Social media is one of the most important and influential business developments in modern history. It levels the playing field and is impressively scalable. So in this article, I want to show you exactly how to use social media and promote your business to stay relevant, build brand, increase engagement and make more sales.

There’s a good chance you’ve been using social media for your own personal life. And its application in business can represent core fundamentals of business and sales. 

That is, development and strengthening of the customer relationship and providing high-quality value to prospects. The only difference is the delivery method.

In fact, it’s now easier than ever to reach your ideal customers quickly and conveniently while setting up fully automated lead generation systems, marketing campaigns and 24/7 customer care and engagement strategies. 

How you ask? Well it can all start with social media and this article will be exploring these concepts in detail.

Outline

  1. The Long-Term Strategy
    1. Building Your Story, Brand & Followiing
    2. The Sales Funnel Process & Social Media’s Role
  2. The Short-Term Strategy
    1. Social Media Influencers & Collaborations
    2. Social Media Marketing & Post-Boosting
  3. Popular Platforms & How To Choose The Right One
  4. Bonus Tips & Tools
  5. Conclusion

Gary Vaynerchuck describes social media in this video as organic content that’s more like brand and PR for a business than anything else (06:13). 

So when you’re building your social media strategy, think about what you want the first impression to be for people who find you here.

*This post contains affiliate links, which I may receive compensation from. This is at no cost to you and lets me keep the lights on. Read more here…

1. The Long-Term Strategy

Building Your Story, Brand & Following

You should not build a social media channel with the sole intention of selling. 

Think about it, would you follow an account that was constantly advertising and trying to get you to buy something? Probably not. 

We follow brands and engage with their material because it’s educational, entertaining and/or interesting. We don’t follow people for their sales pitches.

Of course, occasionally posting offers and updates about your business is acceptable and expected, but you should do it strategically and when the timing is right (after you’ve built up a following and established trust and likability). 

So your first step to building your brand and following on social media is: 

  • Define Your Brand, Content Strategy & Objectives
    • There’s a lot of competition out there, so would you rather buy something from a general and basic business focused on sales or from a brand with a clearly defined image, intention and appeal
      • Here at The Advertiser’s Playbook, I’m creating a brand of freedom, flexibility and sales through online marketing
    • Your content strategy, objectives and brand can absolutely evolve and change as you develop more content and discover what resonates with your audience the most
    • So don’t stress about your first posts and attempts to grow and engage with your following – you will get better as you move forward, as long as you stay consistent and look at the data and follower engagement
    • When thinking about your content strategy and objectives, keep it simple and just decide whether you want to educateentertain or document
      • I cover this in greater detail below and in the next section
    • Then create content around that core objective and continually improve as you get better and gain more followers and trust
  • Create Engaging, Value-Adding Content
    • Check out your competitors and see what they’re doing that’s working
    • Then emulate their success with your own unique twist and brand
      • Of course, don’t just blatantly copy other people’s material
    • Create educational material, training content, tips and tutorials
    • Make interesting, day-in-the-life content, or behind-the-scenes videos
      • Create what makes the most sense for your business, social media goals and what you’re comfortable with or skillful at making
  • Use High Quality Images & Videos
    • You can use free tools like these:
      • Renderforest – easily create high-quality videos, animation, logos, websites and landing pages, all for free!
      • Pixabay – download and use unlimited, professional quality and copyright-free photos
      • Wave.Video – create high-quality, professional marketing and social media videos for free
      • Adobe’s Photoshop Express – a free app to edit photos and videos
    • Also check out these tools:
      • VSCO – awesome photo editing app
      • Canva – extremely simple design platform with advanced customization features and social media templates
      • Wordswag – create beautiful text overlay on your photos
      • Enlight – fantastic photo editing tool with advanced filters and expansive photo editing options
  • Use Video & Instagram Stories
    • You’ll probably have a mix of images and infographics also, but just remember that video tends to be more efficient, more effective and more engaging
    • Don’t stress too much about professional quality video either – a raw, unfiltered video can often appear more authentic and genuine than something heavily edited
  • Be Consistent, Strategic & Patient
    • Be sure to commit and post regularly
      • You won’t grow a following overnight
      • By consistently posting value-adding content and engaging with people online, you will grow
    • It’s better to have no social media profile than an inactive or sporadic one!
    • You can use tools like Tailwind or SocialPilot to easily schedule out your posts, completely automating the process
  • Be Real & Appeal to the Human Side
    • Remember the main keyword of social media –social
    • Be true to your brand, your image and the value you can provide people with
      • Are you naturally entertaining, or creative? Do that!
      • Are you naturally educational? Go with that!
      • Do you love documenting your business process and interviewing customers in fun and interesting ways? Do it!
  • Engage & Comment On Other Profiles & Posts
    • And not just once and done, or only occasionally
    • Find a profile or brand with a larger following and start engaging regularly with the people there by providing engaging, value-adding comments (don’t promote yourself here!)
    • People will start to take notice of you
    • Joining in the conversation gets you exposure and builds a relationship
  • Link, Integrate & Connect Your Platforms
    • If you have a website, put that URL in your Instagram; likewise, embed your Instagram link into your website
    • Be consistent and true to your message/brand/image across all platforms
  • BONUS: Create Blog-Style Content & Look Into Pinterest Promotion & SEO Strategies
    • See the Popular Platforms section below for more on this!

If you can stay strategic, consistent, patient and true to your brand while providing real, value-adding content, you will gain traction and build an engaged following.

Again, this is the long-term play, so regardless of any marketing or short-term methods you use, you should always be following long-term growth strategies like the ones listed above.

Recommended Watch: Jump Into The Mind of Multi-Millionaire & Social Media Marketing Guru Gary Vee

The Sales Funnel Process & Social Media’s Role

Within the business, sales and marketing matrix, where exactly should your social media strategy fit in? 

This is an interesting question to consider when you’re creating content and optimizing your social media for business purposes. Let’s take a look at a typical sales funnel:

Now let’s think about the role of social media, the intent of its users and how these points relate to your business’ sales funnel. 

First, let’s think about some more common business/marketing objectives:

  • Is your goal to create and increase engagement with your users?
  • Or is it to generate new leads?
  • Do you want to make more conversions and sales?
  • Or perhaps you just want to increase your brand awareness while boosting your credibility?

It’s definitely useful to align your business objectives with your social media – when possible.

However, whatever your business objective is, you should also remember that your social media strategies should err on the side of engaging and value-adding. 

If you build your following online, this will naturally create opportunity for new leads and supporters, engagement and reach and eventual conversions and sales.

Your social media content can be catered to all stages throughout your business and sales funnel.

It can be a place where you communicate with and strengthen the relationship of existing customers while also engaging with and connecting with new prospects in interactive and value-adding ways.

Social media tends to skew towards engagement, awareness and brand-building objectives. 

But if you want to focus exclusively on the selling of products and more of the marketing side of social media, then I recommend using strategies such as paid advertising or SEO for buyer intent.

Still then, you want to be adding value whenever possible (this is just marketing best practices).

So although selling too much or too often to your followers can result in negativity, poor growth and low performance, there are times when running promotions and exclusive discounts, sales or offers to your following can be appropriate. 

Just keep your content genuine. Make it human and engaging, educational and informative, or just fun and interesting. 

Although I’ve briefly touched on content strategies above, I’d like to revisit these points by showing how that content can be used within a sales funnel infrastructure:

  • Documenting & Insider “Sneak-Peaks”
    • Builds trust by showing your authentic, “human side”
    • Great for existing customers or middle-of-the-funnel, warmed up prospects
    • Provides a glimpse into your life and the raw, uncut reality of your work culture
    • For example:
      • If you’re a veterinarian, you could have a ton of animal-focused posts, before/after stories and user generated content
      • Or if you run a bike shop, you could create a range of posts from company-sponsored rides, races, before/after photos and customer spotlights
  • Informational Content – A Place to Broadcast Exclusive Updates & Deals
    • Perfect for bottom-of-the-funnel, existing customers and supporters that know and trust you already
    • Offering exclusive deals, offers and exclusive free value to followers
  • Entertainment
    • Great for top of the funnel marketing and to get new prospects
    • Sales is definitely not the focus here
  • Educational
    • Also great to generate new interest, followers and prospects but also works for middle-of-the-funnel, warmed up traffic
    • Push people closer towards a conversion by showing tips, tricks, solutions and hacks for your product, industry or something related to your target demographic’s problems or pain points

2. The Short-Term Strategy

Social Media Influencers & Collaborations

You may have heard about influencer marketing, but did you know that it’s a readily available option for almost any business to take advantage of? 

The trick here is to understand your target market and only use influencers (or micro-influencers) who’s followers fit within your own target demographic.

To find influencers and collaborations, you can use the following strategies and/or tools:

  • Hashtag Searches For Interests, Categories & Topics Related to Your Business
    • Find potential customers with a large and engaged/active following
    • Then follow these influencers and start consuming their content
    • Again, check that they’re receiving good engagement
      • Is their content good and do they have an active, involved following? (i.e., not bots)
      • Are they following more people than are following them back? (this could indicate follow-and-unfollow tactics that focuses less on building a genuinely engaged audience)
      • Check that the comments are genuine and that they’re responded to with equally engaging communication
    • Start joining into the community and when you’re ready to pitch an offer, you can direct message them with your opportunity
  • Search By Location
    • Connect with businesses, influencers and people based on your city, state or region
  • Find Local Businesses/Entrepreneurs to Follow, Support & Work With
    • Join forces with other businesses and people in your area
    • See if you can’t find a unique offer to share with your combined customers, giving joint value to followers

Recommended Read: 17 Free Marketing Tools to Find Influencers

Taking advantage of these social media tactics can be a quick way to piggy-back off of someone’s already established brand and trust. It operates similar to word-of-mouth but at a more scalable, measurable level.

Social Media Marketing & Post-Boosting

I mentioned earlier how you shouldn’t use your social media channels to sell too often. Rather, you need to focus on creating engaging, likable content that followers can enjoy consuming. 

This will over time translate to trust, credibility and downstream sales. So how about speeding up the process of promoting your business and making sales through social media?

If you’re looking to quicken the process of building fans or making sales online, social media marketing can help you reach your objectives faster. 

This will of course require that you have a decent budget as well as digital marketing expertise. 

For this post, I’ve segmented the various platforms based on user intent and cost, or average cost-per-click (CPC) (WebFX, 2020).

  • Facebook & Instagram
    • Marketing to users who are not actively searching for a product or service
    • Facebook average CPC of $0.97; Instagram average CPC of $3.56
    • Cheaper and more targeting options, flexibility and scaling opportunities
  • YouTube
    • Great flexibility and cheap to start (for example, with TrueView ads you’re only charged if someone either clicks on or watches 30 seconds or more of your ad)
    • Also highly effective and great targeting with search intent
    • Average CPC of $3.21
    • Check out Hootsuite’s Free Complete Guide to YouTube Marketing!
  • Google & Bing
    • Bing has been shown to be cheaper than Google (see CPC data below)
    • Marketing to users who are actively searching for a product or service (higher click through rates and engagement)
    • Potentially more expensive, especially for highly competitive keywords
    • Average CPC of $7.99 for Bing; Average CPC of $20.08 for Google (Instapage, 2019)
  • Twitter
    • Can be quite cheap to start, as there is no minimum requirement for ad spend
    • Average CPC of $0.38
  • Pinterest
    • Pinterest is actually less of a social media platform and more of a search engine
    • It’s a fantastic place to take advantage of free, organic traffic (especially if you have blog-style content)
    • Average CPC of $1.50
  • LinkedIn
    • Average CPC of $5.26

3. Popular Platforms & How To Choose The Right One

When deciding on which platform to use, it’s important to realize that different platforms have different audiences with different intentions.

Therefore, you want to create relevant messaging and content depending on your platform of choice. 

For example, LinkedIn would obviously be more formal whereas Instagram may be more casual, fun and visual. 

And while YouTube is great for tutorials, entertainment and how-to videos, Facebook performs better with funny, engaging or helpful content that users can share with friends and family.

Finally, using platforms such as Google, Bing or YouTube means you can build your content strategy around buyer intent. 

  • People visit search engines for answers to specific problems – so create content around that

So if you perform proper keyword research (using a search tool such as Jaaxy) and create content around these keyword intentions, then you can quickly convert prospects into leads and customers.

There are numerous platforms and social media options to select from, so don’t spread yourself too thin by attempting to be everywhere – unless you’ve got the time or a team to support this type of content strategy!

So I’d recommend that you target one platform and one social media objective at a time, making the content the best it can be. 

But when you’re ready, try segmenting your content strategies and using different platforms to target different audiences and intentions.

Now that you understand the importance of identifying exactly who your target audience is, what their objectives are across different platforms and how your product/offer fits into that particular place, you’re one step closer to profitably using social media for your business.

Let’s look at which platforms tend to perform best for business.

According to Hootsuite (2019), the 4 most important and influential social media apps for marketing and business promotion are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. 

I focus primarily on these places as well, but I’ve also included TikTok and Snapchat – which tend to have younger audiences – for there reach, brand awareness and strategic growth potential.

  • Instagram (& Facebook)
    • Obviously these are the big hitters
    • Facebook covers pretty much all demographics but has poor organic reach
      • Go for creating a Facebook group and also have an active business page
      • I feel like Facebook’s business page is like a more social Yellowpages
      • You should have a business page set up regardless of any other social media or marketing strategy
    • Instagram skews towards younger generations, but it’s my personal favorite
      • It’s a very visual platform, so definitely focus on video and interesting or captivating creative appeal here
  • Twitter
    • Great for text-based posts and short-form content
    • For example, quick daily tips or headline news linking to your site or blog
  • TikTok
    • Also very visual and heavily skewed towards younger generations (think Gen Z)
  • YouTube
    • YouTube’s reach covers pretty much all demographics and is fantastic for visual content and effective, modern marketing strategies
  • Snapchat
    • Over 70% of its users are 18-24 year olds
  • LinkedIn
    • More professional, formal and business-oriented
    • Great for written content and professional networking
    • Especially good for B2B marketing
      • Keep in mind that places like Facebook, YouTube & Search Engines can also work great for B2B marketing
  • Pinterest
    • Pinterest actually behaves more like a search engine, not necessarily a social media platform
    • Start creating written content for your audience and create a Pinterest Business profile
    • Optimize your Pinterest business profile’s name, descriptions, boards and pins for specific, targeted keywords
    • Start pinning a combination of your own content and others in your niche
    • Keep your profile consistent and relevant to your industry, niche and brand
    • Use a tool like Tailwind to automate and schedule out your pins and join content-sharing Tailwind Tribe groups to start generating consistent, reliable traffic to your website’s blog
    • Learn the basics of Pinterest marketing here!

Remember, focus on a platform that both compliments your content strategy (i.e., are you doing video? written content? etc.) and where your target audience can be found. 

Places like Facebook and YouTube offer the most diverse in terms of targeting, but the opportunities to gather fans on the other platforms should not be ignored.

Besides honing in on your audience and content creation, it can be useful to research and be aware of how the different social media platform’s algorithms operate. This can help you better understand how to use hashtags, increase exposure and create content that’s more likely to perform well and even go viral.

4. Bonus Tips & Tools

what is Facebook retargeting

  • Create With A Mobile-First Mindset
    • Mobile use is on the rise and is already used more than desktop (source)
  • Look to Competitors For Inspiration to See What’s Working
    • Never copy, but mimic and adapt to your brand and offer(s)
  • Always Respond to Comments
  • Prompt Engagement by Asking Questions, Creating Polls or Making Quizzes
  • Connect & Integrate Your Social Media Feed Into Your Website & Other Online Channels
  • Read the Data & Keep Doing What Works
  • Focus On Content Creation & Content Marketing
    • Blog-style, keyword-rich topics coupled with Google SEO optimization and Pinterest growth strategies
    • Explore local keyword targeting to get even more niche and potentially better ranking
      • For example, skin care for women a.) in southern CA, b.) in dry environments or c.) living in cold climates

5. Conclusion

This post has reviewed both long-term and short-term strategies for promoting your business online. 

Regardless of the method you start with, having a consistent content marketing strategy in place ensures sustainable, long-term growth that can yield high returns over time.

There are various platforms to choose from when deciding to implement a social media content strategy into your business. 

Choosing the best option comes down to understanding who your audience is, where they hang out and the type of content you want to create.

Aligning your business objectives with your social media goals can ensure you stay on track and enjoy online growth through these platforms. 

Since you want to avoid selling too much (especially in the early stages when you should focus on building value, trust and a community), combining your social media content with re-targeting ads and exclusive offers to your followers can be a powerful technique to implement as you develop your brand, image and online authority.

Thanks for reading today! Let me know in the comments what the biggest issue is you’ve found with using social media to promote your business!

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