generating leads on social media

Is Your Social Media Audience Ready to Buy From You?

Last week I wrote about not getting discouraged when your social media campaign doesn’t generate leads right away. Today I’m going to dig deeper into the reasons why.

Before we continue, however, please know that the foundation of my business is to help others with a proven product or service generate leads through building credibility and trust. If a business doesn’t have a proven product or service, this process is far more complex with plenty of additional elements. When a business has already established itself as viable, finding success online is just a matter of time (though there are always exceptions).

If a business with a viable product or service comes to me looking to generate leads online, there are specific questions I will ask (in a specific order) to determine where we start the project and how long it will take. With every “yes” answer, the timeline for generating leads gets shorter.

1. Do you have an online audience?

If yes, move on to question two.

If no, you will — without a doubt — be looking at months before you are generating leads online. Building an online audience isn’t a simple process because there are so many factors involved. Here are a few questions highlighting those factors:

  • On which social media platform(s) does your audience spend the most time? Which makes the most sense for you to try and engage them?
  • What are the best ways to attract your audience to your page or profile?
  • Are there specific segments of your target audience we should focus on in the online space? In other words, does only a portion of your overall audience actually spend time on social media?

Some brands can build online audiences at lightning speed. Others build them at a slow crawl. It depends on what is being sold and the personality of the target audience (yes, entire groups of people have a “personality”).

Sometimes the platform to focus on is obvious. Other times, I will select two or three to test and see which moves the fastest. Then we put all of our strategy eggs into that basket.

2. Is your online audience engaged?

If yes, move on to question three.

If no, this may be an extremely difficult hurdle to clear, because it could take your online marketing strategy back to square one. Why? Because a huge online audience — even tens of thousands of followers — is useless if it’s made up of the wrong people.

Even if your audience is made up of the right people, we still have a problem if they aren’t engaged. What does it mean to be engaged? An engaged audience cares about the content you’re putting out. They like, retweet, share, comment and/or click through to what you publish. An engaged audience means you have individuals that care about you and your brand.

This is online lead generation gold.

If you don’t have an engaged audience, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be generating leads right away. Determining the best way to engage an audience — and then making it happen — takes time and testing.

Here’s why:

  • Each social media platform engages its users in a different way. The same person may follow you on Twitter and Facebook, but only engage with your brand on Twitter. This is because each platform is appealing for different reasons – Twitter tends to be a networking tool or news blotter; Facebook is more about developing content your followers can identify with.
  • You may have to overcome platform obstacles to reach your audience. If your audience spends the most time on Facebook, you will have to get through that platform’s lack of organic reach (and probably leverage paid ads). If your audience spends time on Twitter or Instagram, you may have to increase your followers to give yourself more credibility.
  • You must determine how your audience wants your content. Maybe your audience prefers Instagram videos to photos. Maybe they like it when you hold Q&As on Facebook LIVE. This can be one of the more difficult variables to nail down because it can take weeks to determine whether a particular type of content is going to stick.
  • You have to find the right formula. I oversee all communications for a high profile nonprofit that requires a regular switch in the tone of social media content. The nonprofit raises funds and awareness for a type of pediatric brain tumor that has a zero percent survival rate. If we only posted heavy, emotional content, we would burn out our audience. We rotate between research statistics, emotional stories, and lighthearted videos of the family to keep things fresh.

3. Will your engaged audience buy immediately?

If yes, celebrate (yay!) and then move on to question four.

If no, let the content planning begin. I typically work with businesses or professionals that do not have an audience that will buy immediately, primarily because I work with service-based businesses. Typically, there is an interim step in there, such as entering an email address for follow-up or reaching out for a demonstration of your service.

This process of moving an audience from followers to buyers will look different for each business. I caution you not to compare yourself to another business and think, “That’s how I need to be doing it.” It all comes down to who you are and who your audience is. As you’ve learned from the first two questions, audiences are complex!

There are a number of ways your audience may move from follower to buyer:

  • Signing up for an email list. This is the method shouted from the rooftops as the “standard” for lead generation — building an email list. While I recognize the power of an email list, it may not be your primary method of lead generation. I, for one, have a very personal way of generating leads that doesn’t include collecting email addresses. I tend to make personal reach-outs and connect with individuals online to generate interest. This is a skill not everyone has.
  • Requesting a free trial. Some businesses have such great success that they offer a free trial knowing they will convert a certain percentage who opt in. If this is the case, generating online leads tends to be fairly easy … people respond to results.
  • Engaging with your content. If you are an expert in your field, putting out high quality content will build your credibility with your audience. You may include a call to action within that content that includes a free trial or discount toward your services … or you may just have such a high level of expertise that you know individuals will reach out after reading or watching your content.
  • Building a relationship with you. As I said before, I generate leads through engaging with people online. You may have that same ability and, therefore, reach out to potential leads through a service such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator. If this is the case, your content will act as a support in that process.

4. How do you maintain your process?

Congratulations! If you’re answering this question, it means you’re generating leads … now it’s just a matter of maintenance!

This typically includes regular content, social media posts, and emails to your list (if you have one). Depending on your funnel, you may have social media ads in place. The key is to keep everything going so you are always in front of your audience … you don’t want them to forget about you!

I hope this has helped you understand why generating leads on social media is frequently a 3-6 month process. It all depends on where you are in terms of your online audience and then how long it takes to get them to buy.

And always keep in mind … no two businesses are alike!

LinkedIn help

Don’t Make This Mistake When Writing Your LinkedIn Profile

There are a number of factors to consider when writing your LinkedIn profile: target audience, search engine optimization (SEO), and call to action to name a few. After all, you’re looking to convince users (target audience) to buy from you (call to action) and you want to be found (SEO).

But even when everything is written well, there is one critical mistake made over and over again that can greatly decrease your chances of generating leads on LinkedIn.

And that mistake is … Readability.

You can write the greatest sales copy of the century, but fail miserably if it is thrown into one gigantic paragraph. The average human attention span is eight seconds, which means you have the blink of an eye to make a great first impression. You better have a profile that is easy to digest or you’ll lose the audience you’re working so hard for.

This is especially challenging within a LinkedIn profile because the platform doesn’t allow for formatted text (e.g. bold, italics, font size). You have to get creative to make your profile stand out, but the first step is making sure it’s readable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Paragraphs

I am a huge advocate of breaking up text into paragraphs. There is nothing worse than trying to read something that is a giant word wall.

Now, I get that paragraph length is a personal preference and that mine tend to be on the shorter side. But in this age of short attention spans, I want to keep eyes moving. To me, structuring paragraphs within a profile is an art form that can make all the difference between someone getting lost in your copy to feeling lost reading your copy.

Lists

Lists are another great way to keep eyes moving through your copy, and you can work them in to just about any section of your profile. Take a look at what you’re writing and if there are sentences structured with commas (i.e. “I am talented in item A, item B, and item C”), consider breaking those items up into a list.

You will have to use symbols as bullet points since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within its profile sections, but you can get creative with what you choose. Visit websites like copypastecharacter.com to find symbols for your profile.

Subheads

Since you can’t add HTML to your profile you won’t get the SEO benefits of subheads, but you will break up your text and draw attention to key points within your profile. To see the power of this effect, take a look at my LinkedIn profile.

By capitalizing all words and using symbols before and after those words, the subheads within these profile sections stand out. Not only is your eye drawn to those sections, you’ll find yourself reading them. This technique is a tool to better communicate what you and your profile are all about!

Symbols

I’ve already mentioned symbols in two of the other sections because they are critical within LinkedIn profiles. When you use symbols, it successfully breaks up text and draws attention to key points.

Now, I recognize that symbols are fun and it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure you pick professional icons that look good together!

Final Thoughts on Formatting

Readability is critical for a successful profile and formatting is a key piece of that. Get creative with the way you use capitalization, symbols, spacing, and paragraphs to draw attention to what you can do for the audience you draw to your profile.

And if the entire thing sounds like too much work, take advantage of my LinkedIn Profile Development service.

Good luck!

LinkedIn Profile

Resume Or Life Story? What To Say Within Your LinkedIn Profile

Should you write your LinkedIn profile the same way you would write a resume or should you tell your life story?

Knowing what to say within your LinkedIn profile is much harder than it seems. Sit down to start your Summary or Current Experience section and you may come down with a case of writer’s block.

There are a number of factors involved when it comes to what you should say within your LinkedIn profile and how you should say it.

1. Industry

First thing’s first: what industry are you in? An investment banker isn’t going to sound the same as a film producer. A doctor may lose credibility if he or she cites a love of wine or cigar smoking within his or her profile. A freelance writer may miss out on jobs if copy is dry or uninteresting.

It’s important to look at your profile through the filter of the field you’re in. What would someone looking for your services expect to see? How can you use what you write within your profile to show off your skills or expertise?

2. Personality

Stay true to you when you’re writing your profile. Here’s what I mean: if you don’t like sharing personal information, then don’t. If you like to tell stories, tell them. You’ve reached this point in your career because of who you are — don’t shy away from then when you’re talking about yourself within your LinkedIn profile.

At the same time, you want to make sure what you say comes off the way you intend it to come off. Having another set of eyes look through what you’ve written is always a good idea, especially when you’re really looking to showcase your personality.

Something you think is funny may come off rude. Something you think is clear may come off confusing. Get a proofreader!

3. Credibility

What approach will give you the most credibility? Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re targeting. What could they read within your profile that would lead them to feeling comfortable giving you their money? What would inspire them to want to work with you?

This is the inbound marketing process, which walks people toward wanting to work with you before you even have a conversation.

The right approach will vary by industry and individual. A sales rep, for example, would want to list numbers to show competency. Someone selling a product would want to list key features or testimonials that showcase product benefits. Know what others will want to see from you and include it within your profile.

4. Context

Take a step back from your profile and look at the big picture. Envision your target audience, or who you want to be viewing your profile. What are their key attributes? Then ask yourself these three questions:

  • Where are they coming from? In other words, how will they find your profile?
  • What must they know about you if they are going to do business with you?
  • What do you want them to do once they’ve read your profile?

These three questions will guide you through the process of understanding what you should say to your audience. If your LinkedIn profile were an experience, what would you want that experience to be like for those who visit?

You may need help or guidance when it comes to answering these questions, which is completely normal. You may not even want to write your profile! No problem.

Schedule a Strategy Call or LinkedIn Profile Optimization. We’ll have your profile representing you in no time!

LinkedIn Profile

How to Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready to Be Seen

I was recently asked an eloquent question around LinkedIn:

How do I get people to buy from me without being smarmy?

Really a fantastic question … and I have an answer!

There are three important steps to generating sales on LinkedIn:

  1. Get your profile ready to be seen
  2. Engage, engage, engage!
  3. Reach out to leads

It’s really that simple, though I know it isn’t simple at all. How do you get your profile ready to be seen? Where do you engage? What do you say when you reach out to a potential lead?

Today we are going to take a look at preparing your profile to be seen, starting with one of the most important aspects of LinkedIn: having a great headline.

It’s All About the Headline

Your headline is critical to the attention you receive on LinkedIn. When you have a headline that pulls attention from potential clients, curiosity will get the best of them and they will click through to your profile.

So … what makes a great headline?

The key is to adequately represent what you provide. How to do that will vary by industry. For example, I receive the most attention for my services (LinkedIn Profile Optimization) by putting those words first in my headline.

Others who don’t have a specific deliverable (a business coach or marketing consultant, for example) may do better with an action-oriented headline such as, “Generating Leads for Small Business Owners in Metro Detroit.”

Now, I just used that last headline as an example, but it gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Even if you don’t have a small business in Metro Detroit, you want to see what that person has to offer. It resonates far deeper than a headline that reads, “Marketing Consultant,” or “CEO.”

Ask yourself what your top deliverable is and represent that within your headline. Also, make sure you put the most relevant keywords within the first 75 characters since that number of characters is always visible when engaging.

What Would You Say First?

When it comes to what you should write within your Summary and Current Experience sections, think about what you would say to someone who would most benefit from your product or service.

  • How would you best describe your product or services?
  • What problem(s) are you solving?
  • What are the next steps to getting started with you and your business?

What you want to say within your Summary and Current Experience sections are what you would tell someone who just walked into your brick-and-mortar establishment. Instead of an actual store, though, they’ve walked into your LinkedIn profile.

The difference between a Summary and Current Experience section is kind of like the difference between a cover letter and a resume. Your Summary will talk more about who you are as a professional while your Current Experience section will talk more about your deliverables.

Don’t Forget Keywords

What would someone type into LinkedIn search to find what you’re offering? Those are the keywords you want to include within your headline, job title(s), and copy. If you have characters left over (LinkedIn provides 2,000 per section), you can even list keywords at the bottom. Simply refer to them as “Specialties” or “Expertise” and then list them out.

Add Articles, Multimedia, and Websites

LinkedIn doesn’t allow for dynamic links within your body copy, but you can add links at the bottom of each section. Great things to include are sales landing pages, articles you’ve written or been featured in, multimedia (e.g. videos, podcasts), links to your website, or PDF brochures.

You want to link to anything that provides credibility or links users to the next step in your sales funnel.

Make it Readable

Make sure what you write is easy to read. I know this can be difficult since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within sections, but there are ways to write something that is easy on the eyes.

Avoid giant blocks of text — use plenty of breaks, headers (use all caps for these), lists and icons. You don’t want it to look like an emoji app blew up on your profile (keep it professional!), but some strategically-placed icons never hurt anyone.

Also, proof it! Have someone else take a look at what you’ve written and point out any errors. Grammatical and spelling errors are the best ways to look unprofessional!

Be YOU

Don’t forget to be yourself! Adding some personality to your profile can be a huge benefit. Articulate your passions, write with a particular flair, or add a little humor. Obviously, a profile for a tax consultant will have a far different tone than that of a business coach, but you get the idea. Make sure what you say is memorable!

Okay, what do you think? Did I leave anything out? Feel free to ask questions below! And if all of this seems like way too much work, take a look at my LinkedIn Profile Optimization service.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook

LinkedIn vs. Facebook: Which is Better for Your Business?

It’s LinkedIn vs. Facebook … which social media platform is better for your business? The answer may surprise you.

While the two platforms look alike (and many on LinkedIn complain Facebook-type posts are “taking over”), they each have distinctive drawbacks and benefits.

Let’s explore them, shall we?

B2B vs. B2C

Whether you’re business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) may impact which platform you choose. LinkedIn is set up for B2B engagement while Facebook is set up for B2C. There are, however, circumstances where the scenarios flip. The key is understanding why your audience is on either platform.

Let’s say, for example, you are targeting individuals working with a network marketing company. Even though that is a B2B initiative, Facebook would be an ideal spot to find your target since many network marketers use Facebook as away to drive business.

If you are a B2C business but your target is specific to a professional segment, however, LinkedIn may work for you. A product for executives or service for business travelers are two examples.

Advertising

If you’re looking to leverage paid advertising for your product or service, it’s important to know the differences between Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook has a more robust platform and is far cheaper than LinkedIn. You can re-target using Facebook ads by implementing a pixel on your website and creating custom audiences of those who clicked through to earlier ads.

You can also upload your email list to Facebook, target those individuals who already like your page (and their friends), or those who have engaged with your posts.

Where LinkedIn edges out Facebook is in the B2B space. If you’re pushing an ad to all C-level employees or you’re selling a big ticket business item, LinkedIn may be a better option.

The thing to know with LinkedIn advertising is that it’s much more expensive ($3-5 per click) than Facebook, so you want to have a specific objective before you give it a try.

The News Feed

LinkedIn is a much better platform for organic engagement since it doesn’t carry the dreaded Facebook algorithm. Being seen on LinkedIn is far easier (at least for now) with organic posts, though the platform did make more difficult to gain traction with native posts.

If you’re just starting on Facebook, you can expect to leverage advertising for initial likes on your page unless you have a large, relevant network to leverage. One rule applies for both platforms: create content users engage with (like, share, comment) and it will be seen.

Search

One significant benefit for businesses on LinkedIn over Facebook is the search function. This comes down to the way people use LinkedIn compared to Facebook and the function itself.

LinkedIn’s search function is enough of a reason to have an optimized profile for yourself and your team members, especially if you are a B2B. Let’s say I’m looking for a business coach. Where am I likely to search? LinkedIn would be my No. 1 spot, without question.

Not only do I find a variety of coaches I can choose from, I can see if I have any common connections to attain a reference or get an introduction.

Local vs. Online

Local businesses must be on Facebook without question, whether you’re a B2B or B2C.

Since you’re local, you can leverage your personal network to extend the reach of your business page. This shouldn’t be done all the time (you don’t want to drive your personal network crazy), but in calculated spots (Think a local coffee shop asking friends to share photos on their personal profiles).

Facebook advertising is also ideal for local businesses. Just about everyone enters where they live into their personal profile, making it a cakewalk to target potential customers at a low cost.

There is still a benefit to being on LinkedIn as a local business, but being on Facebook is a must.

Final Thoughts

Deciding where to focus your online marketing attention can be a tough decision: do you go with what’s most popular or what you know best?

The answer is neither: you go with the best fit for your business. Facebook or LinkedIn will be a fit for your business … it’s just a matter of finding out if it’s one, the other, or both.

Hopefully this helped you narrow things down. If you’re looking for further customized help, you can reach out for a one-hour strategy session or a LinkedIn Profile Optimization!