Anyone in business knows the importance of marketing on social media platforms. Having access to customers increases sales, and this is not breaking news.
However, many business owners don't have a strategic plan mapped out, but this doesn't have to be the case. There are some simple things that anyone can do to create a comprehensive and effective social marketing strategy. Here's how to increase sales using social media platforms:
Creating Compelling Narratives
Tell a story. Who are you? What do you sell? Why do you sell it? How did you get started in your industry? What's your background? Answering these questions for your potential customers will help them to better connect with your brand.
Having a story for your audience—those (hopefully) buying your product or service—will allow them to engage with you and your brand on an emotional level, and the emotional construct of a compelling narrative, or mission statement, will draw a crowd to your business.
One of the best approaches to creating a narrative for your brand is to treat this endeavor like it's a college paper: outline, research, and edit and publish. Having this mindset will help you to combine important, relevant elements in a cohesive manner.
There's something powerful about putting your ideas on pen and paper. If nothing else, it will help you to better define your goals and your business' mission. This will grant you greater focus as you pursue growth.
First, create an outline that diagrams the key details and important components of your business. For example, one great place to start would be by listing when your business was founded. Then, list your experience in your field.
Be sure to also explain your journey from beginning to where you currently are. If you have a mascot for your brand, create a story around the mascot, thus providing your audience with another figure to connect with—another character to add to your story.
Google Docs has an outline feature that makes this task easier by allowing you to separate content by category and style.
No one knows your business as well as you do, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't do some academic research surrounding your sector. Having statistics, research, and reputable evidence to support your statements will make your story and brand more credible.
People respond remarkably well to statistics. Just be sure that any statistical data used as evidence of your expertise or knowledge is relevant, reliable, and clearly explained. For a great rundown on what NOT to do with statistics, here's an excellent article.
Also, fact check any information you gather, and be sure to provide citations or footnotes if you don't use embedded links. Without providing adequate sources, you leave yourself open to scorn from your readers, and that is the opposite of your goal: attracting new customers.
Edit and Publish
Once you've created an outline with key facts and details about your business, you can move on to editing and publishing your narrative for the world to see. If a professional copy editor is out of your budget, ask a reliable friend with excellent grammar to look over your content.
No one wants to be embarrassed by poor spelling and grammar, and having error-free content will cause your readers to perceive you as more intelligent and reliable. Regardless of your level of skill, it's incredibly difficult to edit your own writing.
At the very least, run your content through a spelling and grammar check using Word, Pages, or whichever word processing software you use. After editing you're ready for the next step: publishing.
Services such as Upwork supply relatively affordable options for hiring a professional copy editor, among other specialties.
Blogging (aka, Storytelling)
Once editing is complete, you're ready to release your vision to the world. So, where will you be putting all this awesome and inspiring content? Well, you should place it in several places, but firstly you should launch a blog.
Your blog will be the primary source for you to tell your story to others. Once you've developed a plan for your narrative, you can begin breaking your narrative into distinct points in the plot that hopefully leads to building your customer base.
Driving the Magic SEO Schoolbus
The best way to manage your blog is from your company's website, because this will be helpful in driving traffic to your site from other places on the web.
Your blog should be treated with the highest regard. Having helpful and lengthy content (around 2000 words for each post) will improve your SEO. In addition, when you write posts, be sure to link to other popular sites. Using links to top-rated sites can help you rise to the top of Google's coveted search engine results.
Social Media and Marketing Dynamics
Be Helpful. Sounds simple, but this one tip can be one of the best ways to make yourself known without spending marketing dollars. Social media is the most modern ticket to accessing the masses, and building an active and effective social presence is downright essential for all businesses.
Choose 3-5 platforms to devote yourself to, and begin interacting with people: consider every interaction an attempt to assist and inform. Don't approach online conversations as a salesperson. Instead, take on the role of the expert.
Doing so will imprint memorable experiences on the minds of anyone asking for help or anyone reading your comments, tweets, answers, and so on.
In order to fully utilize social media you'll need some good looking designs and graphics for ads and blog posts. There's nothing worse than having an informative article that's considered dull because of a lack of visual content.
My two favorite tools for creating graphics are Canva and Piktochart. Canva is the better choice of the two for creating social media graphics, because their templates are designed for the various size specifications of popular social media platforms. Piktochart can also be used for more flexible design projects.
There are free versions of each, but the paid additions offer even more extensive benefits. Check out both to see which ones work best for you.
In addition, you'll need other images, so check out Pexels, Pixabay, and Gratisography for thousands and thousands of free images—not subject to copyright. Another fun site is Pixel Squid, but the 3D images can be a bit much for use in blogs. Use your best judgement.
Maintaining multiple social media platforms can be challenging to even the most adept users, so there is a work around for anyone who's struggling to keep up with a busy schedule or juggling many time-intensive tasks throughout the day. There is a great option for anyone who just can't keep up with these demands: Buffer and Quuu.
For scheduling posts across your accounts, Buffer is an excellent choice, and not a costly service by any means. In addition, if you want an even more active social media presence, then you can enlist the help of Quuu: a cool service that finds articles about topics similar to yours and fills up your scheduler queue.
This is a lifesaver for anyone who has too much work and not enough time or people to fill every role—worthy investments. The only thing to be cautious about is that Facebook alerts users who like your posts originating from Quuu and Buffer of their source.
So, if that bothers you, then you'll have to stick to the manually scouring the web for articles. And, try to schedule at least one manual update daily so your audience knows that you're present and online regularly.
There a few really cool things about Facebook. For example, when you create a business page you can advertise to the perfect audience by selecting other pages to target with your ads. Facebook currently boasts tens of millions of active users.
There is no better way to get your business in front of the faces of millions for a much lower cost than traditional advertising. This guarantees that people who are interested in your niche will be the ones who see your ads.
In addition, you can also choose the demographic of your audience, which is common sense if you are only selling to a specific group, because it's a waste of marketing funds to have misdirected advertisements.
Privilege of the Page
Facebook also allows you to create and design ads via your page. This is incredibly useful, because you don't have to rely on several services in order to get your ads ready for the public eye.
Not only that, but if you use Facebook's scheduler, your audience won't know that your scheduled your posts ahead of time. If that's important to you, then forego Buffer and schedule your posts ahead of time on Facebook itself.
One other excellent source of marketing and advertising on Facebook is free: join relevant groups and share knowledge with others.
Be careful not to do too much direct self-promotion, however, or you may end up getting booted by the admins. Interact with the other members of the group and you'll impress them with your knowledge.
Over the past decade Twitter has become as popular as Facebook, making it a major player on the social media marketing stage. Using Twitter requires a certain amount of strategy.
I suggest using Buffer to schedule tweets for a few months and learn the best time for targeting your prospects. Like Facebook, Twitter's advertisements allow you to select a demographic to market your business toward.
Both Facebook and Twitter send you details about your marketing campaigns, including which groups interacted with your posts and tweets...and which ones didn't. This allows you to hone your approach and focus on the best step forward while gauging the traction of your ads.
Professionals must have a LinkedIn profile, and businesses can join groups and make powerful connections by networking. While Facebook and Twitter can be filled to the brim with cat memes and silly videos at times, LinkedIn offers an almost exclusively professional experience.
This means that the users on LinkedIn are already there for business purposes, so marketing here is a given. What better way to conduct business-to-business sales than to have the movers and shakers of other businesses viewing your ads?
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are casual, but be sure to wear your nicest business attire on LinkedIn—important people will be looking on and assessing how you interact.
Depending on the type of your business, producing a weekly video about something helpful and related to your business or product will help to boost your visibility among people all over the world. Having a YouTube channel dedicated to increasing awareness of your product or service is a cool way to share your passion with others.
Plus, if you become popular or have a video that goes viral, you could make a ton of money from YouTube's advertisements. There's a dual purpose here as well, because you can repurpose your videos for your website and blog.
Having additional media will only cause your online presence to become even more compelling. There's something magical about having multiple forms of communication for your audience to consume.
Consumers and people in general appreciate helpfulness. Quora presents a unique opportunity for you and your business to become well-known experts in your chosen field. Quora's platform is founded on the idea of questions and answers, and contributing to this growing database will expand your viewership.
Through answering questions on Quora you are giving yourself an awesome gift: free advertisement. You can also share your blog content on your own Quora page. So, this is an easy way to repurpose content and videos in a way that also gives you free access to a wider audience.
I have to admit that I didn't know much about Pinterest for a long time. For some reason I thought it was solely for use by crafty types (my aunt's scrapbook club comes to mind), and I'm not so crafty with anything other than words—I truly appreciate those who are gifted with a glitter and yarn thumb.
That's not what Pinterest is: well it is, but that's not all it is. Pinterest is an amazing resource on just about any subject, and I am now OBSESSED with collecting pins for my boards. It's a unique platform, and businesses are missing out if they don't tap into Pinterest as a marketing resource.
Pin It to Win It
The way Pinterest works is that people create boards according to their interests and pin items to their boards. "Pins" are typically infographics, images, and memes that originate from another source before being uploaded onto Pinterest. When the images are uploaded, there's an embedded link that will take someone to the source domain, and this is my point.
Remember those ad graphics you created on Canva or Piktochart for your social media ads and blog? This is the perfect place to reuse those images (specifically from your blog) to drive traffic to your site. It's a simple, but often overlooked opportunity that anyone can use to increase their visibility. Plus, once you start pinning, you'll be hooked! (Or, pinned to a board, rather.)
Anyone can get started in increasing their presence on social media by using some of the sites I mentioned, and combining a few of them will increase exposure to your brand on a greater scale than simply using a website alone.
It's imperative to be where the prospects are, and they are on Facebook, Twitter, et al. Do yourself a favor and dive into social media marketing, because it could be the catalyst for the growth you've been searching for.
Interaction is the way to growth in our competitive, online world, so be sure not to miss out on the conversation. Make time to socialize.
If you would like to learn more about automating and integrating the software you use, get in touch with CodePilot. Automation is our specialty—we're here to help lift your business into flight!