REMINDER: As I’m hitting send on this, you have about 8 hours left to secure your spot in the Story Selling Master Class.
Tomorrow, your opportunity is gone.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time to dig into the ol’ mailbox…
Today, a question about small business, social media, and marketing….
Remember: to get YOUR question answered, next Monday, send it to me at [email protected].
On to today’s question…
Here’s a question for Mailbox Monday…
Are most small business owners more interested in marketing or in social media marketing?
Also, is social media marketing an effective way to generate sales?
Let’s get down to the truth about social media marketing!
Here’s the deal. “Social media” is the most-hyped thing on the internet since the dot-com bubble of 1999.
But, like the dot-com bubble, there’s some merit. It’s just not in the hype.
Let’s rewind a bit to learn some lessons from the past.
In the dot-com bubble, businesses ended up with stratospheric valuations just because they had an office in Silicon Valley, and they had a website.
That was literally all it took, at the peak of the bubble, to have your business hit million-plus valuation, attract investors, and so on.
Then, people started coming to their senses, recognizing that a website with no revenue is worthless, and the bubble went bust.
This is really simplifying it, but it’s at the very core of what happened.
Around that time, Ken McCarthy launched the first System Seminar, all about internet marketing.
And Ken stepped forward with a very simple equation…
Traffic + Conversions = Profit…
And since the dot-com bust happened in 2000, that’s been the formula REAL businesses have used to grow online.
They get targeted traffic to their website.
They convert that traffic into buyers.
And they make profits.
And the same thing applies to small businesses selling online, as it applies to Amazon.
Get traffic. Convert the traffic. Make profits.
It’s not about having a fancy website. It’s not about having the latest tech.
It’s about a very fundamental truth about business. You need prospective customers to come buy things from you.
So what does this have to do with social media?
In a word…
If you apply this same formula to social media marketing, you’ll realize what you need to focus on very quickly.
Can you get traffic from social media? Absolutely! Although the absolute best way to get social media traffic is by buying it — via Facebook and other platform advertising.
That is, it’s one thing to get on social media all day, play around, make friends, like and be liked, and so on…
It’s another thing entirely to use social media to target your ideal prospective buyers, get them to take targeted action that moves them into your “funnel,” continue to communicate with them (on or off social media), and turn them into a buyer.
This is VERY DIFFERENT from the much-hyped “social” approach to social media marketing that so many so-called “social media marketers” will use…
Here’s the thing about social media marketers. Most of them are only “responsible” for their results in theory, on paper.
The average small business owner is responsible for their results on their children’s plates. That is, if they don’t get results, their kids don’t eat.
The professional “social media marketer” who got the gig out of college hasn’t been responsible for profits and loss, doesn’t have the same stake in the game, and generally doesn’t have a response-accountable mindset.
And if you follow them, you stand to fall prey to…
The #1 mistake a small business can make when it comes to social media marketing!
That is, if a small business owner feels like “they need to be on social media,” they’ve been duped.
Are their customers on there? Absolutely. B2B, B2C, it doesn’t matter. A HUGE percentage of your market, in pretty much every market, uses Facebook. A large number use other platforms, as well.
Facebook can send you all the traffic you need to grow your business, in any viable niche.
But here’s the thing.
Just creating an account because you’ve been told you need to have one is a surefire way to feel like you’ve wasted your time.
You hear this again and again: “XYZ method or media doesn’t work.” “Facebook doesn’t work.” “Direct mail doesn’t work.” “Email marketing doesn’t work.” Etc., etc. When really, the truth is that whatever strategy that person used may not work, but that’s not a death knell for the media or method. There are people making huge profits off all kinds of platforms. The question is, should you try to make it work for you, and if so, how?
If you’re just going to get on social media for social media’s sake, it’s not going to work for you.
Sure, you may get some followers. You may get some likes.
But that’s worth about as much as a do-nothing website in the dot-com boom. Maybe it will get you some attention initially, but it does nothing to build lasting value.
Here’s the alternative…
Want to use social media in your business? It’s time to stop thinking it’s a magic pill. And instead, focus on how you can apply marketing best practices to it.
- Find your audience. Your audience is the prospective buyers for your product or service. People who have the problem or challenge your offer can solve. Can you target them effectively through social media platforms? Is free an option? (Maybe, but you shouldn’t rely on it.) Can you reach them through paid advertising? And, if you can target them effectively, is the opportunity cost worth it? That is, is whatever social media you’re using a more time-, resource-, and investment-effective way to get them than other options?
- Figure out how to engage them. Engagement on social media is different than other channels. It’s interruptive — you have to pull their attention away from other activities. Plus, it has its own social style that’s more akin to advertising in a coffee shop than through other more traditional mediums. (Think of Facebook as the world’s largest coffee shop, and your market is sitting in a corner — how would you get their attention in that environment?) What can you do that’s “social” to move the traffic from the Facebook news feed to your own controlled environment?
- Build a relationship. Sales are seldom made after one contact on social media. You have to reach them over and over again. This can mean repeated exposures via social media advertising. It can mean getting them to like your page or join your group. It can mean moving them off the social media platform onto your email list (typically the highest-ROI thing you can do). Your goal is to make your prospect know, like, and trust you with regards to what you can offer to them.
- Communicate value. How would you approach a friend? Would you hit them over the head with your hard-sell offer? Or would you share value with them, get them excited, and then encourage them to take action? Hitting someone with a hard sell through social media is generally unwelcome, and all the big platforms are taking steps to remove marketers who take this approach from their platforms.
- Convert. When it all comes down to it though, you do need to make sure you convert. Traffic via social media may need a little more “social” touch, but if you aren’t turning an adequate number of followers and friends into buyers, you’re doing it wrong.
Notice how this all follows the arc of Traffic + Conversions = Profit.
It’s no different from any other online marketing. These are the goals you need to focus on. Anything else is a distraction.
But the question remains — are business owners interested in this?
Well, that’s a tricky subject.
A lot of businesses are happy doing the wrong things with their marketing.
Because it’s not about profits, it’s about ego.
Do you think a big billboard with someone’s face and a catchy slogan really converts buyers? (It doesn’t.)
Branding is a convenient excuse for not having to figure out what works.
So is “social media marketing.”
And a business owner who loves branding and image advertising would probably be happy to run pointless social media marketing until they run out of money.
However, I couldn’t sell it to them in good conscience, and I hope you’re with me there.
That said, there are quite a few business owners who’d be receptive to the message above. Perhaps with demonstration of how to walk through those steps.
They want leads. They want customers. They want profit. And they don’t care if you use Facebook of bus bench marketing. If you can hit business objectives at an acceptable cost, they’re happy to give you money.
Frankly, they don’t care about the buzzwords. They don’t care about marketing. They don’t care about social media. They care about finding their clients or customers, connecting with them, making an offer, and converting them.
Everything else is just details.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: Stories are actually a really interesting way to get both traffic and conversions.
Stories can call out to your target audience. They attract attention, when used right. If you put them out through social media, they are a great way to promote within the “coffee shop” atmosphere, and the right story can get a TON of shares (in addition to any paid exposure).
Plus, stories are a highly-effective way to convert. In fact, one good story in your selling message can be the difference between a ton of conversions… And none.
If you want to sell more through social media (or any other channel), this is exactly what you need.