As a business owner or entrepreneur, you know the power of social media. You even understand why you should invest time, money, and resources into social media. And yet, you still find yourself wondering how to use it successfully.
Oh, sure, you've been marketing your business with social media for a while. You've even created valuable connections and started to see momentum. But results are few and far between.
At least results that truly matter. Now here's the good news. You can find success through four simple words.
Successful marketers know that purpose drives strategy. They also know that purpose is the reason why one company succeeds while another fails. It gives meaning to your efforts and creates passion in your work.
But finding your purpose in social media isn’t always easy. Knowing why it supports your business goals and the desired outcome can feel illusive.
However, getting clear on your purpose is critical, because one thing is for certain. As the bullet train of social media continues to run full steam ahead - you either need to get onboard and learn how to it in a purposeful way - or risk getting run over by your competition.
So, where do you begin? Look to those succeeding at social media. Understand what is working and why. How are they living and breathing their social media purpose?
Take one of my favorite Facebook Pages as an example: Charlottesville DowntownMall. Now before you ask, I'll answer. Do I live in Charlottesville? No. Have I ever been there? No. Would I love to visit this city because of their page alone? ABSOLUTELY!
The Charlottesville team does an amazing job speaking to their audience and encouraging conversation. They GET their purpose and the message they're sharing.
In fact, you see their purpose (to share the beauty of the area) in every single post. And their audience eats it up like a hot, just-out-of-the-oven donut on a cold winter's day. Their content (and engagement) is THAT delicious.
How to find your purpose
How can you become the Charlottesville of your industry, niche, or local market? Begin by answering these seven questions.
- When you first hopped on social media, what was your number one reason? (e.g. to reach a targeted audience, cheap advertising, better connections - be honest)
- What’s your number one reason today?
- What 3 problems do you solve for your potential clients?
- Can you articulate your solution to those problems across social media?
- What do you see in your competitor's use of social media that you feel needs to change?
- Will social media help you build trust and rapport with a market eager to buy your product/do business with your company?
- Is the purpose behind your use of social media strongly attached to your business objectives?
I'm a firm believer that the only fast lane to success is through innovation and education. The more you know and understand about social media, the easier it is to gain momentum.
And once you gain momentum, you can claim an unfair advantage over your competition. But what does it actually mean to innovate?
The best definition I’ve heard comes from Scott Berkun, who studied the word for years,
Just look to innovators within any industry and you’ll see this in action. Not only are they the change everyone else revolves around, but they've also incorporated four core qualities.
How to get ahead through innovation
Innovators know that the online world is constantly evolving. Just when you think you’ve mastered social media, another change pops up. You post an update, share an image, and boom—those best practices are instantly outdated.
To stay ahead, you must be willing to push outside preconceived limitations and instead focus on a results-oriented, data-driven outcome. What does that look like?
It means that you:
- Use social media and all available technology to multiply efforts.
- Create opportunities through social media without waiting for it to drop in your lap.
- Compete with nobody but yourself. While everyone is going one way, you go the other.
- Commit to being the master of differentiation and standing out on social media.
- Break down your social media growth goals into bite-sized, actionable, and measurable pieces.
- Voraciously learn. Devour everything and anything that will improve your productivity and efficiency and cut dependencies.
David Allen, the productivity guru, said In “Getting Things Done” that,
Failure in social media is most often brought about by a lack of planning and preparation. But imagine…
- Being able to quickly identify where to best spend your time online.
- Not wasting hours of your day spent on social media.
- Gaining new business connections, expanding your reach, and growing your business in ways you never thought possible.
- Earning incredible opportunities as your business presence elevates and expands.
- Establishing your business as the go-to professional within your field.
- Working a daily social media strategy that is both easy and effective.
Believe it or not, it's all very possible. With the right social media business plan in place, it can be manageable, measurable, and—offer explosive results.
Plus, with a plan in place, you can say goodbye to the hunt-and-peck method of social media marketing. Here's how...
First step: look ahead
Clearly spell out where you want to be. For example:
- Global industry leader due to a clear, measurable, and achievable social media strategy.
- Dominant player in the market through word-of-mouth marketing, strategic alliances, and a company-aligned inbound marketing plan.
- Offer obsessive customer service that translates into significant customer retention and satisfaction.
Next step: write out your plan
- Track Your Starting Point: Identify where you are today and capture that in an Excel sheet, Word, or Google doc.
- Know Your Audience: Who is your target market? Understand their area of expertise, what they’re talking about online, and how you’ll use content to make a connection.
- Choose Your Social Networks: Know where your target market is spending time online and then master that network.
- Create a Consistent Schedule: The only way to build a solid social media following is to stay in the conversation. Create a schedule to consistently share and engage on a daily basis.
Now that you’re clear on why you’re using social media and how you’ll use it going forward, now it’s time to get strategic about your execution. Larry Wolff, CEO of Wolff Strategy Partners, a provider of interim executive and technology services, says,
If you want to turn social media into the catalyst that drives you toward your goals, realize that execution is your key. Does it have to be perfectly executed every single time? Absolutely not.
Practice makes perfect, and a commitment to your social media strategy is essential. Consistency builds trust. It also allows you to create a workable, sustainable, and successful plan. Execute, execute, execute!
Your social media success is directly impacted by your willingness to dive in and get a little dirty. What do I mean by that?
Don't be afraid to make mistakes. And as a recovering perfectionist, I have much to learn in that area. But as Sam Rizvi, CIO of Post Planner, always reminds me, Done is better than perfect.
Don't let your fear of putting something out there at 75% complete keep you 100% out of the game. Keep pushing, keep moving, keep doing, and most importantly—keep learning.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.