Today, there will be no senrenre or intro.
I’m just going to go right into this one… NOT!
You know I always have to give y’all an intro, or in this case, a story:
Yesterday, I was teaching on the Digital Hustle Whatsapp Group about social media. I got some interesting comments and questions and I realized I hadn’t really written on social media.
That was a problem. Considering social media marketing has become an important part of online marketing.
So this post is here to rectify that.
This is going to be a long one, so get something to chew and drink and get comfortable.
10 Important Social Media Marketing Lessons For Entrepreneurs
Have you ever heard of Web 2.0?
If you haven’t, I don’t blame you. I heard of it pretty recently actually.
Just know, it’s related to social media, for now. I’ll talk about it in another post soon.
Let’s get into the 10 things you need to know about social media marketing:
#1. It all begins with knowing your customers
It might seem like a cliche now, considering I keep bringing it up.
But cliche or not, it is true. And that’s why I keep bringing it up.
When you market on social media, who your customers are determines what social media platforms you should focus on, what kind of content, etc.
For example, your customer is a 30-40 year old CEO who is running a construction company, and barely has time to spend on social media due to his busy schedule.
And by chance you run a business supplies company, you’re better off trying to reach him through Facebook Ads and LinkedIn.
I won’t count on him showing face on Instagram.
If, on the other hand, your customer is in the 20 – 35 year old age range working as a secretary, and you want to sell her shoes, try Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Customer knowledge should drive your social media marketing moves.
#2. Go Where Your Customers Are
I’ve done a couple site reviews and sometimes get the feeling that most people open social media accounts… just to open them.
Here’s what I mean. I’ve seen:
- Social media account links that lead to different social media accounts with barely any followers
- Social media account links that link back to the home page (I have no idea why)
The fundamental problem with those two approaches is that they don’t take into account #1. They don’t know their customers so they have no idea where the customers are.
When you know your customers, you’d have a pretty good idea of where they’d hang out. But having an idea is not just enough, you have to verify this.
On Facebook, do a search for groups, pages and communities related to your product/ service. On Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are the way and on and on.
See how many people are actually part of these groups and pages and join them. I’ll tell you why in the next point.
You don’t have to be on every social media platform in the beginning. You just need to be on the ones where most of your customers hang out.
That being said, I think you have to be on Facebook.
With Facebook closing in on almost 2 billion users this year, no matter who your target customer is, you’re most likely to find him or her on Facebook.
#3. Listen before you talk
I wish I knew this before I started focusing on social media.
Ever see one of those status updates on Facebook or a tweet that makes it clear to you that whoever posted or tweeted it has no idea what they’re talking about?
Yeah, you know you’ve seen them.
When you try to reach your customers without first listening to what they’re saying, you are one of those status updates.
Giving your customer the impression that you don’t know what he wants is the fastest way to lose business.
Before you start posting regularly, take the time to see what your customers on each social media platform are saying about products/ services in your niche.
This will show you what kind of content you need to create, what problems they’re facing and how you can connect them with your offer.
#4. Understand the platform
Let’s face it.
One does not go to Twitter and post like Facebook.
Because Twitter aint playin’, they cut your content after 140 characters.
Also, one does not go to Pinterest and post like Snapchat.
Each social media platform is different. Fine, most of them are beginning to look really similar, I mean with the whole Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Snapchat ish we see these days, but there are still differences.
And these differences indicate what kind of content performs well on each platform. Know the platform and produce content accordingly.
#5. Begin With A Clear Goal In Mind
You’ve definitely heard this before:
” You can’t hit a target you can’t see.”
If you just set up social media accounts without a definite purpose or goal, you’d notice you’re spending a lot of time on social media, but not reaping any significant return on investment (ROI) of your time.
And this usually happens when you don’t have a specific goal in mind.
Goals in social media marketing generally fall into 3 categories:
- Increasing awareness about your brand.
- Getting more Clicks, or Subscribers to Your Site
- Getting more sales as part of an online marketing campaign
Before you start posting “gangstardly” on social media, know what you’re “going gangsta” for and always keep it in mind.
#6. Measure. Analyze. Optimize. And Follow The Crowd.
I think it was the management
guru god, Peter Drucker, who said:
“Whatever gets measured gets improved.”
On social media, there is no substitute for feedback served cold from your target customers.
You can read all the books that say you should only post on Facebook at a certain time to ensure maximum likes or engagement, but if your customers are acting differently, throw out all the books and do what the customers respond to.
I think this might be one of those situations when the customer is actually right and the books aren’t. And it would be a great idea to follow the crowd on this one.
In the beginning, I would recommend going all out, posting like it was your last day on Earth and all, in order to attract your target audience and also quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but ever since Facebook came up with the “banner-type” of status updates, they get more likes than just “text only” status updates.
Little subtleties like this are great for getting your content liked, seen and shared.
Also, Facebook helps you see what’s working in their Insights section of your page. The information here is priceless and will help you in your social media marketing campaign.
Which you can take advantage of if you measure, analyze and optimize what works.
#7. Can’t Stop. Don’t Stop Reposting
So you wrote a post a month or two ago, you shared it on Facebook or tweeted it once then.
And you think you’re done sharing that post.
Sharing a post once will not give you the best bang for your efforts. Especially if you create evergreen content.
You need to keep sharing and reposting your content. Yes, you read that right.
Think of it this way- different people are online on social media at different times. They might all be members of your target customer base, but they won’t always be online at the same time.
Depending on work and the amount of free time they have, their social media usage times might be in the mornings mostly, or afternoons or evenings or late nights.
Sure, optimize for the best times to post, but still ensure to share and reshare your content at other times too. Sharing a post once means you only get likes and shares for maybe just that day. Or the next if you’re lucky.
When you keep sharing, you get more eyeballs to your content.
And that’s the whole point now, isn’t it?
#8. Social Media Is A Tool… Not The Entire Damn Tool Box!
I read a post about 2 years ago by Bamidele Onibalusi, Nigerian freelance writing king and “Blogger” at the top of Writers In Charge.
I don’t quite remember the title of the post but I remember something he said:
“…. spend 80% of your time marketing your business.”
Of course, I’m paraphrasing.
I don’t remember the exact line. But that was the general idea behind it.
And while I agree with him, I want to point out that marketing should not take the place of actually creating real value.
Remember – shit wrapped in layers of wrapping paper is still shit.
Create real value. Create content that actually helps your customer. Create a service that solves a problem they have.
Do this first, and then put the word out. Shamelessly and Relentlessly.
But don’t let social media replace your business.
#9. Promote shamelessly and “gangstardly”
There’s a certain “shame” about putting the word out on social media that you’re in business.
I don’t know why that is, but I know it’s there.
I’ve felt it at times. So yeah, it definitely exists, and with good reason.
We’re told in school not to stick our necks out, not to break rules, to colour within the lines, to fit in, etcetera shmetcetera or otherwise face the risks of getting your ass whooped or social ostracization.
When you want to share a post or tell somebody about your business, there are these “Will they think I’m joking”, “Will they make fun of me?” thoughts that go through your head.
If you let that stop you, it will stop you and keep your business down.
Here’s a golden nugget – No one will know about your business till you tell them.
And with social media, you can now tell more than one person at one time about your business and reach your customers easily.
This is why when it comes to promoting your content or your business, you need to be shameless with it.
Push it… don’t be scared to overdo it. As a matter of fact, if you haven’t overdone it, you don’t want it as bad as you claim you do.
“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.” – Navy SEAL quote
#10. Don’t be a Digital Sharecropper
I came across the term “digital sharecropper” while I was taking a course by Brian Clark, Blogging Overlord at Copyblogger.
It basically means a person who builds an audience on a platform that they don’t own.
For example, someone who “blogs” on Facebook but doesn’t have a blog. Or someone who sells shoes through her Instagram profile but doesn’t have an actual ecommerce website.
Whatever you do, don’t do this.
Well, for one, when you don’t own the platform, you’re not in control. That means someone else is making the rules for what you can write or post, what kind of content you can share etc.
And trust me, that person is trying to maximize their ROI. Sure, they make sure the platform works and try to think up and implement new features that make the platform better, but at the same time, it’s their business, not yours.
And whether you agree or not, you’re their customer.
Also because it’s their platform, they can change the rules whenever they want. Content that may be fine may become banned tomorrow.
I learned this the hard way when Nairaland banned me for content in one site review I had done. Luckily I had my own platform so I just shifted.
Social media platforms are not the goal. Using them to build your own platform is. They’re the tools. Not the damn tool box!
Also, the world of tech and the internet changes quickly, one social media platform that was relevant a year ago might become irrelevant tomorrow. Take Hi-5, and Myspace for example.
Imagine that tomorrow, Facebook and Twitter go out of business. If your business goes out of business because of that, then you’re doing it wrong.
Build your own platform. Don’t dull.
BONUS TIP: To get followers, you need to be a leader
I just wrote to follow the crowd and now I’m saying you need to be a leader.
Let me explain: Pay attention to what your customers respond to but be a leader. Stand out. Have a unique message. Don’t just be another me-too brand online sharing funny videos on their Facebook page.
Provide value to your customers in the form of content in your own unique way.
Now, I have to drop the good old debate line:
“With this 10 points of mine, I hope I have been able to … ”
Okay, I couldn’t come up with anything after that. Weird right?
Take heed to these 10 important points that thou mayest do well on social media.
What are your thoughts?
Did Tomi hit the nail on the head? Are you feeling his yarns?
Make your voice heard in the comments. Don’t be shy… He doesn’t bite. Much.
Keeping it 500,
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.