Promoting your small business on social media doesn’t have to mean endless hours spent scheduling hundreds of posts or trying to attract thousands of new followers. There is a much smarter way to use social media to help build your business. Here’s how.
Hands up for those of you who have “social media strategy” on your ever-expanding to-do list? If you run a small business, chances are you spend several hours a week on your social media accounts, or you think you should.
Instinctively, most small business owners focus on growing followers and traffic. They often try to achieve this lofty goal through a mix of content creation and continual engagement on social media. It’s an endless routine of liking, commenting, following, posting, sharing, re-tweeting, re-gramming.
At first glance, that makes sense. Get your content out there repeatedly, engage with your audience, and customers will flock to your door. But does that strategy work?
Well, those of us hardened to the unpredictable world of online marketing know that building it does not necessarily mean they shall come.
If social media isn’t going to help your business, why use it?
If you’re not seeing traction in your business with a large social media following, what should you do instead? Should you be using social media at all?
Well, the answer to the second question is a short one: Yes. Social media is valuable to a small business (if you can use it correctly). Regarding the first question, an effective social media strategy for a small business means a slight change of tactics. It means focusing on small numbers of high-quality leads, rather than thousands of followers.
Results come from action, not adoration
Unlike large established businesses, who have the luxury of using social media to strengthen an existing brand, small businesses rely heavily on it for new sales. To achieve that, you need something more strategic than followers and branding. You have to get potential customers taking action as soon as they discover you.
Attracting customers on social media
Attracting followers and gaining customers are two very different things. The first can be achieved with all sorts of niche, funny, viral campaigns. Attracting customers, however, is slightly different. You win over a customer not through a “like” or a “follow”, but by taking them by the hand, walking them over to the most impressive part of your business, and convincing them that you are their must-have solution.
Here’s how to do that in 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Craft your message
Stop talking to everyone on social media, and hone in on your target customer with a simple, powerful message that will appeal directly to them. One social media post with a strong, effective message is worth 100 generic posts that fill your monthly content calendar.
The most successful social media campaigns establish who their customer is, what they need, and what they find appealing. They write posts with accessible language and posts that connect on a deeper level. They use emotional and powerful copy to persuade.
Step 2: Craft your pathway
When you send a social media follower to your website they have lots of choices to make: the blog, the about page, services, products. That’s a lot of different paths. What happens when you give people lots of options? They are less likely to find the one that leads to the buy button.
A single pathway, carefully signposted, is the best way to turn a follower into a customer. That means building a social media sales funnel. A funnel takes a follower, directs them to a page that has one option on it (most commonly, a sign-up form) and uses messaging sequences (via email or message bots) to connect with that person on a deeper level. Link to an irresistible exclusive offer, and it’s a proven method for getting new sales.
Step 3: Create a stand-out promotion
Instead of planning a 30-60 day social media calendar, plan out one high profile and unique marketing campaign that lasts 2-5 days instead. Mini-campaigns are a great way to bring attention to your business and help you stand out from some of your bigger competitors.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Competition with user-generated content
- 5-day challenge
- Pre-launch countdown
- 2-day flash sale
- Limited-edition product or service
Step 4: Track your results
Few small businesses take the time to track the results of online campaigns, but it’s an essential step if you want to understand your audience’s behavior. Track key metrics throughout your entire funnel. Also, add a Facebook pixel to your funnel so that as this audience naturally tapers off, you can run a retargeted ad campaign to them in the future.
Step 5: Refine and optimize
No social media campaign is perfect, but the trick to getting it right is to spot your bottlenecks. Were people clicking on the campaign but not completing a purchase? Did you get low conversion rates on your landing page? These types of metrics will allow you to break a campaign down and work out what to do better next time. It’s about optimizing your efforts on social media; that’s what will get you results.
Social media is more than a branding exercise
If you’re running a startup or small business, stop treating your social media as a shop window display and start planning strategically. Map out a handful of small, impactful campaigns for the next 3-6 months.
Remember to keep a close eye on your metrics to see how those campaigns perform. You’ll discover that your growth on social media naturally mirrors your sales growth, and your social media accounts become an asset to your business, rather than an endless chore on your to-do list.
Lauren Lambie is a sales funnel consultant and owner of marketing agency LaurenLambie.com. She specializes in crafting social media sales funnels and running Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns for small businesses.
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