Social media

If there is one thing I have come to learn is that it is difficult to make progress with your product if you are always keeping up with the joneses. As a founder, it is almost addictive to check Mashable every day to keep up with the latest social media news. There is also the temptation to be on the social media site that trounces another in delivering traffic to websites.

But there is one thing we often forget; is it about the traffic or the customers?

Unlike most “mom and pap” shops or the big online retail players like Amazon, your app may not appeal to everyone. You probably have a niche market; photographers, small businesses looking for invoicing solutions, programmers looking to collaborate and so on. Therefore, approaching social media marketing in the same way like the big players or mom and pop shops do can be a futile effort in growing your business.

You need a different strategy for your social media marketing.

Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Before you start any form of social media marketing, you need to know who your customers are. Your customers are not the people you think you can sell your solution to. Rather, they are those who have a problem you can solve, and are willing to pay for your solution. These are people that fit your buyer persona profile.

Below are three questions that will help you understand your ideal customer:

  1. What problem does your solution solving?
  2. Does the problem exist and do people need it solved?
  3. Are your prospects capable of paying for the solution?

When you have answers to the above questions, you need to come up with a social media strategy for growing your business. Your strategy should be divided on what you want to achieve in the short-run (4 to 6 months) and long-run (over 2-5 years)

The social media avenues that you choose should be those that will help you achieve your main goals fast and within your budget. Below is an example that can form the foundation of a typical startup looking to grow its business through social media:

Customers: hobbyist photographers

Social media sites they use: Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter

Type of content they love: inspirational photos, video tutorials

Goals of the strategy: To drive traffic, improve brand awareness and generate more sales.

Timeline: 6 -12 months

Key performance indicators (KPIs): Overall increase in blog traffic, increase in signups to email newsletters, increase in sales, etc.

The social media platforms you choose to disseminate your messages to your prospects and existing customers should help you achieve your goals easily. You do not have to be in all social networks, especially when you are starting. Instead, concentrate on where the majority of your prospects are. For example, if your product is geared towards B2B customers, LinkedIn is the right network to be in.

What Type of Content Should You Post?

After determining the social media networks to have a presence in, it’s time to decide content you will be posting. Content drives social media and is crucial for brand awareness, lead generation and closing sales.

You can post different types of content including articles, eBooks, photos, videos, podcasts and others. Most of the content will be accommodated on your blog and shared on social media networks. You need an editorial calendar for your social media networks. Sharing content regularly increases engagement, makes prospects know about your product and can generate more leads. According to Hubspot, you can get almost twice as more leads from social media as you can get from other marketing activities like PPC, direct mail, telemarketing and trade shows.

Your social media efforts should complement other activities you may be doing to grow your business. Whenever you post something new on your blog, tweet the link or share it on your Facebook page. The content you share should reflect your brand and be tailored at improving the lives of your customers. If you are not adding value to your social media connections, you are losing the game.

However, there are some rules you should follow to grow your business on social media. Check this 12 step checklist by Forbes.

Win With Social Media

Winning the marketing game with social media is all about adding value to your prospects. Whether your goals is to improve customer service, drive traffic or get more sales, the bottom line is that your activities should be related at making the lives of your target prospects easier.