Today I had the privilege of speaking about social media at “Farm to Market: 21st Century Practices For The Modern Herbal Entrepreneur,” an event co-sponsored by the North Carolina Natural Products Association (where I am a board member) and the American Herbalists Guild. My topic was “7 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Online Marketing Efforts and Boost Sales,” and by all accounts, it helped a lot of people to whom social media marketing was either a big mystery or a confusing pain in the tuchus. Here I am during a break, with Chuck Blethen, the President of the North Carolina Natural Products Association.
Because many people at today's event were new to social media, I did not take too deep a dive. (No need to scare everyone away, right?) Instead, I encouraged everyone to roll up their sleeves and get started using my 7-step approach. If you are just beginning to use social media for your business, this will be very helpful to you. If you've been around for a while, it's a great review.
7 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Online Marketing Efforts and Boost Sales
- Systematize everything. Don't leave your social media marketing to chance. Develop a plan and write it down so you stick to it. In my world, if it is not written down, it has about a 0% chance of actually happening … and you know what that means. Create your online marketing system, and use it to stay on track.
- Choose 3 social media outlets. Don't start with every single social media outlet every person has ever told you about. I recommended starting with a blog and a newsletter, and then adding onto that with three social media outlets.
The blog and newsletter are what I call “anchors.” They hold everything in place. Once you have anchors, you can add social media on top of them.
Like I always stress, social media is icing. It's not cake. Using social media without anchors is like trying to serve your guests icing without cake. Every tried that?
- Blog. Search engines love blogs. Blogs are the bread crumbs that lead your target customers to you over and over and over again. If you blog regularly, you will attract new people to your website regularly. Pretty simple. Set up a blog and then use that blog.
Use WordPress as your blogging platform. While there are other options, none of them make sense in light of the ease with which you can set up and customize a WordPress blog.
- Newsletter. An online newsletter is the best list-building tool on the planet. Use either Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, and send out a newsletter at least once a month — preferably more. Tell your fans and friends your latest news, show pictures of new products, share your event schedule, and announce sales.
When you show up for your fans, they will show up for you.
- Cross promote. Once you have your anchors in place (blog and newsletter), and you've added on three social media outlets, you can start to gain significant leverage by cross promoting them, one against the other.
For example, when you publish a newsletter, link to your Facebook page. When you publish a blog post, link to your Pinterest boards. Include social links in your publications so the people who read them can easily share them with their friends.
- Collateral materials. Put your links on all of your business cards, brochures, and other collateral materials. If all of them won't fit, choose the ones that your customers like and use the most.
- Help each other. Collaborate with other people to “lift” each other. Connect with friends and colleagues with businesses that are complementary to yours and help each other spread the word about each other. This can be done with blog posts, Facebook shares, ReTweets and more.
Once you establish yourself and your brand online, collaborate with other similarly established colleagues. This way, it becomes a fair exchange where everyone who gives is also receiving.
Here are the slides I used in today's presentation. You can advance the slides by clicking the arrow.
Best and Success!