Just started up and wondering how to get clients? Or perhaps you’ve been running a business for some time and struggling to bring in any sales? Either way, in this post i’ll help you to understand the purpose of social media for your small business, how it works and you how you can utilise it to consistently increase your sales.
The first thing you’ll need to establish is which social media platform(s) you should be using, because in reality – you don’t need them all. For example there’s no point in advertising hearing aids on Snapchat, because the likelihood of your target demographic being on that particular messaging app is slim compared to the likes of Facebook. Once you’ve established your target market, and the best platform to engage with, then you can go all in on creating great content.
Aside from figuring out your client demographic, and platform, you’ll need to understand that in order for your small business to succeed on social media; you’ll either need to post great content, or engage with other people’s content instead. If you can manage to do both then you’ll be flying in no time. You can achieve this either by creating organic content, such as regular social media posts, or alternatively you can go down the paid route, by spending money on ads to shortcut your online success.
The main purpose of ‘social media’ is to be social with others, the clue is in the name after all! Nobody logs into Facebook or Twitter to be sold to all the time, and the platforms recognise this. If you’re consistently linking away to third-party sites and programs then platforms like Facebook will limit your post reach even further than it already has, which in a way is good, because otherwise your social media feeds would be filled with nothing but spam.
Unfortunately the effectiveness of organic reach has dropped considerably as the years have gone by, just using Facebook as an example, it’s been shown that post reach has dropped from 16% (of your connections) to below even 2% in 2014, with further declines occurring since then. There are a few causes for this, including the over-saturation of the platform, and Facebook’s decision to push paid advertising as far as it can, making it next-to-pointless for any business trying to promote their business without opening up their wallets.
‘Next-to-pointless’ might be an overstatement however, as I did find success on Facebook recently when volunteering at a local charity shop. The charity sells second-hand, and refurbished, furniture. There was a large increase in demand for the products when I was regularly putting out daily images of the new stock, so much so that we were even able to increase the prices, meaning that more could be donated to a local cause.
That being said, Facebook isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of social media for small business. There are plenty of social media platforms that are still worth investing your time into, namely Tik Tok, Pinterest & Linkedin to name a few. I myself like to spend most of my time promoting my content on evergreen platforms likes Pinterest, because it means that my content has greater longevity, and that it can still be found weeks, months if not years after it was originally posted. Evergreen platforms are great for people, like me, who like to focus on creating high-quality content, instead of rushing themselves whilst trying to keep up with Instagram’s algorithm!
Creating your own content
If you’re looking to post your own social media content, then you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got a solid plan before you begin, otherwise you’ll just end up burning yourself out. Posting for the sake of posting isn’t going to get you anywhere, instead you’ll want to understand who your ideal client is and what problems they’re facing, from there you can begin to build your posting schedule around answering the questions that could potentially be asking. If you don’t know, then you can always ask them!
You’ll want to post regularly, and at a scheduled time too! Your followers will appreciate you posting at the same time each day, especially if it’s going to be a live video. If you’re stuck on what time to post then it’s generally fine to play around with the posting times for the first dozen or so posts, from there you can take a look at which posts seem to get the most engagement and then go from there.
Quality, as well as Quantity
So I’ve already said that you need to be consistent in the amount of times you post, but you’ve also got to maintain a high level of quality in those posts too. Your branding or video production doesn’t have to be Hollywood standard, however you’ll want to ensure that your posts make sense, there’s no spelling mistakes, and that the images aren’t blurry, amongst other things. Remember that your followers often associate the quality of your posts, with the quality of your products and services!
A vital part of growing an established following is to ensure that you’re engaging with them when they comment on your posts, or better yet reach out on posts of potential customers and comment on their posts instead. It’s all about being social, so drop some likes and some genuine comments. Spread the love!
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So you may or may not be wondering whether organically growing your account is even worth it, especially if you were originally considering Facebook as your main platform, so with that in mind let’s take a moment to discuss paid advertising.
A lot of social media platforms are starting to prioritise paying customers over their core (free) users which, regardless of whether that’s wise or not, means that there’s a great opportunity for you & I to create compelling adverts for our respective businesses, short-cutting the online success without the time & effort spent creating organic content on a regular basis.
Now I know what many of you will shudder at the mention of ‘Facebook Ads’, as it’s not unusual for a prospective client to tell me that “they don’t work!”, which is true – they don’t work. Not for most people anyway. Why? Because not many people take the time to understand the psychology behind great advertising, they think they can just put up a picture of their ‘designer’ jeans and that the world is going to flock towards them. It’s just not realistic.
As mentioned earlier, people don’t go on social media to be sold to. Instead you’re going to have to slowly gain their trust by offering them something that they want (or need) for a low, if not free price. The offer has to be irresistible, and more importantly it has to be relevant. That’s why you need to clearly identify who your target audience is, and why they would want your product (or service). Saying that “this applies to everyone” just isn’t good enough. If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one.
How you can use your ads
Highlight who your target demographic is, put together a product or service offering that would be highly desirable for them, and offer it at an absolute bargain price. If you can offer it for free then that’s even better. Imagine that no one’s ever heard of your business (which might be true), so you need to do everything to reduce the ‘risk’ to the client in the transaction, making the offer a free offer is one way to do that. An example of this might be to offer the user ’20 Free Photoshop Design Templates’ that they can download in exchange for their email address (being subscribed to your email list).
I believe that paid advertising should be at the very start, and end, of your sales funnel. You start the process by offering the low-ticket offering, such as the Free Photoshop Designs, and then later on in the funnel you can use paid advertising to retarget anyone who downloads your designs, or anyone that visited your website, with ads for a more premium product. The difference here is that you’re only targeting users that have shown an interest in your product, meaning that it will be much easier to convert these users into paying customers – as opposed to targeting every Tom, Dick and Harry with the same ads.
Did you know that only 3% of website visitors will contact, or purchase from, your business at the first time of asking? That’s why it’s essential that you have a solid follow-up process in place to make sure that you’re converting the other 97% into paying clients – before your competitors do. Click here for more information.
Whether you choose to create your own content or engage with the content of others, you should strike a fine balance between quality and quantity. When you focus on helping others, or improving their mood then you always give yourself a fighting chance at growing your social media page, brand and business. Paid advertising can be a great way to shortcut this success, provided you’ve got an offer that simply can’t be refused!
Have any questions or feedback on this post? Feel free to drop me a comment below!