A purpose, a strategy, a plan. A requirement for all marketing efforts, but still just as important for social media marketing!
More often than not, brands throw themselves at social media without careful evaluation and planning, leading to, you guessed it, half-baked execution and results.
After defining your purpose, your next step should be deciding what platforms are best for your business. Platforms can include a blog, or social networks/sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Social media platforms should align with your purpose and assist in reaching those goals.
Social media provides both an opportunity and a risk by allowing your business to showcase its unique personality.
What is your brand personality? Stick to this personality, using similar communication across all social media outlets. Funny? Formal? Whatever the case, stick to it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither was the social following, engagement, or growth of the social media marketing efforts of many. Increased usage of social media means increased noise and competition and social media results may not be as instant as some think. Don’t give up!
Harness the hashtag to bring more attention to your business on social media
Get Your House in Order
Before you begin a social media campaign, you’ll want to ensure your website and blog are set up for easy navigation and search engine optimized. The last thing you want is to drive a bunch of people to your blog or landing page and not deliver the goods. Create an online environment that informs, entertains and offers something unique to users. Then, register on all the social media sites you feel are relevant. You want to secure your brand and build and maintain a presence as many places as possible, within reason. Make sure your website and blog communicate with the same voice and expertise as your social content. If you start to attract fans in the social sphere, they’ll expect consistency.
Select a Platform and Set Clear Goals
What are you hoping to gain from your social media campaign? Are you trying to reinforce your brand identity to consumers with short bursts of advertising? A Twitter campaign may be best. Do you want to offer promotional competitions or organize sponsored events? Facebook may be your answer. Are you going to focus on business to business transactions? Linkedin may be the way to go. Identify your target audience and formulate a plan that addresses their interests and desires specifically.
Be Creative and Stand Out
How does your audience interact with social media? Try to formulate a strong campaign theme that will stand out amongst the rest of the chatter. Effective social media campaigns require a large dose of imagination and should include clear calls to action. They are also all about timing. Keep a keen eye on what’s trending in Google, attempt to forecast fan activity, and implement your campaign at the right time. In addition to knowing when to launch, you’ll want to know when to bring an end to your campaign. Even if users genuinely enjoy participating, there is always the matter of fatigue to consider. You don’t want to alienate your fans by overwhelming them. And whatever you do, don’t spam. Everything you say should be entertaining or offer a creative solution to a problem.
Social media marketing is not about speaking at potential consumers or clients. It’s about speaking with them. It’s fairly easy to get users to “like” your post, or even repost it. But you should be seeking more than that. Try to initiate a conversation. If people are acknowledging your posts, acknowledge them right back. Ask open-ended questions and don’t be afraid to be provocative. Remember, the more people actively engage with you and your business, the more they become invested in what it is you have to offer. Make it easy for users to participate and reward them for doing so. Additionally, don’t be afraid to address negative comments. If you simply ignore negative feedback, other readers and viewers will notice and wonder why you’re being evasive. Address concerns and supply answers with a human voice. If someone is obviously trolling and purposefully trying to damage your business without good reason, keep a positive attitude and remain polite. Don’t get dragged down to their level. Other users will notice that you took the high road.
Do you best to analyze which social marketing methods are working best. Track actions that users are taking. Which posts and on which platforms are they responding? Experiment with different versions of Tweets or posts to determine what is generating discussion and action. Once you begin to understand how users are discovering your social outlets and how they are interacting with your brand, you can begin to tweak and make adjustments until your social media rewards are worth your investment of time.
1. Monetize your worth. How much are your services worth to a prospect? The answer lies in what I call “dollarizing.” Dollarizing involves seeing where a business is now in terms of their goals, and where they want to be at a given time in the near future. For example, in my business I’ll ask a prospect a series of questions, including:
How many clients do you have now?
How many do you want to have?
What is the average amount of money that you expect to make in one year with each new client?
Then we figure out the gap. If they have 10 clients but their goal is to have 50 and each new client is worth $1,000, then that gap ends up being $40,000. If I were to charge $5,000 for my coaching program for one year, their ultimate return on investment (ROI) ends up being a whopping $35,000—not too shabby when they view it in these terms!
When you actually figure this out with them on paper, it can be very impactful in determining a value for your business that you can justify to the prospect.
Now, determine how you can use dollarizing in your own business so you can figure out the ROI for, or dollar value provided to, your own clients and customers.
2. Validate your results. By this point, you’re probably thinking, “but how do I get my prospect to believe that I can deliver on the value I promise?” In the example above, I can state with confidence that I’m going to be able to help this prospect multiply his or her business to 50 clients because I have proof. I’ve done it time and time again with my current and past clients and I have their testimonials to back it up.
These client testimonials—captured in writing and on video—are accessible on my website. They validate the value I bring to the table. Prospects can watch or read them and feel confident that if someone else can have great results, they can too.
Some businesses provide names and contact information of past clients, with their permission, to prospects. And in the era of social review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, your customers are probably providing testimonials about your business you may not even be aware of!
When gathering testimonials from past clients, it’s helpful to actually ask them about their ROI in working with you. Ask them to address the specific benefits they received (financial or otherwise) in order to create a worthwhile testimonial.
3. ROI may mean more than money. Instead of money, ROI could mean better health, increased energy, more time, better quality of life, etc. Essentially, you’ll want to paint a picture of what your clients will receive as a result of working with you. How will working with you make a difference in their life enough to justify the cost of working with you?
An example of a non-financial ROI is the experience of one of my coaching clients. Although she massively increased her revenue after our work together, she also experienced a monumental shift in her relationship with her husband that ultimately saved her marriage. That’s because part of my promise to my clients is that when we work together, they will make huge breakthroughs in their business—and their life. Together we worked on her mindset to transform her business, but that work spilled over into other parts of her life. The testimonial that she gave on stage during one of my live events moved me and the audience to tears. I’d say her investment in coaching was not only significant, but life-changing and when prospects see this, they want the same for themselves.
Practice positioning what you offer in terms of ROI. Practice breeds confidence, and practice can help make your message clearer. Before long, you’ll find that clients will be happy to invest in your service because they recognize the benefits they’ll earn back. Ultimately, prospects want to know that they’re getting more value than what they’re paying for.
2. Offer three options. Three is exactly the right number. Your client wants to feel like they’re in control—that they actually get to make the decision. Fewer than three options makes the client feel forced into one of your choices, and more than three options can result in analysis paralysis—the inability to sort out the differences among an unnecessarily long list of possibilities.
3. Provide a contract that’s partially completed. Do as much of the work as you can for your client: Fill out the name, address, contact information, anything that makes it easier for your client to say yes! The psychology behind this tactic was discovered in restaurants instituting loyalty programs, the sort of program where you buy 10 cups of coffee and your 11th is free. What they discovered is that a consumer is more likely to actually use the card and return to the establishment if the card is already punched—showing progress toward a goal. A punch card that requires 12 cups of coffee but has two of the cups already punched out is significantly more likely to be used than a loyalty card that is just a piece of paper (or plastic) with no way to show progress.
People want to feel that they’re on their way. In the case of a proposal, filling out information shows progress, making them feel it’s easier and more advantageous to accept your proposal compared to all the others they receive.
4. Use the power of font size. Let’s be clear, I’m not advising you to mislead your clients by putting essential details in unreadable tiny type. Business is competitive, though, and a slight modification of font size can make your proposal more compelling. It’s our nature to assign more importance to items in larger font than smaller font. Shifting the discussion of price to a font size just one point smaller downplays the elements that your clients are least likely to be thrilled about, and shifting any mention of your client’s name or the remarkable benefits of selecting your product to just one point larger can help you direct your client’s attention where you want it to be.
5. Personalize your proposal. Names are powerful! Use your customer’s name and the name of her business. The last thing your client wants to see is a stack of boilerplate proposals that feel generic. What your clients want more than anything is to believe that you care about their business and that you’re going to take the time to ensure that they receive excellent service. You start to demonstrate that personal touch before the deal is even signed when you mention your client by name.
6. Use good quality paper. More proposals every day are delivered electronically, and taking the time to print and deliver a proposal on heavy, elegant paper differentiates you from your competitors as a service provider who’s willing to take an extra step to ensure that your clients are impressed and pleased. You’re providing tangible evidence of the quality of your proposal, your business and yourself. Establish yourself as the highest quality bidder.
Revenue is the lifeblood of your company, and ensuring a steady stream of it is based, at least in part, on your ability to consistently turn out polished, effective proposals. Taking the time to get it right, to do it better than your competitors, differentiates great companies from all the rest.