Less than a year ago, a client of mine was laughing at the idea of having a social media strategy. But after having an open mind enough to implement the first half of the social media strategy I suggested for him, here?s what he has to say. ?After working with Michelle for about 6 months a revenue stream that was previously 20% of our business has increased to become 75% of our business revenue. At the least cost ever for advertising & marketing.?
I might add that this revenue stream was the one that got his juices flowing and made business fun. And so through his changed marketing strategy, he was able to focus more of his time and energy on the side of his business he enjoyed the most. And at the end of the day, isn?t that what most entrepreneurs want?
I first got into social media as a way to promote my art. The art market has really changed in the past 5 years. And the way most artists made their money has changed as well. With gallery after gallery closing their doors, unable to cope with the recession and changes in buying habits of their clientele I wanted to find a way to feel more at-cause over my sales. Social media has allowed me to do just that. And now the overwhelming majority of my sales come from online sources (between 85-95% of my revenue annually). All thanks to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. All driving sales to both my independent websites as well as online art retailers.
And of course my consulting work, is actually 100% driven by social media and referrals. Nothing else.
So where do you start? Well everyone?s strategy is going to be depend on where their customers/target base tends to spend time. But a safe bet for just about everyone is to begin with a business Facebook page. Some people will do best with following that up with Twitter, and a blog. Others will find more benefit from networking on LinkedIn. And still others will get a lot of benefit from having a defined YouTube strategy as a compliment or as the entire strategy.
Here?s examples of few businesses I?ve helped with and their mix:
Lifestyle Brand: Blog, Facebook & Twitter
Artist: Website, Blog, Facebook, Online Collaboration w other artists
Construction: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Author: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Affiliates
Consulting: Linked In, Twitter, Blog
Artist: Website Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In & YouTube
Graphic Design: Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Pintrest
What?s best for you? This is where asking for help comes in. But if you don?t have the ability to ask an expert, start by thinking about who your target market is, where they spend their free time online and then go from there. And as with anything else, trial and error works well here to. As does learning from the top leaders in each space. Sign up for a few webinars or read a few books on whatever space you think will work best for you, and follow their advice.
I know social media can seem too big of a concept to conquer. Which is why I work with my clients to create a big-picture strategy. But then we start with just one thing. One week it might be setting up a Facebook page. The next we focus on timing and types of posts. Once that channel is working well, we might move on to setting up a LinkedIn profile. After a while, they will start to see what is giving them the best return, and we focus more on those things, and less on others. Then, when maintaining that level of social media marketing is working smoothly, we add in just one more avenue to the mix. And so on. So that the task is done well, sufficient focus is given to each channel, and minor tweaks can be measured and quantified in terms of sales and leads.
My last piece of advice on starting in social media ? is simply to emphasize not to allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Just start. Pick one that you think is a good fit for your business. Do that. Allow yourself to take a few weeks to a few months to get it going, then start on something else. And then relax ? this is suppose to be fun!
For those of you who have already started your social media strategy. Which platform is your favorite? And why.