Social media is amazing. It's fast paced. It's fun. And it's a FREE way to advertise your business (unless you hire someone like me).
But it's also time consuming: physically and mentally overwhelming. We all know we 'should' be doing it for our small business and I think that puts the pressure on even more.
Do you struggle knowing what to post and when to post? Do you post randomly hoping that it hits the mark with someone because you don't know how to plan a content strategy? Because of all this perhaps you think social media isn't working for your business at all?
Then keep reading.
Content Marketing is the organic way to get found online - no paid for ads or pushy sales, just great content created by you that is focused on your target market.
Gone are the direct / pressure sales days of "Your hair is shit. By the way I'm a hairdresser, here's my card". Content marketing is a more subtle approach and it takes time and effort - but you build an online audience of people who know you, like you and trust you as an expert (which leads to quality clients). This is authentic selling.
I'm not going to lie - when I say it takes time and effort, I mean it takes AGES to build your online audience (sometimes up to one year from someone finding you, to buying from you). You're kidding yourself if you think you can rock up on day one and sell anything by the end of the week. Or even at the end of 6 weeks.
It's all about knowing what content you should be posting and at what stage your audience is at (i.e. how big is your audience). If you have zero people in your audience, you're going to make zero sales, so you need to give yourself enough time to grow that audience first.
Check out my post Planning a Successful Launch in 5 4 3 2 1 .. to set your expectations and how to manage your timeframes.
Know the right type of content you need to post, to hit the right audience, will speed up your success. I promise.
Great Content vs Algorithm Woo Woo
We all know that there are the 'best times' to post. And you need X hashtags for Facebook but Y for Instagram. And you need to be active 20 mins before and after posting. And you need to use at least 8 eight words when you comment, whilst patting your head and rubbing your tummy and giving an offering to the Facebook Gods.
But if your content is a big pile of poo - please don't blame the algorithms.
Instead of trying to crack the algorithms, spend your time creating great content. The algorithms are there for a reason - so if your stuff is authentic (i.e. exactly what your target market wants to see and finds engaging) the algorithms will work in your favour. For example:
Social networks prioritise what content a person sees first in their feed, based on the likelihood that they’ll want to see it. Regardless of what time it was posted. So when your content IS what your target market wants to see, the more your content will be put in front of the right people and the more engagement you will get. And most algorithms prioritise content with higher engagement!
Full circle. Win win!
You need three things before you start social media marketing:
If you don't have any of these, go and SCREAM YOUR DREAMS INTO THE BIN.
Your Content Explained
There are 3 types of content you should be posting:
SALES content - sales posts
CONSIDERATION content - news on your business
AWARENESS content - answering your target market questions
I'll go into more detail on this in a minute but now let's explore your audience ..
Your Audience Explained
Your target market is broken down into 3 different audiences:
HOT - the people who already know like and trust you (i.e. you current and previous clients)
WARM - the people who know who you are but haven't yet purchased (i.e. your subscribers)
COLD - your target market who doesn't know you exist yet (i.e. the rest of the world)
Depending on how many people you have in each audience will give you an idea of how long it will take to make a sale ..
Your Timeframes Explained
This highlights how long you need to give yourself to make a sale, depending on the type of audience you have:
SALES content is for your HOT audience and they will buy from you within 0 - 30 days
CONSIDERATION content is for your WARM audience and they will by from you 30 + days
AWARENESS content is for your COLD audience and they will buy from you 90 + days
REMEMBER: the average online conversion for sales is 1-2 % so you will need to have at least 100 people in your hot or warm audience to sell one in 0 - 30 days.
Your 3 Types of Content Explained
Purchase content (HOT AUDIENCE)
This should include:
Sales posts about your service
What you do
Who you do it for
Why you are the best
How much you cost
Promotions, offers and launches
Your hot audience already loves you, they don't need any convincing, so these types of posts will be right up their street, compared to someone who has know idea who you are.
Consideration content (WARM AUDIENCE)
This should include:
Portfolio and latest work
Stats on your business success
Tips, advice and quick wins
Your story and why you started your business
Latest business news, promotions and launches
Your warm audience already like you and know your an expert, which is why they follow and subscribe to you, but they need more convincing on the trust - so this type of content demonstrates other people have loved working with you and you are actually successful at what you do. It makes you more desirable - but always come from a genuine need to support your target market.
Awareness content (COLD AUDIENCE)
This content is all about SEO / longtail keywords and answering the specific FAQs of your target market through blogposts, podcasts and videos. Adding this content consistently and frequently to your website and putting it out over social media, will get you found by the right people, when they type their question into the search engine.
This is why knowing your target market, niching down and using the correct lingo is essential to get found online and grow your audience.
For example, if you are a Web Designer full stop - GOOD LUCK to you! However, if you are a Wix Web Designer who helps small businesses in the Salisbury area, well ...
I have created a list of 17 ideas to help you get started on your Awareness content.
Personal Content: should you or shouldn't you?
You don't have to share personal stuff - in fact, I wouldn't advise it because I think it's irrelevant. But I do advise that your content has a personal 'feel' to it. What I mean is to put your personal spin on your content:
your brand voice and how you talk to your target market
your brand vibe and how your content looks, including using photography with your face on it
This will help people get to know you and trust you more quickly.
Other personal content ideas that are good for business can be:
Share a business win or loss for support engagement
Prepare something for an Awareness Day that means something to you
Share a 'day in the life' of your business
Share a photo of where you work
Post your business related opinions or a relevant quote
Talk about your personal journey as a business owner and your 'why'
Share 'personal' content that resonates with your target market but make sure it has relevance to what you do in your business.
How to Plan Your Content
Sorry to say but there is no set ratio of Type of Content / to Days of the Week (i.e. it's not like, 1 post of Sales content, 2 posts of Consideration content and 3 posts of Awareness content per week, every week for infinity).
This all comes down to what type of audience you have and what you are trying to sell. If you are a new business and only have a cold audience, then a majority of your posts will be Awareness and Sales content. But if you have a hot audience and you are launching a new promotion, you can go ahead and just post Sales content.
Your business is fluid, and so is your content.
TOP TIP: don't get hung up on one type of content for too long because you can freeze yourself out if you focus too much on your cold audience or you can get people hot with anger if all you do is SELL! SELL! SELL!
Take your strategy month by month. It's all about balance.
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