Social media changes the game when it comes to thinking about return on investment. Meanwhile, quantifying content and its effect can be a challenge.
This is Christine Gritmon’s wheelhouse. The social media strategist and self-described “small-business superfan” talked with digital marketing expert Madalyn Sklar about changing algorithms, marketing funnels and other factors that help justify efforts and enhance entrepreneurs’ success.
It’s important that small businesses reach their audience without exhausting themselves and their capital.
“If you’re exhausting yourself, you haven’t truly figured out your audience,” Gritmon said. “Your audience isn’t ‘everybody.’ Everybody is comprised of many smaller audiences.
“Where is your audience already communicating?” she said. “What conversations are they having that you can add value to in a natural way? Show, don’t tell. Entice, don’t shout.”
Rather than a broad outlook, get down to the details.
“Focus on your sub-audiences, your messaging, your value that you can actually bring to them,” Gritmon said. “Don’t try to be everything to everyone everywhere.”
The change in Facebook’s algorithm has caused businesses to change the way they interact with their audiences. This might alter what “meaningful interaction” means for businesses.
“Meaningful interaction means discussion,” Gritmon said. “You’re inspiring business owners to think, react and engage, rather than just broadcasting and getting a ‘like.’
“Many businesses and publishers feel the deck is now stacked against them,” she said. “It is stacked against those unwilling to put in the work of nurturing their community. Those who do will win.”
When using social media in the marketing funnel, Gritmon says marketers should keep five things in mind when interacting with customers:
- Show, Don’t Tell: Demonstrate your value and relevance. Don’t just blurt out a selling message and expect it to work.
- Engage, Don’t Broadcast: Social media is a two-way street. Long gone are the days of putting your message out there and expecting a reaction without giving anything back.
- Start With Them: What are your audience’s needs and wants? Approach all messaging from that perspective, not just what you want to say.
- Give Without Getting: Old-school mentalities don’t want to give anything — knowledge, tips, merchandise — away without getting paid. But nowadays, you need to demonstrate value first.
- The Sale is Only the Beginning: Stop viewing sales as an end goal. It’s the beginning of a valuable relationship that can continue to draw others to you.
One of the best ways to show the world your company’s personality or brand is by talking naturally. Jargon and buzzwords might keep the management happy but won’t help in connecting and maintaining relationships with customers.
Gritmon favors consistency.
“You need to know your voice, your look, your underlying message, in a way that people can see your content and feel what your value is,” she said. “This doesn’t mean everything needs to be the same, just that you need to have an underlying consistency to how you’re presenting your brand.
“Mix up your post content,” Gritmon said. “Figure out how you can convey your brand in visuals, video, audio and text. Figure out key elements that can be common threads throughout different content types.”
Companies will find out what interests their customers by talking and listening to them. Small businesses should do well at this because they are more at ground level than the big corporations.
“Look at what customers are already consuming, talking about and promoting,” Gritmon said. “Determined their existing picture. Then figure out where you can naturally fit into it.
“You can also look at successful competitors, but make sure you’re not duplicating their brand,” she said. “You need to differentiate from them. What makes you a better fit for some people?”
Vanity metrics include the number of followers. You’ll get burned if you rely on quantity over quality, which many influencers learn when Twitter and Facebook clean out the trash.
“I won’t call vanity metrics meaningless – they indicate reach – but they can be misleading,” Gritmon said. “A highly engaged and targeted community of 1,000 actual prospects and customers is more valuable than an audience of 10,000 who just clicked ‘Like’ and tuned out.
“Looking at engagement, conversion — if applicable — and relevancy, those all matter more than the blank monolithic ‘number,’” she said.
Not only beforehand, businesses should consider giving away bonus content after they make a sale. That’s a small price to pay to attract and retain customers.
“Retaining clients – and turning them into promoters – is always going to easier and cheaper than starting over,” Gritmon said. “Give them a token of your gratitude, and you’ll keep that gratitude going.
“Delighting existing customers gets you testimonials,” she said. “People will always trust other consumers more than they trust a marketing message from a business.”
Gritmon and Sklar continued their ROI discussion in a Facebook Live conversation, overcoming three minutes of tech problems at the start.