Social Media Marketing Basic Guide for Entrepreneurs
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is a process of using social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to connect with the audience. It also involves building brand, driving sales and increasing traffic to brands website.
The Social Media Strategy is the thought out plan of posting great content, interacting with the audience through comments and direct messages. It also includes using statistics to analyse results as well as running ads on different social media platforms.
As an entrepreneur to entrepreneur I can tell you that the best tip would be to start and focus on Social Media Marketing right now. Don’t give yourself excuses.
Start now. Get perfect later.
I love social media and social media marketing. You fall in love with it after you grow your page from 0 followers to 100k followers just by doing hard work(with solid plan).
There has been more and more scams and scam-like activity around Social Media Marketing. As an Entrepreneur it has been harder and harder to find good sources of explanation and inspiration.
I want to tell you, only my personal opinion on how exactly to do it right and how not to fail.
This is a full and very professional guide on Social Media Marketing, make sure to get the most value out of this.
1 — The essentials.
2 — How to do it right.
3 — Industry's best practices.
4 — How to sell.
1 — The essentials:
The building blocks of any Social Media Marketing strategy are the trends and patterns of user behaviour on a specific platform. We will be looking at Instagram here.
This can be applied to any social network or any website/app in general as these are the most important fundamentals.
The most important question people ask is — how do you get followers.
Value matters? Value matters.
It is easy. You simply give your followers value.
As soon as you open Instagram profile, you read introduction. You need to see what value you will get.
Then, you open one of the posts, you read it with interest and you send it to someone(maybe information is that useful). You save it for later, for reference.
All of this is amazing for Instagram algorith
When you open a story, you engage with them. After all the stories are finished, you think to yourself:
Dam, I learnt something. I will need to come back for some more.
This is value.
You can also think of it that you get an active reader, listener or just a follower in exchange for the work you put for the content on your page.
So, here is the deal:
You worked on that content, you put your time. In exchange you get a follower.
How direct ads affect your followage count:
If a potential follower sees an ad in your account, he will leave.
If your timeline is only ads, he will leave.
If your stories are only ads, he will leave.
All of us Entrepreneurs are going into Social Media Marketing for the same reason.
To promote our product.
To show why the service we provide is the best
I have been trapped in the same thinking pattern as well. I had no results and I didn't know what to do.
The change came when I started experimenting and thinking different. That is when the growing happened and when the sales started rolling in.
The thing I changed was:
I started giving value.
The hardest part is realising that just selling won't work.
The standard on Instagram is increasing every month. Your content needs to be better and better, but even a small amount of value makes a huge difference.
How to be human:
One of the key principles is to show that you are also a human being.
You have to be human. If you behave like your profile has no soul and you are a corporate machine, you will have no way of appealing to potential followers.
Corporate = ignored.
Human = followed.
The Easiest way to show that you are human is to show yourself behaving like one.
How does that help you?
You need to reach out and interact. Do some unsexy work that will not look good and will take time and effort.
It is not scalable. It is not something people brag about. But it is what matters.
Investing into ADs is a good way to scale and get new customers.
But it is not the way to do Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneur doesn't matter how rich and successful your company is.
Every single successful company have organically scaled their following.
ADs are the best to boost your engagement with the following that is already established.
If you are in some niche which is taken by at least 10-200 other businesses for your target audience, YOU will have to go out and talk.
What do I mean by
Talk to people:
- Follow people
- Make comments relatable to the posts(don't make them spammy)
- Send Direct Messages telling people what you like and what you appreciate
If you are doing all of this with correct people, that is at least 100 potential customers/hour.
Let's say 5 hours per day, 5 days a week and you have:
2 500 customers per week
10 000 customers per month
120 000 customers per year
If you can afford on skipping this much potential clients, you do not need me to tell you what to do or how to do it. 😉
In my opinion, if you are starting out, you are not allowed to skip this part.
After you did all that, do not forget.
It will take time.
How much work it requires?
If you are searching for help you have probably realised that there is no such thing as free lunch. You need to work for everything.
If you are smart you can take shortcuts, work more efficiently and smarter and it will take 100x or 1000x less time.
But it will not be free.
If you are running a REAL business, it will be unsexy and most likely boring at first. But what will be coming after is amazing.
As a side note. Please don't believe in success overnight. It doesn't exist and you will only waste your time. If someone is selling a course on
How to get rich quickit is already a dying niche and all the profits are taken(think fidget spinners).
2-How to do it right.
There are a couple of different ways to look at content on Instagram and the way to get results from it.
It is either you post consistently with decent content or you post less often but with content that blows your mind.
I am afraid that the second option doesn’t generate nearly enough engagement and impressions. The insane hard work doesn’t pay off by itself.
What matters now is consistency and quality all together.
What you need to do is post content that is interesting, engaging and relevant to your followers but as often as possible.
You wonder how often you should post?
The magic number has been 1 post per day. At least for every single SMM professional and me, I speak to. It allows the post to get traction as well as get promoted in the timeline to the relevant followers who have missed the post.
Any more than 1 post per day and your posts will be competing with each other in the timelines of the followers. That means some content will be buried and never seen or engaged with.
How about Stories?
For stories, there is also a magic number, but it changes depending on your content.
If you are an entrepreneur and you are running a blog where you personally show face, then the good number of stories would be 15-25 but not more.
If you are a corporate account showing deals, testimonials and photos and videos of your products than 5-10 is a good number per day.
Also, a great tip on Instagram Stories is to delete all old still alive photos and videos once you are starting a new day with a new set of stories to share.
What really matters with content
Every time a follower sees a post from a corporate account, a user is looking for an excuse to unfollow you.
Posting bad content creates a chance that user will unfollow you.
Your most important job is to not give followers excuses.
So here is the deal:
Great content is the main reason why people share posts. This will get you more followers.
Or they can get annoyed and just unfollow.
Every time you create great content for post or story you might get no traction and engagement. Especially if you do it using no planers for time and topics.
But if you put bad content. It is only a matter of time until there is a huge drop in engagement, impressions and ultimately followers.
You are probably wondering how does Instagram algorithm work:
The Secret of Instagram Algorithm is actually simple. It was said in one of the Instagrams personal blog posts for the Japanese community.
It looks at how many people got impressions of your content and how many of them engaged with the content. If the ratio is good, then Instagram promotes it to the rest of your followers, doing check every time it is shown to see if it is still relevant.
In other words:
People saw your post 1000 times(impressions) and only 10 people pressed like. That is 1% engagement rate!
Do you have 100 000 followers? And you only got 10 likes? That is 0,01% followers/engagement rate. Instagram will never promote that.
That is why you should never use bots!
Bots are bad.
I get it. You just started out with Instagram. You have no budget for expensive ADs. Your page looks irrelevant with small followers to count.
Those are not excuses to get bots. Those are reasons to work harder and harder every day on your account.
There is also an incorrect understanding that your corporate page will be more strong, will be more trustworthy to the new customers and will convert better when you get bots to boost followers numbers. That is wrong and incorrect logic.
Any normal Instagram user checks posts before following as there is an overload of information and the users are very-very picky about what they choose to consume.
That is why if you have 5 thousand followers but 5-10 likes that shows you even worse than having no followers and being an underdog.
Content is key
To sum up:
Bad content is going to be shown less and less.
Good content will be shown more and more, getting more impression, reach and organic sharing and in the end - followers.
If you are struggling to post quality content every day, skip a day.
Don’t feed junk to your followers, organic followers don’t deserve it.
Paid followers are too expensive to be neglected with bad posts.
3 — Industry’s Best Practices.
Influencers are hot
Influencers have been a hot topic for the past 5 years, since the invention of this term.
If you want to get far on Instagram, you have to interact with influencers.
There are a couple of ways to do it.
I have written a full post about Nano Influencers and why I think they provide the best value.
The categories of Influencers:
Nano-influencers: 1,000 – 10,000 followers ✅ Micro-influencers: 10,000 – 50,000 followers 😉 Mid-tier influencers: 50,000 – 500,000 followers 🤤 Macro-influencers: 500,000 – 1,000,000 followers 🤠 Mega-influencers: 1,000,000+ followers 🤑
If you are starting out, then Nano Influencers are your go-to. They don’t charge too much and most of them don’t even consider themselves influencers.
You might be wondering what is so good about Influencer Marketing:
The key is that you get impressions and engagement from people you have never interacted with. You get a second opinion and a testimonial as well.
By using Influencers you are creating a social proof bubble where if you combine it with correct outreach and following, commenting, DMing and ADs strategy, you will get yourself not only a follower, but a customer for life.
This will happen as user will be believing that everyone he knows also uses your product. The most important thing here is to not disappoint.
How to get the best value from bloggers:
Value for yourself is calculated by using this formula:
The higher the number, the better.
And the best thing is to put 0 money down.
That you can easily achieve by offering some part of your service for free for a fair review on their profile. Usually, you have to specify it to be a post and a story.
The most beautiful thing is that you already getting profit for your product so the cost for you is less than a cost to a customer(value here). You get real feedback of the product instead of just blunt recommendation(value here) and you get impressions from people who generally feel that influencer uses your product(value here).
It is a win-win situation no matter how you look at it. What even better is that sometimes influencers will accept your product even though its price is less than what influencer could ask as an equivalent in money.
What matters the most:
Make sure that when you are finally paying money that you are certain that the influencer has something to offer for your brand. And I mean it.
Follow the influencer for a week. Ask for their statistics screenshots.
Read comments, write comments, like comments.
Click on likes and see who exactly the people that are liking.
See what content is posted in stories.
Are there too many promos? No promos? Useless content that will be skipped?
Only you can decide if it is a good idea to cooperate with the influencer.
After the integration with influencer was done, you must ask for statistics on posts and stories with your advert to see engagement, clicks, reactions as well as saves and DMs.
My Integration didn’t work!
If you have done all the checks and the integration still didn’t work.
Then you need to look at your page or website to see where the fault was.
Is it your pricing, your landing page, your social proof or your product positioning that is causing this failure?
The time to do checks is when 2-3 integrations that went through full checks didn’t pay off. There is something wrong.
Buzzwords that matter
If you are looking at using ADs in your social media marketing strategy then make sure to stick to these principles.
Of course, all of this has been said by probably every marketing “Guru” in the industry.
But hey, I am here for you all in one guide so here it is:
- Common sense.
Make sure that if you are selling SAAS platform for the business you are targeting to the business owners. Do not put woman age 18-65+ in your targeting. Do not put interests “business” in your Facebook ad cabinet. Use common-sense. If you need to, get a friend or a colleague to check it for you. This is the most crucial and most important. Don’t underestimate.
- Impactful copy
If you have written price and free delivery, then that is not a good selling copywriting. Make sure to explain the situation where it can be useful. Tell who use this product and how it helped them improve their lives.
- Call to Action
Tell people what you want them to do. Subscribe! Shop Now! Read! Comment!
- Great Picture
Something that really captures your eyes. Use general world studies on what is best performing in visual ADs right now. Sometimes it is interesting with your name or slogan of what you do but the picture is not even related to you or your brand. Think of Bee with a human head super converter.
- A/B Testing
- Target Demographic
- Test. Test. Test.
- Treat every AD launch as an opportunity to learn
Direct Sales Still work!
Direct sales have been discussed and talked about over and over again ever since the invention of sellers walking from home to home. It has been discussed so many times that you have a choice out of thousands of amazing books on this topic.
Grab one. Read one.
You can thank me later.
This will save you years of researching useless topics that actually get you nowhere.
Direct sales give you exactly what most of us are seeking. Direct sales.
Guess what? You can combine everything said above about social media marketing and use direct sales.
Each follower becomes a lead.
Each comment becomes a lead.
Each like becomes a lead.
Each Story view becomes a lead.
Use the correct strategies and methods and there is no reason to do anything but reaching your goals.
There will be an additional post written on Direct Sales later. It is an extensive topic requiring a separate post.
As you might know, there are multiple types of ADs that you can use.
Targeting based on interests with your product video or photo directly.
Targeting with a video showcasing your product.
Retargeting on people already interested in your product with a video showcasing its best features.
Up sale your other products to those that already purchased your main product.
And the list can keep on growing.
Most of us are in dire need of traffic and additional customers that can generate sales.
This is where direct sales ADs come in.
Most business do them wrong
I want to tell you about a new type of ADs.
Tell people about what your brand is and what your product is. Not selling directly. Getting to know each over is half a step to a successful sale.
Most people are not sure about buying what you are selling.
There are 4 types of clients.
- Those that want to buy your product right now.
- Those that are not interested in buying just yet.
- Those that need to save money, before buying.
- Those that are not going to buy and not your customers.
Direct sales ads are for the first type of clients. They will buy NOW.
ADs that introduce yourself to customers are for the second and third type of customers. Those that need to remember you when they are ready or in need of your product.
Which ADs to use with others
The type of AD can be anything but a direct call to buy.
Bring value to your target audience that will buy the product in the long run.
Make an infographic explaining the benefits.
Make a meal plan that you will give away for free.
Make a style guide for potential customers out of your clothes and types of clothes.
Make content that will WOW people and promote it.
Look at the example:
Lazy method of indirect sales
Advertise a giveaway.
People love love love 💕 free stuff. If you want to capture someone's attention, but they do not want to buy your product. You can give the product away and keep them engaged after by having them follow you to enter a raffle.
If you are actually giving out your own product, you only have costs that you bear for the product. Nothing else but the AD itself is a cost for you.
If you are not ready to make amazing content, or you can’t spare the money or energy for it. Giveaway is the best way of engaging with the new audience.
A quick note that if you actually just starting out you need a decent number of people reposting your content initially to make sense running a giveaway.
After using ADs
If you have a good number of followers and engagement on your posts and stories, then you can start using Call To Actions to sell.
This is just like the story of Lil Nas X and Old Time Road. He started as a MEME Twitter channel and grew into the hugest star out there.
Grow your audience and reach with useful and impactful content and only after gaining trust and engagement, start selling.
4 — How to Sell
I do not want to go backwards from why YOU can not sell anything.
I want to otherwise tell you that you can sell, by just being smart.
It is not rocket science to sell something.
A customer has a problem, you solve it.
Social Media Strategy to Sell
If you are on Instagram and crying out loud that it’s a waste of time, you just don’t have your strategy fully figured out.
Nothing in this world is easy any more. Everything takes time and effort in saturated markets.
You have to critically think and make sure that each action you do is thought through.
Will this bring me followers? How will my followers react? Have I posted something similar before? How did that look? Was there a high engagement?
What do my followers want?
If you haven’t asked yourself that, then you are surely on the wrong path.
People follow you on Instagram not because they can’t get enough of your product, they follow you because they get value or expect value from you. Something that will improve their lives in one way or another.
Put yourself into your followers' shoes, if you don’t want some content to be put into your Instagram feed, then followers don’t want that either.
Would you follow a commercial brand that only posts some stock photos and brags about their product?
Especially if it is something not really innovative or new.
Think about your customer and your product together. That what will make a great social media strategy.
Choose the medium for promotion
If your product naturally can fit into the everyday life of a lifestyle blogger than it is a good strategy to share it through that channel.
If your product doesn’t have an everyday user or a wide customer base (marketing software for companies), then you are stuck with using niche influencer(marketing specialist) to reach your target audience.
When communicating with customers don’t forget it is not about what your product is. It is more about how can your product be useful for your target audience.
Quick tip - Choose your Influencers carefully
If your product has not many influencers you are then better off using ADs.
If you waste money on ADs and you see the results not being there. Then your logical thought should be to try Influencers.
There are over 50 million business profiles using Instagram worldwide up from 15 million in July of 2017.
So, if 50 million businesses could find some place on Instagram, I am certain that you will be able to as well.
The most important thing is:
Make sure to have something unique about your brand and your page. That will make sure that you stand out from 50 million others.
Most Important Advice:
Don’t be afraid to copy what works.
If you see someone succeed and be successful you should not be put out from copying what they did and what they do.
Most successful people borrow inspiration from something done in the past. History helps you to be the best, as you can borrow from past failures and successes.
So, why should you shy away from taking some excellent strategies and ideas if even Amazon or Apple do it?
See big companies Instagrams. Most of them are copying each other success. Be it posts, viral hashtags or some type of product. Just think AirPods and Samsung Buds.
Constantly check your market and most importantly the most successful players in your niche.
By staying on top of the game you get to the top.
I hope that this extensive article helped. If you have any more questions, please contact me by Twitter or on telegram. Don’t be shy, DMs are open.
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