Have you ever attended a business mixer or networking event hoping to find a new client?
That’s the point, after all, right?
If that’s true, then think about this…
Have you ever attended a business mixer or networking event hoping to buy something?
Dr. Ivan Misner (founder of BNI) describes what he calls the “networking disconnect” by telling the story of a speaker who asked his audience two questions like the questions I just asked you…
- Who’s here today hoping to do business or make a sale? Many people in the room raised their hand.
- Who’s here today hoping to buy something? Nobody raised their hand.
So, the room was full of people hoping to sell something to a room full of people also looking to sell something. The room was full of sellers, but there were no buyers.
Misner goes on to stress that successful business networking is about building relationships. The sales will come from the relationships, not the other way around.
The same is true on social media.
Most people are not on social media hoping to buy something. They’re there to feel connected, to be entertained, to learn something new, to be inspired, and to be heard. A successful social media marketing plan has to keep this in mind.
Social Media Marketing = Business Networking + Content Marketing
Business networking is about strategically meeting people and developing connections that might eventually lead to sales… either directly through the people you meet or through their referring you to others.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is about strategically creating and distributing content that provides value in order to attract and serve a specific target market.
Social media marketing for web writers… well, it’s a blend of the two.
Social media marketing is connecting with people and building relationships online on a specific social media platform (business networking) by creating and posting content people find valuable (content marketing).
That being said, here’s an easy three-part social media marketing plan that works for me as a web copywriter. It just may work for you, too.
1 — Post Unique Shareable Content
Does it feel weird, pushy, selfish… uncomfortable… to publish self-promotional content? If you feel that way, you’re not alone.
And then, to make matters even worse, crickets! Nobody “likes” it. Nobody comments. Nobody shares.
Worst. Feeling. Ever. Am I right?
I’ve realized this most often happens when I’ve posted something that’s all about me instead of about the reader — the person on the other side of the screen who’s on social media looking to feel connected, to be entertained, to learn something new, to be inspired…
It helps — and my social media posts are more successful — when I remember to give them what they want!
Even better, when I give them what they will share.
People share posts that make them look smart, helpful, funny, cool… posts that reflect well on them as much as on the content creator (me). So, if I create unique content that’s interesting, inspiring, and helpful, it’s more likely to be shared.
And, that’s my goal.
Social media shares get my content seen by more people. That’s more potential clients and more potential referral sources, because you never know who someone else may know.
2 — Comment on Content Shared by Others
People get to know you not only by your unique content, but also by what you say in response to others. The saying, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” applies on social media, as well.
Commenting on other people’s content is strategic when your comments position you as an expert. You can do this, for example, by answering questions or providing useful information.
A word of caution here… Always show respect and honor the original content creator. Think of yourself as a collaborator. Your comments should let you share their spotlight, not take it over.
This is not the place to be salesy or promotional. This is where you’re building relationships and letting people get to know you. Where you’re building your credibility and your know/like/trust factor.
Once people get to know, like, and trust you through your comments, then they’ll want to do business with you.
3 — Send Private Messages
Private messages — because they’re intrinsically more personal — can help build rapport and relationships more quickly. But, you don’t want to just randomly send private messages to people without having a reason for doing so. That’s weird and spammy.
It’s more strategic to send private messages to people who react to or comment on your posts and/or comments.
For example, if someone comments, “Interesting approach!” or “Great idea!” to something I’ve posted about email marketing… I can then private message them to see if they’re open to discussing it further or hearing more about how I help my clients implement what I posted about.
The private message I send is usually something like this: “Hi! Thanks for your comment on my post about ___. What other questions do you have? How can I help?”
You’re getting closer to a new client or a referral, but you’re still building the relationship. So, it’s important to continue to give value and not go straight to the sale.
Unless, of course, their comment is something indicating they want your help, and they want it right now.
I’ve occasionally had people comment things like, “How much would something like this cost?” and “I need this!”
My private messages to these people were much more direct. “Let’s get on the phone, so we can discuss just what you need.”
Your Next Steps:
Now that you have the basic outline of my easy three-part social media plan, it’s time to put it to work for you.
- Create at least one of each of these types of posts: educational, inspirational, entertaining/funny. Be sure they’re something people will want to share with others. Post one today and save the others to post at a later strategic time.
- Find five influencers in your niche industry to follow. Comment on something they’ve posted. You’re not so much trying to get their attention, but rather the attention of other people who are following them.
- Join a group that serves your target market. Comment with an expert opinion or answer to someone’s question.
- Look for past reactions and comments on your posts, and send private messages introducing yourself to those you don’t know. NOT a sales message or offer. A simple “nice to meet you” message.
- If you find any comments suggesting an immediate need, send a private message suggesting a follow-up phone call.
This strategy becomes easier the more you do it. It starts feeling more natural. It becomes a habit. So, get started today!