This is the 3rd recipe of our Social Media Marketing Cookbook. These are unique step-by-step social media marketing guides brought to you by leaders and innovators from around the globe.
Today’s recipe is courtesy of Sharon Herzog
Target Audience: Existing small businesses or new entrepreneurs who need to quickly see the benefits of using social media networks, specifically Twitter.
Level of Difficulty: Easy to Medium (In other words, yes, you actually have to do some work…)
Total Set-up Time: 30 Minutes
Here’s the problem
Existing businesses have done “just fine” without using social media marketing and will likely continue to do business whether or not they start using popular networks such as Twitter or Facebook. So why start now you ask? In the next few paragraphs and follow-on discussions we’ll give you examples why you should stop asking questions and start taking advantage of what social media marketing has to offer. We’ll also tell you how you can start seeing some tangible results as you build out your existence on one of the most popular networks for businesses and entrepreneurs.
Here is a summary of what used to be my problem
It had become my responsibility to turn around a company’s traditional methods of marketing into something that younger generations could identify with. This company was established and has been around for longer than most of us have been born, but their social media presence was non-existent and their online marketing budget was close to, but not exactly zero dollars.
I basically had to turn water into wine and feed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread. In other words, I had to prove and prove quickly that building a social media presence was worth the effort even for businesses that didn’t rely on direct customer sales and had been around since dinosaurs existed.
There was no problem spending thousands of dollars on traditional advertising and marketing methods such as direct mail ads and full-page magazine ads, but there was a problem understanding how using social networks such as Twitter or Facebook could help with revenue.
What I’ll show you is a basic recipe to quickly see results and how I solved the problem above. First, let me show you a quick summary of my results using “Before” and “After” photos below. They’re not as interesting as celebrity before and after plastic surgery photos, but it is pretty interesting to those who love pretty graphs.
AFTER (August 2014)
Back to the recipe…
Here’s what you’ll learn after following some basic instructions below:
- How to not to feel overwhelmed or confused whenever you see the words “Social Media”
- What tools you should start using and how to use them
- How to get connected with people and actually produce tangible results from these connections
How to not feel overwhelmed or confused whenever you see the words “Social Media”
Let’s face it. You see the words “Social Media” and you want to throw up because all you can think about are the vague and fluffy marketing terms that get thrown around like “engagement” and “marketing strategy”. Maybe you think it’s a fad that will go away in a year and you can then go back to spending thousands of dollars on full-page magazine ads.
Frankly, we’ve made this word overwhelming for business owners because it hasn’t been defined into bite-sized terms that we can relate to from the traditional brick and mortar world. In fact, most people are just really bad at trying to describe the concept and most of the time we see eyes start to glaze over followed by the bored and confused look of business owners who have better things to do.
Breaking it down into relatable terms for businesses is important, especially if you are a marketing consultant trying to convince a business that we can help them produce tangible results from seemingly intangible communications. It’s not about dumbing things down; it’s about communicating with some solid information about this platform.
To get started, below are three things that you can do and I will give you some “tangible” results I personally gained from social media marketing in addition to the graphs I presented above. In the next few paragraphs I will tell you exactly what I did to see those results.
Three things you can do:
- You can connect with the right people for new business partnerships and opportunities
- You can remind people that your company exists and that you have products they might be interested in
- You can learn how to best serve your customers and improve your own business by listening to and contributing to the conversations that happen online
Here are three tangible results and examples from doing the above:
- Connecting with the right people: After making a single connection our company was presented with the opportunity to showcase a product on a television show that had 1.5 to 2 million viewers per episode. Another instance, which again, was a single connection with the right person, led to an entire article written in a nationally distributed newspaper with a weekly readership of 1 million people.
- Sharing your products with people who are likely interested: Sharing a single image of our product and adding the appropriate hashtags allowed us to get the product in front of a large company that wanted to place our products in nearly all of its 250 retail stores in the US. Needless to say – but I’m going to say it – this led to a significant revenue increase for the year.
- Serving your customers: You have the opportunity to interact in a very personal way with your customers using Twitter. Listening to and serving your customers in this way creates loyalty and builds a relationship between you and your customers that can’t be established using other forms of marketing. In fact, it’s the closest thing to having a physical storefront and actually interacting with your customers face-to-face.
- Twitter App
- Google Analytics
Step 1: Sign up to Twitter if you don’t already have an account.
Step 2: Twitter Setup
Choose your Twitter handle: In this first step, choose a handle that closely resembles your real name if your name is already taken. By handle, I basically mean your username. It’s what comes right after the @ sign for those who are new to Twitter.
Upload a profile photo of your face: Notice I didn’t say upload a photo of your cool logo. It is much easier establishing yourself as a human being than a company. People are more likely to connect with a person than a business unless your business is a well-established brand.
Set up your profile description and URL: Browse other people’s profiles and check out how they describe themselves here. Make it a little personal so you don’t sound so boring. Add your website URL – it can be your business or some other page that will allow your connections to “check you out”. It’s a way to establish some credibility so people can get to know who you are. You should also include your business Twitter handle in your profile in order to establish how you are connected with your company or business.
Step 3: Add the Twitter app to your phone
Adding the Twitter app to your smart phone will allow you to communicate a little more freely back and forth with your new connections. You can start to get a feel for how people communicate on Twitter and at the same time try to grow the right network through your interactions.
Step 4: Subscribe to TribeBoost
Using TribeBoost is like hiring a full-time social media person at 75 cents an hour. They manage whom I should be following on Twitter and basically grow my network for me. They do all the hard work. I just have to be charming and know what I’m talking about when I start interacting with people. Being on Twitter is like having access to a worldwide networking event 24/7. TribeBoost is like your wingman at a party or the sales rep that gets you connected with potential business contacts.
Step 5: Subscribe to Meshfire
The best way to start using social media for marketing is by focusing on one network at a time and getting good at that one network. Other social networks may be better for your business, but if you’re using Twitter the social media experts behind Meshfire will give you an entire dashboard that will allow you to manage your account in a very intelligent way and provide you with the right reporting tools. I think of their tool as an artificial intelligence system that will tell you who to interact with and manages the communication timeline for you. It is like a virtual executive social media assistant giving you your schedule throughout the day. As a busy entrepreneur and business owner myself I don’t have time to waste and I need people or tools to tell me what’s important when it comes to these daily tasks.
How to Cook Up Some Tangible Results
Now that you’ve done some prep work above, let’s go through the actual steps for producing some real results.
Connecting with the Right People
If you’ve done the steps above you’ll work with TribeBoost to start building your network of followers. I don’t really like to use the term “followers” because it makes it sound like the relationship is one way, but it’s not and shouldn’t be seen as such. The relationship should be balanced and respect should be mutual.
As your connections start to grow you’ll see who has “followed” or connected with you and perhaps they may start conversations with you or you with them. You’ll see these results in real-time and it’s important to start learning about your new connections; they may end up becoming a great partner for your business or just an awesome contact to have in your industry. Again, TribeBoost does the connecting for you. If you find someone interesting you may do further research about the person who followed you, then follow-up and continue to build these relationships via email, phone, in-person meetings, etc.
Here’s another example to share with you: I asked TribeBoost to connect with specific types of retail stores. As some of these stores noticed our connection, they asked to carry our products. I would send them information to get set up as a retail account and then we start doing business as soon as we received all necessary paperwork on their end. TribeBoost basically connected me with a new dealer who regularly purchases product from us and this translates to thousands of dollars in revenue. For this one customer I had a total of 3 interactions to get this relationship going: one message on Twitter and two emails.
Sharing Your Products
The content on Twitter isn’t limited to typing 140 characters — you can also add links, photos, videos and ads. When you add content to Twitter people may or may not find what you’ve shared. But they can find you a lot more easily when you use hashtags.
With hashtags your content will show up for people who are likely looking for whatever you’ve posted if you’ve tagged it with the appropriate hashtag. Hashtags are a way to categorize what you’ve shared about a topic and people who are interested can see what you and others have added to that specific topic. We often make up new words for old ideas. Hashtags may sound new and complicated to those who don’t use Twitter, but you can compare hashtags to “tags” on blogs or simply think of them as really creative category names that will allow you to see related content via a single feed.
Here’s an example of how sharing a photo and using a hashtag produced tangible results for me: I basically used a hashtag with a product that’s been around for a few years but that our customers didn’t know existed. It was no coincidence that I saw a rise in sales for this particular product because I could easily see the entire conversion path starting with the link the customer clicked on in Twitter all the way to the sales confirmation page after making a purchase. Here’s the basic format and steps I used for this example:
- Choose a creative product photo worth sharing
- Choose a hashtag that will allow people to find that photo.
- Compose an interesting Tweet for the photo that will get people to do one of the following 1) Retweet your tweet 2) Favorite your tweet and/or 3) Click on the link you’ll include with your Tweet.
“Some witty quote here.” [your photo] #hashtag http://bit.ly/somebitlylink
(Bit.ly is basically a way to shorten links so that you can stay within the 140-character Tweet limit)
- The bit.ly link then goes to some carefully crafted page that has to do with your quote, your photo and some action to take by the visitor to your page. There’s an art to all of this, but as you develop your personality on Twitter you’ll see how to best use the 140 characters allowed that will garner more retweets and favorites.
- You can then check Google analytics or Bit.ly analytics on how your visitors responded to your tweet
Google Analytics Can Tell You a Lot About Your Social Media Activity
You can check how well your tweet pulled people to your website by clicking on “All Referrals” under “Acquisition”. Then clicking on “t.co” – Twitter’s URL shortening service.
The image below shows the referral paths from t.co. As I click each referral path I can actually add what Google Analytics calls a “Secondary Dimension” that will allow me to see the second page the user visited. Or I can choose to see something else like how many pages they visited and if they eventually purchased something or not.
Some people don’t have as much fun if they have to pay attention to analytics, but if you need the proof of Twitter’s effectiveness you can certainly measure and analyze your marketing efforts using Google Analytics. Like any other marketing ROI you’ll need to appreciate the variables that come into play in order to understand what the analytics are really showing you. Digital marketing allows you to measure your efforts in ways that traditional marketing hasn’t been able to offer, but there are still a number of variables that aren’t taken into account when you use Google analytics.
Serving Your Customers
Are you looking to develop new products or improve existing ones? If you’re connecting with your customers you may start to receive feedback from them via Twitter.
Twitter is generally where you can find personal opinions being shared about products or services in very short 140-character bursts. You can gather some insight on what can be improved about your or your competitor’s products and this is basically free market research for you.
Customers who have loyalty towards your brand will be willing to share their ideas and opinions about your products using this platform because they can communicate on a more personal level with your company or small business. In order to do this I use Meshfire to track, prioritize and create “missions” for these objectives; I use Meshfire not only to know who to engage with and when I should engage with them, but I use this tool to learn how I can improve our products.
I’ve given you a basic recipe to get you started on Twitter. Within two weeks of doing the above I can honestly say I’ve connected with people and businesses that have accelerated my timeline for accomplishing several business goals this year — while spending only a few minutes a day, if that, using the tools I mention above.
If you’ve ever been on a diet all you need is to lose the first 5 pounds and you are motivated to lose the next 20 pounds. Just like dieting, following the steps above will kick-start your social media presence almost immediately and nothing can stop you after you get going. You’ll start to understand exactly what you need to do to see results quickly and repeat those results over and over again.