The Real Purpose of Social Media: Outposts for Your Website

You know you should be on social media, you’re just not sure what you should be doing or what the purpose is. I’ve worked with a lot of different brands to help manage their social media marketing. I’m often hired with slightly vague goals, which I help clarify. Think of social media networks as outposts to reach people where they already are. The goal of those outposts is to direct people towards the city center, which is your website. Social media engagement by itself is pointless, but if used correctly to direct people to your website, it becomes essential.

Want to know how you can best be efficient and effective with your social media so you’re not wasting time? These posts will help:

The mistake a lot of brands make on social media is to hard sell directly. But that’s not what people want and it turns them off. Think about why you’re on Facebook or Twitter. To see what’s going on with your friends and watch funny videos, or read interesting stories, right? No one wants to be sold.

But if you’re a brand trying to increase your ROI, what’s the point of being social media and what do you do?

1. Have Multiple Points of Contact

“Brand awareness” is hard to measure, but it’s a real thing. Just creating a page on a social network isn’t enough, you’re competing with a million others. Some advocate for focusing on one social network and getting real good at it. I advocate for being on multiple – here’s why.

The average person is already on multiple networks, usually some combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Pinterest. If they see you on multiple networks, it reinforces who you are and what you do in different ways. Of course, you don’t want to try to do everything unless you have a team.

Create a presence on a few social networks. Pick 2-3 to focus in on. For a lot of my businesses, I focus on Facebook and Twitter, and a little bit of LinkedIn. If you have other networks beyond those 2-3 schedule a couple times a month to keep the other ones minimally updated. Then make connections with a few, ideal customers, clients, or partners. Follow them on one network and find them on multiple networks. Start interacting with them where they’re most active.

2. Collaborate with Influencers

You can try to amass as many followers as possible, and that’s fine if it helps with social proof (showing potential followers you’re popular). But what I’ve found to be most helpful is connecting with a few handful of individuals specifically.

Find people who have similar or complimentary products to you. Try making a list of 5 influential people (those who have a higher follower base than you and receive decent interaction on their posts), and intentionally interact with them. Like and comment on what they have to say.

Then reach out for a partnership. It could be a shoutout for a shoutout. It could be a collaborative blog post. It could be featuring each other’s products. By focusing on fostering relationships with select influential people, you can reach a much bigger audience for your efforts.

3. Provide the Right Value

As stated previously, people aren’t on social media to see ads, they’re there for content, entertainment, and relationships. So if you see low engagement on your social media, one reason could be that your posts are too spammy. If you’re constantly linking to your products and services, people aren’t going to be interested.

First provide content that inspires, entertains and educates. On social media, don’t talk about yourself. Talk about what’s interesting to your audience.

Also note that people go to different social networks for different things, so make sure your value matches the audience. On Facebook, people are more likely to interact with interesting news or entertaining videos. On Twitter, people look for reactions to specific events. On Linked In, people are looking to gain insight on industry news and tips. See what posts are most popular on each specific channel, and emulate those posts.

4. Promote Soft Leads

I used to do a lot of direct promotion on social media. Then I did minimal promotion. Now I do close to zero. I realized that me posting about my products and services was hurting me. No one engaged with those posts.

So how does social media become valuable for revenue? Go back to the outposts idea. Point people to your website. Not to sell them something, but to offer them something.

My strategy is now email leads through blog posts and free downloads. I promote my blog posts on social media, and get a lot of engagement and website visits because blogs provide valuable content. Then on my site, I offer more valuable content for an email subscription. If you don’t have a blog, consider offering a trial of your services, a discount on your products in exchange of an email address, and promote that as your soft lead.

With social media, don’t worry about trying to sell your product. Focus on building valuable relationships with influencers, offering valuable content, and getting people to your website through free offers. Once they’re on your website, work on a strategy to convert those visitors.

Social media can still be time consuming. To help, you can schedule your posts through a tool like Hootsuite, or hire me to help manage your social media.

What do you struggle with in your social media marketing? Let me know in the comments.

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