Social Media Selling: Promoting Your Small Business & Generating Leads
The past two years have been unprecedented, and what came from once sheltering in place and exploring new social media trends (cue TikTok,) is now a desperate need for connectivity and information. Consumers long to establish, or reestablish, connections, and they also desire to be well-informed. But, social media should be used for more than just staying connected. Small businesses should be selling themselves and their services on social media and generating new leads for their overall growth. Social media is the prime opportunity to make those meaningful connections with your audience, while informing them about your product or service. In this blog post, we will showcase how to build awareness toward your brand, the importance of showcasing yourself as a thought leader in your industry and how to generate new leads.
Create New Business Possibilities Through Social Media Efforts
Using social media for your professional life may seem like something that can fall to the bottom of the list. Itcan be hard to work on your normal day to day tasks and make time for posting and engaging on social media (especially when your job isn’t related to social media or marketing).But in reality, being active and engaged on social media will help you continue to connect with current clients, increase awareness of your business and offer you an opportunity to generate new leads. If you spent even 15 to 20 minutes a day on social media, that would be a fantastic start and over time, you’d see a lasting impact.Below we are going to feature ways to best utilize four different social media platforms to better your business marketing:
For many of us, LinkedIn is going to be a key platform to leverage in showcasing our brand/business and gaining connections that could be helpful for growing our business. The profile basics include:
- Use a professional profile picture and select a background image that reflects you and your business.
- Customizeyourheadline title and ensure your location is updated.
- In addition to this, you’ll want to ensure your overall profile is updated,not just your work experience section. This includes adding your licenses, certifications, volunteer experience and accomplishments.
The next critical piece to focus on is your LinkedIn summary which appears next on your feed. This section is your space to explain who you are and what you do. You want to be sure to makeyoursummary interesting to your connections and desired target clients.LinkedIn automatically shows a small excerpt of your summary, so you’ll want to begin with the most important or useful information first, in case viewers don’t expand or click to read more of your summary.
So, what should you include in these 2,000 characters?
- Feature what you’re passionate about.
- Explain your current role and your business.
- Showcase your past experiences.
- Highlight your successes.
- Include life outside of work!
Now that we’ve covered LinkedIn profile basics, let’s talk about utilizing the platform for engagement and networking. First things first, you want to share updates. Showcase relevant content on your LinkedIn page.This could be updates on your brand/business, industry-related news and more. Stay top of mind with your clients or potential clients by sharing content that is specific to them.Consider sharing updates from your business profile (we will review this shortly) via your personal profile as well. For each of these, consider tagging the source, related connections and more.
From an engagement standpoint, check out what other people are posting, and comment, share or like their content. Also, follow industry news sources and competitors as another way of staying informed. Connect with those you’re meeting in-person or virtually. After attending webinars, events and meetings, connect with those you have met and send a personalized message.You can also join groups on LinkedIn. To start, join one or two and interact within that group. LinkedIn Groups can help increase your knowledge, gain new ideas, expand your network and build relationships. In order to search for them on LinkedIn, write in the search bar and select groups from the dropdown.
If you operate your own business and want to focus on using LinkedIn as one of the ways you promote it, creating a LinkedIn business profile would be beneficial. Here is a link to do so. Here are some key components to start with when building this page:
- Use your business logo and a cover image.
- Add business information (including website URL, location, industry and company size).
- Invite others to follow your business page.
- Share updates from this page as well! Engage with others, like/comment as you would from your personal page.
If you’d like to use Facebook for promoting your business, I’d recommend creating a separate profile. Here is a link with details on how to set this page up.
A few of the basics include:
- When registering, select your category (shopping, local service, etc.)
- Select a username – this is how people will find you on Facebook.
- Add description details (about, contact information) and your website URL.
- Include a profile photo and cover photo.
- Invite others to like your page.
Social media is more than just having the page. You have to be social on it as well! Share content on your Facebook page. This could be updates on your brand/business, examples of your work, changes to your hours or services and more. Stay top of mind with your current/potential customers by sharing content that is specific to them – loyalty clubs, behind-the-scenes information, and the like! Consider tagging relevant profiles and leveraging user-generated content (such as photos or testimonials). Check out what other people are posting (via your news feed) and engage with that content, like what we’ve discussed (follow, like and comment).Facebook is a great place platform for securing reviews as well. Consider asking your clients or customers to put them on Facebook (in addition to other websites you may use for reviews).
Another new concept that small businesses should consider is Facebook Shops. Shops was announced in May and allows businesses to set up online stores for customers to access on Facebook (for free!)Businesses can select the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look/feel of their shop. Facebook users can locate Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile or discover them through stories or ads. From there, users can view the collections, save products, and place orders. Orders can be placed on the business’ website or without leaving the app. According to Facebook, before setting up your shop, you need to have received an email or notification that you can now use Facebook Shops. Businesses with a linked Facebook Page Shop and Instagram profile may be eligible to have a shared storefront across both Instagram and Facebook. Check out this information from Facebook to learn more about Shops and how you can get started if eligible.
Twitter can be another great platform for publicizing your business. You’ll want to include a profile photo, a background photo and select your handle (which is your profile name and how people engage with you). Next, you’ll need to add a bio. A Twitter bio is limited at 160 characters, so keep it simple while showcasing who you are. And finally, be sure to add your website.
When sharing content on Twitter, keep your copy short and focused since you are more limited on characters than the other channels we’ve discussed. Curate your feed by following clients, colleagues, industry leaders and news sources, same as you are on LinkedIn. Monitor trending conversations and participate if you have a perspective to add. Limit the use of hashtags to 1-3 per tweet. Also, include links, images, GIFs, and/or videos as often as you can. And lastly favorite (which is Twitter’s version of a like), retweet, retweet with comment and/or reply to tweets.
You can create an Instagram for yourself (as a thought leader/individual, or as a business).If you are in visual and creative industries, this is definitely a platform to leverage in showcasing your business.
Some basics include:
- Use a profile photo (if a business profile, likely your logo) and select your handle.
- Add a bio. An Instagram bio is limited at 150 characters, so keep it simple while showcasing who you are.
- URL – Link to your website.
- Address – Add this if you have a physical location.
Like all the social media profiles thus far, it’s important to post and to engage! Showcase visual content (images and videos) on your Instagram page. This could be updates on your brand/business, examples of your work, changes to your hours or services and more. Utilize Instagram Stories for content that will last 24 hours and consider saving it by placing it on your Highlights.
Using Social Media For Lead Generation
Generating leads on social media can be a powerful method for securing new business and sales. Lead generation results in bringing new potential clients/customers into your sales funnel (not the actual sale). Look at lead generation as information gathering on your desired customers. You will need to identify:
What type of target client/customer are you looking for?
For example, “Samantha” is looking for clients who need thought leadership and copywriting work. These individuals are typically too busy to take this on in addition to whatever their day-to-day responsibilities are. Samantha has experience writing in healthcare and foodservice, so she is looking to identify c-suite team members in those industries in a certain region.
Next, what social media channel(s) do these individuals use?
Here is a link to a great Sprout Social article that outlines user information for the major social media channels. For some of you, LinkedIn will be the most powerful tool, especially if you’re in B2B. For others who may have a business that is more visual, it could be Instagram.
How you can eventually turn these people into paying customers?
- Utilize some of the lead tactics featured on the next slide.
- Highlight your relevancy and expertise in your field by showcasing yourself as a thought leader.
- Develop and execute a social media advertising strategy.
Here are some ideas to get you started! There are many possibilities for leveraging your social media to new business opportunities.
- Feature gated content, where a viewer would need to enter some personal information (usually name and email) to access it.
- Utilize contests or giveaways in order to get more impressions on your content. Request fans to ‘tag’ or ‘share’ the post to others they think would be interested. Do you operate a floral business that could gift an arrangement? This could be an easy way to market your service.
- Conduct a Facebook or Instagram Live! Can you offer a skill or information that fans could enjoy from home? For example, if you operate an art business, can you showcase a 101 of that service (for example, watercolor painting on a Live)? Prior to the Live, you could promote it to your fans/followers, and request that they purchase the material prior if they’d like to participate.
- When sharing content, utilize relevant hashtags so others can find you. If you are for example a photographer, ask that if your clients share your content, they tag your business profile in the post so others can find you (and you receive the proper credit!).
- Monitor when your brand name is used, industry-related keywords/hashtags and mentions of competitors. Can you insert yourself in the conversation?
- In order to continue to better understand your audience, offer a poll. Based on the reply, you can create more content or services around this. For example, if you operate a blog, this would be a great way to gain insight into what topics to cover.
- On Twitter specifically, look into participating in Twitter Chats. Twitter Chats are scheduled, recurring conversations on Twitter designated by their own hashtag.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the importance of thought leadership – and how you can showcase that on social media. Consider using thought leadership to build credibility for yourself and your business. By developing educational, helpful and informative content (and sharing it regularly), colleagues, members of your field and potential new leads will hopefully begin to think of you or your brand as an authority in your industry. Thought leadership can include participation in events, conferences, seminars or webinars, in addition to publishing blogs, podcasts, videos and sharing that on social media.
Another great way to generate leads (and garner sales!) is through social media advertising. All the social media platforms we reviewed in this post offer advertising opportunities for users. The strategy, content and targeting will differ for each business based on their budget, desired ad frequency and more. The benefit to social media advertising is typically the low cost for a high number of impressions, with the ability to really monitor the data in real-time and gain relevant insights to better optimize performance.
Contact Agency C5 for a free consultation and discover if lead generation strategies, social media advertising and/or thought leadership marketing initiatives would be the right fit for you and your business goals.
Additional Informative Resources:
- Sprout Social: Selling on Social Media: A Complete Walkthrough
- Hootsuite: Social Selling: What it is, Why You Should Care, and How to Do It Right
- Crunchbase: 7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Build Thought Leadership with Content
- Medium: How Thought Leadership Marketing Can Boost Your Brand’s Growth
- Hootsuite: How to Use Social Media for Small Business: 11 Simple Tips