Putting Social Media Marketing on Autopilot – Part 1: Strategize and Automate
[Editor’s Note: Caroline Guntur is a Certified Photo Organizer, Personal Historian, and Genealogist, and the CEO of The Swedish Organizer, LLC, a company that provides customized family history solutions to clients all over the world, as well as online courses and workshop]
Social Media is Essential, Not Optional
Social media marketing is essential to the modern entrepreneur, especially in those industries where consumer education is of importance. I consider the genealogy industry to be one of those industries. There is an endless supply of knowledge to absorb; as a person new to the family history field, and as business owners we all have a wonderful opportunity to lead those people to their discoveries, and at the same time, increase our sales.
But social media is a double-edged sword. Done right, and the rewards are great. Done wrong, and itis a waste of time. So how do you become successful at it instead of wasting your time? How do you know what’s working? Before I answer those questions, you have to understand how social media works. There are three main things that impact the effectiveness of your social media marketing more than anything: quality, consistency, and engagement.
Focus on QCE: Quality, Consistency, & Engagement
Quality simply means posting quality content. You will stand out if you create great content because (unfortunately) there is so much bad content out there. People like anything that’s helpful and actionable, like step-by-step tutorials, so focus on creating in-depth content, like how-to guides, instead of topical overviews. Think of great content as anything that will help your customer overcome the hurdles they face and help them take another step in the right direction. Little wins pay off big-time.
Consistency refers to how you post your content. Sporadic posts and random comments will not do much for you, or for your business. Every business needs a clear-cut social media strategy well-planned out in advance, and you have to post on a consistent schedule across all social media platforms, not only to show your followers that you’re paying attention, but also in order to get better traffic to your accounts and website. Without a strategy in place, consistency is close-to-impossible to achieve.
Finally, focus on engagement. This is something that is often overlooked, but it is some of the most valuable information you can have as a business owner. Having a large number of social media followers does not necessarily translate to great sales numbers, so don’t worry if you do not have the largest following in your niche. Instead, track your engagement rates, such as how many people shared your latest blog post, or how many people responded to a campaign. Those are the people who actually care about what you have to offer, and that pre-qualifies them as prospective customers. I would rather have 100 engaged customers that 10,000 followers who don’t care about my message.
A Clear Strategy Avoids the Social Media Time-Warp
Many times, I have heard colleagues say that they are afraid to get on social media because they feel it will start sucking their time away, and they will no longer be able to keep up. “Better ignore it instead.” I suspect that those people are scared because they do not know what to post, when to post, or why they are posting. Browsing the web aimlessly with no clear intention is guaranteed waste of time, and this is why you need a strategy, especially to avoid the social media time-warp.
A social media strategy does not have to be complicated, it just has to be planned, so ask yourself: Why am I on social media? What is it that I want my customers to do? and how can I help them do it more? This usually clears things up pretty quickly. Want to educate them? Share industry news and best practices. Want them to trust you? Offer them helpful advice and tutorials. Want them to call you? Give them your phone number and a reason to call. It’s pretty straightforward when you think about it. Social media is your opportunity to connect with your audience better, to let them get to know you, and to forge a bond that leaves them wanting more all the time. You have to deploy the same tactics as those in the entertainment industry, and strategize ways to get life-long fans (in the form of repeat customers) instead of a bunch of one-hit wonders.
Delegate to a Scheduler
Keeping up with your social media feed manually could easily be a full-time job, so the solution is to not do it manually. All of this can be automated. One of the pillars of productivity is delegation, which becomes even more essential if you are a solopreneur. In a nutshell, you have to delegate as much as possible whenever you can in your business, and it applies to your social media as well. Why? Because you are not a full-time marketer. You are a genealogy professional, and you need to spend your time billing clients instead of posting online. The solution is to invest in a good social media management program that can auto-post quality content you have created (and curated) on a set schedule consistently, and create engagement within your community for you.
There are countless schedulers out there on the market, some free, and some subscription-based. You can use one, or a combination of many, and it may take a few hours to figure out what works for you, but the sooner you do it, the more time you save. Marketing your small business will always take up administrative hours, but by delegating your social media posting schedule, you can free up much of that time, thereby increasing your profit margin.
* * *
About Caroline Guntur
Caroline is a Certified Photo Organizer, Personal Historian, and Genealogist, and the CEO of The Swedish Organizer, LLC, a company that provides customized family history solutions to clients all over the world, as well as online courses and workshops.
Caroline runs two blogs: Organizing Photos (OrganizingPhotos.net), a blog dedicated to helping people tackle their digital photo collections, and Searching Scandinavia (SearchingScandinavia.com), a blog aimed at connecting Scandinavian-Americans to their heritage by offering research help, repository tutorials, and exploring the Scandinavian culture.
Caroline is a Professional Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO), the Association of Personal Historians (APH), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Computer Genealogy Society of Sweden (DIS-Sverige), the Genealogical Society of Österlen, Sweden, and the Genealogical Society of Ystad, Sweden.
A native of Ystad, Sweden, Caroline has a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communications from Hawaii Pacific University, and a Master’s Degree in Media Management from Columbia College. She currently divides her time between the United States, and Sweden.