With hardly a moment passing where we aren’t told to follow something on Twitter or like a page on Facebook, the proliferation of social has reached epic proportion. With this hyper-awareness comes a certain sense of urgency for most entrepreneurs – primarily the desire not to miss the ball on social media.
With this in mind, the desire alone doesn’t serve much purpose: Companies need to focus on an agenda or goal. One way to do this is using social media to ramp up revenue, specifically through a tactic called ‘social selling.’
In the age of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and what seems like a million other social platforms, the idea of social selling is for companies to use content, social media and traditional communication channels to more successfully sell. (Otherwise, businesses may not be able to keep up with their competition.). Think about it.
As social media has evolved, consumer behaviour has changed. No longer are they relying on one channel (a sales person) for information, but they are actively seeking out data on the Internet – everything from your products, evaluating your vendors and looking at clients – before making a decision.
And consumers are coming out in droves on social media to find this information. Indeed, there are currently more than one billion regular monthly users across social media platforms. And buyers tend to do their research before making a purchase, with the average consumer viewing more than ten pieces of content prior to making a purchase.
Plus, people are much more likely to make a purchase when someone they know (via social) recommends it. Seems like a win-win for businesses – that is if a company implements it correctly.
Here are a few tips to get your business (and customers) invested in social selling:
1. Get your sales team on board.
Make sure you introduce them to the premise of social selling. This means spending time mining data and information that helps them understand how social media may help them connect to customers and can lead to sales.
2. Take baby steps.
Sales executives often need some simple tactics such as how to use social media or content. I usually recommend a very simple program where the sales execs share three to five pieces of content a week via LinkedIn or email with at least five different customers and prospects.
Make sure the customer gets a personalised message that says why the content is being shared and why it matters to the client. I also recommend setting up a follow up in the email that spells out an explicit action, like a follow-up meeting.
3. Show results.
Wins don’t have to be just sales. I advise clients to track conversations and appointments generated from the tactics I suggested above.
For instance, have the sales person mark down responses to their social-selling tactics, coffee or other meetings that they may have led to and then of course any revenue opportunities that can be directly correlated to the efforts.
Once you got you sales team on board, here is how to get customers excited about social selling.
4. Have your ear to the ground.
Keep an eye out for content that is useful for your clients. Generally the content should be on topic and with some good tips or actionable items. Note that these may also be good for future clients and prospects.
5. Keep track.
When you find useful content, it is a good practice to keep an Excel or Word document where you keep the article titles, links and main topic. Also, look to software that can help keep track of metric, like views, clicks and time spent examining the content.
6. Find connections.
Look for opportunities to pair the content with specific clients. Keep tabs of this in your document to know what you sent to an individual. Over time you should build an aggregate of useful content that helps provide more clarity to your message and your customer needs.
7. Make it meaningful.
Deliver the content with an email and a simple message that helps the customer or prospect understand the topic and why you think it is important. Often referring to a previous conversation where the topic was discussed.
8. Include a call to action.
Make sure the client needs to take some sort of step. Some examples include a follow-up call or a meeting, where you can discuss the information.
9. Be consistent.
The response rate will likely not be 100 percent but that doesn’t mean clients aren’t reading it. With so much information out there if you can be the person that consistently delivers solid content then you will be front of mind when buying decisions are being considered and made.
I Built A Social Media Following Of 1 Million In 30 Days. Here’s How You Can, Too
By applying these social strategies you can build a huge following with high levels of engagement.
Many people want to share messages with the masses to gain exposure for their brand, product or service on social media. But, with over 60 billion messages shared each day on mobile platforms alone, most content gets lost in the noise. For the last 10 years I’ve worked on improving online strategies for people like Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Disney. I’ve learned how to optimise analytics, data and paid media to help companies achieve massive growth.
When I set out to gain my own One Million Followers, I was aware that the people I work with had the advantage of fame and influence. But, I wanted to see if I could use what I’d learned to build an audience for someone unknown – someone building a following from scratch. That way I could gain validation and credibility for anyone that wanted to achieve their dreams. So, in June of 2017 I put into practice all my tools and by July of 2017 I had a million Facebook followers.
The experience changed my life and now hopefully it can impact yours. If, as an unknown digital strategist, I can create this type of social following so can you. By applying the social strategies below you can build a huge following with high levels of engagement. For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on strategies for Facebook, but many of the tactics can be applied to the other social channels as well.
1. Hypothesise and test
Aim to create shareable content with your audience. Do research about what gets people to share and come up with a hypothesis about the type of content to create. Identify a format or theme that will engage your audience around a specific message. Then create a low-cost proof and test it.
When I built my following, I used a lot of picture quotes. They are fast and easy to create and are highly shareable. However, if you have the means to create short videos, between 30 seconds and four minutes, they usually perform the best.
2. Learn from your tests and pivot when necessary
My ability to learn from the tests I conducted was essential in reaching a million followers. Take the time to understand why certain content works and why other content doesn’t. Be very specific with your tests – I tested thousands of variations of content and segmented out as the variables to truly learn what was optimising performance. I also didn’t waste time; as soon as I saw that something wasn’t getting the engagement I desired I pivoted. For example, I posted viral videos of dogs and kittens performing cute and funny actions as well as prank videos. Although they all performed really well, I decided to pivot because they didn’t align with my brand’s theme of thought leadership.
Analyse the results from your tests and allow them to drive both your short and long-term content strategy. Test until you find a format or theme that truly works.
3. Find a hooking headline
Imagine walking by a newsstand in the supermarket. What is it that makes you stop and stare at an article in a magazine? Usually it’s a headline that communicates the story’s hook-point in a succinct and exciting way. It’s a short sentence or phrase that stands out, grabs attention and leaves your audience wanting more. A good headline helps communicate what makes your brand, message or content different and valuable to your customers.
When creating the headline be specific and find relevancy to your audience’s lives. Linking content to celebrities or current events is a great way to grab people’s attention.
4. Target the right audience
You can have great content, but without reaching the right audience you won’t develop a following or find the people who will champion your message for you. As Nike‘s CEO Mark Parker explains, “It’s our obsession with serving the consumer that sharpens our focus and drives our growth.”
One of the benefits of using the Facebook ad platform is the level of niche targeting it provides to find your ideal consumer. When creating ads, segment out your targeting by: Gender, age, location, interests, lifestyle (married, single, occupation, yearly income and products or brands they like) and target some of your competitors’ fans.
5. Invest the time and money necessary to reach your goals
Reaching a million followers has gotten me opportunities to speak at conferences, but getting to a million isn’t necessary for everyone. Gaining a following requires an investment of time and money. Where you put your energy depends on how quickly you want to grow.
To determine how much you need to invest, analyse the benefits you want to receive from building a large following – the return on investment (ROI). Imagine your end goal and work backward. Sometimes the ROI isn’t a dollar amount – instead, it’s more validation or credibility that gets you into a meeting with a casting director, modelling agency a music producer or an investor. Ask yourself how many followers you truly need and invest what’s necessary to reach those goals.
We live in a digital world and social following numbers matter. Hope to see your content on Facebook soon.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
5 Steps To Grow Your YouTube Channel In 2019
As you make your strategic plans for 2019, look no further than YouTube.
With over 1.9 billion active users per month – nearly the size of Facebook – YouTube is one of the most visited websites online and second only to parent company Google among the most searched websites today.
On the surface, one might look at YouTube as a place to watch music videos, stream video games online and tune in to one’s favourite vlogger.
However, YouTube is an untapped goldmine for small businesses and creators to make money – and it’s easy.
Whether you’re a real estate agent, photographer, website developer or a local coffee shop, maintaining an active presence on YouTube can help you gain precious website visits and drive leads as a result of the videos that you post. As an added benefit, your YouTube videos are discoverable via Google search also.
Because Google owns YouTube, you have a higher likelihood of being discovered through a video that you upload to YouTube related to your topic or subject matter expertise than a traditional Google search which crawls the entire internet.
For example, a quick search on YouTube for “Social Media Keynote” will pull up many videos from Gary Vaynerchuk and myself which dominate the first page of search results.
As a public speaker, YouTube has been critical in growing my business over the last year, which is why I have invested in having my keynote presentations recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Besides having excellent SEO ranking, YouTube also offers me a resource to host my video content as a digital portfolio so whenever a potential conference organiser reaches out to inquire about the services that I provide I can point them directly to my YouTube channel.
As you make your strategic plans for 2019, look no further than YouTube where 35-plus and 55-plus age groups are the fastest growing demographic.
From sports to music to business news, YouTube is the new cable television. Below are five tips for beginners on how to grow on YouTube when you’re just starting.
1. Have a purpose
As shown in the video above, I began my channel in 2014 and have created over 500 videos to date despite only recently hitting the coveted 10,000 subscriber milestone. YouTube growth is slower than other social networks. Therefore, you should have a clear objective or purpose for why you want to create video content.
In 2014, while working a full-time job, I started my channel to vlog my life, which to be candid isn’t all that exciting, and gave up after not seeing a significant number of views. It wasn’t until I began to record social media how-to, tutorial style videos like the ones you see today that my purpose became clear. So, what’s your purpose for being on YouTube?
2. Optimise video titles and descriptions
Think of YouTube as a video library meets the Google search engine. To get video views and subsequent subscriptions on your channel, you should research what else exists in the same genre or category. My process for creating videos on YouTube involves writing out the titles of topics that I am passionate about teaching and then researching both Google and YouTube to see what currently exists and what the top-ranking titles are.
Also, your description will contain critical keywords and phrases to help your video become discovered in search and also in Google’s algorithm. For example, if you’re creating a video on website optimisation titled “5 Ways to Rank High on Google!” you will also want to add in your description “Discover how to rank high in Google search,” “How do you rank high in Google search results?” and “Watch to learn how to rank high in Google search results with these easy tips.” The more times that you use a combination of phrases with keywords in your description the higher chance you have of your video being found.
3. Use TubeBuddy and VidIQ for tags
Similar to descriptions, you will want to ensure that your videos have keywords as tags to improve discoverability. Two tools which I use and recommend are TubeBuddy and VidIQ. Both tools offer a free and premium version and can be downloaded as a Google Chrome plug-in. With TubeBuddy and VidIQ you can get recommendations on what tags to insert into your videos as well as see how your videos rank in search results for set tags.
Going back to the “Social Media Keynote” search example, the reason why my videos rank high in search is that I have optimised the tags using TubeBuddy and also have the tags as phrases in the descriptions of my videos. The same methodology can be applied for any video or genre.
4. Teach your audience with how-to tutorials
I work with a lot of real estate agents and often advise them to start a YouTube channel dedicated to all of the things people can do in their city or town versus the traditional approach of sharing listings and home tours.
The same is true for most industries and professions. What are you able to teach that people are running a Google or YouTube search for (e.g., “How to do … “)? There are two reasons why people go on YouTube: to be entertained or educated.
5. Outsource what you cannot do alone
The most common objections that I hear from business professionals who want to dive into YouTube to create but don’t are access to equipment, lack of expertise for editing and time. In the beginning, a lot of my YouTube content was recorded with a handheld camera that I would carry around with me and prop up using a table tripod for how-to videos. I learned how to use iMovie and edited 200-plus videos – albeit not the best quality edits, but I taught myself a new skillset. Eventually, I began to outsource recording and editing to save myself time so that I wouldn’t be “in the weeds.”
Today, you can hire a videographer on TaskRabbit or Thumbtack for anywhere from $150 to $300 for the day. If you run a small business and need content, consider hiring someone who can shoot and edit and bring that person in every week. During your shooting sessions, have her record enough material for at least three or four YouTube videos which can then be turned into short-form, 60-second videos for Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Following this formula, you would have over 200 YouTube videos in a year if you’re starting from zero and looking at or less than $10,000 of an investment to ensure that whenever someone runs a search for your industry, service or subject matter you are the person who appears and not your competition.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
How To Know Whether Your Social Media Strategy Is Working?
Most business owners and marketers by now know that social media provides a huge opportunity for growing a business.
It’s a fact that the strategies provided in the above article might not necessarily work for everyone, however, another fact is that social media gives us the ability to build an audience, high quality traffic to our website, engagement with potential customers and lastly, but most importantly, it allows us to drive more sales.
The sad thing is that only 43% of marketers measure their digital marketing return on investment (ROI), and the main reason for this is because it can get quite tricky to measure the success of a strategy if you are not sure what to look for.
Similar to billboards and radio ads, social media is not a linear marketing channel. Yes, you can set up the necessary tracking scripts to show money in vs money out if your business revolves online, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that if your business has a physical footprint.
So, How Do You Measure the Success of Your Social Media Strategy?
1. Fan and Followers Growth
Because social media is not a linear line, we do have to include some “vanity” metrics into our reporting.
The main reason for this is because before someone becomes a customer, they first have to discover your brand and understand what you are all about.
Believe it or not, it’s never a bad idea to build your own audience on a channel like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or YouTube.
Yes, organic reach on these platforms are declining, but there is still a huge amount of value in building an audience.
For one, it helps you lower your cost per mile over time. On Facebook, small to medium sized pages can still get up to 10% reach.
This means if you have a 1000 followers on your business page, posting something will get approx. 100 people to see it free of charge, given if the quality of the post is good enough of course.
On Instagram some business pages are reporting a 30% reach!
So, the first thing that you should actively be tracking is your fan growth. Not necessarily your overall growth, but most importantly you’re your total amount of new fans per week.
Also make sure you are measuring the difference between organic and paid growth, as this will give you an indication on whether your paid strategy is actually working.
For those looking for some advanced tips and tricks to grow your Instagram business account, make sure to read our article on How to Grow Your Instagram Account for Free.
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
After discovering your business, the next step would be to get these prospects to engage. By measuring your overall engagement rate you will get a clear indication on whether you are building a quality audience.
An average engagement rate on a platform like Instagram would be around 2-5%. This means that if you have 10k followers on Instagram, approx. 200-500 of them should be engaging with your content.
On Facebook the engagement rate will be a lot less, but it’s essential to measure your engagement rate so that you can get an idea on whether your audience is engaged with your brand or not.
If they are, then it becomes a lot easier to turn them into new and long-term customers.
3. Traffic to Your Website
Using Google Analytics (GA) you can track how whether people are actually taking the time to learn more about your business.
GA can help you dissect between organic, referral, email, social media traffic. Ideally you want to see an increase in social media traffic if you are spending money on social media.
Also, ensure to measure the bounce rate and time on site of your social media traffic as this is usually a strong indicator on whether you are reaching the right people on these networks.
Lastly, by using UTM links you can actually measure what social channels are driving the most traffic. The reason I would advise using a tracking link is because GA isn’t usually that accurate when it comes to differentiating between Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.
By using a tracking link you will just be gathering more accurate data.
4. Repeat Visitors
Again similar to a billboard and radio ad, it’s about putting your brand in front of people all the time. This is why tracking repeat visitors, as well as where they are coming from is so important.
If someone has visited your site for a second, or third time in a period of a month, then it’s a good chance that he or she might convert into a customer once pay day arrives or once you launch that promo you’ve been thinking about.
Related: The Seven Rules Of Social Media
5. And Finally, Sales
If you’re an online business, then it’s a lot easier to measure your ROI from channels like Facebook and Instagram, as by having a Facebook Pixel installed on your website you will be able to track how many purchases have come from your social media ads.
This will give you a clear indication of money in vs money out.
However, if you are a physical store it might be a bit more tricky. Facebook launch offline conversions a few years ago and has been approving on the functionality of the feature.
By using Facebook offline event tracking you can request your customer to provide his or her email address and if you import that into Facebook it can identify whether or not that customer has seen one of your social media ads.
Now, that doesn’t always mean the person became a customer because of your advertising, but at least it’s a metric that can help you sleep better at night knowing your ad potentially had impact on an in-store sale.
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