Non-Salesy Strategies for Marketing on Social …
(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)
Do you remember the movie Jaws?
I might be dating myself with this analogy, but my brain works in mysterious ways sometimes. Jaws, of course, is the 1975 American thriller directed by Steven Spielberg, which is also based on a novel about the fears of being attacked by a great white shark.
Of course, the music was brilliantly scored and won many awards leaving movie-goers with a haunting melody referenced in many comedy sketches involving predators of the human and non-human variety.
I can still hear that tune in the back of my mind whenever someone tries to sell me something I don’t want, and the little hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up. You can tell when the “hunt” is on!
One of my friends told me the story of when she went into a furniture store as she was in the market for a new sofa. Granted, this story took place about a decade ago, and we have learned many things about sales techniques since then … She walked into the store, stopped for a second, realized the living room section was at the back, and started making her way toward it. From the moment she walked in, a lady with a fierce bun twisted tightly to the top of her head rose from her seat at the counter, buttoned up a very drab brown suit, straightened her name tag and walked to the front. This sales lady had a severe demeanour and looked more like a military commander than a woman selling home furnishings. She and the sales lady locked eyes before she ever left the “welcome” carpet … And the hunt was on!
Imagine the chilling sounds of the Jaws music, picking up tempo as they walked toward each other. It was the first thing that came to mind when I heard this story.
So, imagine the music as the sales lady starts to move in … choosing to move about the store in circles coming in closer and closer with each round she makes. The sales lady fluffed some pillows, straightened a few vases, and smoothed her about suit twenty more times. But her eyes never wavered. She was locked in on the prize. Today was the day she was going to get her commission!
Eventually, her circling brought her into earshot of my friend, and the sales lady finally spoke. They had a brief conversation where the sales lady learned she was still in the “looking” stage and may not be ready to buy. The sales lady backed off for a minute, then returned and inquired again. No bite. After the third and fourth try, my friend became exasperated with the sales lady constantly intruding that she left the store purchasing nothing. The words she used to describe this salesperson were “intrusive, pushy and unfriendly.”
Intrusive, traditional marketing went out the window long ago, and for a good reason. People do not want to be sold to; they want to establish a real connection and relationship with you.
That’s the secret sauce to getting your audience or customers to trust you.
And, if they trust you – they will buy from you.
Consumers find it off-putting when brands post pushy promotions to keep them purchasing things that may not be relevant to them.
Over the years, we have mainly moved to an e-commerce market, and most of us are using social platforms to market our businesses and services. I shared the story of the furniture sales lady because this type of approach, even online, is rarely well-received.
When people choose to do business with you, it’s not as simple as deciding to purchase the first thing they see. As business owners, we need to give them what I like to call “the feels” to make that connection.
Customers must be earned.
Your market research must be closely examined to learn how to attract new customers in a way that results in brand loyalty.
Learning to market effectively — and genuinely — in a virtual world is a great way to educate others on exactly what your business offers without your audience feeling that you are “too in their face.”
It’s important to remember that you never want your marketing to be so focused on sales that you forget a human is sitting behind that screen.
And it’s a good time to think about how to make a genuine connection more humanly.
So, let’s talk for a minute about the power of social media …
We all remember when we were first introduced to Facebook. I still remember filling out that profile with some skepticism. And with absolutely NO IDEA of how it would grow at the FIERCE rate that it has.
Now it’s become part of mainstream media around the globe.
As quickly as social media has insinuated itself into our politics, workplaces, home life and every other nook and cranny … it continues to evolve at lightning speed, making it tricky to predict how it will morph next. Social media has become a fundamental way to get information ABOUT the world OUT into the world. You can’t dispute it. But if you want your business to be successful in 2020 and beyond, you’ve got to get yourself online!
So back to marketing in the land of social …
Your content is published, and you’re registered for all the social accounts that suit your needs. And now it’s time to promote your brand. This may seem like a no-brainer, but consistency and brand story are essential so your audience can easily find and connect with you. One great thing about the land of social is that you can get the word out without a massive overhead marketing budget. Remember to keep the gimmicky, sales-y content far, FAR away. And with that being said, I want to dive into a couple points that have had positive results for us and our clients …
#1. Warming Up Your Leads with A Strong Message
It’s more cost-efficient to retarget existing leads when you sell something on social than it is to target cold leads. The quality of your messaging matters so much for an effective “selling presence.” So, don’t shortcut yourself, your business, or whatever you’re selling. Don’t shortcut your brand. And promote everything with consistency and pure greatness.
The takeaway is that your business products and message should be equally strong. And if “untangling” isn’t your strong suit or you don’t have time, consider hooking up with an expert content creator who understands how to take your message and deliver it concisely and with pizzaz! Remember, people … Less is more! And marketing this way takes talent to get it right.
But also make sure you hire a creative individual who shares a passion for your brand and business – just as much as you do. The care and attention you put into the world will make a massive difference between getting people to click through to where you want them to go or clicking away to a competitor.
#2. Using Truthful, Inspiring Stories in Your Marketing
Telling true, behind-the-scenes stories is something many of your followers can resonate with. That’s the beauty of selling something significant to the right target audience. Could you keep it simple, truthful, and inspiring?
Talk about WHY you’re sharing the service, product, blog or podcast and clarify what problem you are trying to solve. Something else to consider is more than just using stock images. For your audience to feel a genuine connection with you, they need to see your face from time to time.
#3. Optimizing Your Message for Each Network
We know that each social network handles images, text and videos differently. Therefore, you must know the strengths of each social platform you choose to bring into your world.
For instance, Twitter limits us to a whopping 280 characters per post. However, what Twitter lacks in word count, it makes up for in visuals — and we know that a picture is worth a thousand words — so go ahead and get creative with your brand’s face! Just remember to keep the quality high, as you’ll gain 150% more retweets for tweets with imagery. Likewise, with Facebook. Posts with pictures get upwards of 53% more likes than the average post. And LinkedIn posts with images acquire a high-achieving 98% percent more comments.
People respond well to visual stimulation, and as a general rule, you should do your best to produce every piece of shareable content alongside a suitable visual.
#4. Make Your Social Content Informative
Over the handful of past years, my business (like many others) has been navigating how to be successful with our social strategy. One of the things we’ve learned along the way is that your business is much more likely to be sustainable if it provides a solution or some usefulness for your audience and clients.
We’ve all seen those emotive gimmicks on the dreaded pop-ups or on Facebook or Google Ads. These may seem like a good solution to generate buzz and increase web traffic, but in reality, these ads may only generate short-term curiosity that may not have the long-term results you’re hoping for.
In other words, once you have jumped out of a spaceship and descended into the Earth’s atmosphere with a parachute, everything else tends downhill. It’s a humorous analogy, but also true!
People want solutions. They want relief from pain and minor inconveniences. We all want answers to complex questions and information that helps us clear obstacles and helps us reach our goals.
So, in your social posts, length does NOT equal effectiveness. Honestly, it’s the opposite. The tighter and more transparent you can be, the better. Most of us don’t have the time for extra preamble or content that doesn’t relate to our crazy, overly busy lives.
Writing takes practice. I’ve been writing content for over a decade. Suppose you ask either myself or one of my glorious creative writers. In that case, it’s much easier to write a 3,000 essay than to write something powerful enough, dynamic enough and short enough to grab an audience within 2 or 3 seconds. And when you think you’ve got it … something shifts, making your trusted and authentic content completely irrelevant.
Since most of us still work virtually, there’s plenty of work for bright unicorn-like content creators. Becoming an expert in this field won’t just help you market your company more effectively. Still, you will become known as an industry leader that can provide legitimate quality solutions.
#5. Creating Captivating Headlines
Earlier, I provided a word of caution about over-emoting your business’s social posts. And with good reason …
- Captivate your audience with a great headline; and
- Make sure everything you post is accurate and verifiable.
I’ve definitely clicked on headlines that were nothing more than click-bait disguised as attention-grabbing headlines.
And this is annoying and an incredible waste of time. The last thing you need is for your audience to feel that you need to be more consistent with your offerings once they get to your website.
Did you know that almost 80% of your audience doesn’t go past your headline!?
So, you really want to make it count!
Something else to keep in mind as you’re writing are these two things:
- Negative headlines tend to do better than positive headlines. For example, your headline speaks to a problem you want to solve. This will likely garner more attention than “fluff” and worn-out sales gimmicks.
- Headlines with numbers also tend to perform better than those without.
Why? Because more businesses want a measurable ROI.
So, if your headline reads “Cut Your Operating Expenses by 15%”, your audience will see an immediate potential cost savings opportunity that someone has clearly taken the time to measure. Again, there are only a few shortcuts in this approach, and it takes much quality time and effort to offer accurate goal-driven results, but your own ROI on this effort will make it all worth it in the end.
Creating customer loyalty takes time, but this is one way to claim it quicker!
#6. Believing in What Your Brand!
This has been stressed in over 100 of my 300 blog posts, as it’s genuinely that important!
You must be passionate about your business. It would help if you were 110 million percent confident in whatever you’re trying to promote or share with the world.
If you remember the sales lady story we shared at the beginning of this episode, it is likely that she didn’t seem happy because she wasn’t. Selling furniture probably isn’t her jam. And you’ll be hard-pressed to scale if you don’t love what you’re doing.
So, lukewarm feelings will show, and you won’t come across as genuine.
For example, I’m VERY passionate about design and organization!
So, by offering these types of services as a way to help other businesses bring their goals to life, I not only get the opportunity to make their dreams come true BUT also live mine while doing #AllTheThings.
And last but not least …
#7. Learn Your Demographic
The more you understand your target market, the less you will resort to using dusty, old, sales-y content that’s not going to help you anyway.
Connecting and engaging with your audience is crucial in today’s virtual world, especially if you want to turn a profit. But you got to know your people!
You should be able to pinpoint their needs, dreams, and desires. This is the bread and butter of a successful social media marketing plan …
So, how can you better understand your demographic?
- Survey your audience to better grasp their pain points
- Take part in conversations in online groups filled with your dream leads
- Respond to comments on your blog, social media posts as well as on other people’s blogs and posts with the same audience
- Collect ALL feedback
Once you get a real feel for your target audience, you’ll be better equipped to help. People want to deal with a business that genuinely cares and understands. Not a faceless brand just out to empty their wallet. Engaging is so huge that it probably seems like we’ve beaten this point to death by now, but everything keeps pointing back to this principle.
One last point before we wrap, and it’s so simple. Not to mention people love to engage with this.
We all love free stuff!!!! Like, who doesn’t?
So, consider hosting a contest or offering free 1:1 calls. People love to be actively engaged in a way that appeals to their excitement! And this gives them a chance to do just that! Plus, you’ll likely see a boost of followers, increase your online visibility and pump up your engagement BIG TIME! Part of the key to executing this successfully is to offer something of tremendous value. And I’m talking about something that will be utterly irresistible to your audience. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Figure out your goals …
- Do you want more Instagram followers?
- Twitter followers?
- Facebook page likes?
- LinkedIn connections?
- And how many …?!
- Decide what social channels you will host the said freebie on.
- Come up with a timeline for start and finish and prize presentation.
Then lastly, create the content and promote the heck out of it!
It’s TIME to get your people invested and aim to have your audience do some of the heavy lifting. Set things up so they get extra entries for sharing or by completing tasks like “Pin on Pinterest,” “Share on Facebook,” or “Follow on Instagram.” It’s genius. Your contest will basically run itself!
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