Small-business owners should approach social media with care. Without a marketing plan, social media activity can turn into a gargantuan time suck, drawing your attention away from critical business functions, like selling more of your products and/or services. Perhaps the best small-business social media objective is lead generation, and here are tips for how to do it:
Have Good Offers to Market on Social Media
Social media is loud and crowded. If you’re going to promote your business on social media, have something to promote that turns heads. A good offer has several characteristics:
- It is easy to understand
- It offers something of significant value
- It has limited availability
- It is easy for people to get more information or order
If your social media message is, “Buy from us, we’re great!” you’ll get sneers, not cheers. However, if your message is, “Try our new product during the month of May for no charge,” you’ll get plenty of interest.
Integrate Social Media Marketing
Now that you have your social media communities interested in trying your product for no charge, link that message to a landing page designed specifically to explain the offer and provide a phone number and form for people to inquire further or order. When people submit a form, you can email them a confirmation and invite them to subscribe to your email newsletter.
This is just a simple example of how social media can be part of a broader effort to. If you rely only on social media communication, you’re unlikely to amass many conversions, because you aren’t giving them a conversion pathway.
Have a Specific Content Strategy for Each Site
Your communities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., may have different characteristics or be essentially the same. Either way, you’ll want to create unique content for each platform and have a different approach for each.
For example, you might use Facebook for conversation and more of a “soft sell” approach, and use Twitter exclusively for communicating special offers. Over time, people will fall into a rhythm, staying connected with you on Facebook for engagement and on Twitter for alerts on good buying opportunities.
By giving each of your social media sites a clear identity, you make it easy to explain to customers and prospects — in live conversations, webinars, emails, sales brochures, a dedicated social media page on your website, etc., why they should connect with you. In short, give each social media site its own value proposition.
Social sites with a clear purpose facilitate rapid community building of relevant followers. If your Twitter site is for broadcasting special deals, people interested in special deals will sign up; if your Twitter site stands for nothing, people interested in nothing will sign up. Clearly, your ability to generate leads improves when your community is interested in whatever the given site is intended for. You’re far better off with an engaged community of 100 than an indifferent community of 10,000.
Track and Test
Tracking leads generated by social media can be tricky, because it is almost impossible to follow the various communication paths and timeframes involved between your original social media post and a conversion. However, by having unique offers for each of your social media sites, you can at least determine whether, say, lots of people are converting on your Facebook offer, and few are converting on your Twitter offer.
If one social platform is not generating leads, don’t give up. Repetition is important in any form of marketing, and six months to a year is a good time frame to test the social media marketing waters. By all means, test different offers. Perhaps a simple change like offering 15 percent off rather than 10 percent will make the difference between no conversions and 10 per month. Just remember to test only one variable at a time — otherwise you won’t know what change led to the improvement or decline in leads
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