Using social media to market your business is a must for to stay alive or gain traction. Many businesses are integrating social media into their marketing strategy today.
Why aren’t they seeing any results?
They’re posting quote images like everyone else right?
Well, social media marketing is a lot more difficult than you think. You can’t guess what your audience wants based on what YOU think they want.
You need to have a strategy that will allow you to identify who your audience is. This will allow you to understand the right way to connect with you audience and how to beat out your competition.
Step 1: Who is your audience and where are they hiding?
You can post as much as you want but if you don’t know who you’re posting for and where to post, you’ll be wasting your time. If you’re targeting everyone and starting out on social media, it’ll be hard to get people to pay attention. We have to find our audience and figure out where they like to hang out.
How do we do that?
There are a couple tools that I like to use when working with different businesses.
The very first tool that I use to help me find my demographic is Buzzsumo,com. This is a very simple and straight forward tool that brings a lot of value. First step would be to type in the keyword of your niche or industry in the search bar.
For example, if I wanted to target doctors I would first narrow down the type of doctor. I chose Podiatrists.
I would first type in “Podiatrists” into the search box.
As you can see, a bunch of articles pop up and we can see which social networks are being used the most for this category. This allows us to understand what platforms we should be focusing most our energy on.
Next, you would click the “influencer” tab at the top to find people in this niche who are doing well on social media. Type in the same keyword you used before. What platforms are they using? We want to get on the same platforms as well.
There are other tools you could use:
- Subreddit: Forums on very specific topics
- Google Keywords Planner: Allows you to see what’s trending in your niche
- Quora: search engine that allows questions on everything and anything
- Social media search bars: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. All have amazing reach. See if there is an audience for your topic on that platform.
- Yelp is a great tool for local brick and mortar businesses searches.
Step #2: Use Social Media Networks Correctly
All social media are different in many ways. You wouldn’t posts a night out with your boys on Linkedin like you would with Facebook. Social media platforms have a different context to them. Understanding that is important to win at social media.
How do we learn how to use each platform?
There are a lot of different platforms to use. Stick to the platforms that your audience is on. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to learn every platform right away.
- I searched “Podiatrists” on Buzzsumo and most posts were doing well on Facebook.
- Most influencers are on Twitter
- Since I want to work with doctors, they’ll most likely have their own practice. Linkedin is the best platform to reach other businesses.
- Youtube may allow me to show my expertise in helping podiatrist market their practice.
- Posting a blog post on my website and on Medium
- Instagram and Snapchat won’t allow me to connect with many Podiatrists.
We now have a good idea of what platforms will work to reach our audience. How do we use them?
Click on the “Influencer” tab in Buzzsumo. Write a list of 25+ influencers/competitors and study their habits on each platform.
The first thing to look for is what time do they post at? Posting at the right time is important. If you’re posting at 2AM when everyone is asleep will leave you with less engagement. This is of course if your target isn’t an international audience.
Second thing you want to look for is what types of posts are they posting and where?
Some examples are:
- Blog posts,
- Infographics, pictures,
- Jokes, quotes, quick tips, etc.?
Videos get the most engagement but you can’t post a video that automatically plays on Linkedin yet. What you can do is post blog posts on Linkedin and distribute them in multiple relevant Linkedin groups. Figure out what your competition is doing and put your own spin on it.
How often is your competition posting? Once a day? Twice a day? Each platform has an amount you should post on it. Post too much and people will unfollow since you’re spamming them. Post too little then you’ll be an afterthought and no one will pay attention.
Step #3: What value do you bring?
We’ve found our audience and know where they hang out, now how do we attract them?
In every social media platform, you get a chance to describe who you are or create a bio. Use this to your advantage and show why your audience can trust you. Brag about your impressive accomplishments but in a good way.
What does your audience want to learn? What topics do they want to hear about? What can you talk about that will intrigue them to listening and following you?
Another question to answer is how important is your niche to them? Is it their job? A hobby?
Let’s say I want to work with Podiatrists. I would show case studies of what other podiatrists or doctors in general. This shows how beneficial using social media to market their business can be. Use past experiences that I’ve had with other businesses and help them to understand I can do the same for them. Social media allows them to interact with patients and share their knowledge.
In what form would this information be most attractive to them?
Do they respond better to Videos? Use Youtube.
How about audio? Create a podcast and put it on Soundcloud and Itunes.
Rather take their time and read text? Use Medium, Facebook and Linkedin to create blog posts.
Get a good understanding of each platform and the context of each. You’ll be able to understand how to use one form to display it throughout each platform. Focus on mastering one platform at first.
How much do they know about your niche?
The first step I would take would be to check your audiences’ tendencies. For Podiatrists, there aren’t many on social media. This may be because their busy with their daily visits. This will allow me to bring them tremendous value. I will be able to show the results they could achieve if they were to work with me.
Let’s say you are in a niche where there is a lot of information out there already, Find white spaces and fill those up. If your niche is basketball, write about player movement in the summer and how that’s affect teams today. Find topics that not a lot of people are talking about.
Step #4: Separate Yourself from the Pack
The competition out there is enormous. I’m not saying that to scare you, because it shouldn’t. The important thing to focus on is how are you planning to separate yourself from the pack? If most of your competition is creating videos on youtube, can you create blog posts? Podcasts?
Another option if you’re set on one type of way to communicate, can bring more value than your competition?
Let’s say you want to start a fitness Youtube channel. There’s a bunch out there. You want to do a bicep exercise video? There’s many Bicep videos out there. How do you bring more value?
You could make a video called “15 bicep exercises that will turn your arms into guns and make chicks dig you”.
You’ll be able to separate yourself from the pack when you deliver on that.
Have a reason for a user to follow you that no one else provides.
The reason why you do what you do is important. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
Apple is one of the biggest companies we know. Everyone has an iPhone, iPad, etc. right? There are companies out there that sell better and cheaper products. Why does Apple still stay on top? Because people resonate with Apple’s slogan has always been “Think differently”. The competition does not matter, what matters is the reason people will follow you.
Step #5: How do you plan to grow?
Reciprocity is the game. When you see someone hold the door for you, most of the times you’ll hold the next door for them. Apply that to your social media strategy as well.
I conducted my own study of growing my Instagram account organically. I wanted to go from five followers to 1000 followers in a month span. I went to my competitors pages and followed 50 of their followers an hour.
I did this sporadically when I was waiting for something, eating, using the restroom etc. In about a week and a half I had 1000 followers . I followed close to 3000 people, this shows that not everyone is going to follow you back. In life, not everyone is going to return the favor, but a good amount will.
Get involved in the community. Find groups in your niche/industry and jump in on the conversations. Find questions you can answer and answer them. You can do this on Facebook groups, Linkedin Groups, Quora questions, etc. This will show you’re knowledgeable. Also, this will bring people to your content and they will follow if your content is worthy.
Make sure to track what works and doesn’t work. If you’re putting out content, see which one does best and keep that going. Don’t waste your time one content that doesn’t work. Create similar content to what is working and invest your time into that.
Give away something for free. Yes, for free. We all love free stuff right. When we go to Caribou or Starbucks, the workers come around with free samples. This is a form of marketing in the sense that they hope you enjoy it enough that you buy the real product.
Do the same with your business. Offer something for free that intrigues your customer. You want them to follow you and learn more about what you do. Once they understand what you do and if it’s interesting, they’ll stick around and invest in you.
- Marketing your business without a strategy will leave you wasting your time and money.
- Have a strategy will put you ahead of your competition. Find how to target with your audience directly.
- Every platform has their own context, understanding each is important. You must bring value to your audience and separate yourself from your competition.
- If you’re guessing at what type of information your audience wants, you could be totally wrong.
- There may be huge competition in your niche, find the white spaces and fill them up.
- Have a plan for the growth of your business and track it.
- Find out what works and what doesn’t and spend time on what will allow you to grow.