Every year, FUSE Business Training hosts the Social Media Success Strategy seminar, an annual event dedicated to bringing together small business owners from across the Chicagoland area to learn the latest social media changes and strategies from experts in the industry. The overarching goal of the event is to grow a strong and supportive network of local entrepreneurs via social media efforts. Lead by FUSE’s Barbara Caine, the 2018 seminar took place at greenCOW Co-Working from August 16th to August 18th, and covered a wide range of topics, from social media strategies and workflow processes to content creation and lead generation. Consider this a summary of the major topics of the event.
After some brief introductions, Barbara asked attendees to define their target market and their ideal client. At the beginning of the event, many in attendance joked that their ideal referrals were “anyone with skin” or “anyone with a pulse.” But Barbara emphasized the importance of having a clear idea of the sort of person you’re looking to do business with. Your audience defines many of your business choices, so it’s important to consider who your primary audience is before beginning to market.
Creating Your Avatar
Barbara Caine, Fuse Business Training
To help with this, Barbara suggested creating an “avatar,” idealized hypothetical customer that represents your target audience. Attendees were asked to consider factors such as age range, occupation, income, education level, where they tend to get their information from, and what their values and “pain points” are. She even recommended pasting a photo of a real person to go along with this data, so you have a face to associate with this ideal customer. You can get a free stock image to use through Pixabay. Once you have a sense of what kind of person you’re seeking to do business with, you can identify how to appeal to that audience and how your business can solve their problems.
From there, Barbara moved onto her specialty, social media. While Barbara teaches classes on practically every major social media platform, she is the first to admit that not everyone needs to be on every platform. The important thing, once again, is to consider who your audience is. Different demographics flock to different social media sites: LinkedIn is heavily skewed towards older professionals and people actively seeking employment, whereas Snapchat and Instagram are the current favorites for younger internet users.
It is also important to consider what you hope to accomplish with your social media usage. Certain platforms specialize in building brand awareness and customer loyalty, while others are better for generating leads or driving traffic to a website. After breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular social media platforms, Barbara tasked attendees to note which sites they were already active on and which seem like they fit best with their target audience and goals.
When everyone had a clear idea of who they were targeting and which social media platforms were worth investing their time into, Barbara challenged everyone to develop a social media plan for their business. It isn’t enough to just throw content out there and hope for a reply, you need to plan your content as far ahead of time as possible. Barbara recommends planning your content at least 1-3 months ahead of time, and she personally plans content about a year in advance. All attendees were given a 2019 Calendar and were asked to consider what type of content they could produce throughout the year and what kind of posts they could make that would engage with their target audience and effectively sell their services. This calendar was referred to and used often throughout the duration of the weekend.
Barbara recommends using holidays and other special events as promotional tools for your business: nearly every day has been assigned some sort of “Holiday,” so there’s bound to be a few out there that are relevant to your business. A writer can make posts related to Book Lover’s Day or International Literacy Day, while a restaurant owner might advertise their new gourmet burger on National Cheeseburger Day. The point is to plan ahead and consider your options.
Geriann Wiesbrook, Hey G Consulting
To close out Day One, Barbara and Geriann Wiesbrook of Hey G Consulting went into a number of programs and services that allow business owners to automate their social media plans including Meet Edgar, HootSuite, Recur Post, and Later are all popular services that allow you to create social media posts in advance and set them to post on their own. This can allow you plan out a large chunk of your social media business plan ahead of time, rather than having to actively use every account every day. Geriann also challenged everyone in attendance to post a live Facebook video, and went over various tips to help business owners look their best on camera.
|For the Guys||Invest in chapstick and facial cleanser.|
|For the Ladies||Even if you aren’t into makeup, consider powder to limit glare. Lip gloss is your best friend!|
|For Everyone||Wear colors that match your branding and look good against your backdrop.|
Angela & Briana Ramos, Social Impressions Media
Day Two began with a presentation on Facebook advertising from Angela & Briana Ramos of Social Impressions Media, often known online as The Social Gals. While it’s lost some of its luster in the past few years, Facebook remains one of the most popular social media platforms available, and it offers businesses a variety of tools to create advertising that targets specific audiences, behaviors, and interests. One such tool is a Facebook Pixel, a code you place on your website that tracks conversions from Facebook ads and optimizes ads based on collected data.
A Facebook Pixel can also remarket to qualified leads, such as people who visited an event landing page but didn’t register. This is important, as Angela & Briana recommend focusing Facebook advertising towards “warm audiences,” people who have taken an action related to your online business accounts but haven’t become a customer yet. As popular as Facebook is, it can be difficult to get the attention of someone who hasn’t interacted with your company before. But its tools are well suited to understanding why people took an interest in your content and adjusting advertising accordingly.
Josh Culler, Culler Media
From here, Josh Culler of Culler Media discussed the importance of getting the most out of your content. Every business has to develop content of some kind, whether it be video, audio, text, or images. But content creation is time-consuming, so it is essential to use every bit of content you create to its fullest potential. To do this, Josh suggests thinking of content within two categories: Pillar Content and Micro Content.
Pillar Content refers to your more substantial, long-form content like webinars, keynote speeches, podcasts, along-form video, and text-based content. Pillar Content requires the most effort, so make sure that all Pillar Content leads back to a product or service. If you’re making long-form content that isn’t bringing in a potential audience, than you aren’t using your content effectively.
Micro Content is smaller content and is often created by repurposing and recycling bits of your Pillar Content into something short and attention-grabbing. Josh emphasized that Micro Content is essential for online success, as it allows businesses to reach an audience that either missed or weren’t interested in the more in-depth Pillar Content. Micro Content can come in many forms, such as recap/highlight videos, infographics, Facebook posts, Tweets, memes, etc. The important thing is to be mindful of ways you can break off chunks of your Pillar Content to create Micro Content, and that you have a plan in order to share this content efficiently.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Miranda Morley, Morley Career Solutions
To cap off Day Two, Miranda Morley of Morley Career Solutions talked about LinkedIn and how to optimize your account. Despite being one of the most popular professional social media platforms available, around half of all LinkedIn users have incomplete profiles, leaving out essential information that can attract potential clients or employers. Miranda stressed that while most LinkedIn users tend to follow on a strict resume-style format, it is more effective to tell a story, giving a sense of your experiences and who you are as a person.
For the final day of the event, Barbara started by talking about workflow processes. There are only so many hours in a day, and entrepreneurs often struggle to get everything they need done on time. One reason for this is that business owners often don’t have a plan in place for the common occurrences in their business. Barbara recommends developing a plan for things like replying to a client inquiry or responding to a new Facebook connection. These workflow processes serve as scripts for common business events and will save time by streamlining your communication processes.
Social Media Engagement and Analytics
From here, she moved onto social media engagement and analytics. Nearly all social media platforms allow users to track data regarding how other users engage with their account and content. This includes their friend/follower counts, likes, views, mentions, or a number of other ways to interact with online content. Just like how not every social media platform will be relevant to your business, not every form of online engagement is worth tracking. But it is important to know how your audience responds to your content and what you can do to keep them engaged. Barbara likes to create challenges and ask her followers questions, even giving “homework” for things they can do to improve their business. Consider what kind of content would keep your target audience engaged.
Turning Friends and Followers into Raving Fans and Paying Clients
To close out the event, Barbara went into one of her most popular workshop topics: “Turning Friends and Followers into Raving Fans and Paying Clients.” She emphasizes that everyone you know, whether they’re a close friend or a passing acquaintance, has some relevance to your business. The method she recommends goes like this: list everyone you can think of, then group them into one of four categories:
|Group A||People who have worked with you, paid for your services, or actively promote you|
|Group B||People who have shown interest in your business, but haven’t used your services|
|Group C||People you don’t know well enough to know if they’d be interested in your business|
|Group D||People who won’t or can’t buy from you or help you, no matter what|
While your A and B Groups should be your primary focus, Barbara emphasizes that even those on your Group D list are relevant to your business. If you’d like to learn more about the content covered in this presentation, check out this blog post from the FUSE Business Training website.
By the end of the event, all in attendance seemed impressed by the sheer amount of information covered over the course of the event, and several were already making plans to sign up for next year’s seminar. One attendee, David Dewar of Tax-Free Retirement Solutions Inc., had some particularly positive comments on the event:
“Barbara’s Social Media Success Strategy seminar is the ultimate workshop for expanding and automating your business’ social media accounts, from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and LinkedIn. If you’re a business looking to reach new prospects and expand your marketplace, this training is absolutely essential for leveraging your time more effectively.”
Always ahead of the curve, Barbara is already contacting speakers and planning workshops for next year’s seminar. When asked about what motivates her, Barbara had this to say:
“So many entrepreneurs struggle because they wind up working IN their business when they should be working ON it. Fuse Business Training is all about giving business owners the information and the tools they need to reach their fullest potential. It’s my goal to make the Social Media Success Strategy seminar a catalyst for local business growth and success.”