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How to get started in Social Media

Entrepreneurs talk about how they got started in Social Media - it's not as hard as you may think!
I started my business through being fascinated with social media. So I’ve naturally tended to want to test and experiment with new social media tools as they’ve come along. So six months ago, it might have been Meerkat and Periscope, and now it’s Facebook Live. So I do tend towards being curious about them, and that’s how our clients learn about them through our own testing and experimenting. I don’t always recommend that for every small business person, because they’ve got many hats they’re wearing already. The real thing that’s crystallized for me more recently is that I have found the best tool that works for our business for our marketing. And that tool, social media tool, is LinkedIn.
So we do a lot of publishing through LinkedIn. I’ve got posts or articles that I put through my own personal profile. And then if I include influencers that would be interested in that topic, then they will spread it through their network. And that ends up by getting a lot more people that are my target market having a look at now thought leadership and also engaging with our services.
So I’ve tried a lot of different things with our online marketing, especially having consulted in social media for many years. And what I found is that you can spend a lot of time creating content, so photos, photos with quotes, words to say. You can do a lot of that. And it doesn’t always give you the return. So it’s really good to be mindful of both the price of things. So Facebook advertising, what are you spending dollar-wise? And also, it’s important to look at resource-wise. So for you personally, how much time are you spending on these things that you could be spending on other things that could be getting you more business or more sales?
Learning about different social media tools, there’s as always really great resources, like Mashable or Gary Vaynerchuk is a great expert in sales-led social media. So the things that actually convert. So he’s got really great YouTube videos, short clips that he does. There’s other courses like General Assembly or [INAUDIBLE] or others that you could have a look into, to be able to coach yourself on that. But oftentimes, you can get a lot just from free blogs online.
OK. So in terms of social media, it’s fantastic for continually connecting with clients. We focus on it quite a bit. There’s a couple of different platforms that we use. Really concentrated on using Instagram and Facebook, because they visually allow us to show off our product. Something like Instagram really stood out, because it was literally all about imagery. So it was all about presenting good quality imagery first, which is as true to them as they would be seen in print. So the great thing about digital media, and my favorite thing about digital media, is that it’s trackable. And you can see what people are doing and where they’ve come from.
So we use things like analytics and different apps and whatnot to track our social. In the beginning, there were lots of workshops and things available for me to do. But as I got a better understanding, I found there were less and less courses or workshops available, so then I tended to hire consultants for maybe a half day or a day to work very specifically on specific things I felt like were gaps. But something I did learn from that is that the benefit of scheduling and planning, because that actually saves you the time and allows you to do it effectively, rather than try and do it haphazardly, which takes up a lot of time.
If you’re trying to figure out what kind of content to do on the spot and what to post and where to post it, social media and digital marketing can take over. And you do have to think about the return on investment in terms of time.
When starting off in social media, it is important to understand what you are trying to achieve by having a social media presence. For example, are you trying to gain leads, sales, capture data, improve your market position, or change consumer behaviour?
It’s also important to understand that the conversion on the internet is very low. It has been reported that conversion is less than 2% of those people who you expose your message to – so how do you achieve your objectives when conversion is so low?
Think about how you are going to inspire, incentivise and/or motivate your potential customers to buy your products or services that your online business is offering.
Allow customers or potential customers to engage with you in three ways:
  1. Self-expression – ensure they are able to comment on content and that it resonates well with them.
  2. Personalisation – allow the target audience to engage and interact and understand how your brand interacts with them in their daily life. Consider how easily your target audience can embed video content into their own site and share it.
  3. Community– when your target audience shares information about your business with their friends, this is a just as much about them as it is your business. Provide them with the opportunity to have a starring role when interacting with your brand.
When you’re thinking about your digital marketing campaign and involving social media, think about email, social ads, off-line, online display, SEM, and SEO as all leading your target audience to your website.
You’ll also need to question what constitutes value for your business. For example, if your target audience visits your website is that of high value to you? Or is it when they revisit your website that they become more valuable? Or maybe it’s when they sign up for your newsletter? Or are they even more valuable when they start browsing your product/service offerings and download a brochure? Or is the value of audience engagement purely when they buy your goods?
For each one of these actions be prepared to offer something to your target audience that will bring them back and move them through the funnel and make them as valuable as possible in order to convert them to a sale.
Reflect on the three ways you can engage your target audience using self expression, personalisation and community.
Share an idea with other learners of how you might use just one social media tool to achieve either self-expression, personalisation and community in a campaign.
Post your thoughts in the Comments area. Don’t forget to mention if your idea relates to self-expression, personalisation or community.

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Online Business: Digital Marketing for Success

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