How to get a great return on your Social Media Activity
Social Media is here to stay. Like it or loathe it, it’s changing the way we sell, the way we network and the way we grow our businesses. So, we ask in part one of a two part blog, what does this really mean for business owners?
When you’re running your own business, it’s perfectly normal, and indeed good business practice, to be asking questions such as these and more:
- How does social media fit in with more traditional marketing and PR?
- Are we doing enough?
- What should we be saying?
- Which platform should we be on?
- How are the platforms we use evolving and do we need to change what we are doing?
- Are we spending too much time on it/are we spamming?
Social Media and online business is a part of our culture. There are so many different businesses, experts, platforms, blogs, advice, and guidance out there that it is a daunting task to try to make sense of it all, especially when you have a business to run!
Here are some interesting Social Media statistics compiled by WeAreSocial:
- For context, the world’s population in April 2019 is 7.7 billion.
- The internet currently has 4.4 billion users (plus 5.1 billion unique mobile users).
- There are 5 billion active social media users.
- Social Media users have risen by 202 million in the last year.
- A massive 52% of the population are considered to be active mobile internet users.
Social Media and the Buying Journey
Despite recent reports questioning the effectiveness of social media advertising, the power of social is by no means waning.
Businesses who spend time understanding their ideal client avatar, develop a social media strategy which focuses on targeted posts using a more subtle social selling style, and use the analytics available to continually refine their approach will undoubtedly realise the strong potential that social media offers.
For example, according to Sprout Social, 74% of shoppers make buying decisions based on social media. Add to this the CEBs statistic that 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier, and it’s clear to see that buyer behaviours have changed. This is mainly down to the fact that people do business with people they know, like and trust and, in order to achieve trust in an online relationship, there needs to be a gradual stream of content which appeals to a potential buyer’s interests and aligns with their values and priorities. This is an approach known as social selling.
When it comes to social selling, the key to success is presence. Businesses need to be nurturing their key contacts, building relationships and serving up useful and relevant content.
In doing this, the business moves from engaging their audience to influencing their opinions. They are seen as an expert in their field, especially if their content is of a standard high enough to be considered as ‘thought leadership’.
In fact, according to the 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, 58% of business decision makers agree that thought leadership directly led to business being awarded to an organisation.
It’s important to get it right though, as only 18% of thought leadership pieces were viewed as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ by decision makers.
So now we know the size and scale of the online revolution, I want to share what I have found, and have seen, to help businesses plan how to use Social Media to raise awareness of their brand.
I have consolidated what I have found into this two part blog which also covers hints and tips for using social media to add value to your business.
Back to Basics: What is Social Media
Let’s start by getting our heads around what Social Media means for our businesses.
Try to imagine that Social Media is a trade show in cyberspace. If you want to be a serious contender in your industry, then you really need a presence at that trade show; it’s just on Social Media, not at a physical venue.
Social media is a great resource for businesses, of all sizes, looking to promote their brands online. The platforms themselves are free to use, and they also have paid advertising options specifically for brands that want to reach even more new audiences.
But just because your business should be on social media, that doesn’t mean your business should be on every network. It’s important that you choose and nurture the social platforms that work best for your business so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.
To create a successful social strategy, you need to familiarise yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach and how your business can best use each platform. Combine this with your own research on your ideal client avatar and you will really start to see the benefits of social media.
Not only is Social Media a way of showcasing your products and services, but it is incredibly useful for sharing your successes; connecting with thought leaders and industry experts; and engaging with potential leads. Furthermore, it’s an excellent way to raise the profile of you – the expert behind your brand.
Tying personal and business brands together is very relevant for smaller businesses, where the owner/founder has often developed the business to answer a passion or need. The human element of the story adds a new dimension to the brand, something which can’t always be matched by larger brands. However, it is important to consider the boundaries between personal and professional social media as there is a potential for all activity to be linked closely with the brand values and its products or services.
In fact, the role of the individual behind the brand is key. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people are far more trusting when it comes to the opinions of individuals than those of a brand. Using your own, and your employees’ content to amplify your brand messaging will bring far better results than sharing content from a brand account.
The Sales Statistics below make interesting reading, and not only underpin why all businesses need a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system, but why we need to keep putting the name of our business in front of potential clients on social media too.
Let’s look at some social selling statistics too.
- 75% of B2B buyers use social media to support purchase decisions (LinkedIn)
- The average B2B buyer consumes 17 pieces of content over the course of the sales cycle (Sirius Decisions)
- 73% of salespeople who used social selling as part of their sales process outperformed their peers (Salesforlife)
It’s important to remember that Social Media is part of a marketing strategy, not the whole marketing strategy; your social media presence should reflect your marketing strategy and plan.
So, which platform(s) should you be focusing your energies on? What content should you be posting and sharing? Carry on reading to find out.
How to get a good business return from your Social Media Presence
Discover where your community is located
Spend some time on the different platforms and speak to people in your industry who you respect to find out where your “community” is located.
Identify the influencers
After you have discovered where the community is located you can start to identify the influencers within your industry – you probably already know who most of these people are. Engage with them on Social Media, follow them, see who they follow and who follows them and have a look and see what they have been talking about and sharing – there is a wealth of information at our fingertips.
Generate leads by solving problems
Use Social Media to generate leads by solving problems which you know your Avatar (your ideal client) is experiencing. This approach is all about NOT direct selling, instead being in the right place at the right time and adding value.
We see a lot of mentions of “Content curation”. This basically involves:
- Planning topics your audience loves.
- Searching for content from others that ties into those topics and your audience’s interests.
- Sharing only the best information you find on your social networks for your audience to enjoy.
Use the following approaches to raise your profile, mix them up and include your own content and curated content:
- Press releases
- Short posts
- White papers
- How to guides
- Case studies
- E-books (available as downloads)
When writing and creating your posts keep in mind that:
a) There are 4 types of social media user:
Amplifiers – they spread the word
Searchers – they are looking for a solution to a problem
Purchasers – they already know what the solution to their problem is and they are looking for the best price/package/service
Engagers – they engage with lots of posts, perhaps to increase their own social media presence
b) A staggering 26% of sales come from recommendations on social media
c) You need to have a call to action at all times
In part two of the two part blog we have some ideas for content and think about the actual platforms in a bit more detail. Read it here 🙂
There is so much to cover on the subject of social media, this two part blog can only scratch the surface. It’s worth revisiting some underlying themes which will help all businesses and these are:
- Cherry pick frequencies that make the most sense to you on the platforms which make the most sense to you. Play around with the time of day and day of the week and see what happens using the analytics tools.
- You do not need to be on all Social Media platforms or networks.
- Social Media presence should reflect your brand and be part of your marketing strategy.
- Tie in your presence with your other systems such as CRM – drive traffic from other Social Media sites.
- Use, and promote, the call to action
- Use images and videos.
- Have cover photos and profile photos that reflect your business brand. Be clear and consistent with your personal brand.
- Engage with others.
The final bit of really good news is that there are free systems like Hootsuite, which enable you to schedule your messages all at once to save you time.
Finally, a reminder that social media is only a part of your overall marketing strategy. We are sometimes led to believe that simply by sitting back and posting we can grow a successful business from behind our screen or device. This is most certainly not the case for the vast majority of businesses.
If you’d like to find out more about how to accelerate your business towards true success, why not check out Blake Consultancy’s Business Accelerator package. Are you ready to start your growth journey?
For more advice and inspiration in business, and to find out about other e-books or our complimentary initial Skype meeting to review your business, sign up to our Growth Hack Bulletin.
How I can support you
My goal is to help you, as a business owner, to grow your business by getting the most value out of your three most valuable assets:
- Your contacts/data
- Your processes and systems
Social media attracts previously unknown contacts to you, when you then make the most of your contacts/data you are in the best place possible to increase your revenue. When you have efficient, repeatable processes in your business, you reduce the cost of sales. Both of these give the business owner more head space to focus on growing their business.
The overall result is an increase in net profit.
I’m always happy to have a chat – you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been working with CapsuleCRM for over 9 years and helped many clients increase revenue, reduce costs, make the most of their contacts, manage their pipeline and deliver great customer service.
I do this by designing and installing Capsule to meet the client’s needs, offering a bespoke CRM to suit their business requirements. Capsule really is a great solution for coaches, consultants and business owners and when it is integrated with Mailchimp and Xero you have really solid foundations in place to grow your business. Check out my YouTube videos which tell you more about the benefits of having Capsule and help you set yourself up.
To find out more or arrange a time to discuss how I can help you, please contact me.