There are many tools and strategies available for marketers who want to brand themselves and build a loyal following online. Some methods require a little investment while others require a steep investment of both time and money.
But when it comes to social networking, it’s a free, easy and fast way to build your brand, cultivate a dedicated audience and turn a profit if you know what you’re doing. That’s the problem for most GenX Marketers considering social networking – they haven’t become educated on the strategic methods of benefiting from it.
Instead, they simply create a social profile/account and then slack with it – not understanding the features or even what to post in order to get followers.
Social Networking can be done on websites or apps that you download and log into on your smart phone. How you use these tools is going to make or break your success.
If you approach this as a spammy method of blasting offers out to everyone 24/7, you’ll get blocked by those you’re trying to convert and ruin your reputation in the process. You want to have a solid plan ahead of time so you can hit the ground running and do it right.
If you master the socialization part, then you can easily cash in on the small amount of effort you have to put forth in order to attract prospects to follow a link and purchase the products or services that you inform them about.
Some people mistakenly believe that Social Networking only brands their business. While it’s partially true – you can develop brand awareness – it also helps you build a more casual and connected rapport with your niche audience.
If you’re using Social Networks the right way, your followers will feel a deeper connection to you as a human being. While a blog or email informs them about things, when social networking is done right, it’s a two way conversation between friends.
And while sending out emails has to be more sparse in frequency, you can post on some social networks multiple times a day, so it increases the amount of times you can engage with your tribe.
While you’re branding your business with solid information and tips on social sites, others have the opportunity to share your insight and product links with their friends and family who follow their accounts – a situation that can gain traction within a niche.
When it comes to determining which Social Networks you should be using, it’s never a quantity issue. You want to only choose the best websites and apps where your target audience is, not every single one, regardless of whether or not your audience is in big supply there.
Your goal is not to waste time. You want to discover which Social Networks exist, and then determine if there’s an audience there by searching for #hashtags (keywords) and accounts related to the same topics you want to discuss.
If you see that there’s enough interest in the topic and plenty of competition it’s a good place to be, then you can set up an account and begin The Social Networking Process.
Sometimes, people will hang out on different networks according to their age group, media preferences (text versus images or video, for example), their gender or other factors.
Start with Facebook. This is a well known Social Network that offers marketers a lot of free (and paid) branding and traffic potential. Not only can you have your own profile, but you can also start a Brand Page and/or Group to cater to your audience, where you can share product/service links.
You can post text, share videos and images, and watch as your content gets liked and shared by others within the same niche. You can even live stream from the site if you have a specific event you’d like to use to engage your audience.
Twitter is still used by many people, and have added many engagement tools for businesses. You can share text, images and video, too – and if it’s effective, you can see others Re-Tweeting your posts and helping your content go viral.
Pinterest is a great Social Network for people who love image-based content. Here, you’ll find niches such as fitness, cooking, motivation, and more. You can use images you take or those from stock sites, including free stock images from sites like Pixabay and Unsplash.
When you create a blog post always make a Pinterest image for it and pin it to your board. Make sure it links back to the blog post. You can create Pinterest-worthy images using free tools like Canva.
Instagram is another image-based Social Network where you can lead an audience and attract attention for your brand. Unfortunately, the linking ability is limited, so you’ll need to have your link in your bio. But this is a great Social Network for niche topics like fitness and health, diets, fashion, success mindset and more.
If videos are your media format of choice, then make sure you’re using YouTube, one of the most effective Social Networks for just about any niche. Not only can you add links in the descriptions, but you can allow your videos to go viral by letting people embed them into their websites.
If you have your branding intact in your videos, such as stating your website URL and maybe putting it in text on the screen, it will cause more people to visit your site from someone else’s blog who shared it with them.
Make sure you approach YouTube Marketing the same as you would any SEO measures for your blog. For example, your video will rank higher, easier if you target longtail keywords as you start to build subscribers for your channel.
If you’re in a niche where success is the foundation, then you may want to create a LinkedIn account. This is often viewed as a job site, but it’s more than that. You can participate in groups, network with others in the niche, share viral freebies, create newsletters and articles, and host audio or video live events.
When it comes to using downloadable apps, some GenX Marketers mistakenly believe they’re for a much younger generation because that’s all they’ve heard. TikTok is a perfect example.
Most people think it’s just teens mimicking dance moves. But there are all ages on the site – including people over 100 year old who have garnered a loyal audience who tune in to see them sharing recipes, and more.
Again, you’ll find out if there’s an audience for you by searching for keywords (hashtags). You’ll find TikTok accounts that teach cleaning and organization, gardening, diet and health, fitness, and more.
Clubhouse is a newer social networking app that’s audio-based. Users enter rooms for discussions and one person takes the virtual stage to make a presentation to the others.
This is a great app for branding purposes or to network with others in your niche who might make good collaborations for content. You can find people to cross promote or guest blog for on this app, talk to prospective affiliates for your products and even find customers who like what you have to say and want to learn more from you.
Even SnapChat, another app mistakenly labeled as something for teens, has a viable audience for many niche marketers. Using images or short video clips, you can raise awareness for your brand and help drive traffic to your site and offers.
Before launching your accounts and profiles on these networks, make sure you’ve considered how you want to be known to your competitors, colleagues and customers. By branding correctly out of the gate, you won’t look uncertain like those who continually change their usernames and other branding elements.
Your branding can not only be done through your personality and how you come across to people, but it’s also partially set by your choices of profile images, headers, backgrounds, logos and more.
If you’re not adept at creating these elements, go ahead and outsource it to someone who is experienced. For example, you can hire people to create the perfect sized Facebook Group header for you.
You can also use templates on Canva – or search for Facebook header templates and find downloadable ones that can help represent the style and tone you’re going for with your business.
After you have the “look” right, think about how you want your content to serve your audience and what you hope they take away from it. If you’re mixing business with personal content, be careful that you don’t offend your prospective affiliates and customers.
For example, with friends in real life, you might be okay with crude jokes or silly behavior, but putting that content out there for your customers to see might be a turn off for them.
One thing everyone should be doing on social networks and apps is being consistent with solid content creation. Don’t disappear for weeks or months and then pop in again, expecting people to remember you.
If you want to utilize social networks to brand your business, generate traffic and make sales, then you need to go all in on your efforts. If you just play around on them once in awhile, you won’t get anywhere.
First, check to see when your audience is most active. It might be a certain time of day or certain days of the week. You’ll want to be posting during those times. Look to see what other experts are doing in terms of frequency, too.
For those with tons of followers – are they posting hourly, a couple of times a day, once or twice a week, or what? You don’t want to be spamming everyone’s feed but in some cases, such as with the stock market niche, changes may require you to make posts rapidly throughout the day.
If anyone engages with your content, such as leaving a comment, try to respond to them. People like to be acknowledged for their participation. Never make it a one way street – including with your competition or colleagues.
These are the people who can help you generate traffic and sales as your affiliates. If they’re liking your content and sharing it, go check out their content and if it’s valuable, share it with your audience, too.
Get to know your customers and those who do engage with you. Learn them by name and other details, such as if they mention something specific like their family member, a hobby or something else.
Even if you have a business account, you can still share some personalization at times. This humanizes you and allows them to share their personal life with you as well. These interactions create bonds that make an audience more loyal to you.
When you do share content, try to include an image with it. It’s been proven that posts with images get more engagement – probably because they stand out more in everyone’s feed.
Whenever your audience asks you a question or you see discussions taking place about something, take that as a cue to make content on the site about the topic. This way, you’re serving their needs well and can get feedback on your efforts.
Remember not to be too stuffy with your content, either. These are networks where friendships are formed. So if you’re just spitting out facts left and right and not being casual and conversational or motivating with your audience, they may grow bored of you.
Now there may be times when you hear about an existing or new social network where many of your audience members are hanging out. But maybe you avoid it because it’s new or you don’t think you’d be welcome there.
Go ahead and give it a try and don’t shelve any options just because there might be a learning curve for it. You never know when and where you’ll strike gold and create quite a buzz as an industry expert.
While you may dread it at first, once you get going, you could find that it’s the best decision you could have made. Of course, if it turns out that the site or app is a burden to you, then go ahead and ditch it and find something that works better for you.
Regardless of which social networks you’re using, always make sure you know the rules and terms of service. The last thing you want to do is develop a large following and begin profiting, only to get shut down by those in charge.
Look at the networks features, audience size, media format options and rules and formulate a plan that has you delivering good content to people. Have some goals in mind in terms of the amount of posts you want to aim for and how many followers you hope to get and try to work on achieving them over time.
Sometimes it can become daunting having to brainstorm all of the content you need to churn out as an online marketer. You have to create lead magnets, content for the squeeze page, information products, product reviews, blog posts, email autoresponders and more.
Add frequent social marketing posts to the mix on a variety of networks and it might be enough to make you scream. Luckily, there’s an easy way to ramp up your socialization online without having to work very hard to generate ideas or the posts themselves.
When you feel strapped for time or ideas, consider using private label rights (PLR) for your social posts. You can find a wide variety of niches where PLR is sold – including health, success, relationships, pets and more.
The content comes in different media formats, with text-based content being the most prominent. But you can also find PLR images, videos and even audio files from some vendors.
The great thing about this is that you can usually find large bundles of PLR content on sale fairly cheap. PLR normally costs approximately $1 per page, since multiple people buy it.
But at launch time, or for certain sales, the vendors will price it as low as $0.50 per page or per item, so you can find lots of great deals. And most licenses will allow you to break up or merge the content, and put your name on it.
So you might buy a PLR eBook that has 100 tips in it and you can break up that eBook into 100 posts in a series on your social networking accounts. Or, you can take a product review article and use it as a transcript and record a video for YouTube, then embed it on your Facebook Group, for example.
If you hesitate to put your name on content that you didn’t create, which is fine, then use it as curated content. This is when you introduce someone else’s content as a quote or lesson and then discuss it with your audience.
Social networking is an activity that should be fun and fruitful for you as an online marketer. It’s easygoing and free, not to mention typically very user-friendly. So there’s not a lot of intimidation with this strategy for branding, traffic and sales as there might be using paid ads or other risky tools.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by doing much, too soon. Find the best social network to start with, create your presence and build a following, and then move on to the next one. Eventually, you’ll be able to single out the best ones and maximize your use of time to earn more from what you’re doing.