The internet has changed the way we do business. In the last 10 or so years, social media has become a major component to marketing and growing one’s business. Social media has made it extremely easy to connect with raving fans and potential clients for the small business owner. More and more business owners are connecting to their audience in unbelievable ways. While there are downsides to social media (your personal info being open to the public), the undeniable connections between business owners and customers is like no other. It’s a phenomenon that has not been seen in business since the beginning of time.
In this blog post I want to discuss some of the most effective ways to market your business via social media. I’m not going to go into too much detail about which social media platform you should use for your business because each business is unique and different. Different platforms work better for different types of business. What I will discuss is the how to use your platform of choice to either build your fans base or gain potential customers.
Choosing the Best Social Platforms
Since many of you already know about the variety of social media platforms, I am not going to delve into explaining each one in detail. The main thing to remember is that you don’t have to be on all social media platforms, choose the platform where you know your target audience are most likely to be hanging out on. For example, If I have a business in retirement planning and most of my audience is between the ages 40 to 50, there is no need to do a post on instagram, which is less popular with that demographic. But if I own a pet grooming company, photos posted on instagram along with many others would be perfect way to promote and market my business. Pet grooming is big business so most of major platforms such as facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest are great places. For me as an artist, Youtube is my main platform for promoting my art business because it allows me to show some amazing painting techniques via video. So go with where your target audience is invested. Right now as I write this, a lot of young people are moving from Facebook to Instagram, it’s less invasive and not as open as Facebook. In my opinion, Facebook is still the number one place to market your business as most people are on facebook. The cool thing about facebook is that it allows you to separate your business from your personal profile by creating a fan page, a group page, artist page, etc. If you are into scrapbooking, an at home mom blogger, Pinterest is where it’s at. If your audience is more of a corporate audience, Linkedin is a great way to make some amazing connections. Again, go where your audience are gathering, you are there to help your audience so meet them where they are.
Decide What to Post
The best thing you can ever post is great content that provides great value. Providing value is a common term a lot of online marketers are using to explain how small business owners should promote their business in today’s world. Providing value is simply giving your audience great content and information that will help solve whatever problem they are having in your niche. So for instance, if your business is pet grooming, you should be giving TONS of information about pet hygiene, in home grooming, and pet care. I have a friend into Mary Kay, one of the biggest cosmetic multi marketing level company in the world and one of the best ways she has set her apart from other women in her company via social media. She provides massive value to friends and family via social media, that consists of beauty tips, make-up tips and tips on skin care.
Why give value? because it sets you apart as the expert in your field. If I see you and your business constantly in my Facebook feed giving valuable tips on my grooming my dog and taking care of my dog, I will inadvertently see you as the expert . When it’s time to get my dog groomed who I am going to think of first? When you give great value, you are setting yourself up for a great return. You can call it karma, or the law of reciprocity, or just plain ole reaping and sowing. With today’s new economy, giving is the new currency. So by adding value to your audience and giving great information you are allowing the audience to build a relationship with you and possibly return a favor by buying your product or services. Before this new economy we would basically try tell everyone how great our product is, and sell them on why they should buy your product or services.
In my opinion there are two types of ways you can give value using social media. They are the Informational approach and Celeberty approach value.
The Information Approach
This approach is back to the giving value part that I mentioned earlier. You want to provide the best information that will help your audience in your niche. If you are a barber give tips on men’s care, if you are a realtor give tips and information about what to do when buying and selling home. The more you post things, the more you will come to mind when it comes to buying or selling a client’s home. By doing this, you are setting yourself as the expert. It’s all about giving to your audience good solid information that will help them in whatever field that you are in. The more you give, the more they will trust you. The more they trust you, the more they will give back to by buying your service and products. One of the things I use for my art business is that I provide a lot of tips on various painting techniques and inadvertently my audience gives back to me when purchasing my online course.
The Celebrity Approach:
Today we live in a world where anyone can be considered a celebrity. People who we called celebrities today are not the same from 20 years ago. Today you can become an instant celebrity from doing some amazing things; to doing some not so amazing things. As all the reality tv shows inundate our culture we idealize people who we look up to as celebrity. Whether you are disgusted with it or not; we as a culture can’t detach from it.
Social media makes us feel connected to people in celebrity status whether they are positive or negative role models to look up to. We now live in a “Look at me” society. So what does this have to do with marketing your business, well just as Kim Kardashian posts images from her daily life you can do the same. I have a friend who’s in Mary Kay and was trying to see how she could stand out in a crowded market. Since it is a MLM company, she uses the same approach as a celebrity. When ever she receives a check in the mail from Mary Kay she posts an image of it. Whenever she gets a new member of her selling team, she posts it, Whenever she moves up a level in her business she posts about. The point is, her posts make others what to be like her. Sounds a little trite; but it works. Act as if the camera is always following you. You have a smartphone with a camera that’s in your pocket, so use it. Whenever you have a moment that you feel that will connect with your audience, post it. And if posting things about your business or personal life is a little uncomfortable for you, start off small. Remember, you are doing this to market your business to ultimately get more sales.
Decide When to Post
I notice a lot of small business post motivational things in the morning and give great information around lunch and dinner time.There is not much promotion until there has been a lot of content value provided first. Example: Morning post would be inspirational. For example a pet grooming company may post an image of a cute dog enjoying the company of it’s owner with the caption “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Afternoon post from the dog owner may go like such: Three things you should do before bringing your dog to the vet, and in the post you give all three tips. In the evening post the pet grooming company could post a video of their company actually a grooming a dog from a previous client.
There is really not set formula, but this is one formula several small business entrepreneurs go by. It really is up to you.Test different things and see what works for you. The main focus is to provide great content to your audience, add value to their lives, and communicate often with. Remember this is called social media, so stay social in your interaction with your audience. The more you post the better your chances of building a relationship with your followers.
If you decide to use some of the tips and techniques mentioned, it is highly recommended that you have a system in place to post your content. Most of the entrepreneurs I know have a system that allows them to post on all the major social platforms at once; which is pretty cool. You can do this by simply linking up your main social platforms together so when you post in Instagram it simultaneously goes to Facebook and Twitter. Another way you can do this is by signing up to a third party like HootSuite and having all your social platforms linked to Hootsuite and schedule post to go out to all the major social media platforms at once. This can save you a lot of time. Last but not least, you can hire a company to do all of this for you and you won’t have to think about it again. However, if you do decide to schedule your post or hire a company to do this for you, it is still important to post random things on the fly the moment hits. Like my Mary Kay friend, she can schedule post but when she goes to the mailbox and gets her check from Mary Kay she can post an image of it right on the fly.If you are the owner of a pet grooming company and see a dog doing something interesting that would make a good post; it’s good to be able to pop out your phone and take a picture to post to your audience.
Posting regularly helps your audience stay connected to you and your brand. The more they see you in their feed, the stronger connection they will develop to you and your brand. Remember, social media is about being social, and being social leads to relationships. The better the relationship you have with your audience, the more like they will support you and your business. So when using social media to market your business, give away great content, provide value, and the relationship that will cultivate from your generosity will ultimately come back to you and your business.