Building a presence

How to grow your social media and get the best return from your customers

Social media is a content machine that is never ever satisfied when you’re running a small business.

Your audience is demanding new content if you want to keep their attention, and that alone can create a bit of stage fright or ‘flashing cursor syndrome’ when it comes to trying to work out what to post, when to post and how to share online.

This tends to make you feel overwhelmed, which is less than ideal.

Businesses today cannot afford to ignore the importance of using social media, especially if they want to be relevant and still in business in the next two to five years.

According to Forbes magazine, 78% of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases.

One of the most powerful things you can do online that will drive impact is to share your opinions and thinking in your area of expertise, products and services

That’s a huge number and one we simply cannot afford to ignore. How much are you missing out by not using the power of social media? Following are four steps you can take to create impact and return.

What makes your company different?

We’re not just talking about your products and services. We need to be clear on what makes you, as people, different to your competitors. What are your strengths and knowledge, your R&D processes, and who are your people? This is very different to the standard USP, because it requires you to delve deeper into what makes your business, your company and you as a person different. Being able to articulate this very clearly will give you the confidence to be able to share it online with authority and certainty in a way that builds impact.

Know your audience: demographics as well as psychographics

Business 101 will have you doing work on your ideal audience, and it’s an incredibly valuable process, but most companies only do about 50% of what could be done.

If you delve deeper than their gender, age range and marital status, you’ll find all sorts of gold that you can use to create digital marketing that speaks directly to them as humans – from their fears and problems to their stress points, dreams, goals and desires. Understanding these will help to create an emotional connection with your audience online.

For example, if you know that your audience is someone who wants to write a book but they’re deathly afraid of putting themselves out there for fear of judgment, you’ll have a very different conversation with them online versus the standard ‘3 Steps to Writing a Bestseller’ conversation.

Get inside their heads and understand what really makes them tick. Connect with them on a very emotional level. This will make you stand out as being different.

Building a presence and platform

One of the most powerful things you can do online that will drive impact is to share your opinions and thinking in your area of expertise, products and services. There are many platforms to choose from where you can share this, so that can often mean you put it in the too-hard basket when trying to decide where to focus your attention.

Focus on my ‘3 Pillar Rule’. Build a presence on Facebook (with a global, growing userbase of more than 2.2 billion people you cannot ignore it) as well as on your website where you’ll be blogging regularly, and then choose either Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter, depending on where your audience tend to spend the majority of their time. Post various pieces of content consistently, multiple times per day. (Productivity tip: You can share the same thing you posted on Facebook to a di­ erent platform at a di­ erent time.)

How to get a return

With all of this social media and digital activity, many business owners neglect the most important step, which is to let people know how they can use their services. My rule of thumb is that you will post five pieces of valuable content – solving problems your audience has or helping them achieve their goals, dreams or desires – and then you will make an offer of a product or service or even let them download something for free that you might be offering them as a way of getting them into your email database.

When you follow these four steps you will be creating impact and return, because you are speaking directly to the audience who you want to become your customers. They are scrolling through the endless supply of content, realising that you are the one who can solve their biggest problems; you understand them and they feel heard and validated.

Nicola Moras is a social media specialist, sought-after speaker and author of Visible, a guide for business owners on how to generate ­financial results from social media and digital marketing. Nicola helps clients around the world achieve visibility, impact and pro­fits, enabling them to become ‘professionally famous’ online.