You know social media is an excellent way to get your brand in front of your audience, whether it’s done organically (fo’ free) or you pay for advertising.
It’s no secret, right? Everyone uses social media every day. According to Social Media Today, the average online user spends at least TWO HOURS a day on social media alone.
While I’m sure psychologists can find that stat to be alarming and awful, for you, as a business owner, that gives you a LOT of time to connect with your clients online.
So with all of this time and ability to connect directly with qualified buyers, why is it that I so often hear business owners say social media “just doesn’t work” for their business?
I can understand where this stems from. It can certainly be frustrating trying to figure out how to gain followers and boost engagement. And at the end of the day, the frustration doesn’t seem worthwhile when using social media doesn’t lead to any direct sales.
Now, let’s pause for a second and make sure we at least know if social media is working as a marketing tactic for you or not. Last week’s post showed you how to identify what marketing tactics were moving the needle forward and which ones were simply a waste of time and/or money.
If you haven’t done the light digging work to know where your new customers are coming from (their “referral sources”), you can’t yet say for sure whether social media is working for you or not. Let’s NOT just assume it working or not – let’s prove it. If you’re not absolutely sure, go back to this post now and implement those strategies before moving on.
If you’ve truly proven that social media is not yielding sales proportional to the time and money put into it, it’s time to dissect HOW you’re utilizing the tool.
In my experience, after working with countless social media accounts, picking them apart, and strategizing on the best possible ways to manage them, I’ve found one obvious trend happening with the social media accounts that “aren’t working.”
These “faulty” social media accounts are usually ONLY being used for marketing and advertising.
Wait, what? Isn’t that what these things are for? To market and advertise my business?
Well, yes, in part.
But the truth is, social media has a lot of power to do so much more for your brand.
Social media is more than just a marketing and advertising tool.
At its best, social media can ALSO be used as a SALES tool, a CUSTOMER SERVICE tool and a MOVEMENT-STARTER tool.
Let’s take a look at these other business-building ways you can use social media to boost your online presence, and yes, your incoming revenue.
Social media as a SALES tool.
By connecting social media to a direct Call-To-Action (CTA) button (i.e. Subscribe or Buy Now), you can get your clients to actively engage with your brand, instead of passively scrolling through your feed.
This is different from social media being used to market and advertise your services. Now, with a CTA, your potential client has been literally CALLED TO ACTION. They can click something that gets them closer to being a PAYING client.
Ideally, a CTA connects your potential client to a landing page, asking for their contact information. Once the user submits their info (at the very least, their email address) you now have the right to email them. This matters because getting into your potential client’s inbox allows you to directly sell to them in a feel-good, non-salesy way.
Here’s an example of a company (The Knot) using a social media post to gather email addresses, to which they’ll later offer opportunities to purchase through. Click on the image to see the landing page it takes you to:
Other times, a CTA connects your potential client straight to an online store where the user purchases a product or service. Here’s an example of a company (Cents of Style) doing this in a user-friendly way:
When a user clicks on the Annie Metal Cat Eye Sunglasses for $14.95, this screen pops up, which offers a direct link to the Cents of Style shop (and Buy Now buttons):
TAKE NOTE: You might be wondering, “If I do that all that time, my posts will feel super salesy and almost like SPAM.” You’re 100% right. That wouldn’t be good.
An effective rule of thumb is to use the 80/20 Rule: 80% of your social media posts should be helpful, resourceful content, while 20% can include a direct Call to Action.
Social media as a CUSTOMER SERVICE tool.
Moving past the marketing, advertising, and sales departments, social media can also act as an extension of your customer service (when done right).
Social media offers an opportunity to you, as the business owner, to connect directly to your potential and current clients via comments and messaging.
By offering quality content AND by being exceptionally responsive to any and all activity on your social media accounts, you are providing a high level of customer service. Surprise, surprise! This is what every customer hopes for.
However, this function of social media is somewhat of a double-edged sword. Just like when a business posts Open Hours but then isn’t there when they say they’ll be, it’s equally frustrating for your potential client to ask a question in a social media comment or message and then get no response from you. If you have a social media account of any kind, you’ll need to commit to being responsive to your audience in order to gain their trust and not ruffle feathers.
If you’re thinking, “Yeah, but I don’t want to be strapped to my phone all the time,” I hear you! Neither do I! Most social media accounts allow you to set an auto-responder message when you’re not available to hop online right away and service the inquiry or request. An auto-responder isn’t quite as good as hearing back from an actual person, but it at least let’s the inquirer know you’ve received the message and will get back to them soon.
Social media as a MOVEMENT-STARTER tool.
Finally, and perhaps most powerful of all, social media holds a crucial key to allowing you and your business to start a movement.
If you’ve got a change you want to see in the world and your business aligns with that change, social media will most likely be your #1 tool to create that movement for change.
Why? Because social media is, well, social. And movements often begin as a grass roots, social call for reform.
Here’s an example of a company (Dove) that has used their entire brand to spark a revolution and stand for something MUCH larger than their products:
Dove technically sells soap, right? But the majority of their social media posts don’t mention soap at all. See, Dove is not in the business of soap, per se. It’s in the business of BEAUTY FOR REAL WOMEN. This, as you can imagine, is a more meaningful movement in our society than just selling soap.
If you’re wondering if using social media as a movement starter applies to you and your business, I’d like to introduce you to Ashley Beaudin. Ashley is a self-professed “movement maker” and has an excellent article about what makes you and your brand a Movement Maker. Read it here.
I think the most powerful point Ashley makes is this:
“It is not about size. It is about creating an experience for your audience that transforms them and makes them an advocate for the work that you do.”
So if you’ve written this last point off as not applicable to your business, I challenge you to read Ashley’s post and take a closer look at what makes a movement and if you’ve got one within you. If and when you push that movement out into the world (on social media), it’s no longer all about you, your business, its products and services, but about your audience and its power as whole.
I told you this social media stuff was powerful!
So if you’ve been floundering with how to make social media efforts worthwhile, remember that it’s not just a marketing and advertising tool. Consider how you can use it better for SALES, CUSTOMER SERVICE, and as a MOVEMENT STARTER.
Next week, I’ll be writing about how to CONNECT your sales and customer service efforts to you social media accounts so they integrate seamlessly (and don’t cause you a massive headache).