When you are a small business owner, entrepreneur or freelancer, you have so many things to focus on that you may forget about your social media marketing.
While that’s understandable, you’ll soon realize that social media marketing is not just another marketing avenue. It is absolutely necessary.
But what’s the best way to go about doing it and seeing actual results?
So we decided to also ask some business experts about their best social media marketing tips.
Here are their ingenious answers.
Trent Silver, CashForPurses.com
In 2013 we started a company called CashForPurses.com, to buy and sell high-end women’s handbags. We have found a sweet-spot in profitability and giving back, by launching many cause-based, outside-the-box creative campaigns.
We started bootstrapping our startup with $6,000, a vision, and a gorilla marketing strategy to make it happen. Our Cash for Purses business has almost a full chapter case study in the 6th edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott, and Wiley Publishing.
One of our most successful campaigns can be seen here.
We call our strategy the “Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid,” balancing giving back and profitability.
Our most successful, and unique marketing strategy is a term we coined, called “Newsjacking,” where we inject our product or service into a breaking news story to benefit our company and a cause. We leverage activism as a commodity.
We are one of the few companies that has mastered this to the extent of mainstream press in outlets such as CNN, Fox, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and more, to the tune of over 20,000 new clients and over $2,500,000 in revenue from free exposure.
Just 2 weeks ago I spoke to an audience of more than 2,000 business owners from 49 countries at Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery in West Palm Beach, Florida, all about using cause-based gorilla marketing to bootstrap your business, the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid and how to “pay it forward” and win at the same time!
Steve Pritchard, BenSherman
As a clothing brand, we have a considerable number of celebrities who wear our clothes. We have integrated this into our social media by including photos of our customers, celebrity or not, wearing our clothes.
For example, on Twitter we tag the celebrity’s Twitter account in the Tweet, if they have one. By doing this, the celebrity’s fans will see the image and know where they got those clothes from. This markets our clothes to people who aspire to be like certain stars.
We also include shots of locations and models that reflect our brand values, such as classic London streets or fashion shows. This helps us to honour our roots – we were founded in London and we reflect classic London fashion in our clothing line. Again, this appeals to a target audience of people who aspire to a certain lifestyle.
Through using hashtags, these images reach out to our target audience and help people who would be interested in shopping with us to check out our social media pages. Since joining Twitter in 2009, our following has grown to the current number of 35.4k.
Marc Joseph, CEO & President of DollarDays International, Inc.
Every small business needs to build into their plans a give back to their community program and then do it all year long.
When your customers know you are engaged with helping their community, they become more loyal and in some cases feel the obligation to give back themselves, which is a win win for you, your customers and your community.
Our strongest give-back effort is through Facebook. We have 248,000 followers. Now if we were movie stars, that is not a lot, but for a B2B business that sells 275,000 general merchandise products by the case at wholesale and closeout prices to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofit organizations, this is quite a following.
To create such a following, we give back to our community with a different give away each month. In January it was for nonprofits that support kids. In February it was for volunteers and volunteer organizations. This month it is for places of worship.
Giving back to your customer base is another way to do social good through cause marketing. We have a program where any of our customers can designate 5% of their purchase dollars to their favorite charity.
We also have created a free wish list program for nonprofits to get what they need as another way we support charitable causes. We set these wish lists sites up for nonprofits at no cost to them.
We believe that giving back is a win for us in creating a loyal following while at the same time helping to support their causes.
Bill Peatman, Senior Content Strategist at Alaniz Marketing
LinkedIn groups can be especially effective for highly specialized B2B companies because they offer very targeted, motivated audiences. It is important to engage, not just promote, which enhances the opportunity to build relationships that can be mutually beneficial.
We use LinkedIn groups to engage very targeted audiences and the results in traffic and sales have been measurable and impressive.
For example, one of our clients manufactures something called an “ultrafast” laser—a high-precision laser for material processing (it drills fuel injector nozzles and cuts coronary stents).
There are LinkedIn groups for everything, including Lasers for Material Processing and Ultrafast Lasers and Applications. Publishing our blog posts and content offers has resulted in:
- 20 percent increase in traffic
- 7-10 qualified leads for from each post (the product cost more than $1M, quality is more important than quantity)
- LinkedIn is now our client’s largest source of traffic after Google
- white papers being picked up and republished in trade journals (Industrial Laser Solutions)
We have also built relationships that have led to guest blogging opportunities for our client; and for experts to guest blog on the client’s site.
Britney Inez Rand
I’ve used one powerful strategy to grow an engaged audience by 100% in under 2 months, and more importantly, to internally increase my clientele by 50%.
The one social media strategy that allowed me to reach those results and set my clients up increase their sales by 500% is what I call “Influential” Live streaming.
Strategic live streaming is more than about being able to tell a story, it’s about understanding where your audience is emotionally, and speaking directly to that emotion through your content.
Many entrepreneurs flip the Go LIVE button and talk about their services, but that only interests them.
My audience tunes in, shares, and invests in my business over and over again (allowing me to gain repeat business from current clients) because I appeal to their biggest pain points and provide a solution.
I encourage my clients and any other coaches, consultants, and influencers to get really clear on where their audience is on an emotional level first, then fast-track your path in getting them to invest in your solutions through live streaming.
If you don’t know how to go about doing this, a great start is to list out how your ideal audience/clients feel before working with you. Once that’s done, connect those dots between where they are before, and where they’ll be after.
That journey is the exact story you should tell during your Live stream.
Matt Edstrom, Head of Marketing for BioClarity
It’s important to keep in mind: your customers are your best marketers.
If you’re selling a physical product you should be actively re-gramming your customers’ and fans’ pictures that feature your product. We like to refer to this as “Sharing the Spotlight”.
Taking this one step further, on our website we’ve integrated an Instagram feed that is connected to our two main hashtags: #BioClarity and #NaturallyBetter.
Not only is our Social Media Team actively engaging with these posters on Instagram, we’re providing them promotion on our website in front of thousands of other like-minded young adults.
By Sharing the Spotlight we encourage our customers to share our products with their followers, fans, and friends, organically increasing our amplification and social media presence.
Alexis Chateau, Founder and Managing Partner at Alexis Chateau PR
At Alexis Chateau PR, we took an unconventional approach to social media marketing, by hiring a cat to help out.
In December 2016, we adopted an Office Cat by the name of Shadow. By January of 2017, we made the decision to promote him to Goodwill Ambassador, and nicknamed him ‘Shadow the PR Cat’.
We then gave him his own Twitter, LinkedIn, and the company’s new Instagram page to manage. We also recently put him in charge of our newsletters.
Shadow independently brings in at least one client per month via social media. So far he’s attracted one from WordPress, where he blogs; Twitter, where he tweets without opposable thumbs; and the newest, from Instagram. The company’s revenue is now triple what it was before we hired him.
Shadow the PR Cat was the best social media decision we ever made.
Thus, our primary social media tip to other small businesses is to think outside the box, and to genuinely support a cause your clients can relate to. Authenticity and creativity is the best combination.
Jayme Pretzloff, Director of Marketing for Wixon Jewelers
In my opinion, the most important thing a marketer should know is that being useful to your followers is crucial for engaging an audience.
This genuine approach enables business owners to save time because they’re not generating loads of crap content to engage their audience… one well thought-out post will bring more engagement than 10 terrible posts.
Many businesses have resorted to hiring outside writers, which I don’t feel is the right approach because your in-house staff will best be able to create content that is engaging to your core consumer base, as well as appropriate for your brand.
Our staff has really succeeded with blogging for our website which is such a difficult task for any business to start, and maintain over time. I asked two of our sales staff, Jessica and Amy, to put their talents to work for the blog.
Their blog posts sometimes come from questions submitted by clients like in the Ask Amy section, or are very current and engaging topics about jewelry, fashion and watches.
Jessica Thiefels, Content & Social Media Marketing Strategy Consultant
My number one tip is: Make sure the page you’re directing traffic to is ready to make conversions.
A post I published for a blog that I currently manage went viral after sharing on Facebook—and literally broke our blog because it couldn’t handle the traffic. Despite getting nearly 1 million visits in just two days, we saw barely no conversions.
Why? Because we weren’t set up for conversions yet. After that, I installed Hello Bar, which I now swear by. In a year and a half, the “ad” that pops up on our blog has driven more than 3K leads to our product page and continues to drive about 250 click-throughs/week.
While not all of those convert and not ALL conversions are from social, the lesson is the same: Be prepared for your traffic and know what you want them to do when they arrive on the page.
Jake Knight, Skye Homes
My company, Skye Homes, flips ugly houses in the Bay Area. We buy these houses directly from sellers.
Transparency is important to our clients. We build trust and credibility by giving people a look inside our business through inexpensive Facebook “boosts.”
We recently posted a picture of an “ugly” house we bought and boosted it to our target market for four days only. The organic reach was 159 people, but for a $13.00 boost we reached another 441 people, resulting in 57 clicks and three leads.
One of those leads converted and we bought the person’s house. It will bring in over $15,000 in revenue when finished, from only $13.00 of ad spend.
Compared to our primary marketing method of direct mailing, where an average lead costs over $2,500, Facebook boosts have allowed us to effectively and efficiently target our market. We will be putting considerably more resources behind our next “inside look” boost.
Ajay Prasad, President of RepuGen
One of the most ignored aspects of successful social media and online marketing is having a positive online reputation. It’s surprising how much a few negative reviews can affect a business’s bottom line.
Having positive ratings on popular review and social sites will greatly improve Google rankings of those profiles, leading potential customers directly to your site and improving the likelihood that they’ll convert.
Our greatest success with online reputation management was taking a medical practice with 7 reviews and a 2.1 star rating to 121 reviews and a 4 star rating.
This exponential reputation boost increased revenues from new patients by 386%. You can imagine how much of an effect this will have on the future of this practice.
It is often that the simple things are overlooked while trying to find a solution to a problem.
Joshua Wilson, Partner & Chief Investment Officer at WorthPointe Wealth Management
Many of our clients are entrepreneurs looking to get the word out on their business. If they are in a transactional business, then I always advise them to “incentivize chatter.”
For example, if you open a burger restaurant, you might offer a free soda for anyone who follows you on Facebook and posts a positive status that tags your business in it.
People have smart-phones, they can do it right there while standing in line! To get the most out of it, make sure you go reply to every post that you are tagged in and thank them for coming in, and set them up for the next visit.
You might say, “The bacon burger is our best-seller–hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget that kids get a free dessert every Tuesday night, so we hope to see you again soon!”
Other types of businesses might offer a small coupon or small gift for anyone who does this. Another idea is to post facebook or twitter exclusive give-aways. At a random time, post something like “The next person to come into the shop and mention this post gets $20 off their order with Facebook mention.”
Then post a picture of the winner on your Facebook. Be sure to let people know that there is an incentive to follow you!
Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and Principal of Source Capital Funding, Inc
In recent years we have begun showcasing the properties we have funded via Facebook Live and YouTube.
For us, these methods are relevant because we can document the kinds of properties we are funding clients for, and get other clients excited to work with us and secure their dream home as well.
From a business perspective, when showcasing your product or business on social media in general, it is more beneficial to utilize videos rather than photos.
This is due to the fact that it is much easier to accrue ‘views’ than ‘likes’ on content, so utilizing videos is one social media hack that should be taken advantage of. Utilizing videos allows you to gain 300+ views, for example, and showcases that as the primary number on the content.
Videos have also been proven to be much more engaging and shareable in recent years than just stagnant photos.
By utilizing real-time videos, not only have we been successful in driving great publicity back to our business, but we have also secured 20% more clientele due to the new and exciting insight we are providing our clients.
The cost of utilizing social media marketing is also extremely low, making it more valuable and easy to execute.
Evan Harris, Co-Founder of SD Equity Partners
We have found the most success through sharing our own original photography on Facebook.
Typically, Facebook posts from businesses consist of sharing industry-relevant content from other sources, which we certainly do,but it shouldn’t be the only thing you post.
Since we operate in the house-flipping space, we often diversify our posts by sharing pictures of our clients’completed projects.
This is not just a way to engage with our followers, but also a way to convert leads by showing them examples of what they could accomplish with our funding.
Adam Broetje, CEO of Odd Dog Media
If we could only make one social media marketing tip, it would be to use text messages to request online reviews from customers.
Harvard Business School did a study on restaurants in Seattle and found that a 1-star increase in a restaurant’s average rating correlated with a 5-9% increase in revenue. The impact that online reviews have on consumer trust, click through rate and search rankings is better than just about any other social activity.
Ideally it is the employee who has the direct relationship with the customer who is asking for the review and sending the text message, leveraging the personal relationship for a much better response rate than a generic company follow-up.
The setup is pretty simple:
- Go to Google maps (google.com/maps)
- Search for your business
- Click the “Share” button and you will be provided with a link, check the option to use the short version.
- Now all you have to do is send an email or SMS to your customers with this link. They can click the link and leave the business a review right from their phone.
To make it even easier, we created a free mobile app that allows employees to easily send this SMS while they are with the customer. It sends the text message from a generic number so the employee doesn’t have to give their personal phone number to the customer.
Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal
A social marketing strategy that we have implemented is to target influences for our product.
How we did that is to target a very small influential group of individuals on Facebook like realtors and property mangers that have the ability to spread the word about our business.
We also follow up and send out an email campaign to explain that we built a feature for them specifically, a multiple properties feature.
Customizing our social media campaign has really helped our growth. Sine the launch of this campaign, we have seen an 30% uptick in our multiple property feature and an 10% growth on our the bottom line.
Bob Clary, Director of Online Engagement for Intellibright
One innovative thing a mass customization business in the photography space did was marry social media with email (which, in some cases, can be a social channel).
They told followers on Instagram and Facebook that if they shared a specific post and emailed them a screen capture of it, they’d send them a special offer.
While that worked well, what was even better is they kept those emails in a separate list, and used it to notify them of more opportunities to share their content.
In essence, they created a very natural brand ambassador program.
Maat van Uitert, Sales Funnel and Pinterest Expert
We were able to lower the cost of acquiring cold leads in women ages 35-55 by targeting this demographic on Pinterest then retargeting those women on Facebook to turn them into buyers.
When we initially targeted them on Facebook, the cost per click was $1.59. When we switched platforms and targeted them on Pinterest with the same advertisement, our cold lead cost per click dropped to $0.25.
About 25% of women joined our cold subscriber list from the Pinterest ad, and we were able to retarget warm lead ads to them to convert them to buyers at a 25% success rate.
We’ve been able to repeat this pattern over 12 advertising campaigns. It has lowered the overall cost of converting cold leads into buyers.
Swapnil Bhagwat, Senior Manager at Orchestrate Technologies, LLC
Webinars have proved to be a primary source of traffic and customers for us as we started promoting them on social media in a big way.
Webinars held by related industry experts of business garnered a lot of audience from social media, and many have converted into a sale.
Based on the response we formed a community dealing with the challenges of the industry and how our product addresses those. Now we initiate events within this group and send invitations for webinars to the members of this group. It has not only helped us increase reach, but we can deliver our message to the right audience.
The next important way that we adopted for social media marketing is to look for old content that has high views and reach.
We altered the content type and converted the articles and blogs into videos/infographics and promoted them on different social networks. This also brought great results and increased our conversion rate by about 15%, exceeding our expectations.
These instances made us reschedule the old content in new formats and promote them on social media as a part of our regular marketing efforts.
Ismael El-Qudsi, Co-founder & CEO of SocialPubli
Tapping micro-influencers on social media is a very effective means for small businesses to amplify their content’s reach and drive awareness among their target audience.
Micro-influencers generate authentic content that leads to higher engagement because they have a personal connection with their audience.
They are also a lot more affordable. With the same amount of budget used to hire a high-end influencer, brands can actually collaborate with 5-10 micro-influencers to reach different demographics, and even regions, to test different strategies and compare results.
New automated influencer marketing platforms offer a do-it-yourself agile solution that drastically reduces the amount of manual work required to launch influencer campaigns.
These platforms are a cost-effective marketing tool that delivers a strong ROI while producing scalable social content.
Dan Rusu, Digital Marketer at Lighting Shoes
Facebook retargeting for our Shopify site has been huge.
90% of our traffic comes from Google shopping ads, and we use Facebook to reengage them. We have 2 campaigns setup in Facebook ads.
The first is set up to target people who came to our site, added a product to the cart, yet didn’t purchase. We offer them a 20% discount on Facebook to help push them past the purchasing barrier.
The second campaign targets visitors to our site who did not purchase, yet viewed 2 or more pages. By doing this, you’re able to really target visitors who have interest in the product. We offer them a 10% discount.
The results of this for our small LED shoe site has been $6,819 in sales from spending only $598 on FB! Highly recommended strategy
Arya Bina, Founder & CEO of Kobe Digital
We have always used social media as a valuable marketing tool for our clients.
Typically it is best used for exposure and branding. We had a case where social media became our clients main sales channel and provided an ROI that consistently fluctuated between 800%-1000% of their monthly ad spend.
Our main tactic was the usage of Facebook carousel ads, this was a great tool for us to advertise her products. Our team attributes the huge success of this campaign to the placement, the targeting, as well as the product itself.
Since the product was women’s clothing, Facebook was the most relevant medium to advertise the products as that is where the buyer demographic was spending a bulk of their time anyways.
Have you used any of these fantastic social media marketing tips in your business? Let us know in the comments below!