Why social media likes won’t pay your rent

This article was originally posted in Internet Retailing

I get it. It’s immediately gratifying—the rapidly climbing ‘likes’ every time you look at your page, the new followers from all over the world. Nailing your social media game is a crucial element of building your brand, but before getting carried away it’s important to remember one thing: a ‘like’ doesn’t pay your rent.

The role of social media in business is to allow a brand to develop the relationship that eventually leads a client or customer to buy from them. It is one of the most powerful – and cheapest – marketing platforms available to small businesses. A floundering brand can be completely transformed with quality socials and content marketing.

But every ‘like’ is not created equal: if you’re not interacting with the right followers and don’t have a concrete conversion strategy on those ‘likes’, you’re in trouble.

Here are four ways to ensure you don’t fall into the social media popularity trap.

1. Get to know your audience

If you’ve got upwards of 100,000 followers but most of them are outside your target audience, from countries you don’t service, or worse—random bots—then you need to reassess your approach.

Attract the right followers by absolutely nailing who your customer is… before you even think about touching your keyboard. If you don’t know them intimately, you can’t speak to them in their ‘language’.

2. Pick your poison

Once you define your audience, work out where they like to hang out online, and develop targeted social strategy to ensure your information is being seen in the right places.

Don’t ever feel like you need run yourself into the ground by publishing on each and every social platform out there…choose the TWO where your people hang most, and focus on them.

3. Be consistent

Research has identified that customers need seven touch points before they’re willing to make a purchase, meaning that you need to successfully engage them seven times before they will even consider buying from you.

So, how do you do it? By being consistent across each and every marketing channel. Consistency helps you get noticed, building both brand awareness and trust. Publish consistent, targeted content that adds value to your audience, and do it over and over. And over.

4. Include a call to action

If you’re publishing killer content without including a call to action, it’s akin to flushing good work down the toilet.

As small business owners, your job is to make it super easy for your target audience to take action—you’ve already built a solid rapport with your followers, so it’s time to tell them exactly what you’d like them to do.

Small businesses need to think of their social media as a long-term relationship. Don’t chase the easy likes and follows—instead, focus on delivering value with patience and consistency, and you’ll end up with more than just followers. You’ll have a loyal customer base.

And that’s how you pay your rent.

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