How to Market Yourself on Social Media without Overwhelm & Headaches

With over 2.1 billion accounts on Facebook today and over 0.8 million users on Instagram, it seems like the world has never been more connected. We use social media to exchange messages, have our voice be heard, find and join events, and even donate to charities. But when it comes to using social media as promotional tools for our business, it seems to get difficult. How do we motivate people to do the same thing that we do without favourite brands, but for our business? And how do we know we’re taking the right action and not just wasting our time?

I often say that social media marketing is like going to the gym. You must commit 100%, you need to do it at least 4 times a week to see results, and take measurements along the way to see if you’re improving (i.e. if what you’re doing is working or not working). It requires consistency, practice, and patience. And many people won’t like to hear this, but it requires long-term effort rather than a flood of action taken in one day, and then none for two months.

I have some good news, though. If you ever accomplished anything in your life, then you probably know that once you get better at it, you will start to like it. And social media marketing isn’t any different.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

You need a strategy. Drawing back to our fitness example, imagine that one day you get an idea to “gain muscle”, but you have no idea how. However, you start going to the gym, and you do some work. There are some results — you look a little bit more toned, after all, but because you don’t measure anything, you have no clue what worked and what didn’t, and how much you gained in what time.

Social media marketing is no different and that’s why you need a strategy. I hear so many people saying that they want more followers. They start taking certain actions but they have no idea how much action they took over what period of time. Quoting Peter Drucker: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” So you’d better start measuring.

Before You Start

There are a few things you need to think about prior to creating a social media strategy. First, consider your audience a.k.a. your potential clients or customers. Who are the people you’re speaking to? What is their current situation, what’s their feared situation and is their desired situation? You will need to know these to communicate your message to them accurately through different types of media (copy, image/photo, video). What are the platforms they like to hang around?

When it comes to platforms, it’s better to be realistic and stick to fewer than more. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat, it seems like a never-ending battle to feed these “content machines”. Quite often, this is what becomes very overwhelming – if you want to publish just one image per day on one platform, that will be 365 per year. Can you, realistically, create that many, and for multiple platforms? Usually, if you’re new to social media marketing and/or just starting out, the good rule of thumb is sticking to no more than 2. For most companies and brands those will be; Facebook and Instagram but obviously, the choice depends on your audience and goals.

Setting the Right Goals

It’s important to set a goal because, without a goal, you don’t know where you’re going. But even more important to goals is to set the right goals. Your goals should always be attainable, relevant and time-bound. So when people tell me that they want to create conversions through social media within the first month and earn £2,000 yet they have 5 Instagram followers, I frown a little bit, at least in most cases (see why below in Resources). I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but speaking from my experience as I’ve worked with over a hundred clients, there is a certain order to acquiring goals.

The order of how you should focus your goals are:

1. Building a follower base – only with at least 1,000-1,500 followers you will begin to see some interest in your business that will translate to some engagement and a few sales

2. Improving engagement – your engagement could be translated as retention and brand advocacy a.k.a. how “warmed up” your followers are

3. Create conversions – once you have enough followers who are “warmed up” already (the two prerequisites for conversions), you will begin to see people converting with a bigger predictability

Now, the question is how fast can I acquire these goals?

Resources a.k.a. How Fast You Get Your Goals

Your resources are people (how skilled they are, how much experience they have), time, and budget/money (for ads, training, collaborations, giveaways). Usually, the more you have of each, the faster you can get to your goal. Let’s say your goal is to acquire your first 1,000 followers. If you have a team of three people who work full time and have a budget of £1,000 for ads, it’s easy to see that they will likely get those followers faster than if you do it alone for two days a week with no budget at all, isn’t it?

That’s why your resources are one of the stepping stones to how fast you acquire your goals. Unfortunately, today it’s much more difficult to reach goals with any budget at all due to Facebook’s and Instagram’s algorithms, but it shouldn’t be something that should stop you. The nutrition brand Free Soul Sistas went from 700 followers to 10,000 in the course of 6 months, only promoting their products. And of course, in the meantime, their startup, which is targeting millennial women, started to make a return on investment.

Measuring Success (and Fails)

When you think of traditional marketing – newspapers, radio, TV – it’s quite obvious for many people how and what they can measure. When it comes to social media marketing, everyone thinks it’s difficult.

If you had an ad in a magazine, what you could measure was how many times that ad was seen (depending on the number of copies of the magazine that went to print), how much was the graphics, copy, and placement of the ad, and how many people bought the product after seeing it. This isn’t any different in social media marketing. First, you need to correlate business key performance indicators (KPIs) to social KPIs. For example:

Business KPIs – Social KPIs

* Brand awareness – Impressions, reach

* Retention, brand advocacy – Engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks)

* Conversions – Website clicks, Profile views, conversions

Usually, the most difficult part is to quantify how many people bought from you when they clicked the ad because in most cases you can’t correlate them to an existing customer in your CRM. But if social media marketing is the only thing you’re doing or at least the biggest chunk of your marketing efforts, then you can easily say what your return on investment is (ROI).

The key to social media marketing is implementing all these steps. Only once practised together, you will begin to see results. But don’t fret if you don’t have it all figured out already. Take things, step by step, and measure once a month and you’ll see quickly if you’re going in the right direction.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Social Enterprise Series: Social Media

Does your business have a coherent social media strategy, or are you throwing random updates to the wind when you can?

In our digital age, social media is crucial for your business. It is a platform for: creating your brand/identity, setting yourself as an industry expert, sharing your impact, building partnerships, engaging with your audience/customers and driving sales.

 

In our Social Enterprise Incubator Series, we follow 15 incredible social entrepreneurs who are leading the road to change with our Incubator Programme.

Get a glimpse into their challenges, developments and lightbulb moments as the cohort shares their experience over the 6 month programme! In this post we learn about the struggles Joe encountered with social media and the tips he learned to build a proper strategy.  

 

Brake the Cycle is a social enterprise that organises cycle trips around the UK and mainland Europe, staying at organic farms, sustainability centres and ecological initiatives. For us, social media is one of our main tools for interacting with, and marketing to, our potential customers, keeping our extended network up to date and building lasting relationships with those who have been on our tours already. Finding the right tone, knowing the right amount of content to generate to make sure we keep in people’s minds but don’t become spammy, and knowing which of the many social platforms to use, are just a few of the issues we’ve faced. So having a session on it with Hatch was well anticipated and proved incredibly valuable.

In the workshop, Neila took us through the whole process, showing how to build and develop a strategy, which is what had been missing somewhat for us. We’d been like magpies attracted to different tools and tactics we’d read about on blogs rather than developing a coherent strategy and plugging the tools into that. One thing that really resonated with us was her empathise on it being ‘social’ media rather than thinking of it as sales and marketing per se. So keeping the tone affable and really speaking directly to your ideal customer, tailoring the tone to fit them. Her rule was a 70/20/10 split, 70% being high value interesting content for your customers, 20% sharing other pages posts that are relevant to yours and only a small 10% being on marketing your products through CTA (call to action). Of that 70%, she also stressed the importance of sharing your social enterprise’s impact, a key factor that will draw customers to your business. Something else that really resonated with us was finding more UGT (user generated content), so on our most recent tour we encouraged participants to @ us or use a specific #hashtag when sharing their pictures on Instagram which has resulted in lots of quality photos, capturing a variety of stories and aspects of our tours.

In future we’ll be looking at ways to incentivise our participants to engage with this more whilst on tour as part of a larger, well defined social media strategy.

 

Watch this space as we share more posts by the incredible changemakers on our Incubator programme! 

Interested in joining one of Brake the Cycle’s sustainable cycle trips? Check out their next Coast to Coast trip: an Immersive, Sustainable Cycle Journey from England’s Northwest to Northeast Coast.

How Twitter Lists can help you save time and grow your business

Whether you are starting your own business or are just thinking about it, chances are you already have a Twitter account. But how about Twitter Lists?

And How much do you actually know about them, if anything at all?

Often overlooked, Twitter Lists can be a great asset for businesses.  They help you manage Twitter more effectively and certainly have an important role to play when it comes to developing your social media strategy.

At first glance, they are simply a way to organise different accounts – you can add a descriptor for each list you create, making it either private (only visible to you) or public (visible to all, notifying accounts as they are added).   

But don’t be fooled.

Twitter Lists are much more than that.  And here is why;

 

They keep you on top of trends

By creating a list of users who regularly share breaking news within your industry, you can keep on top of relevant changes and updates relatively easily – it also means you can react to them efficiently.  

 

They save you time

It’s virtually impossible to keep pace with Twitter, especially if you are scrolling through an unfiltered feed.  By checking on the feed of each list separately you can absorb the information faster and in digestible chunks – without any clutter.

 

They help you keep an eye on the competition

Competitor activity is important for many reasons, and Twitter Lists allows you to do this easily and anonymously. Make sure you check what (public) Lists your competitors have as well as which ones they subscribe to!

 

They facilitate engagement

Consider creating a list made up of loyal customers, participants of Twitter chats, and bloggers who share your content and generally support you. Engaging with them will become much easier once they are grouped together, allowing you to nurture your relationships more effectively. You are also less likely to miss their activity if they are on a List.

They highlight brand awareness and increase followers

Well curated Twitter Lists can attract new followers as well as subscribers to your Lists. You might also find that accounts that you save under your Lists start to follow you too.

 

They give you a cleaner feed

By keeping track of accounts that are of interest to your business without having to follow them, you can keep your feed much more targeted and relevant to your brand.  

 

They help you add value to your own customer base

Think about what your business offers its customers.  Now consider the types of information that are of value to them and relevant to your offering. Could you add it to a Twitter List?  For example, if you own a vegetarian cafe you could have a number of public curated Lists covering topics such as seasonal produce, health benefits, recipes, favourite food bloggers, and your own local distributors. By creating lists that carry relevant content to your customers you can increase your followers and engagement.

 

They can balance your follower ratio

Everyone knows it takes time and effort to grow your Twitter following, but young businesses can initially suffer from showing low follower numbers against very high following ones. You can use Twitter Lists to avoid this.

 

They can increase your SEO

It is a fact that Google judges your importance according to the type of content you display.  The more high value, high-quality content you have, the more likely they are to link to it and share it themselves. Blog posts, competitions, articles, events, news, interviews, podcasts and images are all part of the content mix. Well defined Twitter Lists can help you identify and curate the best quality content available to add to your own and share it within your feed.

 

And finally, Twitter lists make you more focused

By consistently creating well-defined Lists, you will find that your engagement will become sharper and you will be less likely to add profiles that don’t fit into your List(s) or business objectives.

 

So, have I managed to convince you yet?  If you are still unsure how to get started here are a few Twitter Lists that you should consider;

 

  • Prospect clients –these are people you want to work with, so best to make it private.
  • Competitors – another list you might want to keep private.
  • Influencers – these can be businesses, bloggers, industry leaders, or profiles with a strong voice within your sector/area/industry.
  • News and Trends – include journalists/bloggers/writers/ Industry bodies who are active in covering relevant themes, events, etc.
  • Aspirational brands – personally, I am a big believer in monitoring businesses that inspire you.  They don’t even need to be in the same industry as you, but often following brands you admire can open your own path to try different things.

 

Now is your turn to give it a go!  

 

Start small, but keep adding, tweaking and streamlining your Lists – just don’t forget to check them regularly, and engage of course!

 

Good luck.

 

If you are a small business owner and you need business advice and training we offer classes in South-London.

Check our programmes.

 

 

credits:
Pic 1 – Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash
Pic 2 – Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

[GUEST BLOG] BANG! SOCIAL IMPACT WITH OOMPH

Social impact is en vogue right now

and, as is the way with all things fashionable, there’s a right way and a wrong way to present things.

What’s becoming apparent as the world of social impact communications and media moves forward, is that the era of plight and lengthy whitepapers is coming to a swift end.

With that in mind, let the social impact communications style guru give you some tips:

Good strategy is the cornerstone of any communications piece: Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle is an amazing communications framework to keep in mind when you’re considering your strategy.

Drake said it best: “A good strategy is a success story told backwards.”

So if you start from your big, hairy, audacious goal and then break it up into chunks, figure out who you are talking to, and how to talk to them – then you’re on a good wicket.

Measurement, transparency, accountability and personalization

These are power: aren’t we lucky that we live in an era where technology allows us to measure our impact?

Gone are the days of donor’s money going into the charity abyss; now we can tell our donors exactly where their money went and we can tell personal stories to create a more authentic between the impactor and the impacted.

Check out how Charity:Water measures their impact (using sensors placed on each well) and tells very personal stories to their donors.

Responsive design

means you can transcend any device on the web: look, I know you don’t have a lot of money – or the money you do have should best be used doing the actual work you set out to do.

That’s why, if you invest in responsive design, you have an effective design framework that adapts to any digital device it is viewed on.

So you design something beautifully and functionally once and then it lives in all its glory across the vast information superhighway.

Video

is the opiate of the TL;DR generation: too-long;didn’t read – millennials just don’t have the attention spans that older generations had which means we need to move away from long-form text and whitepapers when we’re talking impact.

Video doesn’t have to be an expensive thing either – smartphones from the past few years are starting to produce the kind of quality that is easily edited (in-house) and placed on free platforms like YouTube for everyone to access.

As this industry, which is getting some well-deserved limelight, continues to evolve, we need to ensure we do our best to highlight the impact that is being created.

It’s up to us to make it as easy as possible for people’s hearts to connect with a message and for their efforts to continue to create that life-changing work.

To get the know-how on each of these points and discuss, hear from me and meet at Hatch’s next Social Club on January 25th.