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Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing — Part 5

Social Media Marketing That Sells

Social Media Marketing That Sells
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Years ago, I actually hired a firm to help me with my social media marketing.

They posted those stupid inspirational quote board pictures, saying things like “If you dream it, you can do it.” Or:

This is NOT how you do social media marketing.

When I logged on and saw that picture, I almost threw my laptop out of my window. Can you imagine me ever saying anything like that? After I explained that I would rather tie my own neck to an elephant’s tail and let myself get dragged for miles along a rocky desert, they continued posting sayings more appropriate for a life coach convention. I fired them.

That’s the problem with most social media marketing “experts” out there today. They give vague and useless soundbites like “Join the conversation!” and “Engage!”

But social media marketing is like any digital marketing strategy — you need to have return on investment. And trust me, there’s no ROI on generic, off-brand, inspirational phrases.

Marketers expect social media to be a “magic bullet” that will drive thousands of visitors overnight. There’s a reason that social media marketing is behind strategy, email, and content in this guide — social media should not be the first strategy you focus on.

3 reasons social media marketing should not be your first digital marketing strategy

There’s a few reasons for this:

  1. You don’t own your social media followers. If Twitter goes out of business or Facebook changes its policies (which it has, several times, to the detriment of many businesses), you’re in trouble.
  2. Think of how you use social— you are looking for “quick hits.” You scroll quickly, click quickly, and leave quickly. It’s difficult to make lasting or long-term impressions.
  3. Social can get out of hand quickly...Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Vine, LinkedIn, Pinterest...the list is continually growing and there’s always someone out there trying to convince you that you “must” be on the newest platform.

In fact, for years, I didn’t do any social media marketing at all. But, as I learned from my friend Laura Roeder, once you have the foundation, social media can be a powerful force multiplier in your business.

Laura Roeder - A Different Approach to Social Media Marketing

Laura Roeder

A Different Approach to Social Media Marketing

After the life-coachy social “expert” from above, I was ready to abandon social media all together. Then Laura Roeder showed me a new way to look at social media marketing. Social is simply another way to “go where the fish are” (see Part 2 of this guide for more on this concept). You are bringing your message to where your customers are already spending time — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. So I started using my already-written content and the strategies below. Now GrowthLab consistently gets new leads from multiple social media channels.

Content Marketing + Social Media Marketing = Unstoppable Traffic Machine

Social Media Marketing Strategy #1:
Put your best content on autopilot

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) spend hours posting on social media. You can take the remarkable content you created in Part 4 and schedule it to automatically post on multiple channels. Many tools out there will do this for you. The two that we use at GrowthLab are Buffer and Edgar.

Free Option: Buffer

Buffer screenshot

Go to Buffer.com

Buffer shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day on multiple social media channels.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Buffer is free to start and easy to set up.
  • You simply link your social media channels, add a post, and it’s done.
  • You can also add a Chrome extension to quickly share and schedule interesting articles you find.
  • You still have to schedule posts one at a time.
  • While it saves time over adding each link in to each social media account, it still is a time-consuming task.
  • When we were using Buffer exclusively, it took hours every week to load the posts for the week.
  • You’ll have to watch to make sure the time you spend is giving you positive ROI.

Paid Option: Edgar

Edgar screenshot

Go to MeetEdgar.com

Edgar draws from a library of posts you create, then schedules them at times you choose or times that your audience is engaged. You may have months or years of great content that your new followers on social media would normally never see — now your followers always get great content, and you don’t have to constantly come up with original posts.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Edgar is a huge time saver.
  • You only have to load each post once and then it’s saved forever.
  • You can also create “types” of content like blog posts, outside links, funny jokes, that will rotate on a schedule.
  • Edgar isn't free, but we’ve found the time saved alone was worth the investment for our team.
  • At $49 per month for the starter package, you’ll have to evaluate if you’ll be able to get ROI on the tool.

Social Media Marketing Strategy #2:
Turn your “thank you” page into a viral loop machine

Have you ever signed up for an email list through a website, hit the opt-in button, and been redirected to another page? We call those “thank you” pages.

Most people overlook this critical piece and leave a generic confirmation message on there. But you can turn your page into an engine that drives your viral loop across the web.

First, let me explain how we did it with a free 5-day course.

As usual, we sent everyone to a “thank you” page after they entered their email and signed up.

On the page, we embedded a tweet and Facebook post. And we asked readers to share or retweet.

Here’s what it looked like:

Example of our viral thank you page

So on your “thank you” page, embed the tweet (and screenshot the FB post) and write a line or two asking them to share it.

The copy doesn’t need to be fancy. You can follow our example above and write, “Retweet on Twitter… Hit the retweet button, or click here to retweet.”

Or, “Share on Facebook…Click the share button above, or click here to share.”

Social Media Marketing Strategy #3:
Get your biggest fans to spread the word

You’ve got the foundation down. Next you want to get your fans to help you out. Send your email list a message announcing your sticky idea. Here’s an example of what we sent out:

Example of viral email message

Of course, your email list will be the #1 source of sign-ups.

But when you mention the free course, since it’s a sticky idea, something else happens. Your readers will want to spread the word to people who are interested in the same thing.

When they see the social sharing buttons on the thank you page, they’ll think, “I don’t want my friends to miss this!”

And with the option to share right there, they’re more likely to take action.

You can see the results for yourself: 474 retweets and 124 shares on Facebook.

Results of our social media marketing

For a company that didn’t focus on social media marketing until recently, that’s a lot. It also got tons of engagement and built a lot of buzz.

The friends of your biggest fans who see these retweets and shares will go directly to your landing page for the webinar or mini-course. And a good number of them will sign up, which means fresh names for your email list.

At GrowthLab, we set benchmarks for campaigns like this. On two recent ones, as I mentioned, we crushed our opt-in goals by 49% and 57%, just by using those exact steps.

You can do the same to boost your opt-ins.

Acronym To Know

Call to Action

CTA: Call To Action

Every post, on social media or otherwise (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Email — all of them) should have a call to action. This a prompt for your reader to DO something. Examples of actions are commenting, sharing, and opting-in. The CTA gets your reader involved and engaged with your content. If there is no call to action, they will read your content, move on with their lives, and forget all about you. By making them take action, you take the first step in building a relationship, which is the center of effective digital marketing.

How do you decide which content to promote on social media?

No two pieces of remarkable content are the same. But there are a few key components that every extremely successful piece must have.

I show you exactly how to create content ideas for social media or evaluate the content you already have in a free resource, The Anatomy of a Viral Blog Post.

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Social Media Marketing That Sells