How We Communicate Has Permanently Shifted With Social Media, But How Can We Use It To Grow A Business?
For better or worse, it’s no exaggeration to say that social media has changed the way the world communicates. Before social, people had to reserve their thoughts and opinions to be discussed with family at the dinner table, or with friends over drinks.
Now, anyone with an email can log onto their favorite worldwide soap box and say what they’re thinking about anything – people, politics, economics, health matters, and most importantly, their thoughts on the products/services companies offer.
Social media is now so engrained in people’s habits they’ll use it to search for insights for things to start the buying journey. That means businesses have to have a social media presence to stay competitive.
According to a recent report from Statista, nearly 1/3 of all consumers searched for products on social before buying…
The first thing consumers look at when finding a business on social is when the last post, comment, like, etc. was made. If it’s been months or even years since the account was engaged with, prospects will assume that business is closed, and it’s time to look for another company that’s still open.
In other words, having a consistent engagement on your social media is sure-fire way to send 30% of prospects into the arms of the competition.
Moreover, according to recent data from Accenture, “the $492 billion global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025.
Growth is predicted to be driven primarily by Gen-Z and Millennial social media users, accounting for 62% of global social commerce spend by 2025.”
That level of growth is just incredible, and tapping into it could mean the difference between being in business next year or not.
How To Use Social To Grow A Business
So, how can we leverage this to our advantage and grow a business? By following two simple rules:
- Never sell anything directly on social media. Instead…
- Engage, engage, and engage so much with the audience they can’t help but want to buy from you in the future.
Ok, I get asked this all the time, “How can social media be such a great sales tool if we can’t use it to sell?”
Well, that’s because I said don’t sell anything directly. Instead, go on social media and just be SOCIAL.
I’ve mentioned this before, but humans are social beings by nature. We love to feel like we’re being heard, and many of us seek out significance in life from the interactions we have with others.
Just how powerful is this drive for connections?
The Power Of Being Social (Connecting)
To show just how driven by social interactions we are, let’s refer to a study done back in the 1970s by by Dr. Bruce Alexander. This experiment is now commonly referred to as “Rat Park“. Why rats? Because their brains and social habits closely mirror that of humans.
You may have even heard this story back in high school health class when they were talking about drugs and addiction. Sadly though, most people have only heard one side of the story.
The part that goes like this – one rat was placed inside a cage with 2 water bottles. One bottle of regular water, another bottle of water laced with either heroine or cocaine. Each time Dr. Alexander ran the experiment the rat would consistently drink the drug-laced water until it either overdosed, or died.
Ironically, this same “experiment” was unwittingly carried out on humans during the 2020 pandemic. Under the fog of health concerns, humans across the globe were cut off from nearly all personal interactions. Forced to cover their faces even when in public, and told to isolate themselves.
Just like a lonely rat in a cage, humans were cut off from each other and responded exactly as predicted in Dr. Alexander’s experiment.
Hang on though. There’s another, brighter side to this tale. One that gets almost no press at all.
After seeing the rats continually engorge themselves on drugs, Dr. Alexander asked a very simple question – “Are they doing drugs because they are fun, or because the rats believed it was the only thing they had left in life?”
With that in mind, Dr. Alexander ran the experiment again with a few modifications. This time he got a larger cage and added rat toys, different areas to play in, and placed multiple rats in the same cage. The two bottles of water were then installed and the experiment continued.
However, this time something very different happened – although some of the rats sampled the drug-laced water, they only did so on a limited basis, and no rats OD’d or died.
Amazing! Connections went up, suicides went down.
Humans are the same way when it comes to interacting with others. We love feeling connected. Even the most introverted person needs to feel connected on some level. Social media gives us that in small doses, even if only for a few seconds of scrolling, or seeing someone “like” your post, or comment.
My wife is incredibly introverted, yet she uses social media on a very regular basis. Me. I’m more of an intro/extrovert and I really don’t like being on social media. I prefer calls (that’s right an actual phone pressed to my ear), or a video call, even a real-time text message. They’re more intimate and productive.
Anyway, this is why it’s so important to focus on engaging with your audience on social media, rather then trying to sell them something.
Comment on their photos and posts. Wish them a happy birthday. Ask them how their kid’s first day of preschool went.
Most importantly, be sure to answer any and all questions you can whenever possible, and post regular content from your published blog, podcast, or video channel that’ll help them in a time of need.
Become a useful addition to their life. Do this regularly and without the promise of a sale, and sales will come naturally.
Why? Because when someone needs something you offer then your name, face, and company will be top-of-mind. They’ll visit your profile, head to your website, and find the “Buy Now” button all on their own.
Designing A Proper Social Media Strategy
Now that we know why social media can be such an invaluable tool for connecting with others to grow your business, what does a good strategy look like that turns followers into buyers?
I actually start by reverse-engineering the customer experience so everything fits together nicely.
Let’s say I’m ready to publish this blog post and want the most people to see it. I could just throw it up on social, but that’s not enough these days.
Not everyone wants to read a long blog. Some want to listen, while others like to watch.
Did you know that 85% of videos viewed on social media are on mute?
The best way to cover all those bases is to actually shoot a video first whenever possible. Then, use a few tools to turn the video into a podcast episode and blog post. Here’s how:
- Record the video. Doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Upload it to this incredibly easy subtitle generating tool, “Otter.ai“. This will create a text file that can be used as both the subtitles in YouTube and a blog post on your website (HOW COOL IS THAT?!).
- Then upload the video to YouTube and in the settings click on “Add Subtitles” to upload the .TXT file from Otter and save it. YouTube will auto-sync the video and subtitles.
- Load the video into the desktop version of Wondershare Filmora to separate the video and audio from each other, then save the audio track. Now the video can be used as a podcast!!!
- Take the video on YouTube, the .TXT file from Otter, and the audio track and post all of them onto your website as a video blog post!! This will really drive your SEO game forward.
- Finally, share this post from your website to social media. That way, as people see the post, they’ll head to your website – watch, read, or listen to the content, and be one step closer to buying!!!
Here’s a quick flowchart to show what I just said…
In the end, a good social media strategy really just relies on delivering content that the audience will find useful, and gives them a reason to visit your website. The more ways you can do that, the faster they’ll want to buy from you over the competition.
Choosing A Social Platform
Implementing the strategy above will help you get more content on both your site and social profile, but how do you choose which platform is the right one? It depends.
Mostly, this answer relies on understanding who your audience is, where they hang out online, and what their hobbies, habits, likes, and dislikes are. Here are some general rules about the main platforms to help with deciding which is best:
- Facebook: Primarily made of aging millennials and Gen X folks, this is the largest social platform there is. Posting once per day is ideal, and engaging with comments and shares is even better. Consumer products and services do very well on this platform.
- Instagram: Topping just over 2 billion daily users, “Insta” members love to see recent pictures of what’s going on with the companies and celebrities they follow. Anything picture worthy can and should be placed on your account as often as possible.
- Twitter: With a stronger focus on politics and social justice, Twitter lends itself very well to those who are politically active, or want to engage in social commentary. Most pundits and non-profit organizations find success here, especially when actively engaging multiple times per day.
- LinkedIn: Now owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn has become well known for it’s ability to connect business-minded folks across all industries. Companies have reportedly had a hard time monetizing this platform with ads, so it’s best to purely focus on building strong, personal relationships with others here, and encouraging introductions. Groups are also widely used to connect like-minded folks.
- YouTube Channel: YouTube has become an undervalued source of getting ads in front of highly targeted, high-converting audiences. Since Google knows everything about everyone, their video ads get a lot of reach, but aren’t as popular with marketers focusing on Facebook and Twitter. Videos also have a high conversion rate so posting helpful “how-to” videos of any kind is best practice.
- TikTok: The newest kid on the block, TikTok delivers short video clips to members, and mixes in video and text ads. They’ve seen incredible growth over the last 18 months, and have shown to be able to deliver high-converting audiences from the much younger Millennial and Gen Z crowds.
- SnapChat, Pintrest, Google+, and other sites have seen much slower rates of engagement, but with the right content and the right audience, any platform can become valuable for any brand.
For more ideas about what to post on each platform, check out what your competition is doing, If they have amassed thousands of followers and are posting regularly it’s a safe bet they have a strong social presence. Model what they’re doing until you find your own “voice”.
Stay Focused, Stay Active
No matter where you want to play the social media game, I always suggest sticking to one platform first. Most folks on social have accounts on multiple platforms for different reasons, so chances are the people you want to engage with are already on one mentioned above.
Keep in mind, social media is the largest gathering of human beings in all of history. No matter who you want to reach, there’s an audience already out there waiting to hear from you.
Still not sure which platform to start on? No worries. Start by asking current customers which they prefer and why? This will uncover which is best to concentrate your efforts to realize success faster.
Finally, be sure to engage with folks for an hour a day, or at least a few hours per week. This will show you care, want to be a part of the group, and will help move the process of monetizing social media forward faster.
Plus, it’ll let you engage with folks who may not have been able to make it to the dinner table, or out for a couple of drinks with friends tonight to hear what the recent thoughts are on pressing topics.
What’s Your Favorite Social Platform & Why?
Tell us about it in the comments section below, or connect with us on the platform using the link below!!!
Thomas Buttino – Social Media Creator