Let me say this upfront: I am NOT a marketing expert! I've been through marketing coaching, I've read tons of information about marketing, etc. Even if I were to say I'm an expert, I'd still need to learn more because like with most industries, things change rapidly.
However, I wanted to offer some insight on social media marketing because it's one of the largest and fastest methods of getting noticed. What normally use to takes a start up business about 5+ years to gain momentum or attention, now with the right social media marketing plan, the start up business can gain a lot of traction in just the first year or two. I'm not basing that on statistics. I'm basing that on what I've witnessed in the last few years of starting my own small business and observing others.
Now, I've help people publish their book and start down the path of doing much more. But many people still wonder if social media marketing is really necessary. To a major degree, yes it's necessary because it's the default way for people to find out more about you. A website and Facebook (FB) page are the top two things you'll see when you search on Google by specific person or business name; the first page of returned results. So, FB is ideally the first place to begin if you need to start marketing.
As a Christian, I'm careful how I use social media. But for anyone with respect and common sense are also just as careful. One of the things I learned early on is to not pretend to be something that I'm not. What I'm learning now is to not be afraid to be honest about who you are because are hoping to find people that are just like them: human. People naturally gravitate towards a community that isn't being overly critical or judgemental. Most people know their flaws already. Most people wants help overcoming negativity about themselves and others. That's why it's important that if you decide to market on social media, just be you. Certain programs that teaches marketing will try to complicate the idea of 'branding' or 'creating brand awareness' for your business. Bottom line: you are the brand. Not so much how you look but how you act and what you say is your brand. Your true character will carry more weight than anything.
How does one get started with social media marketing? Well, decide on what you like to post about. Don't make it all about your product or services. Then just start out with one social media platform; ideally that's FB but it's your choice. Then learn about that social media platform. If you do FB, be sure to create a business page separate from your personal page. It's ok to share between the two pages but keep majority of sale promotions on the business page. If people do sincerely like you, they'll reach out and ask to be your friend on your personal page. Don't force it! I'm learning to allow God to handle the increase because He knows who is really for me and who is against me! Then once you have the business page setup, schedule some posts. Use Hootsuite, Buffer, or any one of those. I believe all of them have a free version when you starting off. You don't have to post a lot. Ideally, 2 to 3 times a day for FB is good but that can be too much if it's not quality content ever time. Consider the large population and algorithms of these web pages. I won't lie, I have not done a lot of scheduled postings like I use to. I've made up my mind to keep things more simple and post when I can. My reason is that I wanted to slow down so I didn't want the same amount of inquiries and/or potential clients. I've start my journey to obtain my Masters in Divinity and that's a lot -- while still maintaining and starting other businesses, working full-time, being a wife, etc. But I would HIGHLY recommend scheduling post for those starting off. For example, if you know you have a special launch or sale, schedule those regular posts to remind people about the special going on.
If it's a major launch and you really trying to ensure it gains attention, do a FB ad. I don't know about how to do the other platforms but I don't think they're too different. They offer the same type of setup to target your ideal audience, e.g. gender, age, location(s), interests, etc. It took me several attempts to finally do a successful FB ad. And my definition of successful is based on the goal I was wanting to achieve. That's important to understand! Know the goals you are hoping to achieve because FB ads cost and you need to understand where your investment is going. I would say FB ads are great for both long and short term return-on-investment (ROI) goals. They can work if you want that to see immediate ROI and they also work for the longer term of ROI. Just know what you want ahead of time.
I encourage anyone that has started a business to do social media marketing. Continue other methods of marketing but incorporate social media when you can. Just be you! God bless you!
As a Christian wife, author, and evangelist, I want to love and help others to enjoy life! I offer tips, empowerment, and more on my blog! Be sure to follow me on FB & Twitter to stay up-to-date!
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