Making Money with Social Media – 6 Rules for Marketers
Cats. Everyone loves cats. On Facebook, they also love dogs, babies, horses, elephants, dolphins, and videos of different species loving one another. This is kind of the point of social media, except perhaps for LinkedIn. People go to social media to connect with their friends, to have fun, to be entertained, and sometimes to be inspired. If they want serious stuff, they’ll go somewhere else. Businesses have finally gotten this and understand that it is definitely okay, in fact, valuable to be “cool” and entertaining. So now they hire marketers whose jobs are to establish a “cool” presence on social media as well as to provide serious content and advertising in other places. And, oh, while they are at it, they also need to look into PPC ads, targeted ads on social media, paying for Twitter mentions, etc. And the point of all of this? It is, of course, to make money. It is to generate traffic, conversions, and ultimately, purchases.
Are there other ways for businesses to make money on social media? Of course, there are, if you have a huge following and are able to charge for sponsored tweets, Facebook mentions and such. And a few companies have decided to do just that. The Next Web, in fact, charges $3,500 per sponsored tweet:
It’s hard to imagine who is paying that, but there must be some “takers.”
To the average content or social media marketer and company, however, this type of money-making is probably not feasible. The kind of money to be made with social media is that which comes from a strong brand presence that attracts an ever-increasing community of viewers and followers who become customers. And so, this is the job of the social media marketer – spread that brand and accumulate that audience.
Now that this is settled, let’s look at how a marketer can use social media to increase profits for his/her company.
Begin with a Brand Messaging Goal
This may be a short quip. For example, Red Bull’s brand message is “gives you wings.” Nike’s is “Just do it.” To get a brand message, you must first identify what value or benefit you offer your customer. What will your customer be able to do once s/he has purchased your product or service? You may want to focus on some part of a person’s lifestyle if you are a B2C company or an improvement if you are a B2B company. For example, Basecamp, a company that provides project management solutions to businesses has, as its brand message, “Chaos, organized.”
Turn Your Brand Message into Entertainment or Inspiration
Once you have your brand message, it should inform what you do on social media, but it does not necessarily have to relate to your product or service. Red Bull fills its Facebook page with videos of extreme sports events and activities, ad every once in a while it brings back its message: A short video (maybe 4 seconds), shows a figure climbing and leaping over buildings:
And at the end of that video, comes the brand message.
Charmin toilet paper is certainly not the most exciting product on the market, but it developed its brand message years ago – the softest bathroom tissue. Everyone remembers Mr. Wippel policing his grocery store for people trying to squeeze the Charmin. Their TV stories turned to bears and the bears’ need to “go.” Those bears are still on Facebook, but Charmin has moved into the 21st century with more sophisticated humor that is now acceptable to most everyone.
Viewers can all relate, and that is the point. People are on social media to be social and to have fun. When your company can promote its brand message and still entertain, you will befriend. And with befriending comes relationships. When such a consumer-friend needs the product or service you sell, they will naturally turn to you.
Brand messages can be all about inspiration too. Headbands of Hope has a single message – hope for kids with cancer and for a cure. Its Facebook page is filled with inspiration photos of adorable kids fighting cancer. Who can resist? Probably no one.
The overriding content goal for social media is relaxed, casual, entertaining and/or inspirational.
What is your company’s brand message and how can you portray it on social media?
Maintain and Capture New Followers By Frequency
If you intend to maintain the friendships you have with your followers and capture those who visit your social media pages or become new followers, you have to be a frequent poster, often several times a day. If people find you entertaining or inspirational, they will want more of the same. If they check and find that you are not posting often, they will stop coming and forget about you. This you never want.
So, how often should you post? Most mid-size to large companies post at least once a day on Facebook and often several times a day on Twitter. If they also use Instagram, they often post once a day as well. Of course, they have the staff to do this. Small businesses cannot post as often, so they need to narrow the platforms that they use, focusing on there their target customers are most.
Set up a calendar and stick with it.
Engaging Followers Geting Those Conversions
The operative word here is visuals. And more visuals. In fact, some research states that 65% of people learn visually, not by text they read.
A lot of brands have embraced visual storytelling. They use photos and visuals to explain who they are and what solutions they provide to their customers. And a great deal of visual storytelling also occurs through video. Some really large companies, like Aflac, began their stories with TV commercials but have taken to social media because that is where their customers are. The Aflac Duck now has his own Facebook page, in fact. So does Geico’s Gecko and Flo from Progressive. These companies have found that visual storytelling is amazingly effective in keeping their followers engaged. Their brand is widely known because of their storytelling.
While your business may not be as big as any of these companies, you can still craft great visuals and visual storytelling and use social media to keep people coming back and remembering you.
Also, note that these posts are only 19 minutes apart.
There are other ways, of course, to engage your readers and followers. Interactive posts are great, as are contests, quizzes, polls, and surveys. And you can drive people to your website using these tactics – Experiment with the types of posts that work best for your brand.
The more visuals you can use and the more often you can post, the better will be your ultimate website traffic.
Be Careful With Ads on Social Media
Certainly ads have become a big part of platforms like Facebook. The question for you is this: When you access your own Facebook home page, how many of the ads on the rails do you actually view and read? The answer is probably very few. Some ads show up in your feed, based upon your online viewing and purchasing behavior in the past. How many of them do you read, and, if you do, what attracts you to read them? The difference is that ads that don’t read like ads but, instead, read like a friend talking to you are much more apt to be read.
So, if you go with a paid ad program on a site like Facebook, be sure that they have engaging headlines and that they “sound” like they are from a friend, not a commercial from a company.
Think About Mobile – A Lot
You have a great opportunity for conversions if you gear your social marketing to mobile consumption. Mobile use now exceeds PC use for searches, social media access, and email. In fact, even companies and recruitment firms have apps for mobile download so that people can conduct mobile job searches on the go. As you plan your social campaigns, focus on more visuals and videos and far less text, to give mobile users fun in short doses and not irritate them with trying to read on a small screen.
Social marketing is a challenging activity. To promote products and services without really promoting them (in the traditional commercial ad sense) requires a lot of research and a lot of hard work and creativity. The rewards, however, in terms of bringing in more business and increasing profits, can no longer be denied.
Facebook’s advertising platform and algorithm cater ads to be more helpful than irrelevant. It’s a great way for new local businesses to gain exposure or for existing ones to get the word out about a new development.
One of the leading Facebook marketers, Brian Carter, lists 5 acquisition steps to make money from Facebook:
1) Someone clicks on your FB Ad, directs to a sales/landing page, they make a purchase/sign up.
2) Someone clicks on your FB Ad, directs to become a fan of your Page, they see an interesting post, they click-through to your website and make a purchase.
3) Someone clicks on your FB Ad, directs to a Squeeze Page, they sign up for email, they open a future email pitch, they click-through to your website and make a purchase.
4) Someone clicks on your FB Ad, directs to become a fan of your Page, they see an interesting post, they opt-in to receive texts/SMS discounts, they make a purchase with discounts.
5) Someone clicks on your FB Ad, directs to become a fan of your Page, they see an interesting post, they click-through to your website and click one of your onsite Ads.
These are simply the models; the main idea is that Facebook ads are like a fishing net. You can cast it to catch the attention of people who *most likely* might be interested in your business/service.
Even though Facebook Ads have a lesser value than call-to-actions on your site, they are still versatile and attractive because they’re reaching *possibly relevant* people in a different environment.
One of the biggest cons with advertising on a social network is that no matter how *good* your Ad is and no matter how *relevant* it is, people just don’t care. This is and always will be the hot button issue with social networks. The only reason we use them is for the core values and functionalities that existed when they first released – we never cared (or asked) for Ads. But if you’ve been paying attention to social media marketing these past few years, you’ll notice the difference between a *good* Facebook Ad and a *poor* one is:
- A good Facebook Ad seems like something your friend might say
- A poor Facebook Ad looks like an Ad
This is a rather *unethical* way to make money with social media (hence no links) – so we’ll just give you an overview. PTP or Paid-to-Post programs is literally micro-working for scrap change. You get paid to *do* social media. You get paid to:
- like things, comment on things, sharing things and post things on Facebook
- tweet things, retweet things, favorite things, and post things on Twitter
- blog things, reblog things, comment on things on sites
- vote things up (or down)
Basically, you just get paid to click stuff. Sounds good, right? Sure…if you’re okay with making pennies per click. Give it a month and the Carpal Tunnel surgery will do you over.
I’m not suggesting PTP Programs are the least bit viable, but they exist as a way to make money with social media. It’s the *founders* of PTP programs that are making money by offering things like “50 Guaranteed 100% All-Natural Organic Facebook Comments”
Digital media agencies have been capitalizing on the potential of social media by forming relationships with brands and their clients, who are often celebrities.
As I previously mentioned, simply paying for a celebrity or high profile twitter account thousands of dollars for one sponsored tweet is futile and just plain dumb.
Instead, agencies are catching on with best practices and even paving their own path.
Example: The famous actress Felicity Huffman has her own website blog thing; “WhatTheFlicka”. She scored some bucks doing a write-up for Mattel and more importantly, Mattel received a celebrity endorsement. I mean the post received close to non-existent social traction, but now Mattel has a write-up about their summer program – it’s better than a tweet if you ask me.
Here’s where all the social media money mines are located.
- Creating a YouTube account and channel is free.
- Gaining an honest subscriber count is hard
- Creating *awesome* content is harder
- Consistently creating awesome content is the hardest
I recently read a comment from a YouTuber who makes a living off his videos. He has two revenue streams:
- Sponsored/Paid product reviews
His comment described how after creating 100 high-quality videos (about video games and PC gaming) over the course of one year his subscriber count was at a whopping 97. He was making scrap change off Ads at this point and doing free product reviews…
His advice? Don’t give up.
Soon after, his videos finally caught the attention of larger game review sites and fellow YouTubers in his niche with larger followings. Two years later (today), his subscriber count is over 6,500. His videos net 10,000+ views and he gets paid to do reviews now.
That’s just one success story as a result of tenacity and diligence.
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Social Media Nuggets
We often forget what social media really entails.
A website is a media form. A site like the 1st example is social in nature.
What does it mean to be social in nature?
Exactly what you’re thinking; people will naturally talk about and share it.
We often overlook the simplest things that can be redesigned as potentially viral social media:
- an about me page
- a newsletter
- a squeeze page
Some of the most successful examples are sole page sites that are created to be social in nature, with subtle references to an ulterior goal.
In fact, there are tons of people rocking it on social media.
What are your favorite examples of people doing social media right?