Myth: Social media marketing is easy. Just set it up, sit back, and watch the orders and team members roll in!
Fact: Social media marketing is hard, and requires a different approach to your work.
When I started online marketing, I had some background in basic technology, having worked in a corporate environment for many years. I also had deep experience in strategic planning and project management. So I approached my goal of “getting online” with my direct sales business, like a project.
- Phase 1: Basic applications setup – Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter
- Phase 2: Develop custom branding strategy
- Phase 3: Start YouTube channel, with educational content
- Phase 4: Develop blogging platform and strategy
- Phase 5: Advanced platforms and consistency
Each of these phases takes effort and time. And overlaying all of these phases (and ongoing) is “training!” Self-study, seminars, webinars, following various bloggers or specialists online, and then attempting to replicate their ideas. When I first started with direct sales, I was still working full-time. But I was committed to getting going. So after the kids were in bed, I pushed on for four or five more hours, every single night.
This phase is all about getting your basic applications setup, and working correctly and consistently. This means posting content every single day, following the 80/20 content rule, so your online presence begins to develop it’s own personality. Most people have enough familiarity with the basic applications to easily get this phase going. But then they consider it done, and stop at this point. And this is just the beginning. If you think about other consultants in your brand, most have Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. So to begin to differentiate, you have to push on to the next phases.
Developing a branding strategy is all about creating the brand of YOU. This is more than just a logo or a character image, it’s your online personality. It’s your personal mission statement, around which all decisions for your business will revolve. When people find you online, who are you? Are you quirky? Sassy? Tech savvy? Spiritual? Focus on customer service? Then every decision and piece of marketing and original content develops a common look and feel, and “personality.”
Now we start getting into the fun stuff! YouTube is an amazing platform to differentiate yourself. Most people’s biggest question is, what should I make videos about? The answer is, any topic where you can speak confidently. You do not have to be an expert on everything, to create short videos on something that YOU know well. Maybe you have an amazing display table. Or perhaps you have a technique for working with customers. Or maybe you are known as a graphics expert. Show people your expertise, and this will begin to develop a following. Cross post your videos to your other platforms (see phase 1) to begin to draw your audience toward your new YouTube channel.
Like YouTube, blogging is an advanced strategy, where you can further differentiate yourself as a subject matter expert. You do not have to be an expert in every topic, to blog about topics that are relevant within your brand, that YOU know well. If you begin blogging consistently (2-3 times per week), and your posts follow your branding strategy (see phase 2), you will begin to develop a following as people look to your blog as a source of training information.
Now you have to bring it all together, into some type of consistent schedule. Every platform has a slightly different strategy and recommendation for frequency of posting. I literally developed a written weekly schedule, so I could use it as a check-list. Even if you’ve gotten this far, this is where it takes ongoing effort. Consistency!! There will be new content always coming from others, so the way that you stay relevant is to continue to also post new content. It’s easy to tell by looking at anyone’s social media if they are “active.” When is the last time they posted? If it’s not within the last couple weeks, I presume that person either isn’t active on that channel, or isn’t active at all.
The reality is that Google, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest or any other platform, do not inform us when they change their algorithms or functionality. So that means that staying relevant and searchable on each platform takes consistent and concerted effort, every single day. Social media is moving faster than ever, and as an online marketer you are always looking for new content for your next post or video. But if you take the time to invest, choose where you want to be, and be committed to posting regularly, you can develop your online presence. The orders and team members will come, when you demonstrate that you are serious about your online business. The myth is that that’s easy.