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18 March 2015

12 Keys to Build An Awesome Social Media Strategy To Grow Your Business.

12 Steps to a  Better Business Social Media Strategy

Are you struggling with how Social Media can work for your business? It’s hard to exactly measure the Return on Investment of Social Media but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be leveraging it to grow your business or increase your sales.

If you’re not using Social Media to bring your customers closer to you, guess what, your competitor is.

The beauty of using Social Media in your business is that you give customers an opportunity to get to know you, to “try before they buy” and understand what it’s like to work with you. Putting yourself out on social media makes you visible to your customers when they are searching and researching problems that you happen to solve. The ideal outcome is that YOU have input, insight and contribute influence to their decision making criteria and thus, customers come to you when they need your solutions.

ROI of Social Media

So how do you build and execute a Social Media strategy for your business? If I lay it out for you, you have no more excuses to not do it, right? It’s not rocket science but it does take a lot of moving parts to “do” Social Media right so that it benefits your business. Even if you’ve tried before, even if you’re doing it now, read on to Build a Better Social Media Strategy in just 12 Ninja Moves:

Have a POV:

No one wants a Company Mouthpiece – someone who spouts off the company tagline and repeats the company ad slogans or brochure highlights. What and more importantly, WHY do you believe you have valuable insights? Where did you develop your opinions? How have you built your body of knowledge? Define your expertise and experience and form your Point of View to share.

Have a Personality:

Vanilla is a decent ice cream flavor, but no one really goes WILD for Vanilla. What’s your flavor? Kooky, Nerdy, Laid Back, Innovator, Humorist . . . show and share your Authentic Personality. Don’t have an online and offline personality. Just be the best You that You can be and make sure that your personality {professional} is clear through your Social Media Profiles – photos, well thought out and constructed bios, posts, engagements, et cetera. This is your personal professional brand. You are not a product. You are not a company. You are a human person with talent, personality, smarts, flaws and a story {oh, yeah, and this is your Personal Brand}. People buy from Humans, not companies.

Have a Reason:

Why are you posting, sharing or commenting? “To sell your stuff” is not a reason. To improve your profession, to enlighten customers, to give insight to buyers, to challenge status quo, to bring light to problems . . . those are reasons to engage and interact with people. Combined with your Pont of View and Authentic Personality, you develop your Voice.

Find Your Audience {Channels}:

Don’t try to be on every Social Medium. You’ll end up diluting your efforts and probably do none of it very well. Where are the people that you want to talk to? Business to Business channels need to be on LinkedIn and possibly Twitter. Business to Consumers will find their audience on Facebook and Instagram. Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat . . . pick 1 – 2 channels where your target audience is active and stick with those.

Deliver Value:

Though the term is “Social Selling” the irony is that there is NO SELLING on Social Media. Don’t push or promote. You can “elevate and offer” but you first have to build trust with your audience by proving you are Valuable to them. Share insights and opinions that bring value to your customers’ lives and businesses. Do you know how to do something, know how to identify problems, solve problems or execute strategy? What can you share that brings value? Bringing value builds trust – which is key to building influence among your customers.

Listen:

Half or more of the benefit of being Social and having a Social Media Strategy is “Listening” to what your customers are saying. Listen to the questions they ask. Listen to what problems they’re discussing. Listen to where and from whom they’re getting their information. Listen to how people use, like or dislike your product. Listen to which competitors are talking to your customers. Social Media listening is at its basic level the “free” version of focus groups, surveys and market research. How fantastic that you can have Real Time access to people who are or could become your customers. Listen to what they have to say and take that information back in to your company and develop your products and messages to reflect what your customers value.

Engage in Conversations:

You wouldn’t go to a Networking event or an Expo and not talk to anyone, would you? What a waste of money that would be. Have you ever been to a cocktail party where someone talked to you about their kids or their job nonstop? How badly did you want to hide in the bathroom for the evening?

Much of the etiquette you’d use live and in person applies to Social Media. Instead of shouting self promotion, using Social Media is about participation and engaging in conversations with people. Find chats or forums where people are discussing something you’re interested in or have value to contribute. Hold up your end of the relationship by listening and participating in conversations.

Create Relationships:

People smell when you’re using them. Desperation and inauthenticity are stinky colognes. Just like being accosted by uber “networkers” live and in person, people know when you’re trying to sell them or use them for their connections on line. Real relationships are give and take. Listening and conversing. Sharing and nurturing. Just like business, personal and professional relationships offline, you must work at online relationships too. “Connections” and “contacts” don’t refer business, advocate for you or buy you but Relationships with real people can produce those results.

Find Your Communities:

What EVER your interest or professional niche {and, of course personal} I promise you, there is a group for you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other Social Media channel. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Twitter Chats that are held live streaming via Google+ {#SocialHangout, #SalesChat and #SalesEU}. Whether you start your own chat or watch behind the scenes, it’s amazing what you can learn and people appreciate what you share. Participating in forums and online communities builds your bank of knowledge and can help you find customers who need your answers or solutions. Be strategic and find the communities that work for you. It’s not much different than being a member and attending your local professional organizations. You have to show up, contribute and listen. {Hmmm, are you seeing a theme trending here?}

Be Visual:

Liven up your posts and quotes with visual elements. Infographics are hot, hot, hot because they’re brief, to the point and we have very little attention span these days. Squirrel!

Using photos, humor or inspiration quotes and graphics give people a break from heavy text or even entice people to read what you have to say. Use photos from events with real people or interesting things to demonstrate your voice and personality in your Social life.

Share the Love:

If you’re only sharing your own content or promoting your own business, you might be operating in a vacuum. Share and champion others – especially your customers’ – content, good news, problems and expertise. Be a well rounded individual on Social just as you would in real life. Read why “Sharing is Caring” {a shout out to Social Selling king pin, Jack Kosakowski}.

Be Consistent:

I’d love to know the statistic about the number of businesses and professionals who set up an account on Social Media and abandon it shortly there after. Either because they’re not seeing the point, getting results or don’t have time – there are probably millions of abandoned account profiles out there. Once you decide which channels of Social Media will reach your audience, test how often people want to hear from you. Figure out what time of day your audience is most active. Commit to being there – schedule it if you have to – and be consistent about showing up, using your Point of View, demonstrating your Value through your Authentic Personality.

Now you have the basic strategy to building a Social Media strategy. This means, you have no more excuses to NOT using these free tools to grow your business.

Be Purposeful, Have Fun, Make New Friends, Engage People, and Participate by Listening and Adding Value.

It’s not so hard once you start – but you have to keep at it, try new things and work at it to be successful in Social Media. It does take a strategy and trial and error but Social Media has been the biggest GAME CHANGER in Sales and Business since the internet was born. Social Media as a strategy and part of the Marketing/Sales Mix has grown in adoption and budget every year for the past 5+ years. Marketers’ budgets for Social Media are projected to double in the next 5 years {Karen Yankovich} and for Sellers, Sales Professionals Who Are Social Selling are 51% more likely to exceed quota {LinkedIn Sales Solutions – Read More about Social Selling – So Easy a Baby Could Do It}.

Don’t miss out on leveraging these tools to your advantage. If you’re not building and executing Social Media as a strategy to talk to and influence your customers, someone else is. 

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks

PS – Have other points? What about from our experts out there?
Share examples of what works for you below in the comments.

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