We regularly talk about what social media can do for your business. Ask a typical ‘digital marketer’ or a ‘social media guru’ what social media can do for your business and they will throw out a load of buzzwords and tell you it will increase traffic and sales.
Most of the content I write talks about what social media can do for you and how to use social media to build an online presence and enhance your brand. I love social media and the impact it can have on a business. Living in 2016, if you are a business owner not using social media then you are leaving money on the table.
The problem is that there are a lot of people out there calling themselves digital marketers who are desperate to sell themselves to companies so they can work on their social media and their content. As a result, these so called digital marketers tell business owners about everything social media could do, they preach to business owners about more sales and increased traffic.
Business owners are now being left with the idea that they too can find that “viral success” which will propel their business to new heights and they are making the assumptions that it is easy. Marketing your business on social media is easy…right?
Lets take a real look at things, lets dispel the myths and cut through the buzzwords. Here is what social media won’t do for you.
Social Media Will Not Turn You Into An Overnight Success
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, social media is not going to propel you to stardom in a few days, weeks or even months. You won’t launch a Twitter profile on Monday and be popular by Friday.
You won’t get a bunch of new sales and leads just because you register a social media profile. You won’t get book deals, you won’t be asked to appear on TV shows. The world won’t start spinning a different way just because you decided to put your business on social media.
Customers are not going to all of a sudden come and find you and start buying your product. Social media is time consuming, you are going to have to commit a certain number of hours to it every single day.
Selling on social media is different to selling face to face or selling over the phone. You sell by building a brand, building brand awareness, growing an audience and becoming established as an authority figure in your industry. How do you do that?
You spend time creating and sharing content. Written, audio or video, whatever you feel has the best leverage for your platform. It takes time to find your audience, build it and then establish yourself. How much time? Well that depends how hard you hustle at it. Move fast and you could be getting solid leads in around 5-6 months time.
Those people who find viral success don’t plan for it. Any social media strategy that has the word “viral” in it should be red flagged and labelled as junk. Viral content is a combination of the right content, at the right time and ultimately a whole bunch of luck.
You don’t plan for viral content, if it happens then it happens. On top of that, most content that goes viral is entertainment. A funny video of an animal or a funny photo that gets transformed into a meme. Not a whole lot of businesses will find viral success simply because these things won’t have much to do with your business anyway.
So if you expect to jump on the social media train and start making sales and building brand presence and awareness just like that because you are now “there” – well it is a little more than delusional.
You need to decide what you want from social media. From a business perspective you want to see ROI, well that won’t always come directly in the sales figures. You also need to look at your brand presence and awareness. Build brand equity through content that provides value to the consumer and has a right hook at the end which can push them down a funnel to convert. That is how you get the sale on social in a nutshell.
Now doing it and putting the time in and having the patience. That is where a lot of you start to fall over and begin to fail. Stick with it, it could take the guts of a year before you start seeing returns.
Provide A Platform For The Right Hook
Any Gary Vee fans out there will know what the right hook is. The right hook is when you ask someone to look at buying your product. Note, I say ask! You don’t tell people what to do on social media, that won’t sit well with anyone.
Social media is not going to have you selling outrageous levels of stock. Sure it can get you sales leads and it can help you to move people into a funnel on a website so you can get them to convert. However the key to all this is in the word: “social”.
You have to talk to people, you have to build a brand by getting involved in discussion, conversation and grow a relationship with the audience. The problem is that so many people don’t want to do that because they are crying about the effort they now have to put in on social media.
When it was just print, radio and TV it was easy. You put together a few marketing campaigns, ran each one for a few months and then went back to what was a success and ran a modification of that one again. The consumer had no voice, they had no choice but to consume the content and as a result it was easy to do business.
Now your customers are more educated, they have a voice, they can challenge your company and your content. That scare the hell out of businesses because now it means they have to work at it, they have to actually engage and build relationships with people.
If you go onto a platform and start posting, “SALE!” or “BUY NOW!” or “AVAILABLE TODAY!” then you are quickly going to find yourself in real trouble. Those sales pitches you use when you are on the phone or at someones door trying to sell? They won’t work here, you will quickly alienate your audience.
You need to share your content, share your story and develop a personable brand that people want to connect and engage with. People buy from people. You need to rethink how you sell when you log onto social media. People are not going on to buy, they are going on to socialise and connect.
That doesn’t mean you can’t drive sales. What it means is you need to create good content that provides value and that has a real right hook at the end to convert.
Fixing A Bad Product
I was asked by someone at Tech Connect Live last week about marketing their startup product. What would I recommend they do before they start looking for publicity and before they start looking to spread the word.
The first thing you have to do is make sure that your product is exactly where you want it to be before you start marketing it to anyone. You can have the best marketing and PR on the planet, it won’t fix a bad product.
If you go on to social media with an unfinished product you know what happens? You essentially give people a platform to discuss how much your product sucks.
Fix the product before you promote anything. On top of that, social media won’t fix a bad reputation. If you are known for being a shitty business already then social media is just going to be a platform for people to attack you on.
If you have a stellar reputation, just because you go on social media that won’t mean your reputation will stay as good as it is. If you go on and are arrogant or ignore customers on social media then your reputation will suffer the consequences.
Don’t Be Scared Of Social Media
As I said at the start, I have discussed at length, the pros of social media and what social media can do for your business. This is a reality check.
You won’t magically grow overnight, you won’t start generating hundreds of sales and leads. You won’t fix a bad reputation and you won’t be able to push hard sales onto people because now they have a voice.
Social media can absolutely have a massive impact on your business provided you go into a plan with realistic expectations and a commitment to drive social media and content.
Content is how you sell online. Executing a solid social media plan means you can reap the rewards of being on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. However don’t be fooled, it is not easy, it is time consuming and it requires commitment.