Social media is real, it dominates many of our lives, and it is not going anywhere. If you are a small business owner who is not leveraging social media to connect with leads and clients, you are losing business. According to USA Today, “Facebook is the most widely used social media service, with a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center finding that nearly 80 percent of adults who use the internet are on Facebook. Thirty-two percent use Instagram, 31 percent are Pinterest users, 29 percent are on LinkedIn and 24 percent use Twitter.”
Many small business owners are wading in the waters of social media, struggling to figure out how to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat (the list goes on…and on..) etc. to grow their brand. Although most small business owners are using social media in some capacity, it has become clear that developing a strategy is not as simple as it seems. It is easy to believe that since millions of people are using social media, you should just be able to build brand recognition by simply posting content…right? Yet, when you start delivering content, posting well written blog posts, and making offers through various social media channels, you find out that people may not be as interested as you originally believed.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
The key is to not think subjectively. While your product or service may in fact be amazing, you cannot assume that everybody will buy-in because you are advertising it on Facebook and Twitter.
Why are you limited to a few dozen or perhaps a few hundred Facebook Page likes, including Mom, cousin Steve, and Tom…remember him?
Why is your carefully crafted content getting 2 likes? Why is Aunt Pat the only person that shared my 1000 word blog post on SEO?!?!?!?! Thanks for the support Aunt Pat (seen below)!
Yes, social media is a great way to:
- Engage clients
- Build your brand
- Generate leads
- Drive traffic to your Website
However, most small business owners are struggling to figure out ways to use social media EFFECTIVELY. Is it possible for your real estate agency, restaurant/bar, hair salon, cosmetic sales company, law office, or insurance agency to gain thousands of followers? To get the likes and shares you deserve? For the sake of transparency, I will admit that I have participated in on over a dozen webinars in the past couple weeks with experts who claim to have all of the answers to these questions. I sit…and I watch…for 30 – 60 minutes to get to the end where the expert claims:
For only $$$ a month, we will teach you how to use social media to scale your business to 6 or 7 figures!
What the expert fails to consider is the fact that most small businesses have budgetary and technical constraints that prevent them from subscribing because of the extremely high prices…despite the guarantees…
I have recently started experimenting with Facebook Ads and learned how to gain over 8,000 new followers to my newly created Facebook Business Page. These new followers do several important things for VujaDay Creative Digital Agency:
- Position us in a highly competitive market – in less than a week we have more followers than most of our local competition.
- Create credibility
- Allow us to connect with a huge audience
- We will now be treated differently by the new Facebook algorithm (see below for more information about this algorithm).
In the article Facebook Is Changing Its News Feed Algorithm Again, Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president for the News Feed was quoted “Our research shows that there is a tiny group of people on Facebook (FB, +0.25%) book who routinely share vast amounts of public posts per day, effectively spamming people’s feeds,”
Reuters explains “The algorithm behind the News Feed determines which posts people see from friends, advertisers and other sources, and the order in which they appear depending on how users responded to previous posts. In May, Facebook announced a change that would give lower prominence to links that lead to pages full of deceptive or annoying ads. A change in August was designed to deemphasize stories with clickbait-style headlines. Friday’s change will de-prioritize links from specific spammers.”
Clearly, digital marketing through social media has vast benefits and advantages. However, as indicated above, you need to be mindful of what you post. What many small business owners neglect is a content management strategy to ensure they don’t fall victim to the Facebook algorithm, while also learning how to build their social media following. A well planned out content strategy will increase audience engagement through creative, entertaining, informative, and shareable content.
VujaDay’s content strategy involves a few key recommendations:
First: Understand and engage your target demographic. Determine who your audience is and how they consume content. Does your audience consume content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; or are they in a younger demographic that spends their time on Instagram and Snapchat? Once you know where your audience spends their time, develop a plan to engage them with relevant and useful content.
Second: Do not just broadcast information. Historically, content has been unidirectional, businesses would share content with their audience without considerations to curating and sharing content from others. The problem with such an approach is that people are more likely to respond to, or like content from a person or business that has engaged them somehow. Accordingly, people will not take the time out to given an impression to your content if you do not follow them back or communicate with them in some capacity. A simple like, share, or comment will go a long way in building your digital network. Has your ego ever been bruised when you sent out a friend request or a request to like your page only to be ignored?
Social media outlets are reciprocal, you will get love if you share love. Based on the aforementioned Facebook algorithm, Facebook is much less likely to share your content with a wide audience if you are constantly promoting your business for sales or link clicks. Therefore, you’re most likely losing followers if it’s all about you. Think about this…have you ever decided to unfollow or block content from a person who only advertises and sells? In her post Warning: These 3 Mistakes Won’t Help You Get More Twitter Followers, Sheena White of SocialQuant recommends “Follow the 80/20 rule and make sure that 80% of your content provides value and that only 20% is promotional. Ask yourself what content your audience would be interested in seeing, what they would find valuable or entertaining. It doesn’t have to be directly related to your business, either. It just needs to provide value by educating or entertaining your followers.”
In the blog post 5 Essentials To Your Content Management Strategy, Jeffrey Fleischman contends “Content is king.” He offers 5 steps to consider when developing a content strategy:
- Understand your audience – Determine who the target audience(s) is and how they currently consume or want to consume content.
- Integrate across touch points – Will your content be suited for the channel it is distributed to? What are the linkages to connect content across channels and what are your expected outcomes.
- Build an inventory – Maintain a strong pipeline of new and current content, create an enterprise calendar, and leverage user-generated content as part of your overall strategy.
- Measure and analyze – Content consumption/efficacy now requires a more structured approach in terms of measurement and distribution. Content is far more dynamic and complex, measuring the full value of content requires data analysis, testing, and optimization tools.
- Optimize content – The new standard of measure is your audience’s desire to consume, share, and engage with your content. Content must be engaging and can become a rich source of earned media and drive a proliferation of views and shares.
Leveraging social media to engage an audience with relevant and meaningful content has become a vital tool toward tangible results, including brand recognition, new leads, increased web traffic, organizational growth, and profitability. While developing your digital marketing strategy, be sure to concentrate on your audience. Find out what social media channels they use, what type of content they want, how to engage them, and perhaps most importantly—how to convert them from leads to customers. If you’re in the market for help with digital marketing through social media, take a look at VujaDay Creative Digital Agency services, and learn how we gained over 8,000 new Facebook followers in less than a week.