Discussed in the episode:
02:21 – From PPC ninja to social media
03:22 – Sustainable traffic with Facebook
04:53 – Fluff vs. serious marketing
06:34 – Social media in politics
09:07 – How Jen knows what she knows
12:14 – The biggest mistake
14:35 – Tools that help
16:32 – Are you in a rut?
18:35 – Being smart about retargeting
21:29 – One size does NOT fit all
24:58 – The steps to a winning content strategy
31:20 – The role of Instagram
34:06 – Possible challenges
34:43 – Who it works for
36:45 – Did you get it right?
38:34 – A quick recap
40:27 – What to do after this podcast
42:46 – The 411 plan
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James: James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today is a guest podcast. I’ve got someone on the show. We’re talking about social media and driving qualified traffic to your website. And this is a really special one because my guest today is Jen Sheahan, who I’ve had on this show before. Welcome back Jen.
Jennifer: Thank you very much. It’s good to be here.
James: I’ve known you for quite some time now since we met at a conference many years ago, and you were sniping away with affiliate campaigns from home as a mum.
Jennifer: Yes. That’s right. I was a little PPC ninja.
James: And I said to you, “You know, you should do this for other people. They’d really appreciate it.” You went on to create information products. You set up, with some help from me, a Facebook agency, and you even trained the latest crop of Facebook advertising champions through your master classes. I think you’ve been responsible for a lot of goodness in the advertising world relating to social media.
Jennifer: Yeah, thank you.
James: But it’s great to see your business evolve. You’ve actually stepped up again and I see it as you’ve gone up a level where you’ve gone just beyond that specialist sniper scope of just paid ads on Facebook now. You’re doing the holistic social media approach combining both paid and organic methods, which seems to make a lot of sense given the fact that it’s possible at some point, an account might get shut down for just being too dependent on one particular tactic. Can you tell me a little bit about what’s happening with your business Socially Grown?
A little background on Jen
Jennifer: Yeah. Absolutely. So as you mentioned, I come from a PPC background, very ROI driven, analytics focus, and Facebook traffic is just unbeatable, and the volume of Facebook traffic is just so phenomenal, and it still is phenomenal. So for the past couple of years, I have been running lots and lots of paid traffic ad campaigns on Facebook but over time, it started to become far more volatile, far less consistent, and we quickly realized that if you really want to dominate, if you really want a lasting traffic source, you can build that with social media, and it doesn’t have to be like turning a faucet on or off, or a tap, turning it on and off, and you get tons of traffic and then when Facebook shots you down, that’s the end of it. You’re dead in the water.
So many people contact us and they’re panicking because they were so dependent on Facebook traffic and now they have nothing. So instead, what we’ve been doing is building sustainable long term traffic sources using the same stuff with Facebook, but just being a lot smarter about it. So now it lasts a lot longer and it’s been really fabulous, really exciting to see some of the results we’re getting.
James: It’s kind of like you’ve got the glove for the hand that I call OwnTheRacecourse, where I’ve been teaching build your base on a solid WordPress blog, put your best content there, then by all means, amplify it, syndicate it, drive traffic to it with funnels, use your social media outreach.
Jennifer: Exactly. That’s exactly what this whole idea is all about, that is exactly. Everybody who’s getting really good results, has a very strong website presence with really good content, they care about their customers, they are delivering really good stuff and helping a lot of people. And these are the people who need some help with social media and they’re just like, “I don’t know what to do. Am I supposed to run Facebook ads? What’s next?” And that’s where we step in.
James: Perfect. So everything we talk about today is going to work really if you’ve been following OwnTheRacecourse, if you have a strong website presence, if you may have a product or two with perhaps a funnel leading to it. You want to know how to leverage it more, we’re going to dive in to social media.
I do sometimes shudder just a fraction when the words social media get mentioned. I think of the gossipy side of it, the fluffy, airy fairy hard to track vanity metrics, dare I say? Some people chasing how many followers they have on Twitter and stuff. How much of that is there versus this return on investment direct response aspect where you’ve got the hardcore testosterone market where they’re just driving these paid ads and jam them into funnels and getting shut down every 5 minutes. Seems like there’s these 2 extremes.
Leveraging social media
Jennifer: Exactly. I see Socially Grown, and what we’re doing now as a blend of those 2 worlds. We’re not fluffy social media types over here. We’re very ROI-driven, very results focused. However, time and time and time again, people are finding themselves in the same situation with being dependent only on Facebook ads traffic. You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. A new Facebook ad account is not going to last forever. So what we’ve done is kind of brought those 2 worlds together and we’ve created an ROI results-driven social media company that still has all the fluffy exterior of social media, but at the end of the day, you’re getting results and traffic, and making more sales or in some of our client’s cases, they’re getting votes on election day. That’s the bottom line.
James: Yeah. I imagine when you have a corporate buyer or a typical larger customer, they’re going to be wanting to get some fancy tracking metrics that they’re used to seeing from agencies with PowerPoint presentations of how much more reach and stuff. You’ve got some very interesting clients. I think you just dropped the hint there. You’ve been working with political candidates. How does that go for them?
Jennifer: Yeah. A whole aspect, like one whole team of our agency works on political campaigns and election campaigns and that’s been really awesome because the politicians who are coming to us, they’re not really sure, they’re very frightened. Social media, you have to be very careful what you say and who you say it to. Many of them are on a very tight budget and everything has to be very meticulous. So we just have so much fun working with those clients because we now have a formula that works, and we’ve been able to implement it now several times over and over and over again for small candidates and large candidates that we’ve just been able to produce fabulous results.
The campaign that we’re working on right now, we just had so many really big things happen just in the last couple of weeks. But average engagement on their Facebook page and with their voters in their district, when we started, was only down around 2%, and that’s jumped up to 32%. So 32% of their fans are commenting, and sharing, and liking their posts and talking about them and participating in events.
This particular candidate has a weekly event and she used to only get a handful of people that would come to these weekly events like 10 or 15 people, and now every single time, every week, she’s getting more than a hundred people show up in person, knocking on doors and all that sort of stuff on her behalf. And it’s purely from the work that we’ve been doing. So to see real results on the ground… And this one, we doubled their financial campaign contributions in just 4 weeks. So obviously that’s massive for her. It doesn’t matter your budget, if you can double a couple of thousand dollars, it means a lot. And obviously if you have $500,000 campaigns, that’s a lot too.
James: I’m hoping we will find out what some of these formulas are just in the moment. Before I get to that, I am curious though, in the whole time that I’ve observed you online, it has been quite some time now, maybe 5 or 6 years; you always seem to know what’s working and what’s happening right now, and you’ve been instrumental in helping me setup in the very beginning when I was working on improving my Facebook marketing. You taught me stuff like put the link, let the post populate, and then remove the link to make it look nice etc. How do you know these stuff? Where do you find out?
How to get updated
Jennifer: Well, we’re in it every day all day working on campaigns and we have been for so many years. You can see tiny fluctuations and the shift. I guess it’s like the shifting sands. When you’re really in it every day all day and doing stuff, you can see what Facebook is thinking. And when they make little changes, you kind of go, “Ah. I see where they’re going with that.” And you can be a few steps ahead of everybody else who’s just waiting for a big news release or something to say this is the biggest newest thing.
We tend to ignore the biggest newest thing because it’s not new to us. We’ve been aware of it for a while, and we just focus on what gets the results, which isn’t always the big news thing. I think everybody who’s listening to this will probably know that there’s lots of gurus and that sort of stuff and they have their biggest launch, and whatever is the most popular thing at the moment is what everybody’s talking about but that’s not necessarily what is working best at the time.
James: I think you and I are countercyclical and it’s better to be ahead of the curve if you possibly can.
Jennifer: Yeah. I mean we know. I know what gets the best result this week because we’re doing it this week. It’s not like I go on hiatus for 6 months and then I come out with a big launch.
James: It’s great. I updated my website theme yesterday, just quietly rolled out the new release, which we’ve been working on for a month or two. We’re always testing and innovating in the background so that when things become popular. I mean it’s fascinating now how many people are telling me that OwnTheRacecourse was ahead of its time because I’ve been talking about it for so long and now, it’s so clear that you just cannot be single source dependent on someone else’s platform. You and I had that discussion years ago and you’ve come up with this very holistic approach, which is so clever because you can’t really get too much in trouble if you’re using a few different platforms to drive traffic to your offers.
James: Now, you’ve got the advantage of having a team, and you’ve got lots of clients and some very impressive clients. Some are so amazing that you’re not even allowed to talk about it. So I won’t ask you about them. What I will ask you about is for someone listening to this, who is trying to do it themselves, or maybe they’ve got a client and they’re working on a small portfolio, what sort of mistakes are being made right now with social media campaigns and the way they’re approaching it that you might be able to set them straight with.
Mistakes on social media campaigns
Jennifer: Sure. The biggest mistake for organic social media that I see is that people post everything at the same time. And what I mean by that is they have a blog post, and they have it automatically set to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, everywhere all at the same time. And I strongly believe that that is one of the biggest mistakes of current organic social media. I’m sure I’m going to get a whole lot of social media gurus saying that I’m completely wrong about that. However we have the data to back it up.
Let me just explain. If I follow you and let’s say I’m in your district, and I follow you on Facebook, chances are I’m also on Twitter and I follow you there too. I see you in my Twitter feed, I see your blog post on Facebook and on Twitter, I’m not going to click on both of them, I’m not going to read both of them . Especially if I see them within 5 or 10 minutes or I just get a notification for it.
So it makes a lot more sense to stagger your post or stagger the amplification that you do of your blog post so that you reach people at different times of the day on different networks and different platforms with a different headline or a different image to drive that traffic through to your website and actually get them to read what you have to say, or watch your video, or enter their email address, or buy your stuff. So that’s one of the biggest mistakes.
James: That is a fantastic thing. I’ve actually been staggering the syndication of my posts and the emailing of my posts usually a day apart. I think that it does make a lot of sense. You’re right. It’s almost this possibility if they’re seeing your posts come through on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and wherever else all at the same time that they might also feel a little less personal, like they’re being grenaded, just being grenaded.
Jennifer: True. Very obviously automated. And so, by simply staggering them and having something different to say about each one, you increase the click-through rate and increase your conversion rate dramatically.
James: Do you still use tools for this? Because I’ve resisted the temptation to be using Buffer or whatever. I’d usually just click on the sharing widgets on my own blog post and customize each headline and message depending on the audience.
Jennifer: Yup. You can do that. I mean some people can do that especially if they’re a one-man show or a one-person show. You can definitely do that as long you have it on a calendar or schedule and you know what to do and when. The chances of you, or of me anyway, let’s talk about me. The chances of me remembering on Wednesday morning to go back in and tweet last week’s blog post is pretty slim.
So what I suggest instead is that you have a calendar and that you set it up. There are really really good systems that you can use now. Post Planner is one, Sprout Social is another, Hootsuite is another, Buffer is another; however, it’s just a personal choice for me. Buffer’s not my favorite. I just like opportunities to communicate. I strongly believe social media is a two-way street, and I can’t talk to people on Buffer. I can only send stuff out.
James: So it’s more of a push mechanism than a communication tool.
James: So which one do you like?
Jennifer: Well you know, we’re changing all the time. Like I had my finger in each one of these little pies. Right now, we’re actually using all 3 of those, Sprout Social, and Post Planner, and Hootsuite. And we post some things manually as well. Our political clients, we absolutely do not use any tools at all. We post manually for all of them.
James: So for someone like me with one blog, and on average, I do a post most weekdays. I’m probably doing 4 to 5 pieces of content a week, my thing is just have a routine where I’m logging into my blog and sharing something a couple of times a day and it might be over the last day or two. Is that going to be OK?
James: Cool. What else are people doing wrong?
Jennifer: OK. Let’s see, there’s a lack of variety of what people are posting. So I think people tend to get in a rut, and they forget what people want to know. So having video, custom images, something.. Take a picture of what you wrote on your whiteboard or take a picture of you doing something or meeting people. Those things are really really powerful, and then brand them with your website or your logo. It’s very easy to do. There’s a service called Canva, C-A-N-V-A, Canva, and it’s free. And you can upload things and make your own custom images and they’re awesome. Really really good. So it’s very easy to use.
So you want video, images, infographics, helpful tips, sharing either your content or other people’s content, vary it up, and make sure that you get a variety of different things. Questions are really good. You don’t have to have an image with every post. Images are getting downgraded right now in Facebook anyway. So vary it up. Keep it fresh, keep it interesting to keep people engaged.
James: I’ve heard that videos are popular for Facebook posts at the moment.
Videos on Facebook
Jennifer: They are. But again, be very wary of what’s hot right now. It’s native video, uploading it directly to Facebook is very powerful right now.
James: But it’s going to get overdone.
Jennifer: Yeah, it’s going to get overdone. Everybody’s going to hear it, and everybody’s going to be posting native video and that’ll be it. And then your video gets lost in this.
James: Right, so that’s the new standard. And then that’s why a little text post might actually have cut-through.
Jennifer: Exactly. So you want to make sure, follow the key people in your market, see what they’re doing, see what gets a lot of engagement, and then make sure that you are complementing that kind of style because it obviously works in your market.
Jennifer: So another mistake is retargeting. Everybody is talking about retargeting and remarketing. A lot of people are doing it wrong. So it’s really important that you don’t just throw a remarketing pixel up on your website and just build a list. It’s very nice and I guess it’s better than nothing. But a lot of people are doing that and then they go back to remarket their list and it doesn’t really convert very well, and then they go, “Oh, this never worked.”
James: I know some horrific campaigns. I’ve clicked on some guy’s Facebook post where he’s talking about how hard he’s been working on his launch, and out of curiosity, I clicked on the launch page and now I’m seeing his face plastered all over Facebook wanting me to promote his launch. I’m not the target market. I’m not interested in promoting his launch. And now I feel a little bit cheated that all this emotional vulnerability outpouring is just a campaign to get a retargeting cookie embedded.
James: It creates bad will.
Jennifer: It does. And there’s all kinds of stories coming out now. Ever since retargeting became the in thing to do, everybody’s trying to do it and they’re trying to be clever on how they do it. So your average e-commerce provider, or your average political candidate, the people who we’re working with, they have to be smart to cut through the noise. You don’t want to feel like somebody’s hounding you for your vote or somebody’s hounding you to buy this particular piece of equipment or whatever.
Doing it right
So in order to be smart about it, what you want to do is make sure you have a timer set on your retargeting cookie or your retargeting pixel, although people who bounce off your website are not getting the cookie. So that way, you’re building a list of people who are actually interested in what you have to say. You can also have your cookie land on a thank you page, or on a download page where people have actually already engaged with you.
James: Ah, that’s like my cart abandonment page. To get there, they really have to go from a blog post to a sales product page, to then click on a ‘Yes, I want to buy it.’ and then not purchase. They’re the only people that I’m following up with that particular sequence.
Jennifer: Correct. So that kind of thing. So using it wisely is going to bring you so much more bang for your buck at the end of the day because when you run paid traffic to that retargeting audience, these people have gotten quite a long way through your content or through your stuff.
James: Yeah, so they’re hyper targeted.
James: So not treating retargeting like a hammer and everything looks like a nail, you want to be far more precise.
Jennifer: Right. Exactly.
James: Good topic. I imagine it’s hard when you’re dealing with things like politicians to be their voice or tone in the marketplace. Do you think some people are just approaching it with a one size fits all?
Cutting through the noise
Jennifer: They are. They are. With politicians in particular, we’ve got to be so so so careful. It’s really important to understand what they stand for and what their voting points are, and what messages they want to get out to the audience. So we immerse ourselves in who they are and the kind of person they are and what they stand for. We read all their speeches and we surround ourselves in their world. And we have regular phone conferences with the people in their office and all that sort of stuff so that we really really understand everything that they want to say. We listen to their target audience too.
So obviously we follow their competition, and we listen to the conversations that are going on in their ideal audience. What are other things these people are talking about outside of the political realm so that we can say that there are these discussions happening over here on Twitter, and these discussions on LinkedIn, and we bring that all back and incorporate those topics into social media. I think what a lot of people do is they just send out their message, send out their message, blasting, pushing pushing pushing, and people tune it out. So if you’re not talking about relevant topics and relevant issues to your market, then you’re not cutting through the noise.
James: Right. If in Australia, where they’re having a bit of a political discussion about immunization, you could then create, link your stuff to white papers or discussions about: should you be immunizing your child or something, and lead people through a side door to get to where you need to get to.
Jennifer: Exactly. And so if one of our clients was an Australian politician who was going to address this as a topic, we would find out where they stand on the immunization issue, make sure they write a blog post about it, get them to do a video about it. And then we would be publishing that content based on people’s questions and people’s issues, and making sure that those pieces of content addressed the main issue. So we’re ranking for keywords, and Google, we’re ranking for keywords with YouTube, we can post a video direct to Facebook, and all of these things using select hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. We can incorporate all of this so that all of these people who are interested in this topic are funneled through to our candidate’s video.
James: So what you’re saying is that with a lot of the content you’re using, you’re not always just linking back to a homepage or a sales page. There’s as much thought as to where it links to as what topic it’s about.
Jennifer: Correct. It’s very intricate, so I hope that I’m not losing people when I’m talking about this.
James: No, I’m going to recap. I’m taking notes here, Jen. Every time I speak to you I take notes because I’m going to be implementing a lot of this myself.
Jennifer: There’s a lot, there’s a whole lot that goes on behind the scenes.
James: But you do this all day every day with a team, my job is to extract the good ideas from this and see if we can turn this into something actionable by the end. Go for it. You’re doing great.
Strategic content creation
Jen: Remember when I was saying one of the big mistakes that people make is they write a blog post and they just send it out, they just push it out, and then they wait for the traffic to flow in? Instead, what you can do is strategically create the content, it’s based on what people are already talking about or what your main issues are or what your hot points are for whatever it is you’re selling. Create your content based around that, so that you know that these keywords are hot issues for you and your audience.
Now if you don’t know what those are, then you can do keyword research, you can go into Facebook. Facebook has an awesome data-mining facility where you can just find out exactly what people are talking about and what other things they like. And you can create content based around those topics.
Once you do that, you post it on your blog, making sure that you have a timer set on your remarketing pixel, so that everybody who’s read this blog post and has stayed on the page for 30 seconds or more, they get the pixel. Make sure your blog post is optimized for things that people want to buy, you’ve got ad units in the sidebar and opt-ins and all that kind of good stuff.
Then you post that blog post on Facebook, with a custom image, like an image that addresses the question, or has your logo on it or your URL on it. So you want a custom image, and you post the link on Facebook with the headline, or with a question or with some kind of a snippet or a… you know how you do at the beginning of your podcast, James? Like you put the hot thing, and that makes everybody want to keep listening?
The monkey’s fist
James: We do that because it pulls that excerpt into the post preview. So everything I’m doing with OTR translates here. I put a compelling headline. It’s called a monkey’s fist, actually, the first line before the article, after that little… I think I read it from Gary Halbert or Gary Bencivenga, but it’s the little bronze thing that they tie to a thin piece of string that they throw when the ship docks. They throw this brass monkey’s fist tied to thin string, which is then tied to the thick rope, so it’s really the monkey’s fist that leads to the bulk of the article.
We always put a custom image, and whenever I click on those sharing widgets, I customize it like you said with a question, or depending on the audience, if I want it to be controversial, or ranty or curious or just straight down factual. It depends on my mood or where the social media’s at. But yeah, always grabbing people in with that little bit of indicator of what’s coming but not revealing everything.
Jennifer: Great. Exactly. So once everybody can do that, it’d be wonderful. We’d all be miles ahead of everybody else.
James: Even with the bullets for our timeline now, we work on a little bit of curiosity to compel someone to find out what that could possibly be.
Jennifer: Yeah, and I think that these are all underutilized across the board. So that would be great. Everybody could do that.
After posting to Facebook
So then you post it on your blog post, and then you upload it to Facebook. So that’s where we’re up to. Then, the next day, you can tweet. On Twitter, you can tweet a link to your blog post, to your website. And you can schedule a tweet to go to the Facebook post from Twitter, the same Facebook post. So you can either send from Twitter to Facebook, and from Twitter to your blog post. Right?
Jennifer: Then the next day, you put something cool on Pinterest. This is if Pinterest applies to you and your business. With most e-commerce providers, it does.
James: Definitely with e-commerce it does. Infographics seem pretty popular there, too.
Jennifer: They’re wonderful. There’s so many cool ways to use Pinterest, and I can’t believe, like two years ago I would have freaked out if you would have told me I would have loved PInterest, because I hated it a couple of years ago.
James: Have you already sent an email about your blog post, or is that somewhere else?
Jennifer: Yes. An email can be automatic. Yeah.
Jennifer: And then, so Pinterest the next day, so you send something from PInterest to your blog post.
Where LinkedIn comes in
Jennifer: And then you want to tweet it again on the next day. Now on the third day, what we like to do is write, if it’s relevant, and again with e-commerce and politics and manufacturing and the clients that we’re working with, LinkedIn is awesome. You want to make a LinkedIn blog post. So you’re going to post an entirely new version of what you posted on your blog, on Sunday or on the first day, you’re going to post that on LinkedIn. And then you can tweet to the LinkedIn article and in the LinkedIn article you’re linking to your blog as well, to the blog post.
Jennifer: You with me?
James: Yes, so far, I’ve mapped it out.
Jennifer: OK, good. So then, you’re going to tweet straight to LinkedIn, and then you’re going to send from LinkedIn to Facebook.
Jennifer: It’s like, basically sending people, “If you want to keep reading, go here,” and then you’re sending them to the Facebook post. Or sending them from Twitter to LinkedIn and from LinkedIn to the blog.
Jennifer: Right, and so then the next day, you’re going to tweet it again. We recommend 5 to 10 tweets from your account about your content each day.
James: Have you got this all written down on a whiteboard somewhere?
Jennifer: I do.
James: Jen, I want you to take a picture of your whiteboard and send it to me. I’m going to put it in the post, right near the show notes.
Jennifer: All right.
James: So far, I’ve got your blog post, your email about the blog post, you then Facebook share the blog post, then after that you tweet back to the Facebook link, and then after that you Pinterest, linking back to your blog post, then after that you tweet, linking back to the blog post. And then you do a separate LinkedIn post which is pretty much a replication but also links back to the post, and then you tweet about that post and then the day after that you tweet again about the whole thing.
Jennifer: Correct. And then the next step is Instagram.
James: Of course.
Jennifer: So Instagram is very, very cool, but it’s completely different. So if you’re the kind of person who’s going to get freaked out about too much social media, then Instagram, just leave it on the back burner…
James: It seems to be a very visual market where it doesn’t seem as monetized but it seems more about food and surfing and yoga and more of that.
Jennifer: Well, it’s about everything. It’s about whatever you want to take a picture of.
Jennifer: I mean, we have one client, they’re a tiny little pub, and they get tons and tons of business from Instagram. So who knew? It’s just a matter of how you post it and when you post it and what you post. If you are a social media warrior and you just want to get out there and conquer it, well then Instagram is a good place to start. But if you are overwhelmed by social media, then put Instagram on the back burner for now.
But Instagram is really cool. You need a really cool, unique image that doesn’t have a whole lot of text or it doesn’t look too sales-ey but it’s a cool image, like black and white or a little bit of color or looks a little bit artsy or something. And you can post a link to your blog post in Instagram. You can also post a video there, and you can post a little snippet of a video there, which is really good. Videos are great on Instagram.
James: Yeah, I did a video sequence, a surfing shot. I actually got the stills on my computer, and then as I tabbed through with the arrows, I filmed it with my iPhone as a video of the sequence, and then uploaded that to Instagram for the surf brand. And that seemed popular.
Jennifer: Cool, cool. And if you’re not sure about the ROI of any of these platforms, you can only post certain things to certain sites. And obviously you can use tracking links for all these things that you’re linking back and forth to.
Sorry, let me just finish this sequence. And then we tweet it again the next day, and so you want to make sure that with Twitter, you’re sending traffic to LinkedIn and Facebook and the blog post.
Jennifer: On different days. With sort of different headlines. So you’re not just replicating the same thing over and over and over again. You’re just asking questions, and getting people. So the idea is that you’re sending traffic all over the place, all based on this one topic from this one day.
James: So it’s really leveraging this core idea, which interestingly harks back to your pay per click expertise, comes from keywords research. You still have that foundation of actually researching the market first, never doing anything as a guess.
So what sort of challenges do you think someone might have, listening to this, when they start out with a social media campaign?
Jennifer: Well, it’s probably overwhelming, not enough time or understanding. I get it, I get it. I mean, I’ll try to map it out for you guys so that you can see, and then you can hand this to your VA and get them to do it, it’s not that hard if you use a calendar like iCal or Google Calendar. You can just put little reminders in place. And I think that would be a big challenge, like just figuring out, OK, this is what we’re going to do and how do we do it. So hopefully I can help a little bit with that.
Who gets the best results?
James: What sort of person should hire you to do this, as an agency?
Jennifer: Well, we work with hospitality groups and restaurant chains, politicians obviously, e-commerce stores. People who are doing a couple of million a year in revenue, and they have a few employees. We’re actually running a training program for their social media employees. So they’ve brought us on board to work directly with their team, to train up their team so their team know how to do this and they can take it over. So we jump on a call with them once or twice a week, and that’s been really fun, really good, because they’re taking ownership. They’re kicking butt. It’s good.
James: So what I’m hearing is this works really well for real businesses that are outside the biz opp or pharmaceuticals type niches.
Jennifer: Yes, yes. It’s for people who want to build a solid presence online. They have a real business, it’s established over a long period of time, and they have real customers, they get good reviews and repeat buyers and that sort of stuff. Those are the people that get the best results.
James: You shared with me some information about business owners and how much time they spend online. Could you expand on that?
Jennifer: Yeah. Well, there’s a recent study, it’s like 16,000 business owners. And they said that most people spend about 2 hours a day trying to promote their business on social media. That’s a lot of people.
Forty percent said that they weren’t sure if they were getting any results or if it was doing them any good, but they knew they had to be there, so they just kept wasting this time and money on something they’re not sure if it’s working or if they’re doing it right or not. And almost every person we talked to, they feel like they’re doing it wrong or they’re not sure, everybody’s unsure because there are so many conflicting ways of doing it out there.
James: Well, unless someone from your team’s listening to this, probably every listener’s got some room for improvement. Let’s talk about what success looks like. How would you know you’re doing it well?
Jennifer: Well, if you know what your community wants, you have your finger on the pulse of your community, and you can create content that they enjoy and they love and they’re like, “Thank you, yes, this is what I needed to know.” If you have a steady stream of interesting content or videos or podcasts or photos, things that you can share with your community. If you have real connection, like you actually care what people do with your product or you actually care what happens to them after you make the sale. Those sort of people are doing really well with this sort of method. Is that what you asked?
James: That’s exactly what I wanted. Yeah. I just wrote down here, they’re going to resonate, you’ll have a steady stream of interesting and valuable content, and you’ll have a real connection. People actually can tell that you care.
Jennifer: Yeah, right. It’s committed. It’s not like get in quick, like I just want 3,000 opt-ins and I need to make X number of sales from that and then I’m done.
James: That’s a lot of the conversation I do here. It’s like, Oh yeah, I need to get some Facebook ads to get opt-ins for my webinar so I can get rich and pay off my mortgage. That’s really a shallow way of looking at it, isn’t it?
Jennifer: Well, that’s one way of doing it, and there’s a lot of people out there who are doing that sort of thing, and that’s…
James: But there’s more to be gotten, isn’t there, if you can go deeper or broader?
Jennifer: Yes! Right. You can build a real business that lasts for a really long time.
James: So you’ve shared some great ideas. I think what we should do now is sew this up into something nice that we can use. So I’ve just made some notes, I’m going to go through those and then I’m going to ask you to close out with an action step list that someone could implement as a result of listening to this.
James: So my notes so far were that you should stagger your posts and differentiate headlines, and the type of content. You could use some tools like Sprout Social, Post Planner, Hootsuite to manage this and have a two-way communication. If you just want to push, you might use Buffer, but probably shouldn’t.
You want lots of variety with things like videos, images, pictures, tips, infographics. You can use Canva to watermark and edit your images. If you’re going to do retargeting, which you should do, just be smart with it. Set timers. And think about where you’re linking things to based on the research that you’ve done and how you can be a bit smarter about what you’re targeting for people so that they actually don’t feel stalked or just banged over the head like a little baby seal, you know, with a club.
And you suggested 30 seconds is a good timer for remarketing, and making sure that you optimize your ad units. I like how you threw that in. There’s no point doing all these stuff unless you can actually turn it into some action that’s beneficial. Then you’ve got your schedules, where you don’t do everything at once so you talked us through this flowchart of the blog post: email, then Facebook, tweet, Pinterest, tweet, replicate for LInkedIn, tweet, tweet, Instagram, tweet, video, tweet, pretty much how you said it.
James: Make sure you do some tracking, so you can get a return on investment. If people resonate with you, you’re constantly streaming good content and you’re sharing things that get a connection, then you’re going to be really nailing this social media approach. So tell me, did I go close to the socially grown way?
Jennifer: Yes, yes. That’s exactly what we do.
James: All right let’s step it out. Let’s do a couple of action steps then. Get ready. Pen and paper, this is what you should do right now after listening to this podcast so that you can grow your business socially. What are we going to so?
Jennifer: Well, it’s exactly what you just said. You want to make sure that you have your website set up and everything is on your website. You’re posting good content and you are creating valuable stuff that people want, that your audience wants to read. Your website is optimized for conversions, you understand retargeting pixels, you have a good email follow-up sequence. All of those things are really important.
Choose two to three social media platforms that work best. So Facebook is really strong, Twitter is excellent when used wisely. Pinterest maybe, Instagram maybe, most people would probably benefit from being on Facebook and LinkedIn and having a really solid presence on both, and then throw Twitter in as a third traffic source.
Create a content calendar and post on the appropriate social media platforms in a staggered fashion like we talked about. And create custom images and brand everything. And test and see what works for your audience.
James: Nice. OK, and now I guess you just tune in and see what happens and just optimize.
Boost the winners
Jennifer: You do. And you can boost a couple of posts on Facebook. I recommend that if you’re going to pay to boost a post, you want to pay to boost the ones that are already getting organic engagement because they are already popular. So when you pay to boost them, people already see that there’s 15 people liked this and there’s 5 or 6 comments, so when it appears in my newsfeed it already looks interesting.
James: Right, so this is like your old peel and stick. It’s finding the winners and ramping them up.
Jennifer: Yes. Right. So don’t just automatically post something on Facebook and then boost it. Because then you’re just handing Facebook your credit card and your hard-earned cash.
James: You’re guessing.
James: So only picking the winners and just amplifying ones that work.
James: It makes so much sense. Same as on your blog, having the recommended posts, would be the ones that have the highest conversions. You already have the analytics, you might as well tune the thing as a highly refined opt-in machine or sales machine. How often should you be posting on these platforms?
Jennifer: Well, this is the ultimate question. We call it the 411 plan. So it’s four entertaining, informative posts. And then one soft sell, and then one hard sell. So if you have a good balance of that, where you can kind of just rotate through that so it’s not just sell, sell, sell, but then you do want to mix in a few strong calls to action so that you are making money, that’s the whole point of this.
It depends. So Twitter, we would say 5 to 10 times per day, at different times of the day, I’ll give you the times, if you want. The best times we found for posting for our market, which again, politics, e-commerce, manufacturing, that sort of stuff, is 7 a.m., 9 a.m., and then 11 a.m. And then not again until 3 p.m., 8 p.m., and 11 p.m.
James: Is this the times in your relevant market?
Jennifer: Yes, yes. It’s approximate.
James: What about someone like me, when I’m dealing with multiple markets? I got the U.K., the U.S. and Australia, so I’ve pretty much got every time zone?
Jennifer: Right, so it’s pretty much the same kind of thing, you would just want to make sure that you’re scheduling your posts around that time. What a lot of business owners do is they get online for a little while, and they go bam, bam, bam, bam, bam and they post 6 things at 3 p.m. and then they’re not there.
James: That’s a little bit me, I must confess. I always just post stuff when it’s ready, I don’t have any rhyme or reason. I do notice, though, when I travel, when I go to a different hemisphere, I’m seeing all these different people on Facebook that I don’t normally interact with. It’s especially noticeable when I go to the U.K. or the U.S., or where I’m just picking up a whole new crew…
Jennifer: Well, that’s why.
James: …than my normal crowd. That being said, I only spend 1 ½ hours on Facebook a week. I would say I’m a minimal user compared to most.
Jennifer: Well, you don’t need to be on Facebook a lot. You can set the timer…
James: This message needs to be broadcast. I’m actually doing a post right now about the crime of people surrendering their life to Facebook and workaholism.
Jennifer: Well, that’s certainly not very effective, to have everybody on Facebook all the time.
James: No, you’re using these tools because the people are there. There’s two groups of people, really, there’s the ones that are on there buying all the stuff, and then there’s us, who just get in there and hit the right links. It’s like a Snakes and Ladders game, we’re just dropping the ladders and the snakes out on the social media to slide everyone back to base.
Jennifer: Exactly, that’s true. And you can schedule posts directly in Facebook, too. If you don’t want to use any other third-party stuff, you can still go in and schedule your post to be released at any time.
James: And you can do it regionally as well, can’t you? You can be smart about where you put stuff. If you’re going to run an event somewhere, you could just lock off that country.
Jennifer: Correct, correct. And you can target whoever you want. You can create groups and target people based on where they live, and who they are, and all that sort of stuff. It’s really easy to do.
And so 5 to 10 Twitter updates per day, Facebook is anywhere between 1 and 3. It is really, really going to depend. Some of our clients we can post 5 or 6 times a day, but I’m not going to say that everybody should be doing that. You’ve got to test. But between 1 and 3 every day. And then LinkedIn is 1 post per day, Pinterest and Instagram are both maximum of 2 per day.
James: Right. Jen, I suspect we could talk for the next few days about this. You’ve been so generous with your information.
Jennifer: Thanks. I’m glad, I hope it’s helpful.
James: Of course it is. We’ll be able to tell from some of the comments on this post. I want to thank you for coming along and sharing this. If someone listened to this and took a few tips, then they’re going to be able to get better results.
If you’ve listened to this, it’s a little bit overwhelming and you’ve got a decent-sized business and you think Jen might be able to help, you should head over to SociallyGrown.com and hire her to do your social media marketing. She’s done stuff for me before and I just can’t put a higher endorsement on the work you do, Jen.
Jennifer: Thank you. Thank you very much.
James: So that’s a wrap. Thank you so much for coming along and I hope you’ll come back again and update us in the future. I’m going to see if I can convince you to come and speak at one of my live events again because you were so popular last time you spoke.
Jennifer: Thank you. And it’s just so difficult to come to Sydney. It’s just such a terrible place to visit.
James: Just for all the listeners who don’t know, I think Jen’s being sarcastic. It’s a wonderful place to put on your destination. Jen, the next March actually we’re running the event, so put that in your diary.
Jen: I’m in. Sounds good.
James: Alright, speak soon.
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