Social media is an effective promotional tool, and a solid form of engagement. But no one said it was easy. In fact, for many of us it quickly spirals into an unending source of aggravation. There is such a heavy crowd to push through, and it can feel like you are drowning in a sea of louder voices. How will you ever establish your brand with so many others trying to do the same on the social sphere?
Believe it or not, you can create a social strategy that makes money, but still manages to be stress-free. Really.
The No-Sell Fallacy
First of all, I want to address the elephant in the room. For years now experts have been claiming that the social web has nothing to do with selling. They say that trying to sell on through social media weakens brand engagement.
In fact, many experts blame Twitter's continued failings in creating social storefronts on this very idea. People, they maintain, want to use social media to socialize. Nothing more.
But if that were the case, they wouldn't be following brands on social media in the first place. They would be exclusively interacting on a personal level. And why would brand be bothering to try and target that audience, if there was no selling potential involved?
Social media may not be a direct selling platform (although in many cases it is!) but it is an important lead generator that allows for click-driven conversions on your website. So let's put the haters aside, and agree that there is at least a correlation between social and sales.
With that out of the way….
Optimize for Asset Building from Day One
I've seen this happen too often: Businesses getting into social media marketing for no particular reason, simply because their competitors did.
This is the first step to getting confused, overwhelmed and ultimately stressed.
Social media marketing should have clearly defined goals, maybe not direct sales (since these will require some experience) but definitely tangible objectives to define the ultimate ROI and help you identify best-working tactics while abandoning futile ones.
Email list is the perfect asset you can build up using social media marketing.
Set up your lead generation landing pages and forms on day 1 and constantly analyze which of your social media activities bring more results. GetResponse is my favorite tool for that because it unites so many online marketing tools under one roof:
- Landing page builder
- Email list management
- Powerful web analytics
- Conversion tools (e.g. Shopping cart recovery)
- Marketing automation letting you engage your subscribers most efficiently using workflows
Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin
One of the major rules for social media engagement is that you should target every platform. But not only does this add a ton of stress, it doesn't work! Major brands with whole teams of experts will manage those profiles, and they have the budget to back up huge amounts of advertising to bring the users to their space.
If you want to up your success and down your stress, you should be focusing on a single platform. Each has their pros:
- Facebook - Wider appeal with more content space and lots of interaction.
- Twitter - Quickfire and open, with the ability to better utilize hashtags.
- LinkedIn - Connect directly to professionals, or engage in B2B marketing.
- Reddit - Form a community through a subreddit, and take advantage of an insulated environment.
- Pinterest - Keep things visually driven.
Once you settle on a platform that works best for what you are offering, you can dedicate yourself to it. All while avoiding dangerous splits in your focus.
Go With Quality, Not Quantity
I think we have had it drilled so far into our heads that we have to be constantly posting on social media to make it that we haven't noticed the fact that it doesn't work. Seriously, think of those constantly updating social media pages. They have a ton of followers, but when does anyone interact with them?
Your strategy needs to be more focused. So you should settle on posting maybe once or twice a day, unless you are engaging with someone one-on-one. Or just as much as you have something to say that will be of value.
As far as sharing links goes, feel free. But remember your social media profile isn't a place to dump links to new blog posts or products. It is a platform for genuine communication. Temper your links with real engagement.
Know What Promotion Tools Your Platform Offers
Facebook used to be king for contests. Now giveaways are so strictly defined and regulated that many brands shy away from them.
Twitter was a great place to send messages, but now mass DM's are largely considered spam if send by a page without solicitation.
Instagram used to be a promotional dead zone, but now they are becoming well known for their advertising options.
LinkedIn was once a spam land, but now InMail guarantees ways to get a hold of connections, in a way that optimizes their chances of clicking.
In addition, the budgeting system used for a certain platform's advertising might allow you more leeway, and control over your campaign. Which is only going to mean less stress for you.
Combine Platforms When You Can
As I mentioned before, you should be focusing on one social platform for engagement. But occasionally there will be overlap that improves your responses. For example, you can post something on YouTube and then post that link on Facebook. Two communities, two networks, but more effective when working together. Use social media marketing tools to make your life easier.
While you should be putting most energy into a single profile, if you have a content based platform you are using, try and integrate it as much as possible. That includes other forms of media, like podcasts, Slideshare presentations, infographics, etc.
Think of networks like YouTube and Pinterest as potential extensions of your social marketing strategy, and the primary tool you have selected.
Connect To Exclusive Content
This is my favorite tactic, because it seamlessly combines content and social strategies. You create a landing page for some exclusive content, such as an ebook. Or you can offer an exclusive coupon code. To get that content they have to subscribe to your email mailing list. You post the landing page on social media and hype up your content.
Now you have a growing email marketing list! Send newsletters, launch a drip campaign, let them know about sales, etc. From there you can bring it back to social by encouraging them to share, like, or follow in the emails.
Make Money, Without The Stress!
Social media takes work and time, and that can be frustrating. Especially if you aren't getting the results you had hoped for. But don't lose hope! With a little bit of tweaking and a more direct focus towards strategy, you can build a campaign that makes you money, without making you want to tear your hair out.
Do you have a tip on money making social marketing, that also happens to be stress-free? Let us know in the comments!
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com