Is this you? I know social media is important for my business but i don't get it or i don't have time. Don't worry there are many that feel the same way.
Social Media has become an important marketing tool for business almost overnight. It was not that long ago that people were wondering if Facebook would figure out a way to generate revenue. Launched to the public in 2006, Facebook became profitable in 2009 and by 2012 was making over $1 Billion in profits.
Facebook figured out how to harness the information they had on it's members or allow businesses to use this information to target potential customers. The other networks have also realized this so businesses can now reach people they already know are interested in their products and services.
Since it is a new phenomenon there are undoubtably many business owners who do not understand this and are missing out on the opportunity to get new customers through social media. I know this because I was one of them. I learned how to use social media to build my brand 'The Natural Dentist'. In the beginning we simply tried to get fans and likes and we were successful. But it wasn't until we started targeting our ideal customer persona's that we saw an impact on sales.
Social media does not use keywords to trigger ads the way search engines do. Instead they rely on the information they know about each member and determine who might be interested in your product or service. They try to determine this before the person has started looking for something.
Prospecting on social media
Can a small business find new customers using social media? That question is answered with a resounding yes. So how do you prospect on social media? It is a process that starts with determining your buyer persons, seeing where they hang out and what they talk about the last step is crafting your messages and content to appeal to the buyer persona.
Here are 5 key steps to take in prospecting for customers on social media
- Buyer Persona- still the first step. You need to know who you are targeting
- Social Network Analysis- which network do your prospects hang out in?
- Research what your personas talk about and questions they ask
- Develop content related to those questions
- Social media is not one size fits all- your messages need to be customized for the network and personas
There is a handy work book 'Prospecting on Social Media' that you will be able to download at the end of this post. It has worksheets and tips to help you with each of these steps.
Social media will continue to grow and become more effective for businesses to reach potential customers. Ad revenues for social networks are expected to top $14 billion in 2018 up from just $6 billion in 2013.
This growth is an idication of the complete change in the buying process that has occurred in the last 5 years. The explosion of content gives the buyer the power to research their purchase without a sales person. Even the smallest purchases are researched and shopped. I just bought a 'chuck-it' to play with my dog and even though it was a $5 item my wife researched it. I can't imagine stepping into a car showroom without haveing done at least a few hours research on models and prices.
All of these changes have ocurred in the last 10 years which is a very fast pace. It is understandable if you don't fully get it. You just have to understand that social media is
- Not a fad it is here to stay
- It's fast
- Your potential customers are there
- Stay in touch
Social media is a great place for small businesses to compete. Everyones profile page is the same size. If you participate you can develop a following as a thought leader in your field. Social media is a great field leveler for small business.
Do you have the time?
It is a significant time committment to effectively prospect on social media. Distribution of content is still the way to market on social media and content development takes time. The other real time hogs are configuring your message for each network and posting the message and content.
Posting is not a one and done activity. The most successful campaigns involve a repitition of posts over a 3-4 week period. This increases the reach and the engagement. When i started rotating my content in this manner offers i saw a 73% increase in page views and a 68% increase in leads.
Social Media is not one size fits all
The networks are not homogeneous. There are differences in audience, targeting ability and style of messages. After you've completed your buyer personas you need to determine which social network they are likely to be on. Chances are if you have a b2b business LinkedIn and Google + will be the networks you want to focus on. Similarly if you have a local b2c business Pinterest and Facebook would be your focus. This is a key step that should not be overlooked. If you don't focus on the right network you may not reach your potential customers.
Intergrate Social Media into your marketing plan
Social media should be part of every business' marketing plan. There are too many positives to ignore it. It is inexpenive and user friendly. If you want to learn more about finding new customers on social media, download the free ebook 'Prospecting on Social Media'
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