Social Media with Purpose

I had a conversation with a client recently about how he marketed his business, and what tactics he used to get his brand and message in front of potential prospects. He mentioned his Facebook page, where posts appeared on an almost daily basis. From that standpoint, he was certainly keeping up with frequency and keeping his page— and brand—front and center on his followers’ feeds.

In looking at the actual content of the posts, however, he seemed to be missing the mark. He runs a B2B company that helps clients sell their products and services by building partnerships through his website; he essentially sells his clients’ products for them. His postings would share information about his clients and their products. . . . and then direct people to their website, not his, or would not direct them anywhere at all. He shared great content and articles from other publications that demonstrated his focus on the business world, but did not establish his company in a thought-leadership position, or help people to understand his business (which, at first glance, can be tough to understand). Rarely, if ever, was there a clear statement of his value proposition, a call to action, or anything that said “here is why you might want to do business with me.” We had some work to do.

Social media marketing is TOUGH! Let’s start there. It requires planning, creativity, consistency, and commitment, and at times can feel overwhelming. But it matters, and can boost your profile, visibility, and business if done well. Frequency is important; you need to post regularly to stay in front of your followers, fans, clients, prospects, suspects, etc. If they forget that you are out there, or you stop popping up in their feeds, you are off the radar, out of sight and out of mind. Using photos or videos will help make your posts more visible and memorable and hopefully boost engagement. Ultimately, however, the content matters most. If the information in your post is not relevant to your business or resonate with your audience, the most amazing photo in the world can’t help you. Sure, people may Like the post. . . . but it won’t lead them to take any action.

Your posts should advance the mission of your business and explain to people why they should do business with you. They should highlight your products and services and explain your value proposition or unique selling proposition— how will your product or service solve your clients’ problems, make them more money, or make the world a better place? Don’t be afraid of a call to action message. A call to action is often misconstrued as “selling,” when in reality, it is simply an invitation to readers to take more action— get more info, reach out, dive a little deeper, start a conversation. And yes, sometimes a call to action is used to sell. . . . and that’s OK!

Sprinkling in content that highlights changes and advancements in your industry, and advance you as an authority is great, as long as it is used sparingly. Inspirational messages or funny posts (when it is -50 and a blizzard outside, we sometimes need to laugh to keep from crying, right?) can break up patterns and keep things fun; just make sure that isn’t all you post. Your primary focus should be on content that tells your story, highlights how you make your clients’ lives easier, and invites your readers to engage with you (not just your post).

Social media marketing can be intimidating, but it does not have to be. Spend some time thinking about why you post and what would be most relevant. Build out a schedule of posts and topics for the calendar (I plan my posts every month on the first day of the month). Create and “schedule” them whenever possible. Focus on what makes you unique and why people should want to do business with you. Be engaging and invitational; use social media to begin to build a relationship with your potential customers. Finally, if you are at your wit's end on what to post, just put up a video of puppies playing in the snow. Is it relevant to your business? No, but people LOVE those videos!

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