3 Surprising Ways to Succeed in Social Media

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Recently we sponsored a webinar: “The 7 Surprising Ways to Succeed in Social Media,” which more than lived up7 Ways to Succeed to its name. Our speaker was Dave Kerpen, the founder and CEO of Likeable Local, which has social media software for small businesses, and co-founder and Chairman of Likeable Media, a social media and word-of-mouth marketing agency. Dave is the author of the 2011 New York Times bestselling book Likeable Social Media. As of February 2015, he has 541,102 LinkedIn followers. His post “11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader” is 3rd on the list of the top 20 posts of all time on LinkedIn Pulse, with almost 3 million views and 7500 comments. Dave was also named Most Social Inc. 500 CEO by CEO.com in 2012.

So – when it comes to social media, Dave knows whereof he speaks. In a recent conversation he gave me a few tips to share with Marketing Action readers. If you’d like to skip straight to the recorded webinar in which he gives you the full download on the seven surprising ways just click here. If you’re not sure yet, read on to learn the first three of those surprising ways.

Dave Kerpen: Imagine if you could grow your business using just social media and stop or cut back on other channels – TV, radio, print, outdoor, direct mail, all those old-school channels. You can be that successful with social media today.

Let’s begin with a few realities:

  • Number one, social media is not free. There’s a major cost to doing social media right. And that cost is time. Your time, your staff’s time, your agency’s time, your vendor’s time.
  • Number two, since it does take time, social media will not bring you instant results. Social media is like the world’s greatest biggest cocktail party. Just like I couldn’t walk up to you at a cocktail party and open up my jacket and say, Want to buy a watch? I can’t jump into Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and say, Want to buy a watch? It’s going to take time to bring about results. But the good news is, over time you’re able to drive really massive results, at true scale.
  • Finally, social media cannot make up for a bad product or service. If you really have a true challenge with your product or service, you don’t want to spread the word, not yet.

Let’s look now at the first three of the seven ways.

  1. Facebook Reachageddon

Over the last several years Facebook has decreased the amount of organic reach that businesses get with every quarter that goes by. As Facebook gets more crowded, it becomes harder and harder for a small business to get into people’s new feeds. You’ve got to pay to play.

So what can you do? Advertise smarter. Start spending a little money. We’ve seen amazing results from brands and small businesses spending as little as a couple of dollars a day. Here’s an example of a post from a Likeable customer, who with just a couple dollars reached 1,147 people using our Turbopost, turning every single post into an ad.

TURBOPOSTIf you’re not going to advertise on Facebook, think about whether you should be posting there at all. If no one is going to see your business feed, your time might be better spent on another channel.

How to Advertise on Facebook Effectively

The good news is that you can advertise for just a couple dollars. And you can truly hypertarget and nanotarget on Facebook.

There’s a famous line from the movie The Social Network. “You know what’s cooler than a million dollars? A billion dollars.” My line is the opposite. You know what’s cooler than reaching a billion people on Facebook? Reaching the right thousand, or the right hundred, or the right 10, to truly grow your business. And since you can target any of those 1.3 billion people on Facebook, you truly can reach the exact right audience, based on job title, based on interests, based on age, based on zip code, based on any single data point that people put in.

Pin-Point Targeting

Here’s an example of what I mean: I took out an ad targeting 34 year old females, married, employees of Likeable Media, that went to Emerson College, and lived in the zip code 11050. Of the billion-plus people on Facebook, only one person saw that ad. My wife.

The point is: As narrowly as you want to target your audience, you can. And with Facebook’s Reachageddon, it’s essential that you take advantage of the hypertargeting options with Facebook advertising.

  1. Tell Stories

People respond to stories much more than they respond to promotions or salesmanship. So how can you tell stories on the social web? Better yet, how can you get your customers to tell your story for you?

Tell Your Story

This is the I Love Mary @ McDonalds/Chandler Facebook page. 1,402 Facebook members are fans. That’s pretty impressive. And the comments: “Happy People Day Mary, we love you in the Rocky Mountain region.” “Mary is the best! This is the picture of us at my 40th birthday party on Saturday night.” Wow. I don’t know about you, but I want to go to Chandler, Arizona just to go to this McDonalds, just to meet this Mary.

So my question for you is twofold. First, who’s your Mary? Who are your employees or products or services or processes that are truly worth talking about? And number two, who are your customers that are willing to tell your story to others on the social web? How can you communicate with those customers that are fans, to encourage them to go that extra mile?

Tell stories in your own voice

Social media gives you a great opportunity to really build your own authentic, unique brand voice. This helps customers understand what they’re all about in social media (and it’s a lot of fun). What’s your tone? Are you personal, are you direct, are you scientific? What’s your purpose? Are you there to engage people, to entertain, to delight? What’s your language? Is it simple, is it savvy, is it serious? What’s your character? Are you friendly, are you playful, are you warm? And how can you take the regular commonplace updates and turn them into something that’s really meaningful based on your unique brand voice?

Use Your Brand Voice

  1. Recycle Great Content

If you create great content, it’s a darn shame for you not to truly recycle that. So often I see people put out content once – and then give up on it. It’s your responsibility to share and re-share great content. And by the way, it works. There’s data that shows that repeating a tweet gets you 86 percent as much performance as the initial tweet. Sometimes it can get you a whole lot more.

Chances are if you share something just once, most of your audience won’t see it. Most of them are not locked in on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn at the moment. So you’ve got to share it at least four or five times with your audience in order to get that valuable, inspirational, educational, entertaining content out to them.

And as I said, recycling content works.

Recycle Content

The first time I shared this tweet, it got one retweet and one favorite. The second time I shared it, it got 15 retweets and 17 favorites. It just happens like this sometimes. You can’t control the traffic you get, but you can optimize for as much activity as possible by sharing good content multiple times and truly recycling it.

Learn all Seven Surprising Ways to Succeed in Social Media

In “The Surprising 7 Ways to Succeed in Social Media” webinar, Dave covers the topics you just read about, plus:

  • How can you get referrals? Learn how, why, and when to incentivize.
  • Network content: More ways to keep those conversations going.
  • Educate yourself. This is a new field; you have the opportunity to be really successful if you learn how. You don’t need that Harvard MBA to be a successful small business owner using social media well.
  • 60 percent of businesses don’t respond to compliments and comments on Facebook and Twitter. 60 percent! That wouldn’t fly in a brick-and-mortar store, and it doesn’t work in social media either.

It’s a great webinar, and you can watch it here7 surprising ways

And finally, my conversation with Dave wound up this way:

Rachel: What are the most common mistakes you see?

DAVE: The very most common one is organizations being too promotional and not storytelling enough. Think about what the person on the other side of this post is going to do. Ask yourself: if I saw this content, would I click Like, or Favorite, or Retweet, or Common, or Share? And if you would, then it’s probably worth sharing. And if you wouldn’t click that, well then that content is probably not worth sharing.

I also see people putting their eggs in one basket too much. And so I really think you have think carefully about where your audience is and go where your audience is, be it Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Instagram, Pinterest. Really thinking about where your actual audience is. And if you don’t know where your audience is, just ask them.

Ultimately, to me, there’s really no such thing as B2C or B2B. It’s all P2P, person to person. And even if you’re B2B, you’re still looking to reach decision makers that are human beings that are using social networks. So it’s really all about thinking about where your customer audience is and where you can meet them.

Rachel: Thank you so much for joining us.

Dave: My pleasure. I invite anyone with a question to contact me. If you’ve got the time to write 140 characters, I have the time to respond.