Ring ring, ring ring.
Hel-ho-ho-ho there, Konrad.
Errrrr hi? Who’s that?
Santa Claus. You know – Father Christmas. Saint Nikolaus. White-beard, red suit, festively plump. Rudolph the red nosed reindeer – and so on.
Oh – right. Yikes! Nice to meet you, Mr Claus… Erm, what can I do you for?
Konrad, I’ve heard through the mistletoe that you are quite a whizz when it comes to promoting websites. The kind of content strategist who can cut through the noise, perk up some ears and get one’s brand the attention it needs to thrive in a competitive online marketplace.
Gee, thanks Mr C… I mean, I don’t like to be the santa of attention. But yes – I’m pretty damn great.
You see, Konrad, for years my elves and I have been slogging away in our workshop, crafting gifts for children the world over. But unlike most retail stores, we’ve never actually capitalized on our talents. Our years of hard graft have never been monetized!
Wow. That’s a sad story Santa. I mean, I never once stopped to think about your cashflow situation, or the profitability of your set up…
That’s why I’ve decided to take one giant reindeer leap and go digital, Konrad. To build an ecommerce store, with a traffic-generating blog to back it up. And start making some cold, hard cash – or Bitcoin, perhaps. You see those mince pies people leave out for me just don’t cut it anymore!
Which brings me to my question… How can I use social media to grow an online audience and promote my products? We’ve only just got WiFi up here at the grotto, I’m afraid I’m brand new to the world of social.
Don’t sweat Mr C – it’s simpler than you think. The rules of social media really aren’t all that dissimilar to the rules of social etiquette. If you avoid the ‘naughty list’ you’ll be on track for success.
Here are the three main rules you should follow religiously:
Rule 1: Treat others as you’d have them treat you
Think about these three scenarios Santa:
- Would you engage with a Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin (or any other social media platform) profile that’s riddled with self-promotional content and zip all else?
- Or a profile which pumps out content about anything and everything under the sun – from diaper-buying tips and shaving cream brands to Brexit news and philosophical rants?
- Would you respond eagerly to automated Twitter DMs or clearly copied & pasted Linkedin messages that have been sent out to a million and one other prospects, without an ounce of personalization?
No, I suppose I wouldn’t Konrad. On all three accounts!
Exactly. So don’t do to others as you wouldn’t have them do to you. (I believe the original father of Christmas once said something like that).
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. How would you feel if you were them? Think outside-in, not inside-out. And more specifically;
- Follow the Golden Ratio when it comes to your content mix. As a rule of thumb:
– 20% of your social media content should be self-promotional, e.g. links to landing pages and new offers etc.
– 30% should be engaging, relevant, valuable and/or entertaining content created by your brand, e.g. tips, memes, GIFs, links to value-driven blog posts etc. And;
– 50% should be engaging, relevant, valuable and/or entertaining ‘curated’ content. I.e. content created by other influencers and publications within the same industry.
- Try to create four or five ‘content buckets’, which are overarching themes in which ALL your content, both created and curated, will fit. These buckets should align with your services or products and with the value, knowledge or entertainment which are on your prospects’ wish-list. In your case these might be 1) Christmas gift ideas, 2) Fun family activities for the festive season, 3) New hot toy trends and 4) tales from the North Pole.Then distribute your content equally among all content buckets.This will help you keep your efforts focused, relevant and targeted. And will prevent you from sleighing off down any irrelevant topic routes or falling victim to dull and repetitive content.
- Be real. And be social. Chat to your followers as you would your elves over a glass of eggnog. Take the time to build real relationships. And don’t spam people with untailored, impersonal, automated messages which add absolutely no value to their lives, or constant product promotions. Because you wouldn’t want Rudolph to do that to you, would you?
No, you’re quite right Konrad. Excellent tips. Keep going; I’m all ears.
Rule 2: Be confident and consistent
One of the greatest things about social media is how close you are to anyone. With just a few finger-flicks you can reach out to a) top industry experts in your field, b) like-minded peers and c) your ideal target prospects – quicker than they can say ‘jingle bells’.
Don’t be afraid to get out there and start conversations with people, daily. Confidence is king. Consistency is queen. And social media is your digital kingdom.
And more specifically;
- Build relationships with influencers in your field (known as i) by sharing their content consistently, commenting on their posts with your own valuable (and witty) insights, asking them industry-related questions (which allow them to voice their expertise publicly), and following the other juicy tips and tricks on this blog post.
- Join targeted Linkedin and Facebook groups that are swimming with industry peers and prospects, then start meaningful conversations about hot topics connected to your niche. Share your wisdom. Gain more wisdom from fellow industry experts. Gather valuable insights from target audience members. And for those who have shown you a bit of love and attention? Connect with them personally – and nurture those relationships.
- Use tools like Tweepi to identify your target prospects based on their interests and mutual connections, and then follow/like them. Many of those you choose to follow will naturally reciprocate the gesture by following you back (known as the Then voila! You’ve made yourself some brand new audience members to pull down your inbound funnel.
Excellent. Rudolph is the tech whizz among my crew, so I’ll get him on the case with Tweepi. And the third rule?
Rule 3: Go strategic or go home!
While most SMEs are active on social media, almost all of them (especially those in the B2B sphere) merely half-heart it.
You see Santa, they know they probably should be on social media – much like yourself. But they lack the determination to really dig deep and work out exactly what it is they should be doing there, or how it’s going to drive tangible, measurable benefits.
So what do they wind up doing instead?
Tell me Konrad!
They pop a recent graduate on the job, tell this untrained person to manage their social accounts according to some sloppy objectives, or lack thereof – and then go on with their merry lives.
But here’s my argument.
If you’re not going to be strategic about it, then just don’t do it at all.
You heard me! The time, money and/or resources you’re wasting on a half-assed job could be put to much better use elsewhere, where it might actually generate leads, increase your retention rates and have a measurable effect on your bottom line.
Well, you certainly cut to the core of things Konrad. So what can one do to cut out the fat? To bin the waste? To wash away the wishy-washyness?
Well, you can start by doing these things Mr C:
- Build a proper strategy.
This will dig deep into buyer insights, content strategy and social media marketing eBooks, you’ll be on the road to success.
Will do. Thanks buddy.
- Treat social media marketing like and art AND a science. What I mean is – while it’s crucial to be real, authentic and as creative as possible in social, it’s just as crucial to take shortcuts and automate whenever and wherever you can. But without coming across as fake or robotic.Reap the benefits of content scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. Use content curation tools like Postplanner and Feedly. Harness the power of email marketing tools like Mailchimp or Wizemail. And follow marketing tool and tech experts like Ian Clearly at Razor Social like they’re the Christmas Star leading you to an inn of holy social media goodness. Or some other kind of Christmas analogy that you can relate to.
Use these tools to speed up and streamline your processes; this will really ramp up your ROI and maximise your social media marketing success. And will give you more time and brainpower for the stuff you can’t automate; like building real relationships and being creative.
- Monitor, test, tweak and repeat.
Don’t just follow instructions like a thoughtless puppy dog. Social media is constantly evolving, and your strategy needs to evolve along with it. Instead, be the observant owl. Analyze your analytics to discover which content and tactics are engaging and converting your prospects, and which aren’t. Then do more of the former and less of the latter!
Oh – and split-test the holly out of anything you can. That will really optimize conversions and help you pour as much excess waste down that drain as humanly (or angelically) possible.
Konrad, you’ve been a star. I think my blog may now have a chance of cutting through the clutter and reaching the mass audiences I once did via sleigh and reindeer. But in far less time and with far less hazardous conditions.
My pleasure Mr Claus. Although – remember, it’s super competitive out there. So make your content strong. Differentiate your brand. Carefully-plan your buyer’s journey from first touchpoint to final conversion (including top-funnel, mid-funnel and bottom-funnel content). And keep rocking that unique personal brand of yours. I.e.Never shave the beard or lose your gut – and yule nail it in the world of digital
Ho ho ho! I won’t Konrad. Meeerrry Christmas Konrad – to you, your word-slinging gang and all your lovely readers!
Right back at ya Santa. Look after yours-elf.
And have an absolutely awesome 2018,