"I've been on social media for almost 3 years and it's helped me keep my brand out there. I'm ready to take it to the next level and actually grow my business. How do I do that?"
This is a common scenario with small business owners I talk with: they post branded social media content - sometimes consistently - but they aren't focusing on the type of content they are posting. They post to post.
More importantly, they aren't focused on how to leverage content to help attract prospects, foster the buyer journey and ultimately convert them from a prospect to a customer.
I love this part of what I do: helping others grow their business.
When there's an opportunity to see or hear a business owner talk about their vision, it lights me up. I see and can sometimes feel the their passion. And when I help create a strategy that better positions their business for growth, then I'm in my happy place.
It's such a privilege to help create a plan, implement and monitor results then do a before and after analysis. I love that!
If this sounds like you, you've been on social media for 2-3 years, have continued reaching and expanding your audience but just have figured out how you can connect and convert prospects to customers, I'm sharing 5 common and easy to implement ways below that you can make that happen.
Create Personas Personas are groups of people you've defined as your ideal target customer. These can be created from existing customer data, through in-depth research or a combination of both. The purpose of personas is to carve out a segment of the social media audience that is a good fit for your solution. So instead of talking to everyone you're talking to the needs of a specific group who will find value and benefit from your solution. Why personas help convert more prospects to customers is because you're present on the social platforms where they spend time then creating content that gets their attention, engages them and is more likely to convert them. Episode 3 of my Connect the Dots podcast goes into more detail and includes free downloadable documents to create your own personas (and includes interview questions!).
Create content for your ideal audience to know, like and trust you Prospects who are familiar with your brand are more likely to connect with you. It's important that once you define your audience and you're creating content that resonates with them, you start building trust so they will eventually buy from you. You do this by sharing content about who you are (great to do this via video so they can start with seeing people vs. an image), how you solve problems like theirs (great to do this by sharing customer stories, showing your personality) so they can start to like you then provide insights into behind-the-scenes content, how to videos, etc. so they can start to trust you. Most people regardless of industry or position need to trust a brand before buying their solution. Trust is built over time so it's important to plan content at least a month ahead of time, 3-month rolling content calendar is ideal (which you can download from Ep 23).
Include a call-to-action (CTA) A call-to-action is the 'act now!', 'call this number', 'click this link to learn more' type verbiage you see in ads, hear in TV commercials or see on social media posts. Now not ALL your posts should include a CTA - only those that makes sense to keep the journey moving beyond the platform you're posting. When you include a CTA, make it relevant and determine if you want the action to happen on the existing platform like 'If you need help with this send me a DM and let's chat!' on LinkedIn or 'I created a list of business tools for small and mid-size businesses to refer to. To see the list and download the spreadsheet, click the below link.' then I include the link and direct interested people to the page on my website that explains the document or directly to the link to download the doc (no email requested). The difference between these actions depends on if you want to continue the user experience beyond the post to something on your website (a webinar perhaps) or just to engage your audience and learn more about them on the existing platform.
Encourage engagement Encouraging engagement can be done on any social media platform. It involves asking a question in your post - either at the beginning to attract and keep them reading your post or at the end to continue the discussion. An example, while you're on LinkedIn, at the end of your post include a question to encourage comments 'Have you experienced this? Let us know in the comments below!' or a post talking about podcasts ask 'What's your favorite podcast to listen to and why?' Asking a question gets people thinking about your topic and encourages them to share their thoughts. helps you determine who likes your content and their comments show up in their feed which often times leads to expanding your audience to a group you couldn't previously reach.
Tag brands and people mentioned, cite sources A great way to engage others and to build trust is to tag people and brands. Now, this does not mean to tag a bunch of people on a post or in your comments just for the sake of tagging people. What I'm referring to is if you're talking about Libsyn (my podcast host which I love using!) and podcast stats in your post, tag Libsyn and cite your source to build credibility. Often times, I'll include a link in the comments to a source I've referenced - and I've been asked to do that as well when I did not include it in my post. People want validation on data, stats and experiences. This is important if you want to build trust with your target audience. Depending on the brand and how social savvy they are, they may like or comment on your post as well.
There are a lot of ways you can increase your conversion of prospects with your social media content. These are only 5 ways that I've used and also used with customers.
What experiences have you had with engaging your audience on social media? I'd love to hear from you! Share on your social platform of choice and tag me @vickioneill on all platforms except Facebook which is @VickiONeillCom.
If you've tried these or are beyond frustrated, let's chat firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes talking it out creates clarity.
Would you rather call or connect on your preferred social media platform? I'm on most of them which are listed in the footer. Or check it out on my Contact page, let's connect then chat!
Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio with over 20 years of marketing leadership experience. She's the founder of KenKay Marketing, a marketing solutions company founded in 2011. Vicki hosts Connect the Dots a marketing and sales educational podcast for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. She recently launched a new podcast with her Gen Z daughters, The Power of 3X, to help individuals who want to learn about the youngest generation. You will find Vicki on most social media platforms but you'll find her mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.