A letter About Being New to Social Media Marketing and How to Get More Traffic for your Business Online
November 12, 2016
It was so good to hear from you again. Lovely to hear all the family news…Now to get to the point…I’m happy to answer your question:
“I’m new to social media marketing – does it really work? And how do I get started?”
Let me reassure you that social media marketing really does work! Any business that wants to be successful must have a social media presence – even a smallish one like yours.
Incorporating social media into your comprehensive marketing plan is essential for businesses today because the majority of people are using their mobile devices and phones to research before they purchase.
You know how much you rely on your phone to compare features and prices of items you’re interested in, right? I still remember how you found that great little Thai food place where we ate the last time I visited. And who could forget that great deal you got on those cute shoes from Naturalizers. If you hadn’t signed up for their newsletter, you’d never have gotten that coupon.
OK. I can hear you saying that you understand that having a website and sending out newsletter and emails are good marketing ideas, but how does this prove that social media helps a business to grow?
A 2015 Pew Research Center report showed that 65% of adults in the United States use social networking sites. Not only do they use it for talking with their friends, many of them are using it for answering questions and researching products they want to buy.
Up until now, you’ve had fun posting family pics and funny videos to your Instagram account. I must admit I enjoyed that funny chicken video that you shared with me awhile ago, although my chickens would never wear pants no matter how cute they are. And I do enjoy playing Words with Friends with you via Facebook.
However, from a business standpoint, there is a TON of stuff you can accomplish on social media. You can:
- Create brand awareness
- Build relationships with your prospective clients and customers
- Drive traffic to your website
- Launch new products
- Sell your products (Be careful on how you do this!)
- Offer sales and coupons
- Create interaction via surveys or giveaways.
Let’s expand on the first three of these benefits. We’ll leave the actual steps for selling on social media for another letter. Otherwise, you’ll never get through this one…
Social Media Marketing Helps Create Brand Awareness
- Keywords – be known as the go-to person for your specific topic. When people want to know something, they type a query into the search box, i.e., “Thai restaurants in Portland, OR”. The Google search bots, look through their vast “library of data” and find the websites that are most relevant to this search. In the blink of an eye, they present a page of their findings to the consumer. If your social media posts and your website have done a good job of creating a brand around your keyword(s), you’re going to be at the top of the SERP (search engine results page).
- Voice – be known by the way you express yourself. If your posts are consistently written in your voice (are you edgy, controversial, the girl next door, upbeat, encouraging, do you use slang or swear words, have certain catch phrases, etc) your ideal clients will get to know and like you. (Because you know them so well, you’ll know what they like.) When you venture out of your voice, it’s going to put up mental red flags to your readers – “Woah, maybe I don’t know this person at all!”
- Consistent look – be recognizable wherever you’re seen. When you use the same headshot (yes, you must have a headshot because people want to connect with a real person, not a logo), bio, colors,logo, and types of images across your web presence, people will feel like they know you.
Social Media Marketing Helps You Build Relationships
Social media is all about being social, right? How are you social? By manipulating the conversation, pushing your agenda, always talking about, “I did this…I think that”? Not! Social means being interested in other people…so ask questions, enter conversations, be pleasant and helpful. You can do a search on your keyword(s) and see what people are saying in the streams of conversation. If someone lament, “I wish I knew the best Thai restaurant in Portland, OR” you could chime in and say, “Hey @soandso check out mine @XYZ. Come on over and I’ll pour your free pot of tea myself.”
Social Media Marketing Drives Traffic to Your Website
Having a website is not enough to get the clients or customers you need. If you’re expecting to put up a website and hope that people will find you, you’re going to be disappointed. Just as you must market your business offline, you must also market it online.
Builiding a social media presence is good, but it’s not the end game. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have. What matters is how many of them you can get on your list. Why? Because that social platform could disappear tomorrow and followers are just window shoppers and product tasters. Until they step into your shop (visit your website) and commit to starting a relationship with you (sign up for your list), they’re never going to be a purchaser. And isn’t that what you need in order to stay in business?
Traffic means people are coming to your website. You have two options for getting traffic – organically and paid. Paid traffic comes from the ads your purchase, which is a good option for the more advanced marketer.
Organic traffic is “free” traffic from direct searches (someone knows about you and types your website name into the search box) and referral traffic from social media sites and other websites (they find you because someone they follow mentions you). The good news is that you don’t pay for using social networking sites. You can open free accounts and begin marketing your business today.
Depending on what stage of the process they’re in, they may be looking to be entertained, educated or they may be actively searching for an item to purchase. When you’re new to social media marketing you’ll want to provide them with all three so you build a good relationship with your ideal market. However, never forget the ultimate goal is for providing them with an opportunity to buy a product or service that they want or need.
Do you know where your ideal clients hang out on social media? If so, go there immediately. If you don’t have a clue, I suggest signing up for the following, because you want to secure your business name on each account just in case you use it in the future. It would be awful to discover that your name has been hijacked by someone else.
Facebook – Open a personal account and then create a Business Page.
Twitter – a business account that features your personal name.
LinkedIn – Your personal account.
Instagram – a business account linked to your Facebook business page.
Pinterest – a business account.
Google+ – Use your gmail account to create a Business Page.
Keep your usernames and passwords in a secure place, so you can find them in the future. Don’t try to post to all of them at first. Choose one that you’re comfortable interacting on and get started inviting your friends and acquaintances to connect with you.
Every time you write a blog post, update your social profile with an invitation to come read it. And be sure to post to Google+. Even if you’re ideal clients aren’t there, it helps your post to get indexed or catalogued into the Google library faster. (Wink Wink, few people know this secret. Use it wisely!)
Big 3 of Social Media Marketing
In summary, the top three things I hope you take away from today’s letter, is that you…
- Be Consistent – posting regularly and in your own voice
- Be Valuable – not salesy
- Be Professional – but show your unique personality
Well, that’s all for now. Looking forward to continuing our conversation soon,
P.S. Do you have more questions that Alyson didn’t ask? Feel free to drop them in the comments below.