30 Jun 13 Insanely Actionable Free Social Media Tips to Grow Your Business Faster
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR FREE SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
If there’s one thing I know from experience, it’s that growing a business via social media can be hard these days. It actually used to be easy… but, like everything on the internet, times have changed. But that’s why I’m excited about sharing this post with you.
You see, the greed of social media companies now has a strangle-hold on your potential organic reach, and unless you’re paying them the big bucks, they won’t let go. That’s why half the social media tips out there in cyberspace are close to useless, because they were based back in the good ‘ole days when you could actually build an audience and talk to ALL of them, for free. Best case scenario for most of these older ideas is that they’re just not as “totally freaking awesome” as their authors once suggested. Sure, they probably were pretty great way back when, but not anymore!
Plus, people are really picky now. Social media has lost it’s novelty and people don’t want to pay attention to low-quality, seemingly irrelevant posts or—heaven forbid—any subtle sales pitches. So they switch you off if you’re not seriously strategic in what and how you post on social media.
But it’s not all bad news. In fact, there are SOME great social media tips you’ll definitely want to pay attention to here. So let’s get into these 13 insanely actionable social media tips that will actually help you grow your business faster…
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Some of the things you’ll learn in this post include my personal secret (although not so secret anymore obviously! LOL) strategy to build a free organic audience of 5,000 page fans in just a few weeks (real prospects, not stupid fake profiles!) — before you’ve even posted anything on your page. You’ll also discover some great tools to help you make the most of these social platforms, and highly-leveraged ways to quickly reach a LOT more people, without doing a lot more work.
…Hopefully, if you use ALL these social media strategies, you’ll build your business MUCH faster! So let’s get to it!!
1. Stop! Wait! Do Your Homework
Don’t rush into setting up your businesses social profiles and pages. I know it’s exciting to launch your brand and have your name and logo plastered across every damn platform on the planet, BUT doing some homework first is going to help you a LOT later on.
(With this tip, I’m kinda hoping you haven’t already setup your social profiles and pages. But if you have, don’t worry, you’ll discover there’s still a lot of value in it, so keep reading).
There are many ways you can prepare, but here are the fundamental basics:
- Use search engine keyword tools to discover the best keywords to target with your posts and intro text. Yes, I know we’re not talking about Google or website SEO here, but popular keywords are popular keywords, no matter what the platform is.
- Use hashtag tools like Hashtagify to discover the most relevant and popular hashtags that will help you get found and shared more easily and more often.
- Get totally clear about your brand, your vision, your mission and your business plan. You don’t get second chances at first impressions, so get it right before you start promoting your social presence.
If you’ve already launched your brand on social, then these things will definitely still help. You may have missed the boat with some of the people who have visited your social profiles already, but there are plenty more fish in the sea! Update your profiles now and move forward with clarity and confidence.
2. Think About Personal Profiles First
Note: this is EPIC (and easy). It’s my secret sauce! BUT it is a Facebook-only tip unfortunately.
Facebook has this great, but once-only option where you can convert your friends list to page likes. And since you can get up to 5,000 friends on a personal profile, that’s an awesome start to your new business page. The reason this tip is worth considering is that gaining 5,000 “friends” and then converting them to a page is much easier than growing 5,000 likes organically on a new business page.
This is something you can easily do in a few weeks. The hardest part is right at the beginning, but let me lay it out in steps for you…
- Create a personal Facebook profile just for your business. This isn’t absolutely imperative. However, you don’t want to upset your real friends and family with too many unrelated, non-personal business type posts. Plus if you get too aggressive with it, or too many people mark your friend requests as spam, then you might get your profile suspended, so it’s best to keep it separate! I admit it’s annoying to have multiple profiles, but with Facebook’s profile switcher, it’s pretty easy to manage your personal and business profiles without logging in and out all the time.
- Add a few real personal details and photos first. Here’s where you might add things like your university degree and other signs that you’re a real and trustable person.
- Add a variety of posts that your prospects would find valuable (article links, infographics, quotes, tips, etc)—one or two per day for at least 2 weeks. This way your new “friends” can see that you will contribute great content to their social feed. It also turns off any one that is NOT a real prospect. If they aren’t interested in posts that your prospects would love, then they aren’t your prospects, so you don’t want to waste any time with them!
- Find people that fit your target audience demographics and psychographics and add them as friends. Initially, without any friends, this will be slow-going—most people will ignore you. But once you have a few “friends”, it’ll get easier and easier—particularly if you add friends of friends (but always check that they’re a possible prospect first).
- Once you have reached your 5,000 limit, convert them to a page using these instructions.
Note: you initially will have your personal profile name as the title of your page. You can request to change this, but is easier if you original personal profile name was something that included your business name. Due to Facebook’s stringent rules, it’s hard to have a personal profile with a business name in it, but try putting words together as a lastname. As an example, I once created a profile called “Matt Redsky”, when my business name was Red Sky Media.
3. Forget Your Company Name
Yes. I know. You’ve just invested weeks, months or possibly even years of blood, sweat and tears coming up with the perfect business name, plus you’ve just read 50 books on branding and you’re like a mad bull at a gate wanting to launch out into the world with it. You want EVERYONE to hear and see your business name. Branding is my “thing”, so I totally get it, honestly… BUT…
Despite the fact that you can advertise on social media, it should never be considered an advertising platform. It’s not a business directory. It’s called SOCIAL media, not sales media. So, in order to have great success, you need to act accordingly. Most people forget this, and it’s why most people fail to grow their business on social media.
The only real exception here is brands that are already massive and much-loved for contributing a lot of awesome content, like Red Bull for example. They can (and should) just be themselves on social media because people already know they’ll get great stuff coming down the line from their social profiles and pages—content that people actually want to see and share, rather than the same old not-so-subtle advertorial from most other brands.
Staying relevant as a brand is really hard. But helping people is so easy—just find out what your audience wants and what they love, and give them lots of that.
So here’s my strategy:
- Consider not positioning yourself as a company name on social because people aren’t looking for your brand (unless you’re already über-famous!), they’re looking for something to help or inspire them achieve their own goals.
- Present yourself as a helpful content curator — posting the best possible things your prospects would be already looking for, and find either helpful or inspiring. But just make sure you keep it relevant to your brand and business.
- Make your social page URL your company name (e.g. facebook.com/companyname), but not your page title.
- Make your page title a BENEFIT your prospects are looking for, like “Websites That Win Customers” for example (who wouldn’t want to like or follow that?!).
4. Draft Your Social Profile Description THREE Times
Yes, I know that’s oddly specific. But just trust me. I guess you could say I’m aiming for “third time lucky” here, but the point is that most people just write down the first thing that comes to mind and don’t really carefully consider what to say and how important this is.
Your description is often the first thing people read about your business, so it’s crucial to convey why people should care about what you do. There are lots of ways to do it, but my personal recommendation is to watch this 5-minute video by Simon Sinek about starting with the why, then review your brand’s vision and mission statement and work on your social profile description after that.
Here’s why you should draft it (at least) three times:
- It ensures you’ll do a better job at making it clear and motivating, and have time to consider how it might come across to your prospects, not just assuming or hoping they’ll “get it”.
- You’ll notice any small errors of grammar or spelling that would make you look unprofessional.
5. Make Sure You Have Cool, Consistent Social Branding
This is pretty straight-forward. Just like you should make every effort to make your website and other marketing vehicles look amazing and work together as a cohesive, consistent brand statement, social is no different. Don’t try to sell anything with your branding, just make it look professional and engaging.
Facebook now offers video banners, which is an amazing opportunity to grab your prospects attention, but also providing the distinct probability of turning them off if you use this video space to try to sell your services. And, of course, not all social platforms have video banners, so in order to be consistent, you’ll need to consider some great screenshots for the other platforms (if you’re using video on Facebook).
Take Red Bull as a great example. They don’t show their product at all — just some really epic footage that they know their audience will love. Try to put yourself in prospect’s shoes… what would THEY love to watch. What would help or inspire or entertain them?
Here are some simple suggestions:
- Try to make it aspirational if possible. Just like Red Bull use epic, extreme sports videos and photos, and outdoor clothing brands often show happy people doing amazing outdoor activities in beautiful places, you should find and portray ideas that resonate with your audience and tell the story of the benefits your business can help bring them. This mentally connects your brand with the ultimate benefit they want, which encourages them to want to do business with you.
- Take a look around at some profiles you like the look of and make note of why they look good.
- Consider hiring a professional designer if you don’t have someone with real design skills in-house. If you can’t afford a designer, just use a good-quality photo rather than any graphics — that will be much more timeless, and probably more effective anyway, if it is aspirational and carefully targeted to your audience. Never use clip-art or anything that looks like a common or old stock photo (there are a number of new free stock photo sites like Unsplash that offer amazing quality images, so be sure to look around).
- Test your profile graphics on a variety of devices. This ensures they look professional and that any text you have on your banners is readable at various sizes and screen dimensions.
6. Turn On Reviews & Beg Your Past Clients to be Nice 😉
This is a no-brainer, so I’ll try to keep it short!
With any of the platforms that offer reviews, make sure you enable that feature and then immediately ask (or even bribe!) your best and happiest clients to post a review. Make sure they understand that they should post an honest review—don’t worry if a few people write one or two not-so-great comments and give you less than 5 stars, that actually helps readers to trust that they’re real reviews.
People are always far more interested in what other people think about your product or service than what you say. And if there are a number of reviews, then not only do good comments help people trust and like you, but it offers another kind of social proof—the perception that lots of people are using your services/product.
7. Get Them OFF Social as Often as Possible!
Yes. You heard me right! Depending on what your service or product is, you won’t have much luck trying to sell to people directly on social. Plus, it’s not your “space” and there are hundreds of other things vying for their attention at the same time, so you can’t get the same focussed connection with people. And, finally, it’s surrounded by someone else’s branding (e.g. Facebook, Linkedin, etc), so your whole message is confused and diluted anyway.
By far the best way to get people off social and onto your site is by sharing your own unique, high-quality content directly from your own blog.
8. Leverage groups!
Becoming a member of large targeted social groups is a great way to be seen by a LOT of new people. Search up groups that your prospects would be members of and contribute regular, helpful content, posts and ideas that would benefit the people in that group. Make sure you don’t copy-and-paste between groups though, because often people are members of several groups!
9. Use Social Search & Monitoring Tools
Make sure you’re monitoring not only your own social profiles, but also your competitor’s profiles, to see what is working and what is not! If you see that one type of content is reaching a lot more people or getting more engagement (such as video!), then you know that you should do a lot more of that. Always monitor your stats. Most importantly, see what efforts are driving traffic to your website. Because, that’s the goal (unless you’re selling direct via social of course).
Social search tools can also give you new ideas of things to post, as well as the best hashtags to use.
10. Do Occasional Folio Posts
This is a no-brainer if you do any sort of creative service like design, websites, art and even copywriting. Don’t flood your feed with self-promotion, but do post a weekly “top job” post that shows off the quality of your work.
11. Create Uniquely Eye-Catching & TIMELY “Shareables”
For example; is it coming up to Christmas? Share a well-designed Christmas “wish” graphic, or some thoughtful quotes that relate to time with family and friends at Christmas. Think about all the many seasons, holidays and special occasions that you could share timely posts about to vastly increase the number of shares, likes and exposure you get. Also consider posts that relate to current events and news — these sorts of posts can end up getting a lot of shares too! But whatever you do, keep it professional — don’t share things that you might regret later, or that simply don’t look very good — remember that it’s representing your company and how people perceive the quality and content of your posts is how they will perceive your brand.
12. Give Something the Viral Way
If you have something you can give away, make it viral! Offer the freebie in exchange for a share and watch your numbers explode!
13. Tag Prospects & Influencers
Whenever you are posting relevant and super helpful third-party content, consider specifically who might benefit from it. Do you know any influential people or prospects who might on-share that post? Make sure you tag them!
So there you have it! 13 free social media tips you can action right now to grow your business faster.
Do you know anyone with a business? Make sure you share this with them so they can benefit too…. Oh, unless they’re the competition, in which case, NEVER show them this list! LOL
Now, if all else fails (and even if it doesn’t) you can always throw a bunch of money at it (with social media ads). But hopefully, with these actionable tips to get you started, you won’t need to!
Did we forget anything? If you have any awesome actionable tips for building your business with social media that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments below…