Marketing in the digital age can feel both daunting and overwhelming. There are so many options available that it can make it difficult to choose where to start. Facebook? Instagram? YouTube? TikTok? Pinterest? While in an ideal scenario you would be active on all platforms, that’s just unrealistic for the vast majority of people.
So, what’s the best strategy for your career or company?
It all starts with picking one platform, and one platform only, and building an audience and your expertise on there. Right now, you might be asking yourself, “Okay, but what’s the best platform for my audience?” While certain platforms may be better for your specific needs, you don’t need to worry about those details. You just need to pick the platform you’re most comfortable with and can be the most consistent with. Let’s just say in a hypothetical scenario that YouTube is the “best” platform for your target audience. But what if you only have the time and energy to post one video every 6 months? Then creating a profile on YouTube just isn’t worth the time and energy. If you, however, have the time and energy to post every day on TikTok (and you enjoy posting on there), then that is the best platform for you.
So being honest with yourself regarding where you can be the most consistent is step #1. Once you’ve selected a platform, it’s all about being consistent and building your authority.
“Cool, but what do I post?” you might be asking yourself.
While posting cute videos of animals might get you a lot of views and likes, it’s not going to attract people that want to work with you. There’s a lot of noise on social media, so it’s your job to cut through it by establishing credibility and authority with your audience.
Let’s say you’re a dog trainer. Post videos of dogs exhibiting undesired behavior and explain why they have that behavior. Then post videos of you working with a dog to correct its behavior and again explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. And lastly, post a video showing the result of your work and how the dog is now exhibiting desired behavior. This is just one simple example of the types of videos you can post.
Or let’s say you’re a groomer, post videos talking about the differences in hair between different dog breeds and how that changes your approach. Then post videos on how you keep pets calm and relaxed during the grooming process. Or post videos talking about the different grooming products out on the market and the pros and cons of each.
Lastly, let’s use aquarium maintenance as an example. There’s a ton of science that goes into maintaining a healthy fish tank. This is a great industry where you can take people “behind the scenes” and educate them on any of the following:
- The differences between freshwater and saltwater tanks
- The kinds of fish that compliment one another
- When it’s better to have live or fake plants
- The role temperature plays in keeping fish healthy
- What it takes to include live corral
- And so much more!
By now you should see where this is going. Whenever someone finds you on social media and consumes your content, they will have no doubt that you are an expert in your field. So, when it comes to hiring someone, they will think of you first.
Always be thinking about how you can establish your credibility and expertise.
Now remember those cute animal videos we told you to ignore (because they don’t establish your expertise)? Well, that was just to draw attention towards the types of videos that will ultimately bring you customers. But as great as authority posts are, they don’t always gain a lot of traction on social media. If you are posting a lot of content that no one is seeing, then you’ll be putting in a lot of effort with little results to show. The truth is that there is a time and place for cute animal videos and pictures…at the end of the day, even though they don’t teach anything, people just can’t resist cute animals.
So, think of those types of posts as a way to bring people in. They will more than likely come across one of these posts as a first impression. Then they’ll go to explore your profile or channel and start consuming your content, realizing that you are the go-to expert. But don’t go crazy with the cute animal posts! You just want to sprinkle them in as a way of gaining some initial impressions. Think of it as an 80/20 rule, where 80% of your posts establish your authority and the other 20% are just fun posts that bring people in. You’re going to continue with this routine until 2 things have happened: you’ve built up a large enough following and you feel confident in expanding to another platform while remaining consistent with your primary platform. Let’s break those down one by one.
What defines a large enough following?
There is no single number, you get to choose. Whether that is 100 followers, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000…it’s completely up to you. Just pick a number that feels right for you and set it as a goal. Once you hit that number…you’ve made it. At this point, you might be tempted to broaden your reach and post on other platforms. That’s fine, but you must remain consistent on your initial platform.
As a hypothetical example, let’s say you started with YouTube and you’re posting three times a week and you hit your target goal of 1,000 subscribers. At this point you might want to hop on over to Instagram or TikTok. But if you do, you still want to be posting three times a week on YouTube. Why? Because if you decrease the rate of your posting on YouTube, your audience will go elsewhere to view the same kind of content…sometimes even towards your competitors.
All social media platforms reward you for consistency.
The more you post, the more impressions you’re going to get. So, if you stop posting on your original platform, going back and re-commencing the same routine months later will not yield the same results.
The big takeaway: Always be consistent.
We can’t talk about social media marketing without talking about paid ads.
While organic reach is important, and necessary, you will never ultimately get in front of everyone who could be a potential customer. In order to do that, you will need to run some ads. While we can’t cover an exhaustive tutorial on how to run paid ads, we will touch upon some best practices
When you’re getting started, it may be tempting to run an ad that simply screams “BUY MY SERVICES!” But not only is that not going to work, it’s actually going to turn people away from you. With paid ads, the “know, like, and trust” factor is of extreme importance. This means that you have to give people something they want, that solves a specific pain point, and you must give it to them for free. This can come in the form of a PDF guide, a checklist, a short video series…whatever makes the most sense for the pain point you’re solving.
Next, in order for people to get this item, they have to give you their name and email in exchange. In order to accomplish that, you’ll need to sign up for an email CRM (customer relationship management software). There are a lot of great options out there, from ConvertKit to ActiveCampaign. But if you’re short on budget, MailChimp offers a free version that you can use. Once they’ve opted into your lead magnet, you’ll want to subscribe them to an email sequence where they receive a number of emails over a specified period of days. In terms of the number of emails and number of days, that’s up to you. It’s just a matter of keeping the end in mind. The email sequence is designed to get people to know you, like you, trust you…and ultimately take some kind of action with you.
For example, let’s say you’re a dog trainer and you ultimately want people to book a free consultation with you. Then you might want to send a pair of emails talking about common dog training mistakes and myths. You can then follow that up with what your training methodology is and how that differs from other trainers. Lastly, send them some case studies and testimonials from some of your success stories. It’s at this point that you invite them to book the free consultation with you. The email sequence has warmed them up to you. You’re no longer a total stranger to them and they even have confidence in your abilities. That’s exactly how you get people to work with you. This scenario can be easily recreated for pet groomers, cat trainers and aquarium maintenance professionals as well.
Bottom line: you cannot run paid ads and just expect everyone will want to work with you right away. First you must give them a quick win by solving a problem for them (the free lead magnet). Then you have to build the know, like and trust factor (the email sequence). And finally, you must make it easy for them to take the decisive step with you (the call to action). Once you’re active with both organic posts and paid social ads, you’ll have a well-oiled machine that will bring you customers on autopilot.
One final note on marketing in the digital age, and it’s that you only need to pay attention to what you’re doing. Comparing yourself to others and what they’re doing will only lead to frustration. Some people are overnight successes, while others can take months or even years to gain any kind of traction. But most “overnight successes” got there by luck. They had one post that went completely viral and now all of a sudden everyone wants to work with them. You can’t manufacture viral posts though, otherwise everyone would be doing them. The best thing you can do is implement the best practices we’ve discussed in this article, focus on yourself, have faith in your abilities…and you’ll find success sooner rather than later.