We all know Social Media can be an incredible tool for creating business opportunities and lead generation. However, it seems even still after 11 years Social Media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter launched, very few of us understand how to use Social Media effectively as part of our branding and marketing activities.
Here’s the problem…
We are business owners, technicians fulfilling a specific role; many of us are not social media marketers, therefore, we’re not expected to know what strategies work and what strategies don’t. That’s only natural. But here lies the real issue – we ‘think’ we know how to use Social Media for our marketing activities when, in reality, many of us actually don’t. In fact, not only do we not know to how to use Social Media effectively, but we could be hindering our businesses, and our brands by continuing to do so.
As worst case scenario, all it takes is one social media post misstep and your brand and business could incur a massive backlash. Here’s a classic case in point – On July 3rd, 2014, Fashion wear company ‘American Apparel’ posted a picture on Tumblr of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding: “On this July 4th, @americanapparel interprets ‘rockets red glare’” with a pic of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion that killed all 7 boarding passengers.
(image courtesy of New York Daily News)
American Apparel pulled down the Tumblr post, but not before readers discovered it. American Apparel soon after posted an apology saying:
(image courtesy of digiday.com)
Again, clearly this example is a ‘worst’ case scenario. Thankfully very few of us will ever make an unholy mistake such as this. However, the principle of the matter is that, if handled correctly, social media can be incredibly valuable for your business, although should it be not used correctly, it can be a waste of your time, resources, and costs to your business.
According a recent article posted in entrepreneur.com, the biggest mistakes business owners make using social media are:
- Too much self-promotion
- “Selling” their products to the audience, not providing value
- Lack of authenticity and trust
- No consistency
- Poor brand positioning
- Mixing personal life with business
- Not replying or engaging the audience
- Not redirecting your social media followers into your funnel
- Having unrealistic expectations of social media
- Not building relationships
At this point, it would be important to ask yourself these two key questions regarding your social media activities:
“What Value is my target audience receiving from my Social Media activities?”
“What is my ideal Outcomes for my Social Media activities?”
Here’s the thing – Social Media, in its rawest form, is about contribution. The more you contribute to your audience, the greater successes you’ll have in the long term. It’s common sense, right. Think of it like this method… give, give, give, give, ask. Give your audience VALUE. Educate them in your area of expertise, without “selling” into them your products/services. Build a relationship with your audience before asking for them to come into your world.
….”give, give, give, give, ask.”
Here’s some powerful tips you can use to optimise your social activity that will guarantee you new business opportunities and leads if you handle it correctly:
Position Your Uniqueness
Don’t get lost in the noise of the social world because, sadly, most of us already are. Therefore, it’s super important to know why you are unique in the market. Be bold and share your uniqueness with your viewers. As a suggestion, try hosting a Facebook Live once a week to share your recent successes or insights. You can even show the world a ‘behind-the-scenes’ video of your day-to-day business operations with your team of staff or colleagues. On the contrary, if you host a Facebook Live anymore than say once per week, it is too much so keep that in mind.
Position Your Story
It’s safe to say we most of us know Simon Sinek’s famous quote. I’m sure you’d all agree too – we all have a story to tell why we do what we do. Why we got into business is the main reason we are supporting our audience. So it’s important to share your story with your audience because people will follow you and believe in you because of it. To dig deeper into this “why” concept, check out this video: www.youtu.be/sioZd3AxmnE
Try sharing your “why” in every activity you do. This will not only give you a sense of purpose and mission for your efforts but it also attract the “real” people you want into your business. Remember, your “why” is more important than any “how” or “what”.
Incorporate A Social Giving Strategy
I said above and I’ll say it again, social media is about contribution. I highly recommend having a social giving strategy that is supported by the overall social media strategy. Not only will this generate high levels of interest, it is also supporting the brand advocacy growth. One of the best options to do this is by joining the Global Giving Initiative – Buy One Give One www.b1g1.com.
A unique strategy can be developed whereby all customers of your business are aware that every visit they make will create impact to people less fortunate than themselves. This is a powerful positioning statement that will elevate your business and your brand above their competitors immediately. Furthermore, your website can also be updated with specific tools that B1G1 supply, and an impact page.
Nurture Your Audience
This is simple – build relationships with your followers. If someone replies to your post, reply back and thank them for their insights. Or better still, send them a private message to thank them privately. You can then tart to build upon your conversations privately with your followers, and over the short term and when the timing feels right, you can eloquently send them free tools of gifts of value to their worthy causes.
Furthermore, if you continue to give, eventually your followers will ask more of you and your business efforts.
The key is to give from the greatest of intentions. If you give to expect a return, you’re missing the point from the outset. This is a social networking principle 101.
Direct Your Followers To Your Ideal Outcomes
Following on from the last point, once your followers trust you enough you’ll need to know the best strategies to direct your followers into your funnel without ‘selling’ it. I suggest after you have the ‘give, give, give, give, ask’ method in tact, you have enough ’emotional deposits’ banked up to direct your followers into your funnel. This process can take time because it’s not a quick-fix.
As a suggestion, create a Facebook group and direct your people in, then you can softly begin directing your followers further into your funnel as you go. Then try using Facebook Live inside your group once per week to create hype for upcoming events or business opportunities. From that you’ll find your followers will somewhat organically drive themselves into your funnel without you having to push them. This is a truely masterful process if you can understand mechanics behind it.
Friends, Social Media can be a wonderful tool for creating business opportunities and lead generation. If handled correctly, we’ll have a prosperous, and cost effective tool to grow our businesses beyond our wildest dreams. On the contrary, if handled incorrectly, it can be detrimental to our businesses and our brands. As Social Media continues to grow and dominate the world, it’s become an essential requirement we learn the best social media strategies for optimum performance.