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Free Call Friday for June 6th

Today I had the second call in a four-part series I am calling Free Call Fridays. I will be having a training call at Noon Eastern every Friday for 4 weeks, all about social media marketing strategy.

Thanks so much to everyone that was on  the call live today, and for all of the amazing feedback people sent in from the first call where we covered what a social media strategy is and why you are wasting your time online without one.

We covered the importance of developing your client avatar, getting clear on your goals, building out a content strategy & putting systems in place so that you can actually get more done in less time.

This week we're going to talk specifically about how to do all of that on Facebook, including some real life examples.

NOTE: You have TWO WAYS to consume the call content! This blog post will basically serve as a transcript for the call. If you can read faster than I can talk (which is quite possible since I'm Southern) then you may prefer to read all about it.

For others, I know it's easier to listen while you drive or what have you, so the call recording can also be found at the bottom of this post. I hope that's helpful! Now, carry on….

But first, I have a little story for you about how I had an epiphany recently. So, you hear people say all the time that social media is a waste of time or a time suck. Now, I do agree that it CAN be a time suck, I think I said that on the call last week actually – BUT if it is it's because you don't have a plan in place. I've never agreed that it's a waste of time though.

That idea actually has always baffled me. I'm fortunate enough to have a boss at my job that hired me specifically because he wanted to grow the business with social media, so for years, I'd never really had to justify the need or effectiveness.

But I remember the 1st time I had to and I was almost stumped as to what to say. I had never had to argue the point before. It seemed like both a huge topic to explain – where to begin?? – but also something that was painfully obvious to me. (Of course it works! How can you NOT use social media, I thought!)

Have you ever tried to justify something you just know in your bones to be true, but that you've never tried to verbalize before? It's not easy!

So I had to begin to organize my thoughts around the topic since apparently it wasn't as glaringly obvious to everyone else in the world that social media is not optional for a business these days – it's really pretty much all but mandatory.

So I started to compile some facts, like:

• Customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than with other companies.
• 80% of consumers research products online every week and around 46% of web users turn to social media for making purchases.
• Social media generates almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, daily mail, or PPC ads.
• 74% of people rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions.

Now, MOST people get it these days that social media is important for growing their business, they just don't always know where to start, how to go about it, or why it might not be working for them so far.

So the epiphany was that it wasn't that people didn't know social is important, per se, they didn't really need to hear those stats, it was just that they didn't get what DID make it worthwhile. That key component that makes the difference between success and failure on Facebook.

You see, Social Media without a strategy IS a waste of time! So yes, if you don't have a strategy, it is in fact a waste of time! But with a strategy, you can do some amazing things!

But the problem is, I bet 90% of businesses don't have a strategy! Not a real plan. I totally made that percentage up, by the way, but I bet it's right. 😉

Now some are doing better than others, even without a plan. It's usually either because their product or service is just SO exceptional that people can't help but like them and engage with them online, OR they personally are just very likable or well connected. Or they have one heck of an ad budget and are just impossible to ignore!

Hope is not a strategy

Most people are just winging it. Putting up content and hoping for the best, but unfortunately, hope is not a strategy!

And probably the only thing worse than NO presence on social media is a neglected presence!

You know, when you have a page, but you're hardly posting. Or you post, but you don't reply to people. They're asking questions, but you're not engaging with them!

Can you imagine if you had a store and a customer walked in and asked you a question and you just ignored them? Maybe stared back blankly or just walked away? Get that mental image in your head…

I'm sure you would NEVER do that face-to-face with someone, but people essentially do it all the time on social. The doors appear to be open for business, but you might as well be talking to a wall – literally – because posting on the “Facebook wall” is just as effective on some pages. And you're sending the signal that you don't really care, you don't really have your act together, and it's not exactly building confidence that your customer service is going to be great if I do buy from you!

Now these are more extreme examples, and hopefully no one here has a really neglected presence, but what you may have is the situation we talked about last week. It's like the opposite of this other example – in this case, you're standing in your store and you're talking. You're trying to be interesting, you're selling stuff but maybe you're whispering about it or even worse you have a megaphone out begging people to buy non-stop!

But either no one's there or they're totally ignoring you. They're walking on by and looking the other way. Or maybe they just don't know you exist at all because you've not made it easy for them to discover you. It's like the online equivalent of having a terrible location.

When you post on Facebook, is it just...crickets out there?

When you post on Facebook, is it just…crickets out there?

 

You need a strategy

But either way, it's not exactly an ideal situation. So, what can you do? Well, first and foremost, you need a strategy. You need a road map to guide you so that you're not wasting your time on things that don't work. So that you're not talking to the wrong people or saying all the wrong things.  So that you're not ignoring people and missing opportunities because you just can't keep up with it all.

Successful people know what to focus on and how to spend their time. And they know these things, because they have a plan. They know what to measure, test and tweak so that they can continuously improve.

Now this week we're talking specifically about getting your Facebook strategy in place. So we're going to talk about 5 components of a Facebook strategy – so definitely not everything you need, but some essential elements – and I am also going to tell you a couple of stories, or case studies, that illustrate the success that you can have with Facebook, if you get strategic and intentional with how you're using it, and because most of you are entrepreneurs, I'm going to use examples that are mostly about small businesses and entrepreneurs.

5 essential elements of a Facebook plan

1. Image Strategy
I really can't overstate how important having great visuals and branding are.

People are drawn to visual content and respond to the subtle cues of images faster than any other medium–faster than text, audio or video even.

All of the major social networks are highlighting visual content at this point, even Twitter, and Facebook is no exception. Brands that can leverage the power of original, optimized images are getting noticed, so it's essential that you develop a strategy behind how you share images across your channels.

And if you want to encourage engagement and shares, your images have to appeal directly to your target audience. Create images and infographics that either solve a problem or inspire your community to take action. Images that give short, instantly actionable advice are highly shareable. Quick tips, how-to’s, quotes and fun facts are all very popular, for example.

I tend to post an inspirational quote for entrepreneurs every morning at around the same time, to be consistent. They usually get good engagement – including shares, which starts me out on the right foot for the day so it's something I try to never miss doing.

secrettogettingahead

It can also be nice to have a consistent look and feel to your images, so that at a glance if someone sees a blog graphic for example, they know it's yours. My friend Tom Morkes does this really well and you can see an example below. When I see one of these images, I know instantly that it's his and that it's linking to a new blog post. I don't even have to look at the profile pic to know, which is great branding.

 

 

You also need tools and resources that you love to create images with. There are a lot of really high quality stock photo sites with free images these days, and there are also several free or very cheap online tools to create graphics and images, so even a non-designer can create amazing images themselves — or of course you can always get the help of a pro or VA or someone of Fiverr to create images.

But you need to have something to make the whole process easy for you. You should be able to create great images really quickly and for free or cheap, any time you want and you should know the look and feel you want to convey, thanks to your image strategy.

So, in looking for some real life examples, I found countless examples of service providers that use quote images of course, and some great info graphics and even some graphics that are tutorials or step-by-step instructions on how to do something – broken down into images, with maybe some text overlays and numbers to take you through the process, and I am sure you all have seen enough of those to know what I'm talking about.

I also found a great examples on what they call Facebook Stories, about a diner that really grew their businesses just by posting great photos of seasonal specials and limited items they had. So The Dining Car, for example, would do these amazing strawberry crepes once a month in the summer and it would usually take a few days to sell out. The owner was really reluctant to get on Facebook, but the place had some raving fans so she got them on there finally. Now they post on Facebook when they have the crepes and sell out in 2 hours instead of 2 days  even though they are making 7 times as much trying to meet the new demand.

dining car

I'm sure we all follow local restaurants that post specials sometimes and you see it and then you get hungry and start craving it! The point being, some times it's not rocket science, it's just being in front of people, reminding them you exist, tempting them with something new you have to offer or just making sure you're the one that comes to mind when they need what you have again.

This can be applied across any niche or industry. Build up the know, like, and trust factor and also stay top of mind, both with your image strategy and with #2 on our list, your…

2. Content Strategy
You'll need to develop a plan to create original content, and to leverage 3rd party content so that you always have something to post. We talked about this a little last week. On Facebook, you really need to be posting anywhere from 2-4 times per day, but you don't want to be posting just for posting's sake. You want to make sure you're delivering great content. To keep up with the demand, you really do have to have a strategy in place or you're just going to get overwhelmed and not post at all, or you're going to post really sub par content that's going to do nothing to help your organic reach and engagement. It might even hurt.

So you need to look back at that client avatar we discussed on the first call and start asking some questions. What topics will you cover? How will you help people? You can sell on social, but your #1 goal needs to be providing an INSANE amount of VALUE to people. Then you've basically earned the right to sell to them as well.

You need to have a list of at least 5 go-to resources that you can pull content from. What Facebook pages or blogs can you check in with to find great content to either share or to use as inspiration for your own posts?

Now curating content, in and of itself can get overwhelming, so we talk about how exactly to manage this process in the Social Strategy Workshop, so that it doesn't become a full time job. But if you have some good processes in place, content curation is going to save you a ton of time and give you a mix of content to share so that you become a subject matter authority and the person people turn to when they want to know about anything on the topic.

And then one other point I want to make about sharing content is that you want to be consistent and timely. You want to be posting consistently and if at all possible, you even want to develop a content calendar. You can go about this in a few different ways and keep it simple or very detailed, but having a roadmap of what you want to be posting about either at a high level with themes for days of the week for example, or mapping out what holidays & events & seasonal things you want to post about can be a huge help so that you're not realizing when it's already too late that a day is upon you and you've waited too long to really take advantage of the opportunity.

You also want to be timely. Talk about things that are popular in the news and trending online. Don't be spammy about it, which is sometimes called news-jacking, but if you can talk about something going on and be one of the 1st and do it well it can get some great traction. One famous example of this is when the power went out during the 2013 Super Bowl and during the outage, Oreo tweeted out an image that said Power Out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark.

Oreo Tweet

Oreo Tweet

It was extremely timely and went instantly viral. It also illustrates the point that you need to have a plan in place and be looking for these sorts of opportunities. I guarantee you that Oreo had a team of people watching the Super Bowl and just waiting for something to happen that they could react to via Twitter. (Yes, it's Twitter, not Facebook, but I think it illustrates how powerful timeliness can be on social!)

Now, I'm not saying you need a team at the ready all of the time, but if you keep yourself aware of events and trends, and you are 100% clear on your voice on social, then it will be much easier to react when an opportunity arises. So if you have a jewelry or clothing shop or you're a stylist, then you should be watching the Emmys and Oscars for example and talking on Facebook about what the stars wore and hits and misses. You can post live during the show and then you can also use that content to inspire blog posts over the following days. How you can recreate the look affordably for a big night out, for example.

If you know that's something you're going to do every year, you can really make an event out of it & get some great engagement, but if you don't plan on that then either the night will come and go and you'll miss it, or maybe you'll tune in but you might not even think about leveraging it for your business at all.

3. Fan attraction strategy
How will you attract new fans? Will you run Facebook ads? If you do, will it just be Like ads or will you have some sort of lead magnet or freebie you send them to? Will you have contests or giveaways on a regular basis?

The point is, you can't just have a build it and they will come mentality about it. You will pick up some fans naturally, just by posting great content that gets shared, but it will typically be slow growth & just totally dependent upon that really great content & image strategy doing it's job and spreading organically and hopefully bringing in new fans.

So I've done a variety of things over the years, but one strategy you could try is to send people to a Facebook tab from a Facebook ad to get a piece of free content and then you can either Like Gate the tab so that they have to like it to see it, or a less aggressive approach is to let them get to the tab but pretty prominently, ask them to Like the page as well.

Having some social proof in the form of showing your fan count next to the Like box can help and also telling them what's in it for them is good.

There are a LOT of opportunities to ask for the Like on Facebook, on your sales and signup pages and on your website, so be sure that you're making it easy for people to find you and Like your page & then giving them a reason to stick around and be active with the content and image strategies.

4. Your mission on Facebook
Why does your page exist? What is your main objective and purpose for having the page?

What's in it for fans? What should they be getting out of being a fan?

You also need to know your business goals. So not just your objectives for the page – which could be building brand awareness and relationships – but what are your business goals? Are you trying to grow your email list with Facebook? Launch new products or programs? Increase sales?

List 1-2 goals, but have 1 main goal, even if it's mid-range goal that you'll hit and then need to create a new goal. The point is, how will you really know how you're doing on Facebook if you don't set up goals that you can measure against? And how will you know what to post, if you don't know the whole point of the page?

5. Lead and Sales Strategy
How will you convert fans to leads and leads to customers? So I mentioned before growing your email list on social, and Facebook can be a great way to grow your list. I think it's really important to be working on growing your page and your list at the same time.

Having more than one touch point with people can be extremely valuable and you can really connect with people in different ways on Facebook than you can via email.

In a lot of ways it's easier to do actual selling in email. I think people expect it more in email and it's also easy to create sales funnels in email where you're segmenting people out and sending them content specific to where they are in the sale process. If you know they are new to you and probably not ready to buy, you can send them one series that will start familiarizing them with your brand, educating them through content and building up trust.

If they've already bought from you, you can send them down another funnel, and still provide value of course, but you can approach them differently because they've already started a relationship with you.

But you do need a strategy to get people onto your list so that you can turn them from fans to leads and leads to customers. And you can & should promote your products and programs ON Facebook as well, so you need a plan for how you will approach that. It's actually possible to create sales funnels ON Facebook, using Facebook ads. But you do need to know how you will go about promoting your paid offerings and reaching the right people with the right content.

Jewelry Nut Auctions

One really unique example of literally selling on Facebook is a page called Jewelry Nut Auctions. Monday thru Thursday nights at 9 ET they have live fixed-price auctions where they have a limited quantity of each item, you register beforehand, comment BUY and if you comment fast enough then you win the item – meaning you get to buy it.

So don't tell me you can't sell on Facebook! These ladies literally are and without a traditional e-commerce shop either. They have over 104,000 fans and the auctions are hugely popular.

There's a huge opportunity on Facebook to get awareness for your brand, to grow your email list and customer base and sell in a variety of ways. But if you never REALLY think these things through, if you're JUST posting cute quotes and random links to your content, then the odds of you seeing real success are pretty slim. You better have something else going on to get you some business, basically.

Social Media Strategy Workshop

Now, last week I introduced my brand new program that I have starting  in a few weeks, that will help you get clear on all of this. How exactly do you figure out the content and image strategies, what tools do you use, what are some unique angles that you could take to actually stand out on Facebook, rather than being ignored.

This will be a 6-week program that will walk you step by step through creating your social media strategy. We'll meet weekly and break down the components of the strategy 1 by 1. Everything we've talked about on the calls will be covered – from getting clear on your client avatar & how you can best serve them, to creating your content strategy so that you'll never be at a loss for what to post on ANY network.

I'll be providing the framework, we'll do a live training and you'll be put on the hot seat every week so that you can start working out your ideas right then and there on the calls and get feedback not only from me, but from the group as well.

I'm actually limiting the class size, because I want people to feel like they are part of a mastermind group. To make sure that everyone in the group is committed to doing the work and really taking massive action, I'll be talking to everyone that would like to join 1 on 1 beforehand!

Interested in talking with me about the 6-week Social Media Strategy Workshop, which starts July 1st? Schedule a call with me by clicking here.
Free Call Friday Replay

 

Next week, I'll cover strategies for Pinterest and Instagram and the final call will cover Google Plus.

If you missed today's call, you can listen to the replay on your phone using the call back numbers below, or use the embedded player at the bottom of the page.

Interested in talking with me about the 6-week Social Media Strategy Workshop, which starts July 1st? Schedule a call with Julie by clicking here.

To listen to the playback:
Dial: (605) 562-3132
Enter Access Code: 563650#

Reference Number: 6

 NOTE: There's a 5 second delay at the beginning of the recording before it gets started.

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