You hear lots of people saying you need a business plan.
Do you have a business plan? Hopefully you do!
BUT, while you might need a business plan for the bank or for the accountant etc – I challenge you that the priority shouldn’t be a business plan – but a marketing plan!
And there’s two marketing fundamentals I see people forgetting with it comes to their marketing plans.
NUMBER 1 – THE FORMUA!
The first one is that they don’t follow the formula. Which formula? The one I teach to everyone I talk to!
The one that sees your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/LinkedIn etc posts, time spent making them, time spent responding to them and so on – NOT helping you achieve your business goals.
EVERYTHING YOU DO IN BUSINESS SHOULD BE HELPING YOU REACH YOUR GOAL – whatever that is!
We need to stop posting for postings sake.
We need to stop emailing for emails sake.
We need to stop posting because some social media expert in a podcast or webinar or email told us that we need to post at least once a day or twice a day or pin 12 times a day.
We need to stop emailing our list because they haven’t heard from us in a while or because you committed to yourself to doing it each week, but you’ve got nothing valuable to say.
Posting needs strategy. Social Media needs strategy. Email marketing needs strategy.
It’s marketing and making needs strategy!
So, let me explain the formula in an example:
- The Business Objective – ie: To have a net profit of $X
- The Marketing Strategy/Marketing Goal – ie: Build my client list by X
Which leads to:
- The Digital Strategy – ie: increase my engagement, reach and impressions on Facebook by X
Which then leads to:
- The Digital Tactic: ie: Offer a lead magnet through a paid Facebook & Instagram ad campaign, to get X a mount of leads
Which then swings straight back to point 1 – Business objective. It’s a circular formula!
Can you see the digital tactic is going to help achieve my marketing goal of increasing my list size which, in turn, and with other marketing tactics in place, will help increase my bottom line!?
SO – stop posting for posting sake – and start focusing on the business objective – whatever that it is and perhaps spend a little bit of your time today working on your business objective and how digital and offline marketing will play a role in that for you!
NUMBER 2 – HAVE A REACH OUT STRATEGY
The second fundamental thing people miss when working out their marketing plan – and this applies to both online and offline – but it’s a mistake I hear and see so often is THEY DON’T HAVE A REACH OUT STRATEGY!
Time and time again I hear people say things like –
- Social media don’t work for my business
- Nobody seems to be finding me – it’s too crowded on social media
- No-one engages with my posts – it’s not worth my time and effort
And I get that – truly I do. Social media can be a complete and utter rabbit warren – an all-consuming time beast, and if you’re not seeing the rewards then can lead to broad (and generally incorrect) statements like “social media doesn’t work for my type of business”.
We’ve all be sold a lie when it comes to social media.
That is the the build it and they will come lie. This statement is simply not true – we can build the heck out of something and they still might not come because they don’t know we’re here!
For the clients or audience members I hear saying things like that, I love to scratch the surface just a wee bit to see what their social media strategy is and how long they spend on social media, (But NOT POSTING on social media), in a day, or a week.
Responses include a look of confusion and questions of “what do you mean Jenn”, or time lines of 5 minutes, 10 minutes or none – and there my friends lies the problem.
You see it’s called SOCIAL MEDIA – with the emphasis on the word SOCIAL!
For over 3 years in just about every talk I give, every client meeting I have, every coaching session I do, I say it “you’ve got to get social on social media”.
And although I’ve been saying it for years – I truly believe that going forward you will simply have no choice – you must get social or you’ll become irrelevant.
You go and get a reach out strategy or you become irrelevant.
What’ a reach out strategy? It’s exactly as it sounds – you spend time on social media – reaching out to people you perceive as your ideal client or customer, someone who might do business with you one day – and you start interacting with them!
On Facebook and LinkedIn – maybe it’s about joining a group in which some members might be your ideal client and you start conversations (if you haven’t already, join my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group – it’s a great place to start!).
Then, start interacting with everyone! Offer value to them, and this can be as simple as answering their questions or just being social by lifting them up – saying congratulations and well done when they have a small win, or replying to them when they comment on your post!
This is one of the biggest mistakes EVER on social media – someone comments on your post and you never return to interact!
That’s like being at a party and people saying, “Hi Jenn, how are you going?’” and I look at them dead in the eye and walking away! It’s the same thing on Social Media, it can be just plain rude if someone has genuinely interacted with you and then you just blank them.
On a platform like Instagram – your reach out strategy may be a little different – although you should still interact with people who interact with you! (Except bots – some people use bots to do automated commenting – if so, forget those and don’t bother interacting – you can generally easily tell if it’s a human or not interacting with you!)
When you are looking to engage with people on Instagram, go looking for your ideal client or customer. Search your most used hashtags and see who else is interacting with them – then follow that person. You never know they just might follow you back! Comment on their posts – and holy grail – they might comment on yours back!
If someone follows you – check them out – if they aren’t a follow/unfollow dropkick – then follow them back if they could be a potential customer or client.
How do you tell if they are a follow/unfollow dropkick – check out their “following” vs “followed” stats. If they follow 200 people but have 4,000 following them – then there’s a chance they’re a follow/unfollow dropkick! Unless they’re famous – then perhaps you can follow them back – in fact if Harvey Spectre follows me – I am SO following him back! Yeah, I know he’s fictional, but a girl can hope right!
If you’re unsure what follow/unfollow means – it’s a really really bad strategy where accounts follow people, get them to follow them back, and then return sometime later and unfollow the person they just followed – it’s a crap strategy and if you do it – STOP!
You can see how simple this theory of reaching out is, right? It’s not rocket science and yet it’s not normal practice either and it just should be!
Reaching out works wonder on LinkedIn too. In a similar way.
The question I get asked most when asking people to spend time reaching out – is how much time do I spend?
The answer – well, you’re not going to be pleased – but it varies!
It’s as long as it takes to reply to everyone who has interacted with you and it’s a few minutes more for you to go seeking your ideal client in the hope that they will follow you back to your nest (or social platforms!) and eventually buy from you.
I cannot encourage you enough to make your new social media goal to GET SOCIAL ON SOCIAL! Join some groups, spend some time in there, make content people will interact with and interact back – remembering that your content on social should either EDUCATE your audience, ENGAGE your audience with value or ENTERTAIN your audience!
And these lessons are ones I wish someone had of told me, so I wouldn’t have spent so much time learning them the hard way for myself!
So just to recap the two fundamentals that people forget in their marketing plans:
- Making sure your digital strategies and goals are aligned with your business objectives and goals, and
- Ensuring you have a reach out strategy to engage your audience both online and offline (although I’ve concentrated heavily on online here today!)
Got questions, comments, thoughts, ideas – well I’d love to hear every single one! Drop me a comment below, or if you are keen to get chatting with some other Small Business owners, head into the Facebook Book, Like Minded Business Owners and tell or ask away!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast