Have you been on Facebook for any length of time?
If you have, you know they’re making it more and more likely that your audience won’t see your posts. That is, of course, unless you pay them some money.
Guess that’s why Facebook is worth $350 billion (plus) right now, isn’t it?
And many other social networks have followed through on that too. Twitter’s been doing it. LinkedIn has paid advertising options.
They’re not as aggressive at forcing you to use those. But, it’s there.
So with organic reach falling on social media sites, what can you do? How do you reach your audience without having to fork over a small fortune for it?
Here’s some ideas:
1. Spend More Time Actively Promoting
With organic reach becoming less of an option, you can spend more time promoting your content on social media and building partnerships. For example, you could reach out to other Facebook page owners and offer to share their content if they share yours.
You can also like and comment on other pages, contributing value.
2. Spend More Time Creating Content
Several years ago, you could create almost any kind of content and get some attention for it. Now, you don’t get nearly as much attention if you do the same level of work.
So, you can get around that by creating more useful content. Find out what’s in your niche, and top it. Then, promote like crazy.
3. Work on Building Your List
Your email list gives you a lot of control you don’t get other places online. You can’t control Google’s algorithm and how it ranks you. You can’t control what Facebook does. But, you can control what you do once you have people on your email list.
You have their undivided attention.
4. Look at Less Costly Options
Reddit, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and many other similar websites offer low-cost advertising. Remember, the biggest name will always cost the most and have the most competition.
If you know what you’re doing on Facebook, that’s fine. But if you don’t, try somewhere else less costly first.
If you like to talk with others and network, a podcast could be a great idea for marketing. After years of existence, podcasts areÂ finally gaining widespread use.
Remember, Facebook’s only going to do what’s possible to continue growing their revenue. So, if you don’t like their costs, you’ll have to get creative and find ways to keep your audience’s attention.
A handful of “influencers” dominate social media in just about any online niche. You’ve seen those blogs with hundreds of shares, dozens of comments, and they seem to get that kind of activity on every post.
The truth is that’s hard for almost everyoneÂ to pull off. In most cases, just a few of the top blogs get that kind of activity. And the rest get next to none.
But if you could build a relationship with those powerful bloggers, you could get your product in front of a huge audience. That would mean many more sales nearly instantly. And it could mean a lot of customers over the long-term too.
But how do you get another blogger to promote your product? You can greatly improve your chances using the process below:
1. Don’t Do What Everyone Else Does…
The vast majority of business owners try to build these relationships in ineffective, self-centered ways. For example, they’ll send a single e-mail asking the blog or website owner if they’re interested in promoting the product.
That’s it. And that tactic doesn’t work. That’s because blog owners want you to find something important about them first.
So follow the steps listed ahead instead.
2. First, Do These Things
Your chances of building a successful relationship with an influencer skyrocket when you give value to them in some way first. You could mention them in your blog (but be sure to e-mail them and let them know about it).
Comment on their blog posts. But make comments that are of value. Don’t just say “Great post,” or,”I agree 100%.” If you do agree or think the post’s great, say why. Then, add a little of your own viewpoint.
Like, share, and mention their name in social media.
After you do that for a while, then you’ve positioned yourself well for an ask.
3. Focus on an Enriching Relationship for Your Targeted Influencers
In #2, you learned what to do. Now, you just need to keep that up and find more creative ways to build your relationship over time.
Anyway you can add value – whether it’s for them personally or their audience, that’s a win. And if you ever get any response from them without asking for it, that’s huge.
Keep doing that, and you will succeed. Remember, most people ask nearly immediately. And that burns the bridge because they’re only looking to get what they can right away.
When you follow that simple strategy over time, you will build relationships with influencers. Some work out. And some don’t. Stick to those principles though, and you’ll score some big wins.
How many marketing channels do you work?
Count up your social media profiles.
Add in your website.
Do you have a newsletter?
Oh, and now Periscope and Peach are 100% essential too…
Well, actually, I made that last part up.
But, you get the point.
You have a lot of places you have to be present online.
What’s the key to making it all work the best so you get the most sales?
Actually, here’s a few:
An inconsistent messaging approach across various channels drives your customers bonkers. They get confused. And they’re less likely to buy when that happens.
Managing so many channels at once is challenging. But, the words you use on each and every channel need to be consistent so customers have a similar experience on all.
Your branding and logo must be consistent as well.
2. One Person Oversees it All
It doesn’t matter who does it…but it needs to be the same person. You can have a team of people underneath that person.
But, they must have very clear standards in place. And they must review the marketing work done.
What would your marketing be without analytics? Having a difficult time tracking what’s going on? Find a way to make it happen. You need to know what your audience responds to.
Let your data tell you what to do. If a certain channel doesn’t seem to make sense for your business, drop it from your marketing mix and gain focus.
4. What’s your Budget Per Channel?
Every channel costs time and money. And each channel has paid advertising methods available too. Create a budget for each one, and stick to it.
5. Respond toÂ Everything
Every social channel has options to notify you automatically by e-mail of comments, shares, likes, and so on. Make sure you respond to every comment.
With shares and likes, respond strategically (because you’ll get too many of those to work on) to ones from influential customers. And do it publicly so other customers can see you care about those you sell to.
6. How Will You Make Everything a Two-Way Interaction?
Promotion is the first key…just get theÂ value out there so customers have a reason to pay attention to you.
The next step? Actually interacting with your fans.
It’s extremely difficult to get comments going.
But, once you have your audience engaged, you’ve won 90% of the battle of getting them to purchase.
You can always research your competitor’s marketing channels to see how they do it.
So, those are your 6 keys to digital marketing success. Put ’em in action today and watch your profits skyrocket out of control.
Do you know your customers?
Alex Turnbull, CEO at Groove (an online help desk software), wasted $50,000 building a product his customers didn’t want.
He writes one of the more compelling blogs online. The blog details Groove’s journey from $0 to $500k in monthly recurring revenue.
One of theÂ things he would do differently would be to,”Spent a lot less time building, and a lot more time listening.”
What entrepreneur of any kind doesn’t want to start building almost immediately? Can you relate to his mistake?
That’s part of the fun of business. You take ownership. You get to build it. But building it with little knowledge of what your customer wants is a big mistake.
Just like Alex, you can waste a lot of time and money making something that ultimately nobody wants. So that’s why, unless you know your customer quite well in the beginning (maybe because you are the customer), you want to spend so much time listening and getting to know your customer.
How Can You Get to Know Your Customer?
For the most part, customers don’t tend to tell you what they really think. It’s scary for them to be honest. They don’t know how that will affect the service you give them. So most hide their true feelings.
What really happens is they have either a good or bad experience and then post about it on Facebook. Or they tell their family and friends in real life.
The Easy Way to Get to Know Your Customer
When you have a customer give you any kind of feedback, good, bad, or indifferent, take that seriously. Because that means likely several hundred more customers think the same thing.
If it’s something they like that you did well, make a written note of it and include it in your marketing more. If it wasn’t such a good thing, ask them how they’d like you to fix it, and see if there’s a way to permanently solve that problem.
You will get the occasional insane customer or two. So, carefully consider the circumstances of their complaint or situation when deciding how seriously to take it.
Let Your Customers Post Reviews
Reviews are a gold mine of customer information. For one thing, it’s easier to post what you really think versus actually telling someone. So you tend to get more truth with these.
And for another, you’ll see the same good and bad comments made over and over again. It’s easier that way to see what you really excel at, and what you need to improve.
The Hard Way to Get to Know Your Customer
Remember how your customers will likely tell everyone they know on Facebook about the good or bad things your company does?
Fortunately, CRM tools make it easier to do things the hard way. For just $20 per month, Batchblue monitors all kinds of information on your contacts, like their:
â€˘ Facebook activity
â€˘ Twitter activity
â€˘ Blog posting
â€˘ Flickr actions
So if they didn’t like something, you can find out about it and proactively approach them and give them a prompt resolution to their issue.
It’s harder. But anything that’s harder always produces better results for your business.
Are you missing out on the big marketing opportunity that is Pinterest?
Last September, Pinterest finally shared how many active users it has: 100 million!
While it’s no Twitter (320 million) or Facebook (1.55 billion), it does equal LinkedIn in terms of active use (400 million total users and 100 million active users).
So Pinterest is now a force to be reckoned with.
And if you have a business that in any way benefits from product visuals, it’s worth your time to at least start working on Pinterest to see if it’s a good fit.
So let’s take a closer look at Pinterest:
1. First of All, Should You Even Be on Pinterest?
According to this 2015 research from Pew, Pinterest’s key demographic stats are:
â€˘ An increase in usage by men. In 2013, about 80.4% of all users were female. In 2014, that fell to 76.3%. So still largely used by women. But male usage isÂ increasing.
â€˘ Women and men 18-64 use the social network regularly. People over 64 also use it, but at lower rates.
â€˘ People on Pinterest have healthy incomes. Adults with incomes ranging from less than $30,000 to more than $75,000 use the network regularly.
Do those criteria fit who you sell to? If so, Pinterest is worth a try for you.
2. The Best Way to Start the Relationship
Ask your community what they’d like on free content, and build it for them. Make sure it’s the best of its kind.
Give it to them. Repeat the process over and over to succeed.
Share the content on Pinterest. Put it on your website and make sure people can Pin it.
Have you heard this, or ideas similar to it, anywhere else on our blog before?
3. Consider a Contest
Contests and giveaways are high risk, high reward. You might get great results…or little at all.
Think about running one. But don’t view it as the “magic solution” that’s going to drive your business to the next level.
4. Another Content Sharing Technique to Remember
If you offer the product or a service related to it, share content that you made about it. If you don’t offer the product or service, share it from another resource.
5. Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Pinterest
Any social network can easily become a timesuck, consuming almost all of your time and giving you next to no value.
With Pinterest, you should be able to execute your strategy in 2-3 hours per week max. Spend your other marketing time trying out different techniques or social networks.
6. Remember, Pinterest Success Won’t Be Fast Either
You always hear those amazing stories of rapid success online. Don’t be fooled – it’s taken the authors of those stories years of trying and failing before succeeding.
Use Pinterest’s analytics to keep testing what works and what doesn’t. Run your own A/B tests on images.
You’ll slowly learn what keeps your audience happy over time.
Follow those steps, and watch Pinterest become a consistent pipeline of happy customers for you.
So you’re a true bootstrapping entrepreneur. You’ve got absolutely 0 connections you can leverage to start your Facebook campaign. And you’ve got no money, either.
And let’s make no secret about it: Facebook is making it harder to get your posts in front of more people so you have to pay them more money. And when you do that, they profit, and their stock price shoots up.
So should you build a Facebook page if you don’t want to spend any money advertising?
It still makes sense because you’re still getting your content in front ofÂ the right people. And there’s lots of talk that paying for advertising on Facebook isn’t all that effective for small businesses anyway.
So how do you build a thriving Facebook audienceÂ from scratch?
Here’s some tips:
1. Have the Most Useful Content in Your Niche
This is the bottom line for any company in any niche. Your content doesn’t need to be pretty or long (although these things help).
But it does need to be useful. Because if someone reads one piece of content you wrote, and they find it useful, they’re likely to come back again in the future to read more. And eventually, they’ll buy from you because your content stays top of mind, while everyone else gets forgotten.
So research your niche. Who gets the most social shares on their content?
Take their content and 10x it. If they have a top 10 list of ways to care for your patio furniture, make yours the top 100.
It makes you stand out. And promote the heck out of that content on your Facebook page.
2. Guest Curate Content for other Facebook Pages with Products/Services Complimentary to Yours
If you sell patio furniture, find a company that sells products for cleaning, storing, and maintaining patio furniture.
Then, you simply offer to find them 3-5 awesome content pieces each 1-2 times per month. The company should mention your name in the post.
Make sure the pages you do this for have at least 1,000 targeted likes or so. Oh, and thank Social Media Examiner for this tip.
And make sure the companies you do this for are complimentary to you and not competitors.
3. Curate the Heck Out of Content on Your Facebook Page
It’s completely okay to post your own content on your Facebook page. But, you need to have a lot of stuff coming from other third-party sources too.
Offer the most helpful content on the web in your niche at your Facebook page. That way, people have a reason to keep coming back to your page and not anyone else’s.
Organic Facebook Growth Isn’t Easy!
Remember, that nothing in online marketing is easy. People talk about online business being a great way to work from home and go on vacation all the time.
You can get there. But it takes an awful lot of work. It’s not as simple as buying a computer, starting a business, and watching the customers roll in.
With hard work though, you can become a successful online business owner.
It doesn’t get the attention of Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. But if you have a female market, it’s a social media outlet you can’t afford to pass up.
This infographic from Shopify claims the average order value from Pinterest customers is $50 – greater than what you get with any other social media network.
Lately, however, the male user base is experiencing growth. Pinterest gets used more by the mobile crowd. And the user base is expanding substantially into foreign countries.
So there may be more opportunities for you to tap into other markets both now and in the future.
1. Pinning May Be the Only Type of Social Media Post that Lasts Long-Term
You can post rich pins, which contain extra information on the pin itself. So that’s where your product information goes.
Down the road…the typical pin gets repinned 11 times. And half of the clicks and views it gets happen more than 3 months after you originally pin.
Now that’s long-term value you’re not going to see on any other social media network. Plus, you don’t have to pay for it.
All you need is some good old-fashioned sweat equity.
2. Your Boards Have to Evoke Emotion
So regardless of what kind of product you sell, don’t simply show pictures of the product on a table or white or gray background.
That’s better than nothing at all if that’s what you can produce.
But, at the end of the day, people buy because of an emotional attachment to your product. And they get attached by understanding your product has the solution to their problem.
So if you sell coffee, for example, show people engaged in lively conversation over cups of coffee. Or show someone wrapped up in a blanket at home on a cold winter day enjoying a warm cup of coffee.
Now that’s going to help your product sell.
3. Create a “How-To” Pin
Another way to connect with potential customers is to give “how-tos” featuring your product. That could be how to do something with Â your product so your customers get more out of it (good).
It could be how to maintain your product so they don’t have to pay for repairs (better). Or you could show how your product solves a certain problem they have (best).
4. Make Sure You Have a “Pin-It” Button On Your Site
Okay, so save the easiest for last here. But it’s often overlooked…and especially so for new store owners.
Make sure people have the ability to share your product to Pinterest if they want.
The easier and more obvious you make things, the more likely people are to take the action.
If Your Market’s on Pinterest, Don’t Ignore It in Your Marketing Plan
Pinterest is a $7 billion company…and it just got an additional $225 million in funding last year. It’s on the rise internationally.
So it makes sense to account for it in your marketing plan.
Should you be on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google+?
How much time should you dedicate to each?
Should you be on all of those sites?
These questions have tough answers that take years for you to figure out on your own.
So we’re here to help you know exactly what to do to get your social media strategy off the ground.
1. Start with Twitter
Facebook costs money to get started on. And it can cost lots of money if you want all your followers to see your posts.
On top of that, Facebook’s publicly traded now. So that means they have to find more ways to make money. And since they make a lot of money on advertising, you can bet costs won’t go down anytime soon.
It’s hard and long to get traction on Google+, and it may not be a social network anymore sometime in the future.
Pinterest is mostly women, and you don’t get followers as fast as you can on Twitter.
Young people are moving from Facebook to Instagram, and according to MarketingProfs, the other main demographics are marketing and IT professionals. So it has a rather limited audience.
By process of elimination, Twitter makes for the best place to start your marketing.
2. What Makes Twitter Such a Great Place to Start?Â
For starters, it’s easy to earn followers. Here’s what you do at a basic level:
â€˘ Start posting content not from you. About 80% of it shouldn’t be from you, but should be helpful to your followers. You can post as much or as little as you want if you follow that rule. Aim for 1-2 posts per day to start.
â€˘ Favorite and retweet your target market’s stuff, and things your followers will like. You’ll earn the majority of your followers this way.
â€˘ A few times per month, put out an advertisement that sends people to a landing page on your website.
That’s really all you need to do to start earning a good number of followers.
3. You Can Use Promoted Tweets to Target Specific Niches
Of course this will cost you money, between 50Â˘ and $4.00 per engagement (usually about 55Â˘ per click). But you will earn the most relevant followers to what you have to sell because of the available targeting options.
You can target people with specific interests, or even other user’s followers. So if you know you have a competitor with a relevant following, that’s an easy way to pick up customers targeted to what you sell.
At the End of the Day, Twitter’s Fast & Affordable
Starting out, you probably won’t have thousands of dollars to work on a social media strategy, or to hire someone else to do it. That’s what makes Twitter such a great asset in the beginning.
After you have a strong and engaged (more key than anything else) following, then you can start to build out your other social media profiles.
Stop paying attention to the time you spend on social media, and you’ll find most of it gone.
Social media works well for growing your customer base fast. But you need to make sure you use your time efficiently.
Instead of wandering the web for content ideas, use these sources to streamline your process:
1. Twitter Search & Lists
Pretty simple and straightforward here. Go to Twitter and use the “search box” in the upper right. People tweet and share so much that you have an endless number of pieces of content to share.
Sift through your sources carefully. Visit the website to make sure it’s quality content. Twitter has a varying range of quality.
Once you find good sources, add them to a “List.” When you visit that list, then you only see shares from people you have on that list.
Another easy one here. Visit Buzzsumo. Type in your targeted keyword. A list of content ideas come up. They’re ranked according to the number of social shares each gets.
So you know the top content is already liked and worthwhile to share.
3. Know the Content Leaders in Your Industry
It’s obvious when you visit their website. They have a gorgeous one. Many of their blog posts have a fair amount of social shares. This is as simple as bookmarking their site and visiting it each time you’re ready to share.
This one works well if you target a male customer interested in tech, under the age of 35, and with liberal political views. They have an above-average salary.
Reddit has sub-categories or “sub-reddits” specific to certain interests. So you can get plenty of content ideas there.
This website features the most popular blogs in many niches. And you get access to many of the blogs that float just below the radar.
So there’s lots of opportunity to find unique content ideas.
This app scans RSS feeds across the web. Simply visit the site, enter your topic, or click on one of the categories already present
7. Don’t Forget Your Own Stuff!Â
Follow the 80/20 rule on Twitter. 80% of your content should come from outside sources.
But 20% can come from you too!
Following this ratio makes your followers feel like you’re not trying to push your company on them and make a sale. Producing enough content to account for 20% of your tweets is hard.
But once you’ve built up a nice stack of blog posts, you can promote them repeatedly for months or years.
You Do Have Permission to Tweet Like a Maniac!
I’m 100% serious here. For example, Guy Kawasaki, a marketing influencer with 1.4 million Twitter followers, tweets 50 times per day. Each tweet goes out 4 times (once every 8 hours) to reach a wider audience.
Who can benefit from Facebook ads?
Every company can.
But, it’s not easy to do. Facebook’s a publicly traded company now, so they have to find ways to maximize revenues.
So, they’ve made it more difficult for business pages to get any kind of traction without spending.
When Should You Use Facebook Ads?
They work great in several situations:
1. When you try to grow your Facebook page from scratch
2. If you have a special promotion
3. To promote an event
4. To allow customers to claim an offer on your page
How Do You Use Facebook Ads?
What’s cool about Facebook ads is their targeting. You can target your audience with greater precision than any other online ad network.
That includes Google.
Once you’ve got a few hundred likes on your Facebook page, you have a community ready to be built and sold to.
Out of all the elements on your Facebook page, targeting is the most important. It’s the step you have to do right first to get your message in front of people who care.
If you shoot for the moon and go for as many people as possible, you’ll get lower conversion rates because people who care nothing for the message see it.
If you’re a local business, you can even target people by zip code!
Other tips for getting the most from Facebook ads:
1. Use An Image that Stands Out
Facebook lets you choose images for free from Shutterstock to use in your ads. Now, the thing is most of these are the same old boring stock photos.
And if you choose one of those, you won’t get the best results possible. You’ll notice colorful, vibrant images with people in more dramatic poses. You want images along those lines because they’re going to stand out when people see them in their feeds.
Your image carries the most weight in determining your ad’s overall success.
2. Use Engaging Ad Copy
What keeps your target customer/client up at night? Your ad headline and the copy must speak directly to that problem. That’s how you get and keep interest.
Your headline can be 25 characters long, and the body length 90 characters. However, if you scour the web, you’ll find people who’ve learned how to break these limits.
3. Customize Your Creative for Each Market SegmentÂ
There’s no better way to get a response than by creating ads for each product you have and targeting them to a specific audience. You’ll get the most sales that way.
Focus on the long-term. You’ll get some sales immediately. But it takes months to fine-tune your campaign. You’ll also want to engage the community you build up organically on your page…but that’s a conversation for another time.
Until then, hope you have amazing success!