Social media is a content machine that is never, ever satisfied when you’re running a small business. Your audience is demanding new content and keeping their attention alone can create a bit of stage fright or “flashing cursor syndrome” when it comes to trying to work out what, when and how with regard to your social media posts.
In this day and age you cannot afford to ignore the importance of using social media if you want to be relevant and still in business in the next few years. According to Forbes magazine 78 per cent of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases. That’s a huge number and one we simply cannot afford to ignore. How much are you missing out by not using the power of social media? There are four steps to work through in order to create impact and return.
We’re not just talking about your products and services here. We need to be clear on what makes you as people different to your competitors. What are your strengths, your knowledge, your R&D processes, your people? This is very different to the standard “USP” because it requires you to delve deeper into what makes you and your business different. Being able to articulate this very clearly will give you the confidence to share online with authority and in a way that builds impact.
Business 101 will have you working on your ideal audience and it’s an incredibly valuable process, but most companies only do it to about 50 per cent of its potential.
If you delve deeper than their gender, age range and marital status you’ll find all sorts of gold that you can use to create digital marketing that speaks directly to them as humans. Knowing their fears, problems, stress points, dreams, goals and desires will help you create an emotional connection with your audience online.
For example, if you know that your audience is someone who wants to write a book but is afraid of putting themselves out there for fear of judgement, you’ll have a very different conversation with them online versus the standard “Three steps to writing a bestseller” conversation.
Get inside their heads and understand what really makes them tick. Connecting with them on an emotional level will have you standing out as being different.
One of the most powerful things that you can do online is to share your opinions and thinking in your area of expertise, products and services.
There are many platforms out there where you can share this, and that often leads to a “too hard basket” when trying to decide where to focus your attention.
Focus on my three-pillar rule. Build a presence on Facebook (with a global, growing user-base of more than 2.2 billion you cannot ignore it), your website where you’ll be blogging regularly and then choose either Instagram, LinekdIn or Twitter depending on where your audience tends to spend the majority of their time. Then post varied content consistently, multiple times per day. (Productivity tip: You can share the same thing you posted on Facebook to a different platform at a different time).
With all of this social media and digital activity many business owners neglect the most important step, which is letting people know how they can buy.
My rule of thumb here is to post five pieces of valuable content (solving problems your audience has or helping them with achieving their goals, dreams or desires) and then make an offer to buy a product or a service or even download something for free that you might be offering them as a way of getting them into your email database.
When you follow these four steps you will create impact and return because you are speaking directly to the audience who you want to buy from you. They are scrolling through the endless supply of content realising that YOU are the one who can solve their biggest problems, you understand them and they feel heard and validated.
Nicola Moras, social media specialist and author of “Visible”, a guide for business owners on generating financial results from social media