The key to effective social media marketing is the exact same as the key to effective content marketing: providing value.
This is something that a huge number of businesses have absolutely no idea how to do and that results in some very poorly managed social media.
Take a look at the social media pages of your typical local B2B companies and you will find that they tend to post some rather uninspiring and vapid statuses and posts. You’ll see things like:
“Find out why our contact management solution is the best in the business!”
” Order our EPOS system today to start serving your customers better!”
This is nothing but blatant self-promotion and not even interesting self-promotion. Ask yourself: why would anyone be interested in following that? What are they gaining by reading your posts?
One of the single most important questions to ask when looking at your social media or your content is: would you read it? If not, then you need to do something to make it more interesting!
That means that your social media now needs to provide some kind of purpose for the viewer. It should be interesting, it should be entertaining, it should be useful or it should be inspiring.
Inspiring social media can work particularly well. Take a look at Instagram and you’ll find lots of accounts filled with people wearing stunning clothes, posing to show off their rippling muscles or even just showing off their wealthy lifestyle. There are the travel accounts with lots of pictures of beautiful mountain ranges and sunsets.
Why do these work? People because see those channels and they feel inspired– they live vicariously through them and they enjoy daydreaming about having a life like that! They know that if they follow that account, then they’ll be shown much more similarly inspiring posts and they can continue to live the dream.
And guess what? When you then promote a piece of clothing or an ebook on how to get fit, they listen.
Examples of popular Facebook pages are things like ‘IFL Science’, which posts links to articles with some really eye-catching titles and gets tons of likes and tons of shares as a result.
The best Twitter accounts are the ones run by personal brands and that let fans feel as though they are really getting to know them with insights into their daily routines, with jokes or with insider tips.
Want to make a splash on Pinterest? How about creating a board to show off life hacks?
The aim again is to provide real value and the way to know if you’re doing this well is to ask yourself: would people be disappointed if you stopped posting to your account? Not just your blog– but your social media channels?
Your social media needs to be able to stand on its own two feet and be something that people enjoy on its own. That’s how you gain followers and shares and that’s how you get people to visit your site and buy your products.
Once again, from there the key is to post regularly and to be consistently on-topic. Don’t create a blog on fitness but continuously post on social media about your love of gardening or people will get tired and they’ll leave.
How frequent should this be? Ideally, the more frequently you post the better. Several times a day is generally recommended, especially since sites like Facebook will only show each post to a small percentage of your followers.
One thing you might be wondering is how exactly you provide this kind of entertaining, engaging value when you run a website about life insurance. What could you possibly do on Instagram or on Pinterest that would be appropriate?
The answer is to think not about the service directly but rather about the value proposition and audience. Your aim is to post things that will be interesting to the same demographic and that will be relevant– that doesn’t have to mean that you only ever post directly about life insurance!
People who want to be better Mums and Dads can follow your Instagram, which will be in the same spirit as your business, and once you have their ear, you can recommend life insurance policy X.
Likewise, you could do something similar with a Pinterest account. You could show money-saving hacks, budgeting tips etc. and then use that in order to promote your life insurance as the best financial option, or your website as the best place to learn about life insurance.
Another important tip is to think about your audience and who they are. If you want people to share your posts (this is the best way to ensure that they reach the maximum number of people), then you need to be sure that you are targeting your audience specifically. This is important, seeing as trying to reach too wide an audience will ultimately mean that you don’t specifically appeal to anyone.
This is the mistake that a lot of people make with their posts on ‘How to Get Abs’. They think that they need to appeal to everyone and thus they end up with very safe and very generic content.
Content performs best when it is targeting specifically at a particular type of person. Why do we ever share content?
We communicate by sharing things that we think will appeal to someone we know. If you see a post on ‘How Working From Home Turns Your Brain to Mush’, then you’re going to share that with your friend Bill who works from home as a cheeky joke, as a way to help them work from home better, or perhaps just as a way to show you’re thinking of them.
If you work from home yourself, then you might post it to express how you feel about working from home and to help others to understand you better.
Notice that in both these scenarios, the post only works because it applies to specifically to people who work from home.
While being very specific might appear to exclude potential customers, it makes it much easier for you to market to the particular type of person who is likely to buy from you.
And to make this work you need to spend some time profiling what that person is like. What websites do they spend time on?
You’ll see why this is even more important shortly …
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to provide value, through sharing your blog posts or by posting images, you then need to make sure that you have a strong brand that will have good visibility and that will tie your social media channels neatly to your website. It’s important that when someone sees a post from you, that they know it’s from that same website they saw the other day.
Make sure you have a good logo and use that as your profile picture or your cover image on each account.
Use the same name wherever possible.
Another tip is to integrate your social media and your website as closely as possible. It will take a while to build up momentum on your social media but one thing you can do to help that along is to add social media buttons to your website so that people can check out your Facebook directly from your website.
Ideally, you will gain new followers each time someone goes to your website and that way, they’ll be more likely to see your future posts and share them, bringing in yet more visitors who can subsequently become followers!
Important is simply to ask people to follow you on social media. This is particularly effective in videos– so if you have a YouTube channel, then don’t be shy to simply ask the people watching to follow you on Twitter and to give them some good reasons to do so! At the end of a blog post why not just ask your readers to share the post with their friends using the handy sharing buttons you provide?
It’s also a good idea to integrate your various different posts to save time and to ensure that you fill each channel with as much content as possible. You can make it so that you post all your Tweets on your Facebook page, or so that each new YouTube video is automatically shared on Twitter.
Don’t forget that social media is still primarily a communication tool. One of the best ways to ensure that people are engaged with you is to actually talk with them and doing something as simple as just following people or liking their pictures.
This will then motivate you to check out their channel and in many cases, to follow it! Just spend some time posting and of course be sure to actually respond to people. Running contests and surveying your audience can also be a very good way to increase engagement and to get a better idea of what your followers want to see from you!
A good example of a contest is to award a follower with a free gift if you get ‘over X number of likes’. This can help you to build more shares and likes as well as being a great way to thank your fans!
As you can see, Social Media is no magic. These tips should cover enough to start a successful page on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. As you might notice, if you want to be successful with online marketing you have to give value first. That is one of the “golden rules” when it comes to online marketing!
While I was in college I was not amused to become a 9-5 worker. So I searched for other ways. And I found online marketing. After many failures, I finally succeeded and I was able to escape the 9-5 and live the life I always wanted. I believe that if you want something you can achieve it. And if you want to build a successful online business I can help you achieve your goal!