Outlining a social media strategy for creating new business opportunities from inbound and content marketing quickly.
strat·e·gy : A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
Since I launched my consultancy using social media in 2007, social media has become main-lined into traditional marketing. But, a lot of agencies were caught “flat-footed” when it caught fire, being fueled by the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Most agencies didn’t jump into the social media arena until 2010. When they did relent, their engagement has been anemic, as if they were merely checking a box to show their participation.
“We have a blog, check; we have a Twitter account, check …”
It’s time that agencies figure out how to execute an integrated social media strategy for new business. Those that do will have a strategic advantage over their competitors as the others remain confused about social media.
I’ve had the privilege of working with agencies in almost all fifty states in the U.S. and work with advertising, digital, media and PR agencies in Canada, Europe, Mexico and South America. Globally, the paradigm for new business has shifted from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. Agencies need to change from chasing new business to a strategy of being found. Instead of being the hunter, you become the prey.
Here is a brief outline and some tips that I’ve used with hundreds of agencies to help create an implement and integrated social media strategy for new business. My 7 Steps for Fueling New Business Through Social Media:
Step 1: Define Your Audience and Objectives
- Who is your best target audience?
- What is your point of differentiation?
- Creating leads for new business opportunities
Step 2: Create a Content-Driven Website
- Outlining your blog for new business
- Target audience
- Subtitle/Descriptor Statement: Clearly state the purpose of the blog
- Key words to include in every post title
- Categories to write to
- Creating your blog template
- Create Calls-to-Action pages: Speaking, Consulting, eNewsletter, etc.
Step 3: Develop a System for Content Creation
- 30 post in 30 days
- 400 to 500 words
- Write in the inverted pyramid style. The most important content at the top of the post.
- Include your key words in every post title.
- Lead with the conclusion. Create a ‘benefit statement’ that answers this question in a single sentence: “What is my benefit if I commit to read your post?”
- Write for scan-ability.
Step 4: Turn Up the Traffic
- Jump start traffic initially in two ways:
- Tools to build a targeted following:
- Email Data Base
- Kick-Starting SEO
Step 5: Implement Best Practices for Engagement
- Social media is about people connecting with other people. Not brick and mortar.
- People want to work with other people that they know trust and like.
- The way you network offline is exactly the way you network online.
- Lead with benefits rather than credentials and capabilities.
- If you don’t engage daily in social media its like you are at a networking event and you’ve chosen to stay in your hotel room.
- Remember that the way you network offline is exactly how you network online.
- What you will share is the right mix of your content, content from other sources and personal updates.
Step 6: Measure to Refine and Improve
- If you can’t measure it you can’t improve it.
- Blog analytics
- Email analytics
- Measure your new business opportunities, your ‘At Bats.’
- Improve you’re the offering of your ‘Calls-to-Action’
- Hubspot’s TweetGrader
- Hubspot’s Marketing Grader
- Ad Age’s Power 150: Enlist in the rankings of the top English speaking marketing blogs in the world.
- Create a monthly report of growth from initial benchmarks you’ve established. Use the KISS principle – Keep it simple.
- Use your gathered data to improve what you do and grow your social media presence.
Step 7: Managing the Process
- Managing new business for agencies is like herding cats, select a point-person that will manage the day-to-day process and hold team members accountable.
- The best ‘cat herding’ tool I can recommend is Basecamp, an online, cloud based, project management tool.
- Hootesuite Pro is my preference for managing multiple social media accounts from a single dashboard.
Bottom Line. Once your program is in place, you can keep it going by devoting a reasonable amount of time, usually one to one and half hours per day, to reading, writing and engaging.
Example. John McDougall, President of McDougall Interactive, has created a niche blog for new business. John and his team created The Lead Review, Internet Marketing Counsel for Trial Attorneys. The blog lives offsite from his agency’s website and allows John to have a more defined target audience and niche than he would feel comfortable creating through his agency’s website.
In the following brief video, John talks about his experience Creating a Niche Blog for New Business.
John’s profile: CEO of McDougall interactive, publisher of The Lead Review and an authority on internet marketing for law firms.
Here are John’s other social media marketing outposts that have expanded his online footprint in a short period of time:
John has strategically positioned himself, as the face of his agency, to be found by his best prospective client audience.