With very few exceptions I believe that every one trying to make money should use social media. If your prospects go anywhere near the Internet when making purchasing decisions then you should be on social media. Yes I know it can be time consuming and fraught with danger but those things can be managed. So today I’m going to invite you to develop a social media strategy.
Which channels should you be on?
Infographic from mashable.com using data from Pew Research
I’m not going to suggest that you go mad and get active on every platform especially if you are not currently active on any but, if you are not already active on social networks, I do want you to experiment. As with all marketing you should go where your customers and prospects are but you can also use the networks to find suppliers, journalists, employees, freelancers and collaborators and to keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Don’t tell me that your target audience are not on social networks because some of them will be, even my nearly 90 year old Dad has a Facebook account! One survey found that 32% of over 65s use social media and that number is likely to continue growing, so which platform to choose.
Facebook: Love it or hate it you should be on Facebook, it is by far the biggest platform with over 1.15 billion users of whom 40% are said to be in the 45-54 age range. This is interesting since the perception is often that Facebook has a younger user demographic. With Facebook you can have a personal page where you encourage your ‘friends’ to engage with you; you can control how much information different people see with the way you set your privacy settings. You can also have a business page which you invite people to ‘like’ your page which then has them receiving information you post. You can also set up groups within Facebook where members can connect with each other, discuss issues and share items of interest, Click the link at the bottom of the page to be taken to the 21 Day Challenge group. I’d love you to pop along and ‘like’ the Training Pack’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheTrainingPack
Twitter: My personal favourite! It is a micro blogging site so you tell your story in 140 characters which you ‘Tweet’ to your followers. Your followers can then retweet your messages to their followers which can extend your reach considerably. Twitter enables you to share links to websites, blog posts, booking media and more. It is very well used by journalists looking for quotes or people to feature in articles. Twitter makes celebrities and industry notables much easier to contact than any other medium, replies aren’t guaranteed but many do engage with their genuine fans. It would be great if you could follow me on Twitter at @Glenda_S
Linked In: Is generally seen as the professional site and is used to find employment, professional services contracts and/or employees. Again Linked In has interest groups which you can join and contribute to to enhance your online profile and establish your expertise. If you are selling a product or service in the business/employment arena then you should have a Linked In profile at the very least. I’m on Linked In as Glenda Shawley, I’d be happy to connect with you there.
Pinterest: is a very visual medium where you ‘pin’ images to boards with a suitable comment. It is especially useful if you are selling a product as you can upload images and links to your sales pages. I also find it useful for developing vision boards such as the one recommended on Day 2 of this challenge. I also like the fact that I can support my clients by posting images of their products or services too. I’d love you to follow my new business Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com/thetrainingpack Have you visited the Pinterest board I set up for this challenge yet?
Google Plus: I have to confess that I’m still getting to grips with Google Plus but I can see it has the potential to be a really useful tool. The big advantage is that it integrates effectively with other Google services such as You Tube and it certainly helps with search engine optimisation. You can post messages, pictures, videos and more to the site and organise your connections into circles so that they only receive the most relevant of your communications. The Hangouts feature within Google Plus allows you to have online meetings with a small group using your computer’s webcam so this would be a great bonus for trainers, coaches and others working remotely.
You Tube: is the second biggest search engine after Google so you should be on there! You don’t have to film yourself or even do a voice over if you don’t want to. You can make your PowerPoint presentations into videos as I did in Days 15 and 16 of this challenge, you can make an Animoto video as I did on Day 2, you can record testimonials from your customers as Valerie Smith of Viva Videos did for me below or you can film an event, product demonstration, talk or anything that takes your fancy.
Instagram: is another visual medium where users can share photographs and videos. One way to use Instagram would be to get your customers to take photos of themselves using your products, attending your events or gathering information for you. With their permission you could share those photographs in your marketing activities.
Managing your communications
It is essential that you manage your social media engagement or there is a chance that it will take over your life. I know that you will come across people offering to manage it for you but whilst that has its uses I don’t think you can abdicate all responsibility yourself. The most important thing is to have a strategy, or strategies. You may have a different strategy for each network, for instance you might use Twitter to connect with journalists, Facebook and Pinterest to sell product and Instagram to engage with your customers.
ACTION: Choose one or more social networks that you are not currently using effectively and decide what your objective will be for being there. Who do you want to engage with e.g. prospects, customers, suppliers journalists etc.? What do you want to achieve, is it to build your prospect list, to sell £x amount, to get press coverage or something else? Integrate this with the marketing plan you started developing on Day 15.
Here are just a few tips for the most widely used networks.
Which ever network you decide to focus on be active, spend at least 10 minutes a day taking part. Engage people in conversation. Be interesting. Use any insight tools they have to see when your audience is most engaged and be there then, this often means first thing in the morning, lunchtime, just before close of business and maybe evening.
Use a tool like Hootsuite to manage posts in advance across a number of platforms. For instance if you are organising an event you’ll want to make promotional posts across your different networks at different times of the day, you can use Hootsuite to schedule these in advance. This is particularly useful when you have a very busy day, you remain visible on social networks without having to find time you don’t have!
Facebook: building a following takes time, watch what other people are doing successfully and think how you can adapt their ideas to suit you. Photographs tend to be more popular and readily shared than words. Join in conversations, be encouraging, share tips. Many users, especially in the ‘craft’ sector run contests open to people who ‘share’ and ‘like’ their pages, they draw a winner when they hit a predetermined target for number of likes. Facebook has an enormous amount of data about their users which allows them target your advertising very precisely, you can give it a try by putting a cap on how much money you want to spend a day or for the campaign.
Twitter: Build your own followers by following other people who meet your strategic objectives, many will follow you back. Use the search function to find people. Re-tweet messages for people you’d like to build a relationship with and whose messages would be of interest to your followers. To make seeing important messages more easily create lists and add the people you are following to these so that you only see their messages. For instance I have a list of journalists so if I’m looking for a PR opportunity I will click on that list to see if there are any suitable requests there.
Use the # function to find and join conversations that meet your objectives. For example #bizitalk will find people talking about business; #London will find people talking about London. Use Twitter to drive invite people to open events and to drive traffic to your website or blog. A word of warning, Twitter has some controls in place to keep things personal this can be a disadvantage if you follow a lot more people than follow you back. It tends to kick in for the first time when you follow 2000 people whilst your own following is a way off that number.
Linked In: make sure that you have an up to date professional profile and look for, and then participate in groups that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and personality but be very careful about making an overt sales pitch, they are generally frowned upon in Linked In.
ACTION: Take the channel that you set objectives for and start building your following and posting interesting content. Use the comments function here to tell us how to tell us how to find you on your chosen channel and then follow the other people who list their details here or in our Facebook group. Connect with me using the links above and I’ll follow you back (unless Twitter still has me in jail!)
I can’t cover all there is to know in one, even rather long, challenge. I suggest you use the link below for plenty of quality content which will answer many of the social media questions you are likely to have. Why not post some questionsin the comment box or in the Facebook group and see if we can share expertise with other challengers.
Share any insights or recommendations in the comments section here.
Join the conversation on Facebook to gain support from the 21 Day Challenge community (we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of social media later in the challenge but for now being active on this page and on Facebook can help boost the way people can find you on the Internet.)