How To Grow Your Customers as a Small Business Using Organic and Automated Strategies
I’m amazed at the amount of small businesses and local businesses that lack social media presence in this day of age.
I can’t understand why:
- This is still happening. (It’s 2017…come on)
- People are getting paid to do marketing for them but not taking risks.
- Automation isn’t being used. (Heck, maybe they don’t know about it)
- Few small businesses are taking advantage of interactive content.
- Not providing daily specials or deals to redeem. (Aren’t you a destination?)
I want to help you because this is just not fair to your customers. They deserve what everyone else has…someone to care about them.
Here are a few steps I would advise small businesses to take:
Sign-up for relevant networks with one consistent brand handle
Do not sign-up for every network under the sun. You are setting unrealistic expectations for whomever will be running your social brand. Stick with what matters. Lately, i’ve seen Instagram’s algorithm and reach soar to heights similar to Facebook’s organic gold rush back in 2012 (when I built DIA’s Facebook page to 30k likes in a year with no money).
Update ALL of your employee’s email signatures with relevant links. Make it personal and HUMAN. (you would be surprised how much this helps)
Kudos to YesWare for the example
- There are several sites that can help you make this if you have zero design skills. (Click on the photo or here for a list of sites you can use)
- Switch up your CTA (call-to-action) every now and then or have a formal calendar for changes.
If you don’t have a tagline, now is the time to create it.
EX: Build an idea by building a following.
WeGreenlight.com uses this in our decks, short videos, and print copy.
- It helps create a bite sized bit that everyone can share on your behalf.
- What is WeGreenlight? Well, maybe you may not know but you now know it’s where you “build an idea by building a following”.
- It’s easy to remember and if you hear it so many times you will always remember it. (Shoot for showing this at least 7–9 times — your brain has a hard time forgetting things viewed or heard that many times — because SCIENCE)
- Always remember you are not marketing to a person, you are marketing to the person’s BRAIN. Never ever forget that.
If you do not have a shorter version of your mission/purpose, consider this a sign to create one.
EX: A platform to help you validate ideas, get feedback, and launch with early adopters.
WeGreenlight.com uses this as our main “bio” on our social accounts. It’s easy to understand what we are doing, why we matter, and what’s in it for you (because you are the person that really matters in this equation).
- This is important because in order to effectively get into someone’s memory you need to provide a consistent image they can remember (even if it’s unconsciously remembering).
- You need this to make them FEEL something. Whatever that feeling is, you need to manifest it for them.
- You look more “legit” when you’re growing your accounts as consistency is heavily considered “professional” — whatever that means.
- You will always be breaking the barrier of “is this an amateur? should I pay attention to this?” As my favorite author says, you will be battling the crocodile brain whom is in constant fear and waiting for the attack. Your job is to make them feel safe so they can completely soak in your message.
Once you’ve setup your social accounts, let’s get you started on integrating automation into your strategy.
Sign-up for my friends over at Archie — you can even get started w/a free trial
- Since Instagram’s algorithm changes, I’ve found I get the most bang for my buck with a paid “premium” Instagram account which costs us $29/month.
- If Twitter is a better network for your brand, feel free to use that instead of if you have the budget — sign up for both and feel out which one works best for your business.
- I admit if you are a local small business then you will want to take advantage of Instagram more than anything. Let’s talk about why…
The reason you want to use automation in your strategy is NOT to:
- Get lazy and stop being “present”.
- Replace your social media person/marketing person.
- Have a reason for never hiring anyone again and relying on unpaid interns.
- Spam the shit out of people. (You will ruin your relationship before it even starts.)
- Not care about your customers because your automated bot will do all the leg work.
The reason(s) you want to use automation in your strategy:
- You are running a lean, mean machine and need a hand.
- You care about the customer experience (CX) and want to be present as much as possible.
- Want to build first impressions and excite people about your brand/biz.
- Find yourself enjoying organic 1-on-1 engagements but realize you are not super(wo)man.
- Don’t want to lose out on opportunities to build your business.
Setting up Archie.co:
- Sign-up for your free trial
- Use Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest — wherever you want to focus. I recommend starting with one. (let’s maximize your time) If you’re a local small business, start with Instagram.
- Create a list of social tags you will be engaging with. I recommend making a Google sheet document so you can provide access to this to anyone running your brand in the future.
- Paste all your tags in Archie (make sure to press enter)
- Optimize your tags by clicking on the down arrow next to each tag to see how active each tag is. You want to utilize tags that are for the most part “very active”.
- Add a location to each tag. Experiment with this as well. You can change this to different locations as you see fit if you’re for example: a catering truck that moves locations constantly.
- Add negative tags that you do not want to engage with. I usually try to look up the most inappropriate tags because I am doing whatever I can to NOT engage with that type of content. One example would be: XXX.
- If your brand happens to like something in the negative category, have no fear! You can always go to your “liked” photos on your Instagram or Twitter account to manually unlike it (this unfortunately is the negative side of automation).
- Select the languages you want to interact with — this can get interesting if you have a multi-cultural brand. Have some fun with it!
- Time to setup Super Targeting! (my favorite) — add any user that you’d like to interact with THEIR followers. It’s powerful when you can get deeper into someone’s network that you are targeting without engaging directly with them. This can help in a few ways…let me explain.
Power of Super Targeting
- You will be engaging with your super target’s followers.
- This means you will be “liking” (please don’t integrate automated commenting — no one cares about your fake commentary, be real) all of their followers content.
- You are bound to show up in their feed at least once. Imagine you are being super targeted yourself and while you’re on the native app, scrolling away, you see this one account constantly liking your friends photos. Aren’t you going to think….who IS THIS?
- You are bound to show up in their email notifications (mostly Twitter does this).
- Your goal of automation, organic engagement, and super targeting is to get INTO their memory. In order to do this, you will need to have MANY impressions. In order to have effective impressions, you want to be as targeted as possible and you want to make it subtle.
- You are working with the algorithm to provide an opportunity for them to see your impression on multiple channels and devices.
- If you’ve successfully made a good impression, it will be much easier to ask for something or approach them as they won’t feel unconsciously threatened of your presence. Their brain: “Oh this is familiar…OK”
Let’s start with some real strategies to implement now
- Use location tags and don’t forget to “Add location” when posting your content on your channels. Surprisingly, people actually find places to go by viewing locations and scrolling through pictures (especially when finding food places).
- Knowing your usual demographic of customers or your target demographics — make strategic decisions for super targeting. One example would be if you are a juice place like Salud in Long Beach then you can choose a restaurant that serves healthier food like Open Sesame (which is across the street). This actually happened earlier today — Salud liked my photo after I posted my Instagram photo at Open Sesame. I was instantly like “wow, that’s awesome. They are paying attention and visible…mmm yummy. I really miss Salud’s juice.”
- Spend a few hours everyday engaging with your followers, people posting about your brand/biz, and the restaurants/businesses around you. Especially if you have a brick and mortar, you shouldn’t let local traffic slip by without an impression from you!
- Make a content calendar for the month and create some content that utilizes great photography, customer’s photos, and deals (making your business a destination).
- Make time for posting real-time content as well so your customer’s have a little variety to work with.
- When you’re holding events or attending them, switch up your tags and locations. Go “live” on Instagram or Facebook and make sure to let people know ahead of time about going live so they can be ready to listen.
- Take advantage of testimonies and reviews. This is still content and you can make it look sexy. ;) Heck — you can even promote it as an ad. Experiment and have some fun with it. People like funny brands.
- Give incentives for spreading the word about your brand/biz. Even if it means you are spending a bit for word of mouth. Social influence will always triumph your brand marketing. Let your customers be STOKED to work alongside you. It’s honestly all about them anyways.
Hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to drop a comment or donate your “heart” ;)
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A version of this was first posted on medium.com