So most of the time I would go ahead and write my own blog on this topic. But Social Media is about sharing information and collaborating and connecting. Also I leave tomorrow for Australia to do some training for a couple of companies down there and since it seems I always wait til the last-minute to pack and get things ready I am already way behind.
Side note: I plan on doing some video blogging for the first time on this trip. I have helped others do it, but have not done it myself. Look forward to coming to you from Australia and giving you the buzz that is happening with Social Media down under. They are blowing it up and hopefully we will get some great tips on their successes.
So now back to the topic: How To: Get the Most from a Small Business Media Presence! Thanks to Scott Gerber and Friends.
Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, public speaker and author of Never Get a “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke. The content for this post was sourced from the Young Entrepreneur Council, a group of successful Gen Y business owners.
Today’s reality is that your business needs to be on social media, but the mere existence of your business on sites like Facebook and Twitter doesn’t guarantee a single sale, or even a single referral. In order for businesses to succeed in the social media space, they need to be properly educated on what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, business owners need to have realistic goals about what they’ll get out of social media.
When the right tools are used effectively with the right motives in mind, social media can have a huge impact on small business marketing and customer service efforts. You just have to understand how to properly determine and assess the return on investment you’re looking for.
I asked a panel of successful Gen Y entrepreneurs how small businesses can go about getting the most out of their social media marketing and how they can convert more of their existing social media followers into paying customers. Here are their responses.
1. Experiment With Social Networks
“Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be used as marketing platforms, but rather one-to-one direct communications mediums with customers, potential customers, journalists, and other stakeholders. As the population of Twitter increases, and people start following thousands of other people, your message gets lost. Facebook’s news feed algorithm stops marketers from using their Fan Page as a loudspeaker because fans that aren’t engaged won’t see their content anyway.”
- Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, LLC
2. Quality, Not Quantity
“Social media is first and foremost about building relationships. It takes time and consistent effort to see any meaningful results, but the time and effort you spend are worth it in the long run – if you do it right. While it’s great to have a large following on Twitter and Facebook, the value of your followers list is all about quality, not quantity. Think of it like this: if you had an ice cream shop and a thousand people a day walked through the door, but 950 of those were lactose intolerant, your high foot traffic wouldn’t be making you much money. To convert your social media followers into paying customers, remember ‘WIIFM’ (What’s In It For ME). In other words, you have to give your followers a reason to want to do business with you, and that reason has to be a benefit to them. Contests are one great way to engage followers, and if you tie them in with your business and give [a prize] that means something to your target audience, you can see results fairly quickly.”
- Adam Toren, co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com
3. Lead Your Followers Down the Purchasing Path
“Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale once you’ve developed trust and a relationship with a prospective customer. Use your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account to ask people to take the next step, whether it’s calling you up for a quote or proposal, downloading a whitepaper, or signing up for a trial account. Repeat your call to action regularly, with lots of useful content, information and trust building in between your requests.”
- Matt Mickiewicz, founder of 99designs
4. Engagement = Consumers
“If I could talk to you right now, I’d ask, ‘What exactly are you selling?’ While the principles remain the same, social media is best leveraged by tweaking it slightly to suit the industry. There is also a misconception that social media leads to customers. It doesn’t. Social media is a great way to engage with your audience and turn them into consumers
. Think about it this way – you have to attract and then convert. Social media is helping you attract the audience and build your community. But, there are two types of conversions. The first is the more common one where someone becomes your consumer. They sign up for your newsletter, subscribe to your blog, or just plain ‘Like’ your Facebook Fan Page. They’ve taken the first step! Over time, the right ones become paying customers. This is the second type of conversion — the paying customer. Use social media to attract consumers, and then turn them into customers over time. Remember, social media is an important but small part of overall online marketing.”- Shama Kabani
, president of The Marketing Zen Group
5. Use Social Media to Make Friends, Not Leads
“Next time someone friends you or replies to you, don’t just say ‘thanks for following,’ or worse, don’t just count them as just another number or dollar sign. Take two minutes and actually look at who this real person is on the other side of the computer and ask how you can help them in an authentic way. Provide them value and become a trusted friend and this relationship building will convert into sales and evangelism for your company.”- Matt Wilson
, co-founder of Under30CEO.com
6. Give Them Something To Talk About
“The key to converting followers to customers is offering them something that they need, or identifying a pain that they are having that you can solve. You’ve done the hard part by finding followers and fans. Once you have followers and fans, it’s just a matter of finding out what value you can provide to them. If they are unwilling to buy from you then it means they are either not truly fans or followers (just happened to accept your request), or that you have not uncovered their pain points to provide a solution. An example with our company is that we had tons of fans and followers of our brand, but not everyone needed junk removal. So we surveyed them to find out what services we could provide to them and learned that moving was one that they needed more often.”
- Nick Friedman, co-founder and president of College Hunks Hauling Junk
7. Numbers Aren’t Everything
“To gain paying customers you’ll need to focus on attracting the right followers, and not just on attracting the most. Communicate often with useful information to increase your value, and focus on pitching your product in a genuine way. Make sure you have a professional web presence, and with any luck, you should start noticing your efforts pay off.”
- David Rusenko, founder of Weebly
8. Monetize Other Channels
“The hype around social media doesn’t necessarily translate into sales — in fact, it rarely does. Unfortunately, few people will tell you this because they’re busy hyping the next big thing. For example, I get more than a thousand times the financial ROI from my boring old e-mail list than from my Twitter followers. Now, if your goal is engagement or long-term bonding, social media can be a good play. But if your goal is direct revenue, I would focus on other channels that you can track and measure, such as online advertising and e-mail marketing.”
- Ramit Sethi, New York Times best-selling author, I Will Teach You To Be Rich
9. Show Followers What They’re Missing
“You have to show them what they are missing out on and how your business can be helpful and provide a sense of enjoyment to them as well. Truly engage with them, get to know them, show them your personality and make them want to be a part of what you’re doing. Show them why they can’t live without you and be creative with it.”
- Ashley Bodi, co-founder of Business Beware
10. Remember “Top-of -Mind -Awareness”
“I would recommend giving limited-time, special opportunities that have a strong call to action to your social media community rather than just simply pointing them to your website. Another way we’ve gotten a return on our social media [channels] is posting video testimonials that our clients give us for our fan and personal pages. This builds credibility in prospects’ minds by showing that we’re busy and that we do good work. It also keeps us in top-of-mind awareness. We’ve had prospects call us often and mention that they just saw a post and thought of us.”
- Michael Simmons, co-founder of The Extreme Entrepreneur
11. Go Fremium to Build Premium
“Building up fans and followers isn’t enough — you need to engage with them in substantial ways and introduce them to your product in a way that gets them wanting more. As a thought exercise, you might want to ask yourself what aspect of your product you can offer to your social media community for free. If you provide real value, for free, then show them ways they can spend just a little bit of money to get an exponential boost in value — the next tier of your product offering — you may start seeing greater conversions (and return on the initial investment it took to build that community in the first place).”
- Jordan Goldman, founder of Unigo
12. Foster Genuine Interactions
“First, you may want to rethink how you are viewing social media. If you’re looking for an immediate pop in revenue, you’re likely to give up quickly on social media and completely miss the larger opportunity it provides. Of course the broader goal of all marketing is to generate sales; however, if you show up on Facebook and Twitter simply to promote your product or service it is likely you’ll be ignored. Social media is about genuine interaction and building relationships. By fostering relationships, social media becomes an incredibly powerful tool. Provide interesting content that will generate buzz, provide helpful hints and unique discounts that are only available on Facebook or Twitter. Customers will appreciate the ability to participate in a dialogue directly with your brand and these interactions will show up on customers’ news feeds. The resulting brand exposure and word-of-mouth will ultimately pay dividends in the form of new customers.”
- Anderson Schoenrock, co-founder of ScanDigital
” So thought I would add my own words of wisdom to the longest blog ever for me. Above are a lot of great ideas. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you are engaging with your audience and adding value that enhances their lives to build trust. Only then can you build the relationship in order to have them buy your product or service.”
Les Adkins CEO Orange SMS