Do You Want To Know A Secret?
I’m about to tell you a secret. A secret about how I get clients. Well not exactly about the “getting” part but more about the part leading up to that. The targeting part. The getting on the radar part. You see, if you are a client of mine, unless you came from a referral or a web search, I found you first, I targeted you, and you might not even realize it.
Are you ready for the secret? Think about your answer carefully, because it might just change the way you view how you “do social media”. Why? Because the secret I’m about to spill is not a time-saving tactic and it’s not going to make your online marketing any easier or manageable. Sorry, but it’s about to get a lot more involved. BUT, it’s not all for naught, with this super secret strategy you won’t just find more leads, but you’ll find more QUALITY leads. Sounds like an okay trade-off, right? More work for better leads? I think so.
No one said this business stuff was going to be easy. Nor did anyone say this social media stuff was going to be easy, although so many people think that it is. They think it’s so easy that as long as you’ve posted a couple of status updates to Facebook you can do it. Hollis Thomases recently wrote a post for Inc. titled, “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media,” where she talks about the importance of taking your social media strategy seriously when you are thinking about hiring someone to manage that component of your business.
As Hollis said, we’re not picking on 23 year olds per se, we just want to get the message out that it’s not as simple as it sounds and there are many more intricacies that need to be considered when deciding to use social media for your business (and deciding who you hire to handle social media for your business.)
Right now your wheels might be spinning as you’re wondering if you’re doing it right, as you’re wondering if the person or the company that you hired to handle your social is doing it right. Well, I really shouldn’t use the word “right” as I don’t believe there is necessarily a “right” way to use social media (although there are plenty of wrong ways) but what I really mean is… Are you a passive poster or a proactive social media marketer?
Here comes the secret. Setting up a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a Pinterest account, etc… and putting up a post once, twice, or three times a day is not enough. Putting your social media icons in your email signature, on your website, and in your email marketing newsletters is not enough. All of that is going to be wasted if you don’t stop being passive and start being proactive.
You may think you are being proactive when you come up with that carefully crafted Facebook post with the pretty image and call to action, or that tweet that begs, “Please RT!” because you’re doing something… but what are you really doing? To whom are you talking? Is anyone hearing your message? More importantly are the right people hearing your message? Probably not.
If your idea of “doing social media” is to put up a couple of posts here and there, you’re really selling yourself short. You’re essentially leaving your social media up to chance. Think about it this way, you move into a new neighborhood and want to introduce yourself to your neighbors, what would get you better results – standing in the middle of street and shouting, “Hey I’m new here! My name is…” or going door to door and introducing yourself, making sure people can’t miss you? I think we all know the answer to that one. So, are you a shouter or a door-to-door introducer?
My secret is that I’m a door-to-door introducer. I don’t leave my social media up to chance. I figure out who I want to notice me and I go after them (oh, and shameless plug, I do the same for my clients!) Now that you know what you need to do, I suppose I should give you a bit of insight into how to go about this.
Your Target Audience is Hiding on Facebook in Plain Sight
Let’s start with Facebook. Facebook changes a lot and makes a lot of wacky and confusing updates but one of the best things they ever did for businesses and marketers was to allow us to use Facebook as our Business Page instead of as our personal profiles. When you use Facebook as your Page any action you take on other Business Pages will show your business’ profile picture (hopefully your logo) and the name of your business.
Now the fun part. The targeting part. Who do you want to notice you, learn about your business, and come check out your Facebook Page? If you are primarily B2B that’s easy – make a list of all of the businesses with whom you wish to establish a business relationship and then find and ‘Like’ their Facebook Pages. If you aren’t B2B, that’s ok, you can definitely still use this method. You will make a list of other businesses with which your target audience would be interested and find and ‘Like’ their Facebook Pages.
If your business services a specific geographic location try looking for the Facebook Business Pages of other businesses in your area (start by typing your city and state into the Facebook search); you’ll likely find people hanging out on those Pages who would also like to know that your business exists plus it wouldn’t be a bad idea to develop a relationship with other local businesses who could potentially send business your way.
After you have gone through and ‘Liked’ all of the Pages you’ve identified, when you are using Facebook as your Page, the News Feed will be filled with all of those Pages’ posts. While I highly recommend continuing to ‘Like’ more Pages all of the time, once you’ve established a decent list then all you need to do is start interacting via your News Feed. You do this because this is getting the name and logo of your business in front of those Pages’ admins and any of their Fans who also see or comment on their posts.
What have you just created for yourself? Exposure. How often should you do this? All of the time. Not only will this help grow your Fan base because people will undoubtedly see your Business Page name and click-through to find out what your business is about but you can guarantee that these new Fans could turn into customers or clients one day because they were curious enough to take this action – to click on your business name and then ‘Like’ your Page (and you methodically targeted this audience from your initial list.)
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of doing this as often as possible. Try this – every time you go to your page to post something, take that time to switch to use Facebook as your Page, go to your News Feed and ‘Like’ and comment on some posts. That’s the extra step that will get you places, that’s the extra step that will push you ahead of the competition because I highly doubt they are taking the time to do it.
You’re Wasting Time on Twitter By Tweeting
And now the Twitter. There are SO MANY things you can do to be proactive on Twitter. Just tweeting here and there is not your ticket to an increase in leads from social media. And for that matter, simply auto-posting your Facebook posts to Twitter is definitely NOT all you should be doing.
If you are B2B you can start with the same list you generated for Facebook. If you are B2C, you don’t have to go through the businesses this time, you can reach out and touch your target audience directly. As long as you know some characteristics or demographics about your target audience you can use sites like Followerwonk and Twellow to pinpoint people.
What do you do once you find the “right” people? Follow them, @reply them, favorite their tweets, mention them, retweet them, recommend them in a #FollowFriday. Why? Because as long as they have their notifications enabled, they will get an email for every single one of those actions which will put your business name and logo in front of their face in their inbox.
How often should you do this? You guessed it. All of the time! You should ALWAYS be looking for new people within your target audience to follow and you should always be trying to get on their radar via the methods described above.
But wait! There’s another way you can find people through Twitter who could potentially need your products or services… Advanced Twitter Search and Saved Searches. Through Advanced Twitter Search you can find people who are tweeting about wants or needs that they have that your products or services satisfy – you can even narrow it down by geographic location. After you run your searches you can save them so that you can check back often to see who needs your help. Once these people start tweeting – you need to be there to reply and offer your services.
The only crummy part about this is that there are no built-in notifications to alert you when a tweet goes out from someone who matches your search criteria so you must be very proactive and keep checking your Saved Searches list. Do you think your competitors are doing all of that all of the time? Probably not. Time to get a leg up.
PSSST! For reading this far I’ve got a super-duper secret Twitter tip for you… Treat all of your followers as prospects until proven otherwise. What do I mean by this? People follow you for a reason. Figure out what that reason is. Look at their Twitter bio, go to whatever URL they have listed and try to make an informed decision about whether or not they followed you because they could one day need your products or services. If you determine yes, add them to a private Twitter list and pay extra attention to them to make sure that you do stay on their radar, especially if they follow you because they were just shopping around. I promise your competition will not be doing this. (Well not unless they read this blog post!)
The Tough Love
I warned you that all of this was going to take time, and hopefully you can see why it shouldn’t be left up to the casual social media “user”. It takes much strategy, thought, and time to get social media to be as beneficial to your business as possible. If you can’t commit yourself to it, you either shouldn’t waste your time doing it, or you should hire someone who can. I don’t mean to sound brash, but simply being passive and going through the motions is a waste of time and often your money if you aren’t reaching the right people and continuously working to do so.
Before you go, it’s important to realize that being proactive doesn’t stop at Facebook and Twitter. If you are using LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest or any of the myriad of other social networks out there – you must take full advantage of those as well. There are certain things you can do on each network that will help you get your business on the radar of your target audience. I’d love to share them all with you here but a gal’s gotta make money ya know? I’d be happy to help you take your social media to the next level, contact me today for a free consultation.