Social Media Marketing will continue to be one of the most relevant topics for businesses and increase in significance. 9 out of the 10 businesses are active on social media platforms and many of them employ a social media agency (www.adweek.com).
However, it is surprising how many businesses, particularly small and local companies, are still not actively making use of social media marketing to generate revenue.
Ask yourself the following question: Am I making money by social media marketing?
But let’s separate the facts from the fiction first. Did you know that 81 percent of millennials are checking Twitter at least once per day? Or did you realize that 79% of all internet users in America are on Facebook? (www.wordstream.com)
If social media is the place where you can get access to the whole world in an instant, where you have a platform to tell your story without having to spend your ad budget, then why is still not a channel that people monetize?
Image Source: Startuped.com
When you as a Start-up, small- or medium-sized business, coach or consultant decide that you would like to do social media marketing, you usually start with choosing your platform. As you are probably aware, there are four big players: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. LinkedIn is an excellent network of professionals. Also, YouTube as a video content marketing platform should be considered as well.
So, which is the right platform to choose if you want to monetize social media? All of these platforms can have the potential to work well. Just test what works for you and which platforms you prefer. On Facebook, you can have your fan page, groups or a personal profile, where the currency of success is friends and likes. Twitter, on the other hand, is a very open platform. There is no need for mutual friend connections and where you can directly message influencers. It is about follower and engagement metrics. Instagram as one of the more recent platforms is emphasizing on pictures, short videos, and stories for the public. Snapchat has similar features but a different target audience with 60% of its users aged 13-24 (www.zebraadvertisement.com)
Facebook is still by far the most popular platform; however, the network has reached its peak of attention and has to compete with more players compared to their early days. If you look at Google trends, which captures and presents the search term volume as the indicator of interest, you will find Facebook’s relevance slightly declining over the last few years.
Image source: trends.google.com
The interest line chart almost looks like a textbook example of a product lifestyle cycle. Does this mean that Facebook lost its relevance? Not at all, since Facebook’s revenue is continuously increasing and Facebook ads are an integral element of social media marketing campaigns for all types of businesses. Facebook ads allow a granular selection of your target market. They come with exciting features such as lookalike audiences and retargeting.
The following graphic shows you the Google trends comparison of the other networks Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn. While Twitter shows similar characteristics like Facebook with steadily declining interest, it shows a more stable interest level in recent years. Instagram is probably the most famous network these days and has not yet reached its peak. Snapchat on the other hand, cannot show the same high level of growth in interest and LinkedIn is relatively stable throughout the years.
Image source: trends.google.com
If you are a personal brand, Twitter and Instagram seem to be right platforms to choose. Instagram is a great tool to share your stories, lifestyle, and experience and attract people to become interested in you. Twitter is equally interesting and an excellent tool to post your updates in text form. From a business perspective, considering hiring a professional social media agency to your marketing on all platforms, but put measures in place to track your return on investment. For smaller business and start-ups it might be a good idea to start with one or two platforms to capture the attention and to build audiences faster. A good social media agency will be able to handle all of these major channels for you. After you have picked your profiles, it is time to create content and to engage.
Image: Content calendar plan
Unlike many other marketing channels, social media marketing requires you to provide real value. You need to become humble and provide massive value before you can even think about a return on investment. Content marketing is a means to share your knowledge and experience to the public which helps you to win trust and build a relationship with your follower base. Ask yourself the following question: If there is information everywhere why should people even listen to me? Although it is super easy to post content, becoming heard and respected is another story.
Indeed, it has become hard to attract attention, and high-quality content is a must in 2018 to make people aware of you. Furthermore, the frequency of posts makes a big difference in your social media marketing success. The simple fact is that the more you post, the more attention you will get. If you look at profiles of influencers regardless of their industry, you will find that all of them will post several times per day, sometimes even several times per hour. We tested it out with our own Twitter handles and saw a massive increase in engagement or overall visibility. With the new strategy, we post 8 times on twitter every single day.
1) How do you I stay full of content material,
2)Who is doing all of this work like content creation, editing, scheduling, publishing?
Content ideas are not hard to find if you remember the following advice from one of the top content marketers on the internet, Gary Vaynerchuk says “Document, don’t create”! If you just document your daily work, your travels, meetings, conferences, events, interactions, interviews, etc. you will not run out of content. Combined with content creation, a bit of creativity and your commitment to making social media marketing work, you should have more than enough content to post every day.
Regarding the second question of work effort, keep in mind that brands and influencers have their teams of staff dedicated to their social media marketing success. Nobody can be present on social media all the time and also run a full-time business. If you have a team, assign social media marketing positions to one or multiple staff members. It is a full-time job just like accounting or sales. If you are on your own, think about outsourcing opportunities to a social media agency. Whatever you do, always stay involved yourself and engage with your fanbase. Even top personal brands and celebrities take time to send the comment and engage with the audience although they work with a social media agency and have staff, etc. in place to do it for them.
What are the practical ways to make money with social media marketing? There are a few ways and strategies to make it happen. First of all, if you do not have an own product or service yet and you just share content about a lifestyle, for example, you can promote other brands through affiliate marketing. Placing links in your posts, e.g. to books you like to recommend, will allow you to earn affiliate commissions. On Instagram, you can also make money by doing sponsored posts for brands who can benefit from getting in front of your audience.
These are quite easy ways to make a bit of money by social media marketing and the more reach you have, the better. However, talking about your products or services, you need to have a more strategic approach. As mentioned before, content marketing is key to a functioning social media strategy, and you should always provide massive value before you make an offer.
In principle, there are two main strategies to monetize social media marketing:
Organic growth includes strategies like content posting, commenting, engaging, messaging, targeting and following other people. You build your audience by sharing value and building a community. This is the most natural way to build up social media. However, it might take a bit of time, and it requires commitment if you are doing it yourself.
Ad campaigns are a great way to expand your reach in a targeted way. Although, this might be unsustainable because ad campaigns only perform when they are up and running and if you switch them off, you lose all the traction. Therefore, it is recommended to make organic follower building and profile management a must and integrate PPC campaigns as an optional feature. Great content should ideally speak for itself. Do it consistently, and you will step by step grow your reach and influence.
Regardless of the strategy you choose, you will always have to link social media followers to your site or another place off the platform. Missing this step and lack of including call-to-actions to a funnel or an offer is a common mistake and will not allow you actually to monetize your social media marketing. This is where the sales funnel strategy comes in. A sales funnel defines the process of turning a stranger into a customer through a sequence of several steps.
Image: Sales funnel concept
You start at the top of the funnel (TOFU) where you make people aware that you exist. This could be organically building up followers and engaging on social platforms. Once you have people following you or liking your profile you can start building trust with them. Share your content with them with personalized offers like free case studies, podcasts or how-to-videos. Twitter is a great platform to send direct tweets to followers as welcome messages with links to these individual offers. You should avoid the mistake of placing an immediate pitch to followers and also don’t use empty phrases like “Thanks for the follow, please like my facebook fan page here..”. The followers need to be “warmed up” first and get to know you or your brand.
In the middle of the funnel (MOFU) you can think about offering lead magnets, advanced ebooks, webinars or free samples. Here, the offer can be a little more specific as you have already made your follower aware of yourself. Don’t be afraid to share these valuable content for no return and without capturing the email addresses of your followers. Asking for an email opt-in might have been effective years ago, but nowadays customers are more reluctant to give their email out. Having said that, if you are offering the incredible value you can still ask for an email or opt-in at this stage but could also delay it for the bottom of the funnel. Don’t necessarily make it a mandatory step for everything you offer.
At the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), you place your offer to generate leads and to capture relevant information of your followers. At this stage, you can offer your signed up users something which is bespoke to them as a free trial, voucher, 1:1 consultation etc.
Image source: blog.themacgroups.com
Who will be managing your social media marketing? If you want to play the social media marketing game seriously, which you should, you have to inevitably handle many different tasks: Content creation, funnel strategies, content scheduling, engagement & interaction, branding, follower management, ad campaigns, lead generation & landing pages, the list is long. You have two options: You can do this in-house by yourself or your staff or hire a social media agency to do it for you.
Many bigger and medium-sized businesses work with a social media agency on a longer-term partnership. Hiring a social media agency makes sense, but bear in mind that you need to monitor the actual return on investment. What is your outsourced social media agency doing for you and can you track their performance? Content posting and a bit of branding are not enough to see results. For more significant businesses, spending 1K a month or more on your social media agency seems like a small investment, but is that good enough and producing numbers?
There are many great agencies out there who understand social media marketing and who develop excellent customer relationships. However, it all comes down to conversion, lead generation and return on investment tracking. If you do not see a significant amount follower growth and generated leads, can you justify spending the money? Hold your social media agency accountable and develop a plan to build effective lead generation funnels. Likewise, have the necessary patience and give any outsourced partner the time they need to do the work. Speak to us at Leadcube to develop your social media marketing strategy.
Image: Online sales funnel automation
Marketing automation is a great way to make social media marketing more comfortable for you. You may be aware of content scheduling tools that will put post your content in the queue at the specific time. However, there are many smarter options powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
If you are looking for content scheduling, Hootsuite is usually one of the tools you find. HootSuite allows you to view, post and schedule messages. This is an ideal feature for business people who don’t want to deal with social media marketing on a daily basis. Just take one afternoon a week, plan and schedule all your social media marketing content and you save much time. Buffer is another content automation tool and includes similar features like Hootsuite. You can also quickly post one content element simultaneously on different platforms.
One more social media marketing tool which needs mention is our favorite – IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That. Just like the name says, you can link different applications and features to one another to generate an action. As an example, you can create automation actions like:
– Get a notification every time some username tweets
– Retweet based on the Twitter search
– Automatically posted pictures from Instagram on Twitter/ – Facebook’ LinkedIn
– Sync your Instagram pictures to a Pinterest board
– Save your Instagram photos to Google photos
There are many other social media marketing tools & software out there that can support your growth. Content scheduling is a practical feature if you work with several platforms as it reduces your time effort.
Image source: 9spokes.com
All the effort you put into digital media and a social media agency should be worth it for you. Moreover, all the steps mentioned above are essential, but even more critical is a seamless tracking of results. As a creative and social person, this might be not your most favorable task to spend time on, but still, it needs to be done.
Online marketing is offering exceptional tracking opportunities into granularities. You can track your follower and likes count and use simple analytics within platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. When you are working on ad campaigns, you can use Facebook pixel retargeting ads which will allow you to spend your ad budget more targeted and effective.
You can also work with free online dashboards where you can monitor key performance indicators of your social media marketing campaigns. You can implement A/B testing and split-test two different opt-in lead generation forms for better conversion rates. There are no limits on tracking and what features and tools you integrate into your social media marketing. As long as you can keep the essential statistics in your view, you can keep it simple.
We hope this guide on how to monetize social media marketing gave you some inspiration to get started. We would love to be part of your journey of making social media marketing and online marketing a success. For businesses located in the South East of UK/ we will be hosting events on sales funnel development and digital marketing strategies regularly. Follow us on Twitter to keep updated.
If you are a business and serious about monetizing your marketing with a social media agency, then we like to offer you a free strategy session here: Book Your Session. A Specialist of our Team will be in contact and talk to you about conceptualizing your social media marketing growth plan.