Maximize Your Social Media ROI

Like nearly all Solopreneur consultants I engage in social media for professional reasons, but I have yet to obtain a client solely through social media interactions. My business is 100% referral, since basically no one hires business strategists or marketing consultants without a personal endorsement. Nevertheless, I must keep up appearances and so I keep my profile in good shape and post relevant updates to keep things fresh.The experts say that like all marketing campaigns, what and how you communicate through social media must appropriately reflect your brand and appeal to current and prospective clients. To achieve the desired return on investment, it is imperative to deliver the right message to the right sites. To accomplish that, you must know the customer. Who hires you and what type of social media might they trust and follow?To help define which social media platforms to focus on, begin with the age group of your prospects. Are they under 35 years old? If so, they are more likely to be very comfortable with a wide variety of social media. They’re likely to own a smart phone, tablet and laptop computer. They may very well create and copiously share online content in their personal and professional lives.Conversely, if your typical clients are 40+ years old, they are less likely to be heavily involved in social media and much less likely to create content. They own a smart phone, they regularly use a computer and they may also own a tablet, but should they decide to share content, it is most likely created by someone else.Social media expert Judith Lewis says that about 20% of social media users are High Sharers and about 80% are Low Sharers. High Sharers are almost three times as likely as Low Sharers to recommend products or services to those in their network. Therefore, it is wise to create content that will appeal to High Sharers, who will do some “e-legwork” on your behalf and boost your online ROI.Lewis has identified seven types of High Sharers and explains how their sharing style can be leveraged to target and engage clients and prospects. Give the list a read and see how you might tweak your message and perhaps vary the sites you use:AltruistsAltruists share content out of a desire to help those in their network. They respond well to appeals made through email and Facebook. Altruists make up the largest percentage of social media users.SelectivesThis group shares information if they feel it will be useful for a specific individual and they usually use email to share that information. Selectives comprise the second largest percentage of social media users.PassionatesPassionates share information with those who share their intense interest in a given topic, cause, band, fashion designer or whatever. This group frequently uses Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Moreover, they are big contributors to customer review sites.ConnectorsAs their name describes, this group likes bringing people together to socialize or do business. Connectors tend to use numerous social media sites, most notably LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.TrendspottersThis type uses social media sites to show the world that they are on the bleeding edge of the hottest trends. Trendspotters are compelled to build their credibility and they are busy working many platforms. YouTube, Instagram, Delicious, Vine, Twitter and Facebook are favorites. Trendspotters can be very useful for B2C ventures seeking to increase visibility and sales, especially in fashion, electronics and baby products.ProvocateursBloggers often fall into this category (but not your humble diarist). Provocateurs like to do just that—be controversial, cheeky and outrageous and get a rise out their readers. In addition to their blog, these folks tend to favor YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.CareeristsThis group will use social media networking almost exclusively for business purposes. They favor LinkedIn, but will use Twitter, YouTube and Facebook as needed, to effectively share information about their business enterprise or career.As a postscript, I will say that I don’t know any Solopreneurs who have successfully monetized their social media relationships. Still, creating buzz will never hurt your business. If you’re able to get on the radar screen of a High Sharer who will post a good recommendation for your services, it may help convince someone who is on the fence to go ahead and offer you the contract.Thanks for reading,Kim

Social Media Marketing in 8 Simple Steps

Online social marketing and social networking has been around a long time, but only recently has it been experiencing an explosion in participation and promotion from around the world, in every market imaginable. It has definitely gone ‘mainstream’ and is now even more important as a tool in your internet marketing strategy.As a result of this mass participation it’s getting harder and harder to run a business online without paying attention to what’s happening in the social marketing and social networking sphere. Many businesses are failing to get a grasp of this new marketing and networking medium before they lose market share to savvy competitors.It’s not a question of IF you’ll get involved in social media, but when. There is a huge information demand and lack of supply, and to date there has been no place to get clear step by step instructions on understanding the all encompassing nature of social media and how it’s radically different than the traditional internet marketing systems that we are all used to.We wanted to lay out a simple but powerful step by step formula to help you better understand the power and leverage of social marketing and to allow you to begin to apply some of these tactics to generate free traffic, targeted leads and convert more sales in your business.This is how you can implement a professional Social Media Marketing Strategy:1. Social Media Mindset: First learn how and why social media marketing and social networking is radically different compared to traditional forms of internet marketing because of the social media mindset…2. Central Hub of Operations, Your Blog: Once you understand social media and the mindset, you build your “central hub” which is the core of all your social marketing activities and the center of all your search engine rankings and the new SEO. Your WordPress blog on your own server is the professional industry standard.3. Market Research: Then you learn how to move to the cutting edge of your market, learn it and explore it so that you understand your market from a social perspective. You focus on keywords that are relevant and already attracting traffic on the search engines for your niche.4. Targeted Social Media Networks: Once you understand your market, then and only then can you discover the social media networks that will build your business.5. Social Networking – Tribal Marketing: Once you know the social network sites that will help you build your business, you engage a systematic approach or process for learning how to network and build relationships in your communities.6. Social Media Optimization: Once you learn your communities and how to engage them, it’s time for social media optimization: the process of tying everything together with your central hub and your sales/marketing funnel or process.7. Content Syndication Strategy: Now that your web presence and social media networks are optimized for social marketing, you will develop and deliver a content strategy that is designed to sell your products and services to your community.8. Personal Branding & Community Building: Now that you have developed your initial content strategy, it’s time to begin to engage your community and target market with the content you have developed through personal branding and community building. You’ll learn how to build large followings of people that will spread your links, content and your message to the far reaches of the social media and social networking world.
BONUS: Your Internet Marketing Sales Funnel: This entire system, or Perpetual Internet Traffic Machine, as some experts call it, is all designed to intelligently lead targeted, motivated people directly into your internet marketing sales funnel (lead capture page, autoresponder, sales letter) so you can generate traffic from the content and syndication efforts and then transform that targeted traffic into leads, prospects and sales for your business.As you work to build your presence on the web you’ll learn how to tie all of that into a constantly growing web of influence while you gain higher and higher search engine visibility and develop a powerful community that compounds and grows over time.Begin to learn and implement these strategies so you can see for yourself how an integrated social media marketing initiative will not only increase your web presence but will ensure your continued success on the internet and put this powerful social marketing initiative into play in your business for generating influence, search engine exposure, free traffic, free leads and more sales and profits…

How to Build an In-House Social Media Team

Last year, you educated yourself about social media and the opportunities that it offers you as a business owner. Your efforts and needs have grown dramatically since then. You now need a team of social media experts in-house.Your team needs to be chosen very carefully and very deliberately. The team will represent your business and getting this type of team together can be very tricky. Remember to identify which social media channels you feel will be most effective for your business. Before you actually target and contact any of the people whom you want as part of your social media team, you should answer a few questions.

What is the ultimate goal of your social media team?
Should you use people who are already working for you or should you hire from outside of your business?
Which qualities should you look for in a social media expert?
Establishing finite goalsBefore you can figure out whom you want as part of your team, you need to figure out why you need a social media team. Perhaps you are aiming to entertain and excite people. Maybe you want to use social media as a sales tool for your business offerings. It is also very important that you have a definitive idea about which results you wish to concentrate on, such as levels of engagement with your online connections, amount of buzz you are generating and/or how much your sales have increased.In addition to your team of experts using social media in the most effective manner for your business, they also need to interact with and assist your prospective and existing customers. Your team members may very well be the point people for prospects and customers when they need something.Have a social media policy in place from the beginningAny business that is involved with social media on any level at all should have a policy. The length and amount of detail of your policy may be as short as a few lines or may be much longer and more comprehensive. In any case, the premise of your policy should be a statement of how you want your employees to reference your brand anytime they are interacting online. If you have a policy in place before you have put your team together, it will help you to decide who to choose for your team.It is critical that you know up front how you want your brand to be conveyed by your team. The team will be the voice of your brand and it is essential that all of their communications reflect the personality of you and your business.Should you choose your team among already existing employees or hire from the outside?When you sit down and actually give that question some thought, the first thing that you need to identify is whether any of your existing employees have the skills and talents that are necessary for your social media team. One very positive attribute is that your employees really know your brand. On the other hand, if you choose people from the outside, you will be hiring people who have excellent knowledge of social media and its many facets.In the best of all possible worlds, you will find everything that you need when it comes to your team in your employees. Whether this is reality or not really depends on the individuals and on their involvement with social media, whether that means when they are working for you or on their own time. If you end up choosing people from outside of the company, you must make sure that those people have been fans of your business for a substantial amount of time. You wouldn’t want to choose someone who has no idea about your offerings. If the people you hire love what your company represents and what it offers, there is also a great chance that those people will appropriately communicate your branding online at every opportunity.Which skills should you look for when putting together a team?

An understanding of numbers and statistics: Statistics are critical for many reasons, including measuring performance and return on investment, being knowledgeable about your community, and being able to anticipate what those people responds to and what excites them.
A combination of business, communication and social skills: All three of these skills are necessary in whomever you choose to be a part of your social media team. They are all skills that will be used on a very regular basis. The concept brings multitasking to a whole new level.
Attention to detail: Your people need to be extremely detail oriented and efficient and productive at the same time. It is not so easy to find all of those qualities in one individual, however, there certainly are people who possess those qualities.
A firm sense of commitment: Social media requires a great deal of commitment, persistence and consistency. Once you are connected, you must stay connected. You need to remember that once you start using social media, you will be in it for the long haul. Because of the fact that the success of your business through social media is dependent on interactions with others, your commitment to interact with them very frequently is key. You need to make sure that your human side remains intact and is visible at all times.
ConclusionChoosing an in-house social media team is a great idea as long as you are at that point in your business. You will know when it is the correct time to start doing that. If you are still in an early stage with your business and haven’t grown large enough yet to need an entire team, it is recommended that you hire an outside company to build your web presence and help you to increase your online exposure and reputation. Once you have moved to the next level, it is an excellent idea to hire a team so that you can enjoy the benefits that social media will continue to give your business.