Growing any Business with Social Media – Skills2Money

I’m hoping that if you’ve gotten this far into the Skills2Money series I don’t really have to explain why social media can be of value to you in marketing your business online.

For those of you who are new here, the Skill2Money is a series that I began about 2 months ago to help small businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and freelancers use the power of the web to market their businesses using social media.

That said, here’s what social media can do:

  • Greatly boost your audience for news and other content
  • Benefit your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts
  • Allow you gain credibility, connect with other members in your field that care about what you do, know and have to share
  • Let your content spread around the web, so you can serve all your clients, sell more products and find more clients, thus marketing your business

I’m gonna be blunt here though. People are not spending time on your website, not even your parents visit your website to check on what you’re doing, but there are places where they are spending a lot of time online.

Some of these websites include, Facebook (duh!), Twitter, LinkedIn, Meetup, etc… All these websites are visited by millions of prospects, clients, and family, that’s why social media is becoming the most powerful tool to connect and keep your company/service/products on the top of mind.

Since social media is an inbound form of marketing, that means people give you permission to send them updates about you when they opt-in, or subscribe to your website; it’s more efficient than the old school outbound form of marketing. ( TV, radio, trade shows, etc… )

Note: This doesn’t mean that you should stop doing the traditional style of marketing if it’s working for you, but you should add it to your marketing mix.

Create a Social Media Plan, and Attack it!

It’s important to set some guidelines when you’re first getting started with social media, because it’s easy to think you’re being productive while “tweeting” or “Facebook commenting” your day off.

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” Earl Nightingale

By having some goals you want to accomplish you’ll know how efficiently are you using social media and you can measure the success at the end of the day/week/month. If you don’t measure your social media marketing efforts you won’t know for sure if the time and resources spent was worth the opportunity cost.

Establishing the Guide for Efficient Social Media Workflow

Use a tool to Schedule

If you’ve been actively reading all my posts, I wrote a post on some powerful twitter tools, you can pretty much use any of those free and paid tools to schedule your posts, and tweets.

The benefit of this is you don’t have to be stuck to your computer all day long waiting for the right time to tweet, or publish your post on your blog.

Another positive thing about scheduling your posts for your blog is, you don’t have to play the “catch up” game.

Running a business and running a blog take time specially if you’re writing epic content, so it’s a good thing to have a buffer in case you’re to busy to post for the day because you got sick or you run up on that occasional writers block with little or no inspiration to write.

Understand where social media fits in your content spreading plan

So you wrote the post, now what? You’ll probably tweet it, put it on your Facebook fan page right? Well, there’s more that you can do. Once posted, you can keep the conversation going on with that post by answering comments on all platforms, allowing the content to keep spreading and also building stronger relationships with the community.

Monitor your web footprint and set times

You can just hire a social media manager and have them monitor all day long what’s being said about you, but I doubt there will be much if you’re just starting to build a online presence.

But no matter the size of your digital footprint I still think you should check your tweets using TweetDeck or Hootsuite, answer questions on your LinkedIn group, and check your Facebook fan page for any questions or mentions or any platform that you’re on.

I recommend you use Google Alerts, it free and it allows you to receive alerts for whatever keyword or phrase you choose to monitor automatically to your email.

How to Engage & Self-Promote

Going on Twitter every day and updating your status with something similar to this:

bad-twitter-etiquette

you’re not engaging, you’re doing outbound marketing, and people don’t like that, here’s a tip, THAT IS NOT engaging. If you think potential customer will just start flocking to you, think again, because this isn’t very social.

I’m not saying the latter won’t work, but you need some basic guidelines first, so when it’s the time to self-promote your followers receive your message well, don’t go running away. Here are some guidelines:

Listen, Listen, Listen, Give, Give, Give

Follow those you’re interested in listening, set up columns and streams for key phrases and fields you’re an expert in. If you can provide your two cents, go for it. And don’t forget to offer your own opinion.

Helping others

I’m a big believer in the saying, help people get what they want and you’ll get what you want. If people tweet something worth sharing, go ahead and share it with your followers. You’re in a good position to share resources that help people.

Quality over Quantity

Yes tweeting away isn’t a great strategy to build relationships or engagement. I rather have a conversation and connect. Ask question, respond to comments. Always, always talk back to them, but ignore the negative people. (Yes, I know some of you will disagree)

Be You

I don’t think you need an explanation on this, or do you? What I mean is just let your personality shine through in your tweets, updates, and posts.

Deciding to add more value than you promote will return good results. Some people I know use the 90% give 10% promote ratio or the 12 to 1 ratio, you choose what works, ABT, always be testing. Different fields are more lenient to self-promotion.

Look for Groups

Biggest reason social media and social media networks are so great is that they’ve made it extremely easy for groups of people interested in a particular idea or hobby to connect.

If you’re into “Teletubbies” I guarantee you there’s someone out there already talking about it. Whatever your field, industry, passion, hobby, or market is there’s a conversation going on.

If you find where the conversation is happening, join it, share your opinion, thoughts and expertise, this can help you gain relationships and credibility.

While you’re at it, you’ll increase the number of Twitter followers, Facebook page likes, and people who share your content. Where do I find these groups you ask? You’re probably already familiar with most of these.

LinkedIn Groups

Recently I watched two of my favorite social media pros (Laura Roeder & Lewis Howes) do a seminar on LinkedIn and I got some much insight and knowledge on the power of groups it’s crazy if you’re not leveraging this platform.

Facebook Page & Groups

It’s so easy to find groups and page, check it out:

social-media-groups

social-media-pages

  • Seth Godin — 132k likes
  • Harry Potter — 35.1 million likes
  • Paulo Coelho — 50k likes
  • Porsche — 2 million likes

Twitter’s search, hashtag, lists and trending topics

Yes you could use TweetDeck, Hootsuite or 8 different Twitter tools, but search.twitter.com will do the job too. If you use this basic feature you can see in real time what people are saying on any single term.

twitter-search

A popular feature from Twitter people often use on their tweets is the Hashtag (e.g. #keyword), it’s basically a way to create a conversation on a certain topic.

twitter-trending-topics

Twitter lists can be created by any user and pretty much anyone can follow them as long as the list owner hasn’t made it private.

FInd and Connect with the Right People

I’m sure you know that not every person in social media is an influencer. Only a small percentage are able to engage with other and persuade thousands to share their ideas easily. And I’m not saying you can’t become like them.

If you can work as hard as they did to get there, build trust and credibility and followers by interacting regularly, you’ll get there, but it takes work. If you want to grow your content marketing ideas, you need to improve your own influence, and this takes time.

For those of you who aren’t there yet, the trick is to get the top influencers in your field to support you.

It really is awesome when someone well know “Retweets” or “Likes” your content and shares it with their community.

Not only is a confidence booster, but it helps you get connected to another group of people that would probably would have never heard about you if that influencer had never done that. Out of just one Retweet or like you could end up getting more RSS subscribers, traffic to your website, sign-ups to your newsletter, sales, whatever it’s all positive most of the time.

In the and your influence grows too, because you rubbed shoulders with an influencer.

A quick way to find out who the influencers in your niche or industry are is to use a tool called Klout.

They analyze like 25 factors to determine and rank Facebook and Twitter users by how influential they are. For example, in the following screenshot you can see what some of the top marketing influencers are:

Klout

And like the marketing tag, there’s pretty much a tag for any field you might be interested in.

Make it a Different Experience

Most of the social networks have customizable capabilities to allow your profiles to differentiate from the rest. Let’s take the big elephant, Facebook. For sure one of the most flexible to make a one of a kind and engaging experience via customization.

First, if you’re a small business, have a product or you’re a freelancer, you want to reap the benefits of the Facebook Fan Page, and use it as a marketing tool.

fan-page-benefits

If you analyze successful Fan Pages you can see it’s not just posting updates. You should have a strategy in place for building a community, building your funnel, and improving your conversions.

One of the things people want to do first is grow their “likes” to their Fan page because it mean people are signing up to receive your updates. There is some design skill required to tweak your page to better align it with your goals.

Here are a few tips on how to use Facebook’s tools to improve your Facebook Fan Page:

  • Have a “welcome” page
  • Use branding on your profile photo on your logo
  • Tie in your blog to your page
  • Use the photo strip on the top to promote your services or products

You should analyze your analytics of your Facebook page as you do your Google Analytics and optimize and test for better conversion.

You can use Fan Page Insights to watch the data on each post. They can tell you which posts are getting the most engagement, where people are coming from, and what they’re doing with your content.

Remember Rome wasn’t Built in a Day

So this concludes this article that will hopefully give you an idea of how to grow your offline business with social media. As you can see there’s a lot of work that goes into really growing your business online.

Are you trying to build your business leveraging the web? Tell us how you’re doing it. If you’re not there yet, ask me a question. Leave a comment!

One More Thing…

Now here’s what I want you to do…

As you know, I spend a ton of time researching, testing, and writing post like this for you.

If you could help me out by sharing this on Twitter or Facebook, I’ll do the same for you.

(Note, if this is your first time here, make sure you sign up for the email list. You don’t want to miss out on this content :-D )