A little while ago I had the pleasure of asking my friend and fellow freelancer, Alice Merron, all about social media and what she does to build engagement for her clients. Alice and I worked together briefly where she completely transformed my social media pages as well as my mindset. I learned about how social media is more than just sharing photos – it can act as an extremely useful lead generation tool.
Here’s a secret – 85% of my clients come from Facebook and other social media, 10% from referrals, and 5% from other sources. SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS. It can be an extremely useful tool to not only connect with potential clients, but to build brand recognition and authority.
I asked Alice the top questions I hear from my clients when we discuss their social media marketing strategies. Now I am sharing her answers with you! Enjoy!
Overcoming algorithms: Many people complain that their brand is becoming less and less visible on social media. Any recommendation on how to overcome this?
The main thing that you can do to improve your visibility to your ideal market is to firstly, IDENTIFY your target market in detail!
You can then tailor your posts towards these particular people and then engage with them for a few minutes every day. Make sure to engage with both your current followers and potential followers.
Your posts will only be shown to a small portion of your followers each time you post, and if it’s not instantly well received by those initial accounts then it is less likely to gain traction and be shown to many more people. So quality posts are essential!
Do recommend any social media platform over another and why?
Each platform is completely unique. The main thing to think about is your business’s target market and where they’ll spend most of their time. I’d always recommend focusing your time on no more than 3 platforms for your business so that you can put all of your time, focus and energy into those three. Here are some brief examples of considerations for each platform:
- Facebook is great for targeting the older generation (growth was highest amongst the 55+ age range during 2018)
- Instagram is ideal for businesses with really beautiful products, that can be styled and photographed well.
- Pinterest is very effective for bloggers.
- LinkedIn is essential for recruiters and business blogs.
- Tumblr is best for businesses targeting teens and twenty-somethings, and if they have beautiful products that photograph well.
- Snapchat is great for personal brands.
For someone with a visual profession, something like Instagram is a must but do you still recommend it for those whose isn’t?
As you know, Instagram is a very powerful tool for a huge range of businesses. With Facebook’s new preference toward showing people updates from their friends and family, with less focus on business page updates, many more businesses are turning to Instagram where they can gain more exposure through hashtags and geo-locations.
Bear in mind that people are on Instagram to be entertained, inspired or educated from the accounts that they follow. As long as you are not hard-selling and are making an effort to get across your business’s values, it is definitely a good option for increasing brand exposure, regardless of your business’s industry.
Can social media really influence my Google ranking?
Though it is certainly not the main way to influence your Google ranking, social media acts as a good way to promote your website and to increase awareness of your brand, which can lead to more searches for your brand in search engines.
Also, if you’ve successfully promoted your website on social media and this actually leads to better engagement with your website, this will send positive signs to Google.
What recommendations do you have for someone looking to build up their following on social media?
First of all, as mentioned, make sure that you’re targeting the right type of following by identifying your ideal audience. By targeting your posts toward your ideal audience, they are more likely to engage with your content which will tell Instagram that you are creating quality posts, which will lead to more accounts being shown your posts. In this way, you can organically grow your audience in the right direction!
Secondly, engage. Engage. Engage. This should be with both current followers and also accounts who use your target audience’s favourite hashtags. When you build genuine relationships, you will naturally build a loyal following and of course, make friends along the way!
There is no benefit to having many unengaged followers as Instagram will rank your posts higher than other posts if you have a higher engagement rate than others.
I see a lot of people get overwhelmed with trying to keep up with social media and can’t balance it alongside their billable work. How active does someone need to be on social media?
You can try to make it more manageable by batching your captions; spend a few hours on a Sunday planning your posts for the week!
Ideally, you should also engage every single day, or at least every day that you post, to ensure that when you post, you’re getting quality engagement on your posts and therefore reaching more potential clients/customers.
If you can’t dedicate a few hours a week, by all means consider talking to a social media manager who can create a strategy for you, optimise your page, research key hashtags in your niche and who can take the whole social-media-load off your plate so that you can focus on your own area of expertise: your business.
How can you use your social media platforms to drive website traffic and exposure?
Host a competition.
Create an engaging blog post e.g. “Top 10…” to encourage people them into clicking your link and thereby increase web traffic.
Create quality pins on Pinterest with links to your website.
Create free giveaways on your website which you can redirect from social media.
Write articles for LinkedIn – it’s surprising how many people go on LinkedIn just to read the articles!
SEO – optimize your content so that it ranks highly in search engines.
Should social media be a part of your lead generation strategy?
Absolutely! Add in a Call To Action on your social media page to generate web traffic to your website where they can see your offers. If someone is resonating with you, enjoying your content and what you stand for as a business, they are far more likely to follow through with your call to action which initiates the process toward making sales.
You can generate leads from emails, blogs and social media directly. In each case, social media can be used in promoting clicks through to your website. Once there they can either sign up to your email list or view your blog.
The more you have built trust amongst your followers, the more likely they are to click through.
Thanks so much to Alice for all her insight and for sharing this information with us! If anyone has any additional questions or is interested in having social media management, feel free to reach out.