Social Media Outreach: A Guide
What started out as a simple way for young people to connect and yes, find a date, has turned into a multibillion-dollar industry that grandparents are now comfortable using. Social media dominates today’s world, socially, culturally, and economically. And it shows no sign of slowing down. It has evolved from its start as a way for teenagers and college kids to communicate. Not surprisingly marketers quickly jumped on the bandwagon to try and take advantage of the social media outreach trend. And early efforts were clumsy.
It took a while for businesses to learn that traditional advertising techniques didn’t work on social media. One accurate description was that it was as if two friends were talking, showing each other pictures of their kids, and then the advertiser interrupted shouting about their product.
But using social media to drive traffic has become commonplace in today’s world. Savvy marketers and creators have learned more subtle ways to share their messages and grow their brands.
The following are some helpful tips and ideas to keep in mind if you’re looking to use social media as an outreach tool.
Be clear about what your goal is with social media outreach.
It’s a step that is often overlooked, but without setting goals it’s hard to make your team understand what you’re trying to accomplish.
Are you looking for more followers on your social media accounts? Do you want more engagement with your posts? Are you trying to drive more traffic to a website? Once your goal is clear, it becomes easier to decide what specific audience you want to target, and makes it easier to create a prospect list.
Build real relationships online.
Relationship building is not a new business technique. Relationships on social media are just as important as they are in person.
A good place to start is to identify people of influence in the audience that you want to reach and build relationships with them. Showing these people how you can be an asset to their platform is important. Focus on what you can do for them, instead of what they can do for you.
Finding influencers in your area of interest is not difficult, in fact you probably already know who the movers and shakers are. But if not, spend some time surfing the social media pages of your followers and see who they are following.
After you build these relationships and there is a level of familiarity and trust, you can ask these contacts to promote your content. If you take your time building the relationships, this may well happen organically. Again, If your content provides them with something that helps them.
Make sure your profiles are ready for visitors.
It doesn’t matter how many people discover your social media pages if they are incomplete or sloppily put together. You know the saying about second chances at first impressions.
Things as simple as your profile picture is clean and professional are key. Make sure you have a descriptive and informative bio that clearly states who you are and what you do. Be sure there is contact information on the pages, as well as a link to your website.
But add your own personal touch as well. Social media is technology, but it’s technology to connect human beings. Sometimes we get so caught up in software, analytics, and algorithms that we forget the personal touches that people can connect with.
Engage with prospects.
Way too many businesses and marketers make the mistake of treating social media like traditional advertising, a one-way street. Social media is about engagement and conversations with people.
If prospects or followers feel like you’re just talking at them and not listening or engaging, they won’t stick around long. Respond to comments, answer questions, “like” other people’s posts, and comment on them.
Using social media must be a commitment. Only posting when you have inspiration, or when you think about it will get you nowhere fast. Social media platforms use algorithms to create relevancy and those algorithms reward consistency.
Planning your posts ahead of time is the best way to stay consistent. Setting aside a few minutes each week to plan that week’s posts is an easy way to make sure that you don’t fall behind on your posting. There are lots of tools online that help with this as well.
Social media outreach sometimes gets (and sometimes deserves) a bad rap, because if it’s not done right is just seems “spammy”. We’ve touched on it already, but remembering that it’s not about platforms and technology, it’s about people, is important.
Nobody likes a cheesy salesperson, concerned only with hitting their numbers and what you can do for them. Build your social media relationships like you would any other relationship, with respect, support, communication, and quality work.