How To Fail (And Avoid Failure) At Social Selling

How To Fail (And Avoid Failure) At Social Selling

You’re probably already doing it. Failing, that is. Most small business owners I know fail miserably at social selling. They are incredible contractors, interior designers, real estate agents, and whatever else they do. It’s just that being great at your craft doesn’t mean you’re an expert in the nuances of social media marketing.

Here’s the deal. Most small business owners I know come at social media with a “sell it” mentality. Every post needs to be a homerun sales pitch. And then they get frustrated when they fall flat and fail to produce any results.

“Social media doesn’t work for us,” they say.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to sell on social media is to stop selling. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are not inherently sales platforms. They are social platforms. When you think about buying something, you go somewhere like Amazon. That’s a sales platform. When you get onto social media sites, you’re looking to connect with people. And in those connections, you share (and discover) ideas that help you shape your life.

That’s why looking to social media strictly for selling is the wrong approach. You should be there to connect. And if you’re really good, to tell a story about who you are, what you do, and how that intersects with your customers – and potential customers – lives.

The North Wind and the Sun (Aesop’s Fables)

There’s a great fable from Aesop that serves as a guide for how you should approach your social media strategy for business.

The Wind and the Sun are arguing over is stronger. Suddenly they see a traveler coming down the road. They decide to settle to an argument over whoever can get the traveler to take his coat off. The Wind blows as hard as it can, but the traveler tightens his coat up even more. Then the Sun softly shines its rays on him. The traveler suddenly feels hot and finally removes his coat. Declaring the Sun, the winner.

The lesson here is that persuasion is a far better tool than force. The same applies to your social selling strategy. You’ll get much further with a more kind and humble and gentle approach than you will by blasting at them.

Forcing It Never Works

“I want to get on social media and hang out with a used car salesman.”
– No one ever.

social selling

Here’s my big challenge to you. Don’t be that guy. You know, the one who tries to sell you a car just because you have a driver’s license.

Don’t get me wrong. You probably have a great product or service. And it likely could make people’s lives much better. The problem is in the approach, not the product. For car buyers, 60 percent of the process occurs online. People search third-party websites (78%) and dealer/manufacturer websites (53%). So much of the legwork for car buying happens like this because people don’t want to deal with the pushy salesman. We naturally reject that kind of in-your-face tactics.

If you go into your social selling approach like the North Wind, you’ll get the same result. People will pull that coat tighter and try to protect themselves from your blow-hard approach.

The Art of Persuasion

Social selling is about persuasion. And persuasion is about influencing convictions or beliefs. In our fable, the Sun didn’t force the traveler to take off his coat. Instead, he created an environment where that outcome was more likely. The traveler became convinced that taking off the coat on his own was the right idea.

In a social media setting, sales persuasion looks like:

  • Sharing your story in a way people can relate to
  • Establishing yourself as an expert in your field
  • Making them look smart to their friends by being a helpful resource
  • Being the fun guy in the room

social selling, fun guy

You’ll get to social selling opportunities when you present the kind of personality people want to do business with. Social selling is the result of creating the right kind of environment. When they decide the time is right, they’ll buy from you.

Final Thoughts on Social Selling

The bottom line is that there are customers out there to be found on social media. Lots of them! But winning at social selling is more about taking the softer and more persuasive approach than it is about forcing your sales pitch on people.

It’s also worth noting that social selling works best when you understand the differences between how people use each platform. What you do on LinkedIn should look very different than what you do on Facebook. They are different kinds of parties. The key is to connect well – and naturally – in the environment you’re in.

Get this right, and you’ll have sales rolling in through social media. That’s how we’ve done it. And hit us up if you want to talk through what might be the right digital marketing approach for your small business.

 

How To Become a Social Media Influencer [10 Simple Tips]

How To Become a Social Media Influencer [10 Simple Tips]

social media influencer

How much time do you spend on social media every day? How many social media accounts do you have? I guess both answers will be something like “too much”.

And it’s really never enough for us. Do you think social media are a kind of addictive? I can’t prove that for sure, but I am 100% positive about the fact that wise merchants can use this social media obsession to their benefit.

Well, you are here, reading this article, which means you would like to become an influencer on social media or boost your influence there.

I am going to give you 10 simple tips that will help to make up your mind.

By the way, what do you think is the most precious on social media? From my viewpoint, it’s the fact that people view and read your posts because they are interested in them.

Social media don’t work like annoying television, radio or newspaper ads.

Ok, it’s quite understandable that if you want to grow your influence, you need to nurture your followers. I advise you establish yourself as an expert in your business niche and it doesn’t matter whether you are a social media professional or not.

Please keep in mind that social media influence is not the thing you do once in a lifetime. It can be compared to growing a plant which needs constant care. It is a rather long process and you should be ready to invest your time in building the desired influence.

Ok, below you will find working tips that will help you build your social media influence. They are mostly generic, so can be used by anyone to improve their social media influence.

Have no time to read? View the infographic below, however, I recommend you to skim the entire post, it won’t take you long.

social media influencerSource: 12 Most Effective Tactics To Improve Your Social Media Presence [Infographic]

Initiate conversations

You need this to add new followers and maintain the old ones’ loyalty. Don’t invent any complicated schemes, just ask them about their daily activities. You need to have followers if you want to become popular on social media. Build your gang – add your friends, peers, and just people interested in your product/service/offer.

It’s also good to run a blog. Don’t be lazy, comment on other people’s posts. You should be accessible to your followers when they want to get in touch with you. Have real interactions with people instead of posting what you did or are going to do.

Be trendy

social media influencer

“Listen” to what people in your niche are talking about. Can you contribute to the topic? Do it! Contributing to conversations on popular topics in your field is a great way to reach out to people and add followers.

You can use your favorite SEO/marketing tool to find the most shared content in your niche. This will save you a ton of time.

As I work at Ahrefs, I surely use Ahrefs Content Explorer for the purpose.

Carry out contests, special events, and post news

People are emphatic, they like to reach out to others. They want to get involved in your life, celebrate, and do many other things with you. Hold contests and regular events to reach out to them. Don’t forget to encourage people to get involved and share the latest and the most revolutionary/funny/interesting developments at your company or in your life with them.

social media influencer

Use the power of hashtags to build contacts

Don’t underestimate the power of keywords and hashtags when you are trying to reach out to people on social media sites. Squeeze out the most out of them. See how other people are doing this and don’t be shy to learn from them. Act wisely.

All of us know that our content should be unique and original. However, other people have curious things to share. Curate the best posts and share them on your page. There is no need to overload your followers with posts. They will appreciate your creativity and careful posts choice.

Promote things you are good at

Generalists are cool guys. They are free to post everything they want. But it’s much more likely that you are running a niche business, so you can’t afford to be a generalist. What you need to do is find some specific topics that resonate with your activity and create posts on that. This way you will become an expert on a subject and people will start to trust you.

social media influencer

Measure your activity

Everybody wants to know the results of their work. You can find that out signing up with social media measurement websites like Klout or Kred. I named them because they are easy to use and provide you with good insights on what works great for you and what you are doing wrong.

Your audience can do specific inputs

Supposing you have just launched a new product or service. It’s natural that you want to get inputs on a specific issue. Ask your followers, they would love to share advice. Another benefit of such kind of activity is increasing the engagement level and adding more people to your community.

Bask in the glory of other social media influencers

Give positive feedback to the posts written by others. Do it on your wall. Mention high influencers names and this will also do you good. Add @ before the influencer’s name on Twitter, add + in front of the name on Facebook and Google+. This will also increase your social influence.

social media influencer

Make friends with your niche influencers

It’s obvious that you are not the only one working in your niche. Some of your peers may be more influential than you. Try to connect with them and establish friendly relationships. What can those people do for you? They may mention you in their posts or share your content, which is cool. You can use your favorite SEO/marketing tool, like Ahrefs Content Explorer to find influencers in your niche. It will show you what content is hot in your industry, who is writing it, and who’s sharing it.

Connect wherever possible

Don’t limit your conversations to social media networks. For instance, you can record a podcast, host chats on Google Hangout, take part in radio interviews, post videos on YouTube, etc. There are so many alternative ways to connect with people. All these will help you build your social media influence.

As you understand, my list of tips to increase social media influence is not comprehensive. The final advice is to watch other people. What are they doing? What is going right? Noticed something – try to adopt the technique.

Side note: Here is a link to awesome video SEO Tutorial: 10 Detailed Steps to Rank #1 in Google for those who are struggling for the top positions on Google ;).

I wish you the best of luck in boosting your social media influence, waiting for your additions/comments/thoughts on the blog post. And don’t forget to share it on your social media with friends and colleagues.

Cheers!

seo audit, local seo

 

how to share your blog posts on social media like a boss

how to share your blog posts on social media like a boss

share blog postsIf blogging had a secret sauce or magic potion, this would be it. By far, this is the most common question I get asked about blogging and social media.

When is right time to share blog posts on social media?

I can confidently respond without hesitation…

It depends.

I’ll be honest. I really wish I could tell you an exact formula for sharing your (amazing) blog posts so they reach the millions of people who need to be reading them. But the reality is that there isn’t a formula.

With that said, there are some things you can do that’ll help you figure it out. With a little bit of testing, measuring, and retesting, you’ll find the right answer for you pretty quickly. In no time at all, you’ll be able to share blog posts like a boss.

The First Key to Social Media Success

It’s not about you.

First and foremost, the success of your blog posts in the world of social media has nothing to do with you. Well, maybe a little bit. Many bloggers misunderstand social media success as having to do with getting the right mix with when and how they post their content. However, if it only depended on your sharing, then it’s not really social, is it?

If you want to find success in social media, then you need to be thinking about how other people share your content. Your role in that is two-fold:

  1. Create content that’s share-worthy. Think about blog post titles that make readers want to click. Think about eye-popping images that catch their attention. Think about writing content that would make them want to share with their friends because of how it moved them.
  2. Make it easy for them to share. I’m amazed at how many websites I visit where I can’t find social sharing buttons. Sure, I could copy/paste the blog post URL, but if I have to go to that much effort, you’ve already lost me. Share buttons should be highly visible and easy to use.

Finding the Right Times

While most of your success comes from how other people share your content, you’ll still want to optimize how you share your blog posts for maximum reach. This is where you’ll want to experiment with different types of posts (text, images, links, and videos) at different times of the day.

Social media gurus will look at the data and tell you that you should be posting your content at 2pm on Thursday afternoons (or some other flavor of the month). However, that’s based on meta-data from thousands of accounts, not your data.

So how do you find the optimum times for your accounts?

For Facebook

If you run a Facebook page for your website, then you’ll have access to Insights for your page.

facebook-insights

In your Insights, you’ll find “When Your Fans Are Online” on the Posts tab. The initial chart shows general population volume, but when you mouse over different days of the week you’ll see when your fans are online that day. This is based on recent data specific to the people who are fans of your page. Note that when your followers are online will vary from day to day.

facebook, best time to post

For Twitter

You can find similar data for Twitter using third-party tools, like Follwerwonk. Once you sign in with your Twitter account, you’ll be able to analyze followers… both those who follow you, and those who you follow. You’ll get a great deal of demographic information about your followers, and a detailed chart of when they are most active on Twitter.

twitter, analyze followers

I want to draw special attention to that “Schedule at Buffer” button below the top chart. That brings me to my next point…

Buffering Your Way to Success

Once you’ve figured out the best times to schedule your posts, then you can plug that information into a tool like Buffer. In Buffer, you’ll be able to create a custom schedule for each of your social media profiles and set the times you want to post. You can even schedule different frequency and posting times for each day of the week. In the example below, you’ll see that I set my schedule to reflect the peak times for my Facebook page on Tuesdays.

buffer, scheduling posts

This is where that “Schedule at Buffer” button in Followerwonk comes in handy. You can select a frequency for scheduled posts in a day, and automatically import an optimum posting schedule into Buffer.

One of my favorite parts of Buffer is the analytics for the posts you share (only through Buffer). Based on interaction thresholds, you’ll get a good idea of what kinds of social media posts are resonating the most with your audience.

buffer analytics

It’s important to note here that using Buffer for scheduled posts doesn’t mean that everything you do on social media needs to be scheduled through Buffer. It is, however, a great tool that will help you push your blog posts out to different platforms at predetermined times, making sharing much simpler.

CoSchedule: A Premium Solution

If your blog is on (self-hosted) WordPress, then you can use some cool tools like CoSchedule. This WordPress plugin comes with a small monthly fee, but it has some pretty slick scheduling functionality. Basically, while you in your Edit Post mode, you can also create your social media posts to publish at whatever times you specify. Create, text, image, and link posts to run at the same time that your blog posts publishes. And then run a different kind of social media post at x-number of hours after the blog post publishes.

If you publish your blog post at 6am, you can publish a link post to Facebook at 6am, then an image post 5 hours later, and a text post 10 hours later. Then think about the Twitter and Google+ posts you want to send out in order to get the best coverage for when your followers are most likely to see it. Everything is triggered automatically based on the publishing of the blog post. CoSchedule even has a slick calendar that shows you all scheduled blog and social media posts for easy management.

Last thought…

The best thing you can do to determine what social media posting methods and schedules are best for you is to test, measure, adjust and test again. When you share blog posts, pay attention to the types of social media posts you run at different times, and how well each of those resonates with your followers. Before long, you should be able to pick up on some trends and patterns with your followers that will help you optimize every post you make…

Like a boss.

 

Note: This post was originally published on the Allume Blog.

Connecting Well with Facebook Audience Optimization

Connecting Well with Facebook Audience Optimization

With all of the talk about how Facebook is changing algorithms to push down your page’s posts, there’s finally something to look forward to! It’s called Facebook Audience Optimization, and it’s a new tool which allows Facebook Page publishers to better target the audience for each post, making it more likely that your content will be seen by the people who really want to see it.

But why not show all of your posts to all the people? Well, that’s not great marketing, to be honest. Remember:

That’s where Audience Optimization comes in. It allows you to tag a preferred audience who is most likely to be interested, or remove those who are least likely to be interested with audience restrictions. And it will give you audience insights to help you understand which interest tags are having the greatest impact with viewers of the posts.

Getting Started with Facebook Audience Optimization

Before you can use Audience Optimization on your Facebook Page, it must be allowed via your Page settings. To enable this feature, go to Settings > General > Audience Optimization for Posts, check the box to allow the feature, and click on the Save Changes button.

facebook audience optimization

Once the feature is enabled, then you’ll be able to use Audience Optimization when creating posts on your Facebook Page by clicking on the targeting icon.

facebook-audience-optimization-posting

This will open the tool which allows you to select your preferred audience and/or audience restrictions.

facebook audience optimization

Getting the Most Out of Facebook Audience Optimization

When using a tool like this, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll need to think first about how people consume your content, not just who you want to get your content in front of. There may be some people who you believe need to see your post, but if they don’t want to see it, then your efforts will not produce the engagement needed to lift it in Facebook’s algorithms. So target the audience who is most likely to like, comment, and (most importantly) click.

Facebook suggests several tips for tagging your posts, including the following:

  • Target audiences with relevant tags – What matters most? Think about the interests which are most relevant to that post.
  • Tag with a mix of broad and narrow terms – “…think about the classic “who, what, where, when, why and how” elements of the story as a starting place.”
  • Think associatively about related interests – Which topics or interests overlap the main ideas you’re tagging in the post?
  • Consider including organizations and brands – This is also about finding the overlap in interests.
  • Use tags with small audiences strategically – It’s not always about reaching LOTS of people, but finding the people who will be most passionate about your content.

Getting your content in front of the right people can pay huge dividends for your blog/website. And using a tool like Audience Optimization can help your content get the right kind of reach. Despite what many may believe, Facebook relies on your content. The idea that they are pushing it down is more about them getting the right pieces of content they believe people want to see in front of them. Adding these kinds of tags to your posts helps them filter and better match your posts with the people who will want to engage with that content.

How are you using Facebook Audience Optimization, and have you noticed any difference in engagement as a result?

 

facebook audience optimization

4 Things to Do with Every Blog Post for Social Media Exposure

4 Things to Do with Every Blog Post for Social Media Exposure

social media, blog post, blogging tips

Most people believe that increasing social media exposure is all about getting more followers.That’s not entirely true. Certainly, building your own social media following is important, but consider this question…

I regularly tell clients that it’s more important to enable and get other people to share your content than it is to build a massive following yourself. In fact, your social media following will inevitably grow if you are effectively getting other people to share your stuff.

And before I get into the practices I suggest for social sharing, it’s worth stating that the first thing you need to do is to create something worth sharing. Your content must be strong if you expect other people to put in front of the people they know. It shouldn’t be something that only tells your story, but also connects with their story. The more people can relate to your experience and say resoundingly, “Yes! That’s me too!”, the more likely they are to share across their networks.

With that said, here are four things I suggest you do with every post in order to maximize your social media exposure:

1. Rock your social media sharing buttons

The first thing you should be thinking about is how you make social sharing easy for your readers. Typically, every action you require a visitor on your website to take in order to accomplish something, the more likely they are to drop off somewhere in the process. Several studies have shown that social like/share buttons at the top of a post get more clicks than the ones at the bottom of a post. Some visitors will visit the page, and because they like you and or your topic in general, they’ll click that button before even reading the rest of the post (an extra action required in order to get to the same buttons at the bottom of the page).

Using the same thinking, floating sidebar buttons tend to get more engagement because they’re always visible, no matter where the reader is. So whenever they decide they like it, and the urge hits them to share, they don’t need to go anywhere else to find how to share. The option is simply always there.

With your social sharing options, you’ll want to make sure you’re offering sharing options for most popular networks, even if you aren’t on them. The idea of social sharing is more about enabling people to share where they want, not just where you are. Think about who your typical reader is, and where they may have profiles.

There are several great plugins for implementing a floating sidebar for social sharing, and our favorite is Monarch from Elegant Themes. The reason we like this one so much is because of the flexibility in design, and the built-in sharing metrics.

2. Use a social media friendly image

What I’m talking about here is more than simply having a nice-looking image on your post. Instead, think about your images as an additional stand-alone piece of micro-content. Create quote images or other stylized images that people will want to share. Think about whether an image has value outside your post if someone were to see it on Pinterest, for example. Ideally, once it’s shared by someone to Pinterest (or anywhere else), it’ll be linked back to your website. But the image can take on a life of its own if it is good content by itself, reaching far more people that you might expect.

Use tools like PicMonkey or Canva to create amazing graphics to share on your posts. And every post should have an image. No exceptions.

Additionally, whether you are on Pinterest or not, you should be using a plugin which will place a Pin It! button on your images, making it easier for your readers to share that piece of content. There are several good ones out there, like this one…

social media

3. Use click-to-tweets in your post

Another piece of micro-content which should be included in every post is pre-made tweets. These click-to-tweets empower your readers to share key ideas from your posts with a single click. Additionally, when you use a plugin like Click To Tweet (linked below), it also creates a nice visual break in your content, making it easier for your reader to scan for key ideas.

So think about what might be some of the biggest, most important ideas from your post, and turn those into click-to-tweets. Having other people sharing tidbits of your wisdom is a great way to establish greater credibility regarding the topic you write about. And having it ready for them means fewer steps to share those ideas (again, making it more likely that it will get shared).

social media

4. Schedule your own social media posts

Every blogger also knows that once you publish a post, you should be sharing it on your own social media. However, many bloggers share once, hoping that everyone who needs to see that post will see it. The reality is that social media posts have a limited lifespan. So having a strategy for sharing your own content multiple times can increase your chances of people seeing it. Kissmetrics suggests a schedule for sharing your content that looks something like this:

  • Twitter: On publish, two hours later, next day, next week, next month, and two months later
  • Facebook: On publish, and next month
  • Google+: On publish, next week, and next month

You can play around with these timings, and if you use a tool like Buffer, then you can easily schedule all of these all at once, and monitor the metrics for how each post is performing with clicks-thrus back to your website. Additionally, Kissmetrics suggests mixing up your posts so they don’t all look the same. Your mix should contain variations such as these:

  • Straight and Easy: Post Title + Link
  • The Question: Ask an engaging question to stir conversation
  • Cite a Fact: Share a fact or figure that is included in your post
  • Share a Quote: Grab a pull-quote from your article and turn it into a social message
  • Add Intrigue: Write a teaser message that grabs the attention of your readers

Once you find a posting schedule that works for you with the networks you are on, and enable others to share your content (and micro-content) on a regular basis, then you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your social reach with every post.

 

Photo by Sarah Joy, used via Creative Commons from Flickr. Image design by Fistbump Media, LLC.