Social Media Marketing Today: Who is actually making money with it?
Seven years after I originally wrote this post the question remains: who is actually CASHING MORE CHECKS because of Social media marketing?
As 2021 is upon us, we know a few things:
- Mobile is king
- Video is king
- Video on mobile is king
- Content is still king (Those videos are scripted and spoken.)
- You gotta pay to play
- We're now in "attention, i.e. entertainment, arbitrage" mode
- There are still "riches in niches," so embrace the passion of your followers and figure out how to segment down
Mobile Marketing Is King
TEN MILLION (internet) YEARS AGO (in 2015) mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for the first time ever, and will never look back.
In fact, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan."
In Q4 of 2019, the mobile share of organic search engine visits was 58%.
So instead of having a mobile-responsive website, you need to actually design your site for mobile first and work backwards to the desktop to get ahead of this curve.
But Wes, mobile is not social media."
Here are few stats to chew on:
- Almost 4.57 billion people were active internet users as of July 2020, encompassing 59 percent of the global population (statista)
- Over half of all the people on Earth has a social media account, or 3.96 billion people (DataReportal)
- 66.5% of the world's population has a mobile device (Leftronic)
As you can see, mobile is social, and social is accessed via mobile first and foremost. So what are you doing to capture the hearts and minds of your mobile prospects and customers?
You Gotta Pay To Play
YouTube is offering YouTube Red, an $11.99/mo option to avoid seeing ads. (It was $9.99/mo in 2017.)
Snapchat has Discover as well as options to pay for Replays.
Twitter has Sponsored Tweets.
Instagram has Sponsored images and videos.
When you can create a profile on a social media platform for free, YOU are the product.
- Your eyeballs.
- Your attention.
- Your Likes and Shares and Follows and click-throughs.
And there ain't no use in complaining about something you're getting for free.
As Gary V always says it's us marketers who come along and mess up a perfectly fine platform by figuring out how to monetize people watching cat videos.
It is what it is.
Heck, even the creator of the term "Inbound Marketing" pays Facebook to get and keep your attention.
If you find yourself asking "what's up with this Snapchat? Isn't that for affairs?," realize you were asking similar questions like:
- Why do people want to see what I'm eating on Twitter?
- What can I do on a 6-second video on Vine?
- Facebook? Isn't that for college kids?
- Pinterest? What am I going to do, take a picture of the blog I just wrote?
- YouTube? Who wants to watch video online?
Back in early 2016 I got to hear Gary Vaynerchuk again and he was high on Snapchat for those of you that market to a younger demographic.
And that's a key differentiator: "younger demographic."
Maybe a year or so after that I saw a self-professed gooroo say...
You need to dedicate 95% of your marketing dollars to Snapchat. Gary V said so!"
And he was dead set on that statistic.
The problem was he was leaving out that "younger demographic" modifier and had to eat a little crow.
Then Facebook and Instagram teamed up to bring out Stories and other similar features to really take a bite out of Snapchat.
So be careful to whom you listen!
Now where was I? Oh yeah. Name dropping how I was chillin' with Gary back when he still wore button down shirts, no beanies, and didn't drop the F-bomb in every sentence. (I think this was 2011 in Irvine. He's always been an authentic, approachable, sincere guy who is smart as hell.)
In this current/post/extended COVID-19 world, people are still walking around like zombies staring at their smartphones, which means they're on social media.
So if they're going to be looking at funny or interesting or educational things to take their minds off of whatever it is they are avoiding, why not do what you can to ensure they're looking at you?
This is the idea of "attention arbitrage."
We need to be where our prospects and our clients are in order to...
- remain top of mind,
- ensure our key prospects know, like and trust us,
- and to keep them open to our suggestions and recommendations.
New/emerging platforms like Snapchat, Parler, etc. also represent digital land grabs.
You never know which platform will take off so dip your toe into all of them when they come onto the scene.
This will help you at least secure your username and protect your brand.
You'll then be ready to run if the platform takes off AND IF it's the right demographic for your business.
Believe it or not, many platforms have many more benefits and access points to many more demographics and industries than you might think...so think more about it.
Social Media Marketing...Could Drive You Out of Business
(Way back on 8/7/09 I first made this post you're reading about social media marketing. Then in 2015 I was asked to speak at Social Media Marketing World on the topic of "Social Selling" so I freshened up this post. Then I got serious about both content creation and SEO and consolidated 10 "lightweight" posts on my site into this massively-updated article in February 2018 and again in October 2020. I hope it helps you master social media marketing to grow your influence and grow your sales.)
entrepreneur: en·tre·pre·neur: ?ä?n-tr?-p(r)?-?n?r, -?n(y)u?r noun
: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise
(According to Merriam-Webster)
Entrepreneurs are like jugglers you see at the circus or state fair with one teeny tiny, itsy bitsy exception:
THE JUGGLER HAS TRAINED RIGOROUSLY, ARDUOUSLY AND IN A FOCUSED MANNER FOR YEARS to perfect the trade before he jumps on stage.
We entrepreneurs, afflicted with "restless mind syndrome"...
...just hop right in to start our own ventures because we get fed up with the inefficiencies, the lack of respect, the lure of more money and the dream of "being in control" of our own lives.
But more times than not, we're not really prepared for life and business on our own.
This happens because Entrepreneurs are doers. We don't read the manuals. (That's what "managers" and "technicians" are for.)
We get things done! (At least we get things STARTED!)
We're the dreamers.
The big picture people.
The losers of sleep and gainers of much anxiety but we're getting things done...and we'll get to that sales training we know we need soon. Promise!
We often wish we had read the manual but where do we get that "How To Succeed at Entrepreneurship: The Starter's Guide"?
Life as an entrepreneur is trial by fire, drinking from the fire hose, and—hopefully, if you're smart—learning from those that went before you.
Look at the "manual" the SBA provides. WARNING: DO NOT GO TO THEIR WEBSITE if you operate heavy machinery as it may cause drowsiness, shortness of breath, dizzy spells and light-headedness.
For "starters" the SBA website has a Small Business Planner section with a nice, neat, tidy, concise 4 step, 31 part, 522 subsection guide on their homepage to help you "Manage your business from start to finish."
JIMMINY CHRISTMAS! I made it through 5 years of college and two degrees without reading that much content or writing as many reports as the SBA recommends!
And this is supposed to be our Guru-on-the-mountain-top, tax-funded source of "programs and services to help you start, grow and succeed?"
But wait. There's more!
To show you just how thorough the good ol' SBA is, they'll help you fail! (You can't make this stuff up. If I'm lying I'm dying!)
According to Step 4, Part 30 they even help you file for bankruptcy! (How's that for leaving no stone unturned? I just love an advisor that can help me plan for both success AND failure at the same time.)
I'm amazed that this program EVER worked for more than 1 person out of 8 million but I'm sure it did help someone launch a business. Just not me. And probably not you. But even if it did how well did it prepare you for today's economy in the age of disruption and attention deficit disorder?
You and I both know the typical dreamer, doer, mover, shaker, producer, go-to-guy is not ever, not once gonna even visit the SBA website let alone read all the way down to Step 4 with its 31 glorious parts.
And we sure as heck aren't going to write a business plan with its 87 pages, 187 footnotes, 45 charts, a table of contents and an appendix along with a 5 year earnings projection and ROI calculations. (How's that forecasting working out for you on that business plan you created back in 2008, huh?)
Today, the entrepreneur is either catapulted to her zenith or to her death by an extension of Moore's law, the 1965 concept first postulated by Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel.
Moore observed that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit since its invention in 1958 increases exponentially and doubles every 18-24 months. (Doesn't it feel like your "To-Do" list and your "Still-To-Do" list and your "When-Will-It-Ever-Get-Done" list doubles every 18-24 months?)
How often do you think that Moore's law applies to the quantity and severity of critical issues you must manage, navigate and juggle just to keep that entrepreneurial spirit with no user's manual alive?
Today, sales may be down, haggling over your prices is up, deals are delayed and when they do come in they are cut in size and your customer still wants extended terms and delayed payments. Your salespeople are whining about not having leads and you know you need to do more to advertise and market but that's just another manual you've haven't read and another To Do to add to your list.
Now you throw this whole "social media marketing thingy" into the mix that your kids insist you gotta do and you notice that all your employees and competitors and mentors are doing it so you stop selling, stop marketing, stop advertising, stop focusing on your business and join and/or download 44 different social media sites and tools to help you "manage" your social media profile and VOILA! 100 people want you to join "Mafia Wars" and they want to know when your birthday is and who your relatives are and what your favorite TV show, movies, books and food are!
Wow. You had no idea you were so popular, did ya?
Then some uber-happy-appearing person in Oshkosh, Wisconsin wants to "follow you" using some strange electronic shorthand and a co-worker from 1987 (who you think got fired for stealing toilet paper from the office) wants you to give him a glowing recommendation on another website for all the world to see!
After hacking around 16 different sites an average of 6 hours a day for 6 weeks listening to your computer bleep and whistle and snort at you in order to remind you that "@no_life is going to have a cheese sandwich and take a nap" you see your leads are down, your sales are down, your stress it up (why can't we all be as happy and prosperous and famous as "@no_life" appears to be all the time), you begin scheming how to create a "laptop sandwich" for the person that first told you to "get into social media marketing to grow your business!!"
But forget that thought for just a moment longer...
As the inestimable Randy Jackson of "American Idol" fame would say,
I feel ya, Dawg. I feel ya. It takes some mad talent to make it to the top. But you got it. You do. Don't give up. Keep working at it. The competition is tough, which is why you gotta bring it strong day after day after day, Dawg!"
Social Media Marketing is a must for the business that wants to stay ahead of the competition.
However, like any medium and skill, there are tips and tricks and techniques that must be mastered if you are to control it. Otherwise, it will consume and control you either through wasting time trying to figure it out on your own or by losing to those that have already figured it out.
But I have good news and bad news for you if you'd like the "Owner's Manual to Mastering The Right Marketing Concepts For Your Business, Including Social Media Marketing."
- The bad news is, there is no single owner's manual to master all of this.
- The good news is you can tame this beast if you break it down into its core components:
- The additional good news—and I cover this in my talk "The Art Of The Close: 7 Social Selling Success Secrets"—is that as long as you are human and remember that you are simply trying to connect with other humans at the other end of your feed, you'll be fine.
So stay "social" and "sociable." Remember that this is just one form of media in the same way that direct mail or PPC or printed ads or radio ads are forms of media to get your word out, albeit with a tad bit more timely interaction from your readers. Finally, always keep in mind that you are leveraging social media as a form of marketing, and marketing is just selling in print.
Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, reminded The Sales Podcast listeners that
If you're not good at email marketing you have no business doing social media."
So look at what has worked in your business so far and see how you can adapt it to work in social media. With a little bit of research you can quickly determine where your prospects and customers are hanging out online and you can begin to engage, first, as a sociable member of that online community, then sprinkle in some marketing nuggets.
Before long you'll be a social media marketing whiz making as many deposits as you are friends.
The Medium Is Not The Message
Social Media Marketing had all the promise of desktop publishing. Sure, you can print your own book from your office...if you have something to say to someone who will pay and you can actually write a book.
Sure, you can market yourself and your business in a social setting from your computer...if you can market and if you are social.
The overwhelming majority of business owners and sales managers I meet aren't all that sociable. They are afraid to take a stand, have an opinion, tell a joke, give solid advice or otherwise be remarkable.
Either that, or they don't know what is solid advice or what remarkable is.
Hint: what makes you unique is what is remarkable. The reason people buy from you is what makes you remarkable. What you think is "obvious to anyone with a brain" (after you have done it for 10, 20, 30 years) is remarkable.
Your Individuality Is The Message
So talk about that and you'll get some eyeballs.
But focusing on getting eyeballs is part of the problem. Getting eyeballs is not the name of the game. It can help lead to the name of the game but the name of the game is 1st—building a big list so you can—2nd—make a sale so you can then—third—upsell them and/or get a referral and/or testimonial.
Sure, more traffic should, statistically, lead to more sales but not necessarily. All of your marketing should engage your audience. It should also pique their interest in your offerings. And if you are not a Fortune 1000 company, your marketing should be less about branding and more about making the sale.
You build your brand by delivering a memorable, exceptional experience to your clients consistently over an extended period of time. You and I don't have time to fly a blimp over 25 golf tournaments a year and hope someone remembers the name of our website when they're ready to buy tires or cabinets or computer repair.
Sure, social media can be fun and can help you feel like you are connecting with others. It can also be a waste of time that hurts your sales.
"If you've read about social media marketing or been to any marketing conferences, you've probably heard tons of advice like love your customers, engage in the conversation, be yourself, and make friends. I call this unicorns-and-rainbows advice. Take a couple of time-honored adages, add in the unquestioning awe of an unaware audience, and pretty soon you've got an entire industry based on easy-to-agree-with but unsubstantiated ideas. But there's a problem. Myths aren't real and superstitions often do more harm than good."
-Dan Zarrella, Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness
Most People Aren't Social and Can't Market
If I just get a Twitter account and Facebook Fan Page I can grow my business."
Really? I hope you have a prescription for whatever it is you're smoking.
The irony is most people are neither sociable or knowledgeable when it comes to marketing but somehow two wrongs make a right when it comes to Twotting and Facetubing and Youbooking.
(There are also no unicorns. There is no pot of gold or little Irishmen at the end of rainbows. Mermaids are only in the movies. There is no prince in Uganda that wants to share $10,000,000 with you just for helping him cash a check.)
Create Your Message First. Then Choose The Medium To Deliver It.
If you want to grow you need to focus on the message, not the medium.
You need to focus on the "Who" and then it will become much easier to focus on the message.
You can't sell to or service everyone. Choose who to lose and shout it from the top of a mountain.
There is power in stating what you are not, what you won't stand for, what you leave out, thus "gluten-free," "Zero Calories" and Dan Kennedy's No B.S. series of business growth advice.
Ask yourself this question:
How persuasive, powerful, influential and interesting am I?
If the answer is somewhere between "not very" and "kind of" you're just spinning your wheels and self-medicating as you goof off (that's what you're really doing) on your social media accounts.
Until you get a backbone of steel and tell the world what you stand for and what you don't stand for and deliver this powerful message in a powerful manner you'd be better off waiting for Santa Claus to bring you that golden list of willing and able buyers.
At least you wouldn't get sucked into worthless debates on Facebook about global warming, Kanye West, who's on drugs in the NFL, or whether a politician has lied to us.
To really grow you need to work hard, do the right things and have the right tools to attract, capture, nurture, convert, deliver & satisfy, upsell and get referrals from leads and clients.
Social Media Marketing Failure #1:
Thinking it's hip to shoot from the hip
It's not a coincidence that the #1 of social media marketing is the same as the #1 of The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling, namely shooting from the hip, i.e. just winging it, i.e., no planning.
Steven Covey was right when he said to...
Begin with the end in mind."
But what is the "end" of social media marketing?
Is it more Followers? More Shares? More "influence"? Is it the blue circle check mark thingy that proves you're "somebody" because you're verified? Is it having more Likes than your main competitor?
Because of the proliferation of vanity metrics in the social media landscape I think Social media marketing is the most seductive, deceptive, and damaging tool to infect small businesses since the "I Love You" virus attacked millions in 2000.On a weekly basis I hear from prospective clients with great potential...
Wes, Why is my business a wreck? Why are sales down? Why are profits going POOF!? I have a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account. I'm on Snapchat and Instagram. Where are my sales?"
So let's take a closer look at the #1 failure of social media marketing and see what you can do to develop and implement effective tactics that comprise an effective strategy for your social media marketing.
Have a Social Media Marketing Strategy For Your Staff
If you have employees then you must have a policy for how they conduct themselves via social media.
More than one BIG company has gotten egg on their face—and more than a little lost revenue—due to the actions of a rogue/angry/immature employee talking out of school.
While it's great for all of your employees to sing the praises of your company, allowing them to say, do, and record anything, anywhere, at anytime and tie it back to your company WILL come back to bite you in the rear sooner rather than later.
So map out what is expected and acceptable from your people online.
Stop Trying To Create a Viral Social Media Post*
I know the end is near when I hear...
But Wes, we really need this video to go viral. We've hired a team that are the best at creating viral content."
"We create viral content" is the latest version of "We'll get you on the first page of Google, Bing, and Yahoo within seven days."
Think about it. If content could be made viral on purpose, on demand, predictably, and reliably then it wouldn't be viral. It would be average. It would be ordinary. It would be normal.
Instead of trying to create the next PSY - GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) music video or Dollar Shave Club "Our Blades Are F***ing Great" commercials, just be yourself.
Michael Dubin, the founder of Dollar Shave Club, dressed as a businessman for Halloween when he was seven years old.
He was the class clown in school.
Then he studied comedy and improv after college.
So he wasn't trying to create anything out of the ordinary when he made his viral commercial that put his company on the map.
He was being himself.
We were really good at telling the story of why we exist and why the customer should take a chance on us." ~Michael Dubin, CNBC Live interview
Sidebar: Be careful from whom you receive your business advice. His mom admits she thought the video was "irreverent" but she admitted "what did I know?"
Luck absolutely factors into it." ~Michael Dubin, CNBC Live interview"
He also doesn't spend a lot of time on Twitter and
*Michael Dubin admits that he bet all of his money on making the viral video that eventually lead to his company being acquired for $1 billion dollars. So if you're as talented and experienced and passionate and brave as he is and you are willing to bet your entire bankroll on one viral video, then knock yourself out and forget everything I just wrote.
Not Understanding Social Media Is Now a Pay-to-Play Platform
The days are way long gone when you could create a free Facebook Page, share cute little memes or coupons, and get organic reach of 80-90% and build a profitable business.
Today organic reach is around 5.5% and Facebook ad rates have gone up 47% in 2020 as reported by revealbot.
So go all-in on getting lucky as you create something viral on social media or get good at buying ads on the best social media platform for your business.
Having Non-Existent or Irrelevant CTAs
There are two key concepts you must always keep in mind in all of your marketing and advertising efforts from now until the end of time.
- If there is no call to action, no action will be taken.
- Vegans don't buy steak, even when it's on sale.
You don't create content just to create goodwill and warm-fuzzies for your readers.
Sure, you can follow Gary Vaynerchuk's advice in "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World," and give a lot more than sell...but you still must sell.
And to make any sale you must make every sale as I outline in the ABCDE Sales and Marketing System.
You must attract attention then attract your readers to opt-in to stay in touch and/or learn more.
You must bond with your prospects and leads, fans and followers via multi-media, multi-touch, sequential communications.
You must convert your leads into paying customers.
You must then deliver a WOW experience.
Then you can endear yourself to them so they sing your praises, share your content, send referrals and testimonials while coming back repeatedly to buy again and again.
But having an irrelevant call to action is just as bad—and maybe worse—than having no call-to-action.
If you're marketing to vegans you'll have a tough time getting repeat visitors if you offer them deals on steaks and Burger King coupons.
So stay consistent with your audience and help them buy the things that they actually need by making relevant offers at the moment of relevance.
As a kid you could hide from the boogeyman by pulling the covers over your head.
That doesn't work with measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing.
In today's digital age you can—and should—track everything.
Yes, it can be a bit onerous and tedious.
Yes, some of the platforms are complex and confusing.
Yes, you can outsource some of the Geekier stuff to someone...BUT you must still understand the numbers, especially the trends.
Any decent tracking platform from Google Analytics to HubSpot to HootSuite can tell you how your social media efforts are contributing to your traffic and engagement.
The days of doing things because they are fun or just feel like the right thing to do are over—or your business will be over if that's how you insist on running your social media marketing campaigns.
You must hit SEND, then you must TRACK, then you must VERIFY, then you must ADJUST, then you must RE-SEND.
Do you sell to business owners? Consider focusing on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Do you sell to teens and young adults? Consider focusing on Instagram and Snapchat.
Do you sell to young girls, women, and moms? Consider focusing on Instagram and Pinterest.
You don't have to exert the same amount of time, focus, and money on every single social media marketing platform under the Sun.
Want to see this in real life? Go buy a copy of the National Enquirer and The Wall Street Journal and let me know if you see the same company advertising in both.
Next, look at the style of the ads you see in each.
The people who read those publications are different so you have to speak their language.
Start with creating Buyer Personas for your business. Click the link below to get my free PDF on How To Create Buyer Personas. There is no opt-in required.
The Grand Canyon is a little stream that just wouldn't quit.
Out-of-sight, out-of-mind applies to everything you do in business.
You don't go to the gym on January 1st for 24 hours and remain fit for the year. The same is true of your social media marketing efforts.
Show up regularly in the news feeds and streams of your prospects and clients to win.
Fear of Video
According to Cisco, by 2021 82% of all internet traffic will be video. It's why the top social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram to LinkedIn to Facebook all let you go Live.
Heck Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion because the writing has been on the wall since before then.
Do more video on your social media marketing or watch your business suffer.
According to a 2020 survey by Wyzowl,
- People watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week—a 52% increase in the last 2 years.
- 86% of people would like to see more video from brands in 2020.
- 92% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy. (Up from 91% in 2019, 85% in 2018, 82% in 2017, 88% in 2016 and 78% in 2015.)
When it comes to video we think of YouTube. Here are some mind-blowing stats on YouTube:
- Over 300 hours of HD Quality video are uploaded every minute!
- 1.9 billion people use YouTube each month (up from 1.3 billion in 2018)
- In an average month, 8 out of 10 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube.
- 1 billion hours of video are watched on Youtube every day.
Starting With Desktop vs Mobile App
You need create content with the mobile viewer in mind first.
According to eMarketer, we're spending an average of 3 hours, 17 minutes on our smartphones in 2020.
The 2019 holiday season was kind to retailers who optimized for mobile as the industry saw a 68% increase in the retail spending on mobile during that time. Mobile shoppers spent an average of $197, which was a 17% increase over 2018. (Digital Commerce 360)
Back in 2017, 52% of traffic to retail websites came from mobile consumers who spent an amazing $35.9 billion—a record-setting 33.1% of all online holiday revenue. (Source: Adobe Digital Insights)
Yes, the desktop is still powerful and sales are being made via the desktop but 69% of consumers worldwide between the ages of 18 and 39 use mobile devices to research products before they buy, and 44% use tablets. (Source: comScore)
Copying Your Competition
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Richard Simmons can't market like Hulk Hogan.
Too many book-smart social media marketers see someone they like and do everything in their power to be just like them—and coach their unsuspecting clients to do the same.
In all of your marketing—not just social media marketing—you need to find your voice, and that voice needs to resonate with your prospects and clients.
Hickok45 is a retired school teacher who likes shooting guns on his property out in the country. Over a decade ago he had his son record his shooting and commentary and upload the video to YouTube. Now he has over 5.48 million subscribers, 644k followers of his Facebook page, sponsors, a clothing line, and more.
He doesn't try to be anyone other than himself, and neither should you.
Another YouTube winner in business is the company behind the Blendtec blender and owners of the URL, WillItBlend.com.
In 2007, nearing the end of their finances, the founder recorded a video of his blender pulverizing 50 marbles.
7.2 million+ views later, Blendtec is alive and well and selling a lot of blenders.
Sure, your competition may be doing some things right that you can emulate or replicate, but never at the cost of your unique voice.
Social Media Marketing Failure #2:
Not paying one iota to personas
You're going to think I'm crazy for saying this now, but maybe you don't need to be doing social media marketing.
I'm working with a 15-year old company in a niche industry that is old school.
Most of their orders are done over the phone and/or via fax.
Their customers are blue collar workers who split time between the office, the warehouse, the delivery truck, and the forklift loading or off-loading the product.
Sure, the industry will change over time and I'm encouraging them to get a toehold in each of the major social media platforms but they will not hit their short term growth goals by spending more than 5% of their time and budget on social media marketing.
No Buyer Persona
After spending a short time with my clients, who are the owners of the company, we created their primary buyer persona, which will dictate the initial path we take to grow their sales, which have stagnated this past year.
If you're not sure what a Buyer Persona is, click the button below to get the free guide, "How To Create Buyer Personas." There is no opt-in and no catch.
Knowing your buyer persona is like knowing where the fish are biting and what they are biting.
Sure, you might catch a 573-pound marlin on a 3.55-pound-test-line, but that's a one-in-a-million catch that requires an expert crew working in perfect harmony to make it happen.
So stack the odds in your favor by knowing who you're going after and giving them what they want.
Not Giving Special Treatment, i.e. Not Speaking Their Language
When you have a documented, proven buyer persona it's like having a fish-finder radar on your boat.
Without it you're just hoping and praying you have the right hook, lure / bait, line, rod, reel, boat, crew, and that there are even fish in the area.
As it pertains to social media marketing, when you don't have a buyer persona you end up spending six months and 50% of your marketing budget creating a cool Snapchat filter only to discover your buyers are 45 year old, blue collar men who still use flip phones, which means 100% of that effort is wasted.
It does a steakhouse no good to have the nicest booth at the vegan conference.
Research by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center found that 84% of millennials on Facebook follow brands simply to show their support.
However, when it comes to Twitter, 85% of millennials follow brands to get a coupon or a discount.
For Pinterest, 76% of millennials follow brands to share their interests and lifestyle with others.
When it comes to spending money based on a promotion via social media, the study found that millennials seem to spend more when influenced via Facebook, with 54% saying they spent $49 or less when buying something through Facebook, vs. 69% on Pinterest, and 72% of respondents spent $49 or less when buying something through Twitter.
Why does this matter?
Not all buyers are created equally, and neither are their spending tendencies based on their state of mind when on your various social media platforms.
So Launch. Test. Measure. Monitor. Adjust. Launch again. And again.
When you ignore their individuality and fail to reward your followers on your specific social media accounts, you're missing a huge opportunity to deepen your bond with your followers.
You need to take maximize every chance you get to secure the loyalty of your followers in a crowded, noisy, social media marketing space, and you do that by communicating appropriately per platform in your social media marketing, namely:
- Social Networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
- Media Sharing Networks: Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube
- Discussion Forums: reddit, Quora, Digg
- Blogging and Publishing Networks: Medium, Tumblr, Wordpress
- Bookmarking and Content Curation Networks: Flipboard, Pinterest
They are not all created equally so be be smart about how you engage online.
Spraying and Praying
Related to not speaking their language / not giving special treatment is using a social sharing tool to blast the exact same post to every social media platform and expecting great results on all of them.
As I listed above, some social media platforms are for socializing, some are for sharing, some are for discussions, and others are for long form content.
If you fill a Facebook post with hashtags or share a bunch of images with little explanations on LinkedIn or use a lot of @ signs and shrtn ur wrds 2 save space 4 ur post on Medium, you will not only NOT get engagement on your social media accounts, you'll actually spend your time and money to lose followers and reduce your impact and sphere of influence.
I can't emphasize this enough:
You need to modify and customize your social media posts for each platform to maximize your social media marketing.
Image dimensions, hashtags, content length, and even grammar are different on all of the platforms. Learn them or use them at your own risk.
Speaking Foul / Political Language
Howard Stern can use foul language because he's now on satellite radio and that's his audience.
Rush Limbaugh can talk politics because that's his audience.
But when athletes or actors get political, it could hurt their sales and/or sponsorships.
The same holds true for company founders and CEOs as we saw when "SCOTTeVEST founder, Scott Jordan, says company markets to Fox viewers because they’re ‘f–ing idiots.'"
This lead to a public rebuke and distancing by his own company.
Michael Jordan understood this back in 1990 when he responded to a friend about why he wasn't supporting a Democratic candidate for Senate that
Republicans buy shoes, too."
Maybe taking a stand on hot topics can help you grow your sales.
Maybe you can be like Gary Vaynerchuk and have a potty mouth and it can help you grow your sales.
Then again, Jerry Seinfeld and Jeff Foxworthy have managed to scrape a nickel or two together while delivering clean comedy acts, so maybe you should, too.
Social Media Marketing Failure #3: Allowing the trolls to take a toll
If you want to lose all hope for humanity go read the comments on any popular YouTube channel. YouTube commenters forgot their grandmother's advice...
If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all."
So here's the kicker:
Don't deal with trolls.
They are everywhere. Every. Where.
They are sad, angry, lonely people who literally have nothing better to do than rain on your parade.
Don't let them.
Can you get some decent feedback and even free proofreading from some of your followers? Yes.
But a critic/complainer is different from a true troll.
Trolls do nothing but attack for the sole purpose of bringing you down.
If you find yourself getting down in the dumps over the comments of some online coward, remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Social Media Marketing Failure #4:
Take it from Toby Keith, sometimes you need to be quiet and let your audience talk about themselves.
It's not you, it's me.
Listen More Than You Gab
You have two ears on one mouth, use them proportionately both in person and online.
When you show up and brag, humble brag, pontificate, or otherwise run your mouth, people will get tired of you fast.
And when they get tired of you they tune you out and we all know that out of sight means out of mind, which leads to out of business.
So make it a point to Retweet, Like, Share, and Comment on the content others produce.
Engage with your audience. Ask questions. Answer their questions. Become a welcome guest in their inboxes and their social media accounts.
Too Much Social Media Sharing
There's a time and a place for everything.
You don't bring a bullhorn to a golf tournament and you don't fart in church. (Did I really just say that?)
Likewise, there's a proper cadence and timing for your social media posts.
When it comes to Twitter you can and should post more often since the medium moves so fast. I've seen 5-10 posts per day from prominent accounts and be sure you add a hashtag or two to help your posts get found and seen.
Consider learning about Twitter from guests like Zuby on The Sales Podcast:
However, if you post 10 times per day on Facebook you'll probably wear out your followers and do more harm than good. And you don't need hashtags on your Facebook posts.
Like all things online, things are changing quickly at Facebook. Organic reach of Pages has been in the low single digits for years, but Groups are growing in reach and importance.
Consider learning about Facebook from these guests on The Sales Podcast:
- Brian Swichkow, The Ghost Influencer Is Spying On His Roommate With Facebook
- Dennis Yu Markets On Facebook For $1 Per day
- Amy Porterfield Shows How To Make Money With Her Facebook Marketing Course
- From $2/day To $1,000,000 On Facebook Marketing (Meet Justin Brooke)
- This Kiwi Drop Out Hacked Facebook, Meet Brett Campbell
The same holds true for LinkedIn, but your content should be focused on business while you can—and should—post more personal content on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.
You should also engage more with others on LinkedIn. Listen in on group conversations. Answer questions. Share interesting posts and articles and compliment others.
Consider learning about LinkedIn from these guests on The Sales Podcast:
- Brenda Bernstein: Make Sales Easier When You Master LinkedIn
- Melonie Dodaro: Do LinkedIn Right To Grow Your Sales
- My blog post How to use LinkedIn to get a job
Instagram is a growing force to be reckoned with. It's not an accident that Facebook purchased the photo sharing platform for $1 billion in early 2012.
As users are starting to shut down their Facebook accounts, Instagram is growing, and you need a strategy to grow your influence, traffic, and customers there.
You can easily share a few times a day here and it's smart to use the total number of hashtags in the comments section of your shares to increase your exposure.
Consider learning about Instagram from this episode of The Sales Podcast:
When it comes to Pinterest I must admit I haven't spent much time here and I know I should. While I research this platform please avail yourself of the opportunity to learn from my guest on The Sales Podcast, Jeff Sieh Shares How To Make Money on Pinterest. (This was his second appearance, with his first being way back on episode 138.)
Finally, there's Snapchat.
They have had their ups and downs but younger people love it (despite the massive redesign) and younger people eventually become older consumers with more money and influence. So consider getting in front of them with both some silly, engaging content and even ads.
Stay tuned for a Snapchat episode on The CRM Sushi Podcast soon.
Too Little Social Media Sharing
There's always two sides to every coin, and social media sharing is no different.
While you can share too much on the various accounts, you can also share too little, in one of three ways:
- Outsourcing all of your social media marketing to your staff. Your fans / followers are humans and they need to know that when they engage with you online that it's really you. Sure, you may have staff help with some of your postings but make time to be online. It'll pay off.
- Buying fans / followers / likes. More and more accounts / celebrities are being exposed for being phony and fake. Don't go there. Follow the plan as outlined here and your influence will grow consistently and truthfully. Do the right thing.
- Relying too much on automation / bots / artificial intelligence. Notice how all three of these are related. You need to be yourself. Your prospects and customers are people and although a little bit of automation can help you serve more people, you need to use it to start the conversation, but a robot will never deepen a relationship with your best customers. So tread carefully here.
Social Media Marketing Failure #5: Believing The Myths
Social Media Marketing Myth #1: It's Free
What's good for big business is not always good for small business.
There have been a lot of myths and misnomers about how to create a positive ROI from social media marketing.
Many small business owners and hapless sales people have found out the hard way that these platforms do not always live up to the buzz (and that being busy on social media does not mean you are productive, effective, or profitable!).
While I am a big fan and promoter and provider of "outrageous" marketing that gets your message out, there are a lot of challenges when setting up your social media marketing strategy and tactics. (To be fair, I've not found more than a handful of small business owners that are good at marketing, so they face challenges with any marketing medium. But we're focused on Social Media Marketing with this post.)
Social media marketing is not free.
You know that direct response marketing is not free.
You have to get the list, write the letter, address the envelopes, stuff the envelopes, pay for a stamp and get them to the post office...all for a 0.5% to 1% response rate.
(I can help you bump that up DRAMATICALLY. It all boils down to list segmentation and copywriting, but I digress.)
Leveraging social media sites for marketing is not "free," either.
In fact, because of the proliferation of social media sites and tools, it may be the most expensive form of marketing available today because it takes so much time to wrap your arms and brain around this ever-evolving platform.
Sure, most social media accounts can be created for free: Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. all cost zero dollars to create. (When the service is free it means you, the user, are the product. Think about that for a minute.)
But like a new puppy, they all need constant care and feeding and attention because, just like an un-supervised puppy can get into trouble, an out-of-date blog or Facebook Fan Page can actually harm your Web 2.0 marketing efforts.
And if you've ever attempted to write a direct mail piece, update the content on your website or even create a radio or TV ad, you know how hard it is to keep your sites and marketing material up to date and current.
Social media ads the additional "burden" of requiring you to respond to questions from visitors either in the comment section or via text/chat, post brilliant ideas and concepts (such as here! :-), add attractive, eye-pleasing graphics, monitor (good and bad) activity (you should see one of the "crazies" that attempted to hijack one of my LinkedIn Groups) — all in an effort to create buzz and chatter about you and your business.
Companies using social media marketing to successfully close new business are on their sites all the time.
What is considered "old information" today may be just an hour old!
If you allow comments—as you should—and you do not respond, you might as well transfer money straight to the PayPal account of your competition.
Most mid-sized companies (and certainly, large enterprises) have full-time "social media marketers / writers" building their online presence.
It is a full-time job keeping a presence on these sites, and full-time people consume full-time resources.
Social Media Marketing Myth #2: It's The Best Way To Get New Customers
This is more of a "selective myth" than an outright lie.
I say "selective-myth" because not all social media sites are created equally, nor with the same purpose and goal in mind. A great majority of the sites are "social" first (hence the name), which means people are there to visit and be sociable rather than shop or be sold something.
Because of that oft-overlooked fact, many of the major social media sites are either not the best places for you to spend your limited resources and/or your "typical" approach to marketing is not ideal and must be reevaluated and redesigned to fit the social media landscape.
*Sidebar: Truth be told, most—as in 92.75%—of small businesses don't know much about sales or marketing.
You waste money on glossy brochures that your prospects throw away. Your sales force turns over at an alarming rate but you hold on to the doddering do-gooders that know are "nice" and "are dedicated" despite missing numbers year after year.
Your media buys are based on the deal-of-the-month with no consideration given to creating and delivering a powerful message or considering how it will fit into a bigger strategic marketing picture.
And you have no centralized, process-driven system for automating, tracking and measuring it all. Now back to your regularly-scheduled blog post already in progress...
When approaching social media marketing for business purposes—and ALL businesses should—you must first determine your primary objective and there are only two choices: networking or link building.
Volumes have been written on the various means and methods to achieve both objectives (and a Saturday morning blog post before the Army @ Air Force and LSU @ Alabama games (Air Force and LSU will win, IMHO) is not the place to get into the weeds on those topics) but suffice it to say every major and minor social media site lends itself more adequately to one or the other for your business.
Once you understand the primary focus and benefit of each social media site for your industry you can then leverage them to first make the marketplace aware of you, then lead them back to your site or blog and then to become a customer.
Sidebar: Go listen to this still-relevant interview with Jay Baer on The Sales Podcast from 2013 on the best use of Social Media and what you need to master first before you get into social media marketing.
Tips to Beef Up Your Sales With Social Media Marketing
Create a standard profile on several major sites and start listening.
Demonstrate your expertise and skill level and industry insight by first asking great questions.
This will show how good you are without bragging and provide insight as to the interest level and market potential in the chosen social network based on the degree to which others contribute to your question.
Answer questions posted by others. This again shows your expertise and will begin to attract prospects to you. (It also gives you a chance to create valuable content that can be used on your site for SEO.)
Integrate your social media sites with your analytics tools and track their effectiveness.
Always keep in mind the primary function of social media marketing is to help you get noticed, which causes the reader to want to visit your site or take you up on a unique, timely, relevant call to action, which, at a minimum, enables you to capture their contact information and ultimately results in a sale.
Can you really pay some high school kid or stay-at-home-mom or Eastern European "outsource firm" $3.68 an hour to automate some tweets of quotes of famous dead people to drive traffic to your site where people just hand over their credit cards to you while you shop for Ferraris and drink champagne?
Good. Keep reading.
Social Media Marketing falls into a big, broad bucket often referred to as "Relationship Marketing" or "Pull Marketing" or "Inbound Marketing." The theory behind it is to always stay in front of your marketplace and potential clients in small, subtle ways to help brand yourself in their minds so when they need what you offer they'll come to you because they "know" you from your gentle, friendly online social media marketing. Like Yogi Bera said,
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
This type of marketing has lured a lot of business owners and sales people into its seductive lair because it's:
- Easy to do (not do well, but easy to do.)
- Appears cutting edge.
- Appeals to our human desire to belong (to a virtual community.)
- Appeals to our human desire to matter (we can appear to be fat cats and big wigs with our "followers" and "likers" and "fans.")
- Free (if you don't count your lost productivity, lost sleep, lost revenue and lost money paying smooth-talking smack-talkers to make you some latest and greatest social media profile that will be all the rage and bring you billions of views.)
- Telemarketing/cold calling.
- Print advertising
- Direct Mail.
- TV advertising.
- Radio advertising
- Outdoor advertising.
Because all of the above require up-front investments of time, thought and treasures, which the lazy have none of. They'd rather login to Facebook and fire up TweetDeck and start wasting their lives away.
But, Wes! David Ogilvy* and other famous Ad Men didn't have to fight DVR's and Caller ID and Satellite radio and RSSCable TV with 400 channels."
I HAVE to Tweet and Status and Check In and Place myself in the digital social media world to everyone. Today's consumers have iPods and MP3's and turn off the radio."
They read an average of 6 blogs a day instead of magazines and newspapers. They are turning to 'recommendation marketing' instead of 'interruption marketing.'"
I have to do Social Media Marketing above all else to grow. I have to. I HAVE TO!"
(*David Ogilvy, of Ogilvy & Mather fame, built his business up to to be acquired for $864 million by helping the likes of American Express and Schweppes sell hundreds of millions of dollars of products to consumers from 1948 onward. Yes, times then were different. But humans were not.
He was big into branding and big into big brands. You need to be big into building your brand, but doing so as by-product of providing great value to your clients. Social Media Marketing, when done correctly, can help you do just that.)
David Ogilvy had big budgets and a captive audience, which is certainly not the case for most of us. However, Ogilvy knew how to speak to the needs, wants and desires of his clients and prospects and used the medium best suited to meet his goals.
In today's fragmented, un-captive audience you still need to connect with your clients and prospects and Social Media is helping to level the playing field for the small, nimble, creative entrepreneurs that are in tune with the needs and demands of your marketplace and who focus the power of Social Media and use it as one tool in a more comprehensive tool chest rather than the end-all, be-all of marketing.
When implemented properly, Social Media can empower "the little guy" to compete with "the big guys" and actually beat them at their own game if they can carve out their niche and stake their claim as the provider of choice for the discretionary buyer.
Social Media Marketing Failure #6: Underestimating its power, reach, and functionality
There is so much more you can do on social media beyond taking pictures of your lunch or smiley face cappuccino or friends puking at a frat party such as...
Insert Your Ads Into The Conversation
Yeah, yeah. I know that running ads on Facebook or Twitter, etc. is not technically social media marketing, but if you want to catch fish you go where the fish are, and if you want to catch sales, you run your ads where your prospects are.
If you don't know how to run ads effectively, let's talk to see how you can get started. (I don't do that kind of work but I can refer you to several people based on your budget, needs, and goals.)
Recruit Your Ideal Staff Online
Birds of a feather always flock together.
If you have a great employee, chances are good they are friends with other potentially-great employees, so have a plan in place to recruit top talent on your social media profiles.
The obvious choice is LinkedIn but you can drive targeted traffic affordably by writing a detailed post on your page and/or your personal profile and boosting / sponsoring / sharing it to put it in front of your fans, followers, and friends.
People are in a different state of mind when they're hanging out on Facebook or Instagram and if you showcase how great it is to work with you with a cool video, pictures of your office and happy staff, video testimonials, etc. and you have the social proof of your friends and followers commenting on it and sharing it, you'll attract great staff predictably and affordably.
Provide Great, Timely, Personalized Customer Service
69% of customers believe fast resolution of the problem is vital to good service, making social consumer support invaluable. Clearly, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have evolved to become more than emergent platforms for marketing and advertising. Increasingly, they are also valid and important channels through which consumers solicit and receive customer service. According to the Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, 90 percent of surveyed consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand. What’s more, over a third (34.5 percent) said they preferred social media to traditional channels like phone and email.
You need to open up your channels of communication to align with how your customers prefer to engage with you.
At a minimum you need to be monitoring the major channels for managing your online reputation.
People are 7-21x more likely to complain about bad service than to brag about great service, so pay attention to what is being said about you.
Prospect / Customer Research
Spend more than five minutes doing targeted research on a person or company and you'll be shocked at the things you'll find...and the absence of information is informative as well.
But if you spend more than five minutes you're probably wasting your time.
As a salesperson you are not paid to research. You're not paid to visit and sip coffee, either. (You're also not paid to sell. At least that's not your #1 job in sales.)
I use Nimble, the Social CRM, to do fast research and connect with leads via multi-media, multi-touch, relevant follow-up nurture sequences.
Listen to Nimble founder, Jon Ferrara, discuss the 5 E's of nurture marketing.
Listen to my my first interview with Nimble founder, Jon Ferrara, here:
See how Nimble works as Jon Ferrara does a live demo with me on The CRM Sushi Podcast below.
Social Media Marketing Failure #7: Forgetting there is no DELETE button on the internet
There's a site on the internet called Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
It stores a history of your website going back a long time, even if you've deleted your site or made massive changes to it.
The same is true for your social media posts, comments, and debates.
People will find things on you that you've long forgotten and they'll use it against you—or just not contact you or buy from you.
So before you post something; before you engage; before you debate; before you comment think about how it could impact your job search, your online reputation, and the growth of your business.
The social shares from 5 years ago that you thought were innocuous and innocent could turn into the gift that keeps on taking.
So post and share carefully.
Social media marketing mastery takes effort, planning and consistency. It's not a silver bullet but a big ol' gun that, when aimed truly and loaded properly, can help you land as much business as you desire.
Wishing you all the success you have the guts to grab.
Riches In Niches
The growth of social media platforms gives the small guy the ability to find and deliver their voices in a world that was previously dominated by large brands with Madison Avenue marketing firms that could blanket the market with their ads. Now small woodworking shops in cities like Quintin, AL can make a simple video with a smart phone, share it on the Facebook page and explode to 25,000+ fans, have the video seen and shared millions of times, orders flood in from around the country, and people asking to buy the rights to his plans so they can make the same cabinet he shared online.
According to NewsCred, “interesting content" brands produce via social media is one of the top three reasons people follow you. So are you interesting? Are you "followable?" Are you "shareable?"
These skills can be learned. You now have a little more insight into how to leverage social media to make money. Now start doing.
If you need more help growing your sales, check out the Recommended Resources.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.