MAR 21, 2016 @ 1:56 PM / By Kate Harrison – Contributor from forbes.com
Maria Dykstra is a Microsoft veteran turned author, speaker, and technology entrepreneur. Her company, Tredigital, is a fast growing digital agency in Seattle. Dykstra serves as an advisor and board member for several startups and women’s leadership organizations, and helps companies get off the ground with no-cost and low-cost marketing strategies. Here are her top 5 tips for “empty wallet entrepreneurs”:
Tip 1 – Choose The Right Platform
“Facebook is great, but having 2,000 friends doesn’t necessarily translate into business,” Dykstra warns. “At the same time, don’t rush to say, ‘My customers are not on Social.’ We found that over 85% of ‘unlikely to be on social media’ CEOs had LinkedIn Profiles.”
Here is how you decide:
“Ask yourself, ‘Who is the right decision maker?’ Be specific: Senior IT Director in charge of Big Data cloud infrastructure vs. a mid-size recruiting company. What specific problems do they have? Hootsuite allows you to listen to real-time conversations via keyword searches. Where do your target folks engage? Visual networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are best for consumer-facing businesses, while to find key executives, I suggest you go to LinkedIn and Twitter.
Tip 2 – A Successful Social Media Action Plan Goes Beyond Content
“Content, audience building, and conversation are the three pillars of a strong social media plan.” Dykstra notes. However, she warns that you must “deliver value before selling.” You do this via content that educates, inspires, and answers questions. As a rule of thumb, she suggests that you aim for 60% of your updates to be industry related third-party content. “Promote your own content just 30% of the time; 10% or less of everything you share can be direct calls to action.” To identify the top industry influencers, use RightRelevance. “Add these folks to your Twitter list and follow their followers. Take the time to start the conversation: set aside 15 minutes a day to engage with your new followers. Ask a question; reply to their tweet or ‘like’ something they shared.”
Tip 3 –Use A Simple Content Planning Formula
Start by selecting a central idea tightly aligned with your customer’s top problems. Dykstra suggests specifics: “Break that central idea into several main topics and then further divide these into quotable tweets. For example, one central idea can be broken down into five main topics and 25 quotable tweets. And maximize your content by turning each blog into downloadable checklists.” Other clever ideas for maximizing social media impact include combining five blogs into an email “mini-course” and sending it via Drip and then using the Hootsuite Bulk upload template to easily schedule all 25 quotes on social media.
Tip 4 – Turn $50 Into a Powerful Marketing Campaign
“Low-budget marketing campaigns are most successful for ‘warm leads.’ With just 20 people on your email list, you can run a Facebook Custom Audience campaign. Select ‘Look Alike’ targeting to find more people who profile like your customers.” Dykstra also suggests using Twitter to capture leads: “Twitter Cards allow your users to click on your card to get your information, and you get contact info from their Twitter profile. You only pay when you receive contact information for a potential lead.”
Tip 5 – Do Not Chase Likes, They Do Not Make Your Phone Ring
Sometimes knowing what not to do or spend money on is as important as knowing what to go after. “10,000 likes on Facebook may gain you the coveted ‘social proof’ but not generate anything useful in sales. Successful media marketing strategy orchestrates your customer’s journey from a complete stranger to a devoted fan. Start by defining your ideal customers. Make the first move to engage them by following them on social media. Work to earn their trust and deliver value via content and conversations. Only then should you attempt to entice them to try your product. Test and fine-tune until you find the shortest path to new customers. Once you do, pour money into that winning strategy, and watch the sales (and profits) roll in.”
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