A Streamlined Social Media Marketing Strategy for Solo Entrepreneurs

Social media marketing is valuable but it can easily become a time-suck. If you were to follow every piece of marketing advice out there you would be hard pushed to find time to create, run a business and have a life. The ideal would be to have a social media manager and content creation team on standby but when you’re starting out there’s likely to be just you. So is there a way to leverage the power of social media without burning out?

Problem: social media marketing is time-consuming

When it comes marketing on social media, are you making these time-wasting mistakes?

  1. Using platforms that have little or no appeal for your target audience, e.g. LinkedIn is not the best place to promote your cookery class; Pinterest is not a good fit for your coaching program. (Sure, both are possible, but not a good use of your time).
  2. Trying to blanket-cover social media instead of targeting a very specific target audience.
  3. If you’re on your own, trying to manage multiple platforms instead of concentrating on the most productive.
  4. Not having a content schedule to tell you what to promote, where and when.

Solution: a simple social media marketing strategy for solo experts

If you have a team backing you, this is not the ideal strategy. If however you’re on your own, time is hard to come by and – oh – you have a business to run, this strategy will allow you to reap 80% of the benefit of social media marketing for a fraction of the time investment.

  1. What’s your goal? Why do you want to achieve with social media marketing? Who do you want to attract? What do you want them to do once you have their attention? What are you trying to sell? Where does your ideal customer hang out?
  2. Choose the best platform for reaching your target market. Pinterest is great for creatives. YouTube is the natural platform for coaching, speaking and video. iTunes dominates podcasts. Twitter is great when you have an established audience. LinkedIn is the natural home for professionals. You have myriad choices. Whichever you opt for we always recommend you build a Facebook Fan Page. Set aside a modest budget of $5-10/day for Facebook ads – it’s the fastest way to grown your audience. Facebook ads allow you to identify and target highly-specific target demographics ensuring you get greater bang for your buck. Facebook advertising is a topic in its own right and if it’s new to you, check out the trusty Dummies Guide to Facebook Marketing.
  3. Promote your content. Upload your content to the social platform(s) of your choice. Be selective. Only share content which is valuable to your target market. Put yourselves in their shoes: what content would you like to see? What content would turn you from a visitor to a subscriber to an engaged fan? Produce/share great content that your audience looks forward to receiving.
  4. Create a content schedule. You need a way to keep track of all the content you’re creating in your business. A content schedule keeps your content strategy organised: it reminds you of the type of content you’ve created; what to create next; your content’s primary purpose, e.g. get sign-ups, promote a product, build your brand; where to post it; when to post it; how it performs etc. It’s not just for housekeeping, it’s an important tool to get the most out of your social marketing efforts.
  5. Keep track of key performance metrics. You need to have some idea how each piece of content you create is performing so that you can identify which content types/platforms to focus your attention on. However, it can be difficult to calculate each metric and/or decipher its meaning. The good news is that there are free social metrics tools services that do the number-crunching for you and present the results in an easy to understand format. However, remember the words of social media expert Jay Baer, “[Social media marketing] is all about actions, not eyeballs”. Make sure you’re tracking the metrics that matter.

Takeaway points

  1. When you don’t have a social media team backing you up, you will need to make compromises (remember, you also have a business to run). The approach outlined above is achievable and flexible enough to fit around you.
  2. Don’t let the tail wag the dog. Social media marketing is important but it’s not as important as creating great content and products for your target market. After all, there’s little point in building an audience when you have little of substance to offer.

Action steps

  1. Setup a Facebook fan page for your business. Start creating great content (e.g. free report, online course, ebook etc) for your target market; post it to your fan page and promote it with Facebook ads. Link the ad back to your webpage where visitors must submit their email in order to download your content. This is how you can grow your audience.
  2. Start off promoting on 1-3 platforms, Facebook being one of them. For the remainder, which will best reach your target market? Social media expert, Jayson Demers, offers useful advice on how to choose the right social media network for your content type. He identifies seven different types of social network, each with their own characteristics.
    – Kitchen-sink networks: Twitter and Facebook
    – Image-based networks: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr
    – Video networks: YouTube, Vimeo, Vine
    – Business-focused networks: LinkedIn
    – SEO and authorship networks: Google+
    – Location-based networks: Foursquare, Yelp
    – Niche networks: Reddit
  3. Create your content schedule. This is a vital tool to keep your content creation strategy on track.

Photo credit: Jason A. Howie via Foter.com / CC BY

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