebook
So with the above information, we deduced that Instagram, a visual social media channel , is most likely where John spent most of his time online. His age also speaks to the possibility that he uses Facebook (as it would have been the first social media he ever really used. Now that he’s older, he most likely has family on it as well.)
The great thing about Instagram is it’s owned by Facebook, which means that you can target all the John Hammonds through Facebook’s ad platform. (another article altogether, but basically, we can advertise to him based on his likes ie. motocross, extreme sports, summer takes lots of pictures of his adventure)
Now that we know where our clients hang out, we want to create an account on Instagram and start posting images that reflect your brand and the type of culture that John wants to be a part of. ie. Motocross, summer sports, like jet skiing, mountain biking etc..
Alright, I’m getting this, now. But how does John become a client of mine?
You’re going to be following a lot of John & Jane Hammonds, you’re going to search them out using hashtags that reflect your brand’s keywords (the words that represent your company hint: they’re the same ones that describe your ideal client).
Every day, you’re going to go through your Instagram feed and you’re going to like their awesome pics, and you’re going to find a reason to start a conversation with them, just like you would if they were in your shop, but this time it’s actually easier because you’re watching their life, their passions unfold in front of you.
See a picture of John parasailing? Simple: ‘Wicked! Where was this? Looks like Boca Boca with those awesome beaches’. Literally, shooting the shit. There’s no simpler way to say it.
When John starts chatting back to you, and you build a rapport with him, he’ll start checking out your site, he’ll become a lead (a potential customer). Social media just did its job, it brought John Hammond to your website, how you close that deal is another article entirely, as that’s the domain of a website sales funnel.
But as you can see, broken down, social media isn’t a burden but a great way to build an audience of like-minded people who just want to expand their likes, and you just so happen to be in the business of giving them just that.