There are a lot of social media experts saying you should post at certain times, have an optimum length to your message, be friendly, engage your audience, don’t post too often, post more often, and a whole lot of other fluff.
And yes, it is fluff. Some of it is OK advice to follow, and some of it is dead wrong depending on your own unique audience. But none of that fluff really matters if you don’t do these things first:
1. Identify Your Personas
This is the single most important step in social media or any type of content marketing/inbound marketing strategy for that matter. If you don’t have this part nailed down, you’ll have no idea who you’re talking to, what they want to see, what motivates them to become a customer, or even if your audience will build your business anyway.
So before you begin, map out several personas you think could actually become your customers. The last thing you want is an audience full of people that will never become a customer.
To do this is simple, although it might take a bit of work crunching data. In a nutshell, here’s a few questions that will help you build a good social media persona:
- Who is your ideal persona(s)?
- What type of content will your persona like to see?
- What content will your persona share?
- What content will bring your persona to your site?
- What content will solve your personas’ problems?
That last bullet point leads us to the second one:
2. Solve Problems
Many people start social media with the mentality of firing before they aim. They post all kinds of articles, comments, photos, videos and other stuff that has absolutely no relevance to their customers. In other words, they post crap. The Internet is full of that crap. Unfortunately, that crap can sometimes get shared well so people keep doing it.
If that’s you, stop.
That crap is doing nothing for your business. But you know what will?
Solving your customer’s problems.
Solving problems that are relevant to your business is what’s going to drive loyalty from your ideal customers. It’s what will attract more potential customers. It’s what will make your potential customers trust you.
For business purposes, I think social media fits into 3 parts of the sales funnel: Awareness, customer service, and nurturing customers. As far as lead generation goes, awareness is probably the biggest one. When you consistently solve relevant problems, you will drive awareness with a relevant audience.
3. Build an email list
Every single thing you do online with content should be with the goal of one thing: Building an email list. Email is still king when it comes to driving leads and sales and retargeting your customer base. But that could be it’s own separate blog post.
Perhaps you are asking the question, why an email list? Why isn’t the goal to sell a product or service?
In general, people are on social media to be social and to consume content. They are often not in the “buying” mode. If you are constantly selling, you will probably be ignored. People will follow a brand if they are providing relevant, interesting, problem-solving content. If someone follows you on social media because they like your content, there’s a good chance they’ll subscribe to your email list as well, assuming that your email will provide them with the similar content they like.
Now, creating an email or newsletter strategy that turns your subscribers into customers is, yet again, a whole new blog post.
Here’s how I like to get people from social to an email list. It’s actually very simple and it works. Also see how Orvis did it to me, here.
- Write a blog post
- Share it on social media with a nice visual
- On the sidebar of blog, provide a free guide/kit that helps the customer
- Offer a special on a relevant product on that same sidebar
- Provide an easy way to sign up to get blog posts via email
Do you agree with these? What did I miss? What core strategy should be included with these?