How You Can Promote Your Freelance Writing on Social Media

When I started freelance copywriting in 2016, I had zero clients.


I had zero professional writing experience.


I had zero sales experience.


Needless to say, I was a little nervous. (That’s an understatement. I was terrified.) I wasn’t sleeping well in those days, and I was constantly jittery because I was living on a diet of coffee and cigarettes. With nightmares every night and a constant feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere in life, something had to change.


I had to learn how to do professional writing. I had to learn how to sell professional writing. And I had to straighten out the undisciplined mess of my life and make myself into something respectable.


Why am I telling you all this? It’s not because I’m trying to show off what I’ve done since then. It’s not because I love talking about myself. It’s not even because I’ve got a perverse love of sharing things I’m ashamed of.


I’m telling you this because if I can build a successful freelance writing business, you can too. It takes time and dedication. It takes patience, planning, and a lot of hard work. But if you really want to, you can live your freelance dreams.


If you make it happen, it won’t be a dream anymore.


Anyways, to business: I’m here to tell you about how to promote a freelance writing business on social media. What I had to learn with months of trial and error, I’m going to tell you right now. I’ve developed these strategies over the course of the last year and a half, and I’m still developing them even now.


With these methods, I’ve managed to build up a steady stream of traffic to my website. Some of the visitors to my site have chosen to contact me to hire my services. And some of those clients have become long-term partners.


It all starts with successfully driving traffic to your site. And today I’m going to tell you how to use social media to do that.


Put Together Your Customer Persona

What’s a customer persona, you ask?


It’s pretty simple, but it’s one of the most important concepts in marketing and copywriting, so you’re going to want to understand it perfectly. You’re a writer though, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to catch on.


A customer persona is a detailed description of your ideal reader. You want to get to know this person in detail before you ever put your marketing plan together. You want to be able to know this person so well you could predict their thoughts.


Who is your ideal reader? What’s brought her to your website? What’s she worrying about right now, and what does she need to hear from you?


It’s important to know this stuff. Because you’re not writing for just anyone. You’re writing for one person. You’re writing for the one reader who will light up as soon as she reads what you’ve written. The person who’s heart will go pitter-patter just as soon as she sees your words.


Remember: you have to write as if you were talking to someone right across the table from you. That’s why you want to go to the effort to imagine this person in as much detail as you possibly can.


You need to be writing for someone you know well, in other words. This person is your friend. You need to be able to express a real and warm affection. We all feel a little oppressed by the roles we have to play in our jobs, in our lives, and in the world as a whole. We’re all longing for a connection that’s deeper and more real.


So take the time to get to know the kind of person you’re meant to work with. Take the time to learn what this person is afraid of. What this person wants. What this person dreams about at night.


Know their business needs. But above all, know their human needs. That’s how you learn how you can truly serve the people you’re meant to serve.


Marketing Your Website/Content—Draw Clients Passively

Now that you know who you’re reaching out to, you need to go on social media and find ways to reach them. I’ve gone in-depth about my methods on this in an earlier post, but I’ll give the short version here. This is the funnel I use to attract visitors to my site.


  1. Spread a wide net on Twitter
    • With Twitter, I try to get my content to reach as many eyeballs as possible.
    • One of the ways I do that is through posting links to my site, but also by sharing links to sites with great content.
    • I retweet content from people who retweet my content. That way we extend each other’s reach and multiply our effectiveness. (When freelancers work together, we can make things easier for all of us.)
    • Every once in a while I share a link inviting interested Twitter followers to follow a link to my LinkedIn account.
  2. Funnel the Twitter audience to LinkedIn
    • I accept the invitations from people who add me from Twitter, and I make an effort to get to know them.
    • I post links to my site, but I also share content I’ve found in other places. I make sure it’s the kind of thing that appeals to the people I’ve gotten to know in my customer persona.
    • It’s important to keep active in the LinkedIn community. I join groups, comment on posts, and share things I find valuable. Especially when I want to get to know someone better (we’ll talk about this later) I find little ways to help them. Everyone is going to like it when you “Like” or share a post for them, or even add a thoughtful comment with some clear thoughts and observations. It’s the things like that that set you out of the herd.
  3. Produce quality content
    • You’re going to need to put some content up somewhere. That could mean starting a website. It could mean doing long-form LinkedIn posts. It could mean starting an account on Medium. But you need some way of building up an audience and somewhere to direct them where they can take a look at your work.
    • Now, I mention creating quality content—that means writing the kind of thing your ideal customer would like to see. And as much as it pains me to say it, that means you can’t use this place to express yourself freely. You’re here to share valuable knowledge about how to do something. Believe me: I know how that pains you. (It sure pains me!) But the content you put on your site isn’t about you. It’s about your reader.


This is only the briefest outline of the kind of thing you’re going to need to get together to have a viable website, but it should give you an idea of the process.


When I was building my freelance writing business, one of the constant things I had to contend with was a constant feeling of being overwhelmed by all the things I had to do.


So if you’re feeling that way reading the outline I’ve put up there: don’t worry about it. What you’re seeing here is a refined process that I’ve built up over time. You can start slowly. When I was just starting out, I was just as overwhelmed as you are now.


Be real.

Direct Outreach—Find Clients Proactively

But let’s say you don’t have a ton of time to wait around for clients to come along organically. You’ve got to rustle up some new business fast.


Don’t worry about it. There are ways of doing that. So now I’m going to tell you how to get clients through direct outreach while you’re building your system for attracting clients passively.


First off: you need to get your list together.


What list is that? It’s the list of your prospects. These are the people you’re going to directly reach out to. You’ll want to know their business, their name, a good email address, and all of that. (There’s a lot that goes into that process, and I’ll tell you about it in a few weeks.) But beyond all those technical details, you’re going to want to know a little about the people you’re talking to as human beings.


It all comes back to what we were talking about with the customer persona. You want to make sure the people on your list match that customer persona pretty well. You could talk to everybody on God’s green earth without finding someone who matches your persona precisely, but you want to make sure you’re reaching out to the people you’d like to work with.


Now that you’ve got your list together, you need to put together the message you’re going to send them. It should be interesting, useful, and speak to their needs. Remember: the goal here isn’t to shoot them an email and immediately turn that into a sale. It’s to start a conversation.


Just a little side note here: sales becomes immensely easier if you don’t think of it as selling. It’s a mistake to frame the situation as, “I’ve got to make these sales, because if I don’t make these sales I won’t be able to eat, and if I can’t eat I’ll die, and if I die it’ll hurt a lot and people will probably make fun of me at my funeral…” When you’re selling, you’re trying to start a relationship. It’s a business relationship, sure, but on its most basic level it’s a relationship between two human beings.


So when you write your email, you don’t want to hide your intentions, but you also don’t want to overemphasize them. You come off as manipulative if you hide your intentions, but you come off as desperate if you push the sale too quickly.


The point is this: your prospects are smart and busy. If they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer, they’ll reach out to you. If not, they won’t. You have to let go of the outcome.


So you write up those emails and send them out. I’ll write a full blog post about this in a few weeks, but when you’re sending your emails you want to make sure you personalize them. Do you like getting obvious cookie-cutter copy/paste emails? Neither do your prospects.


Take the five minutes necessary to get to know a little about your prospects as people. Let that shine through in your emails. You’re reaching out to real human beings. Act like it.


Remember: You Can Do This

I realize you might be reading this and thinking, “Oh my God, how can I possibly do this?”


And it’s no wonder! This is a lot of information to process all at once, and it’s not easy to do all at once. But you can build up your systems day by day and eventually come up with something that works.


You don’t even have to quit your job to start out. You can start out small, only taking one or two clients at a time till you figure out how to freelance on a full-time basis.


Even though it can look overwhelming at the beginning, it’s not nearly as tough as it looks.


At the moment, you’re probably feeling some serious fear of the unknown. I bet you felt the same way before you learned how to ride a bike. Think about it: riding a bike is a complicated balancing act, and you probably had many accidents in the course of figuring it out. You probably had to have training wheels while you were learning.


But now you know how to ride a bike easily. You don’t even have to think about it. You just hop on the bike and you’re on your way, with the wind in your hair and your legs pumping up and down in time.


It’s just the same with freelancing. Start small. Build a small system that works, then expand it once you’ve done that. It’s not a dream. It’s something you can have if you commit to it.


Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about freelancing. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help.


And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at if you’d rather do it that way.


Good luck, and good copywriting!


How I Set Up My Marketing Funnel


You probably already know social media is a valuable tool for promoting your business. If you don’t already know, I plan to convince you.


How do I plan on doing that, you ask? Simple. I’m going to tell you how I’ve set up my social media accounts to draw traffic to my site.


But first, a little background. In the B2B space, we always hear SEO is the big thing.


“Just make sure the SEO’s taken care of and your site will get plenty of traffic.” That’s what the conventional wisdom says.


There’s nothing wrong with SEO. Take my word for it. I’m a content marketer. You’ll never hear me say a bad word about SEO!


But social media does just as much good. It gives you another set of tools for drawing targeted traffic. Targeted traffic turns into targeted leads. Targeted leads turn into clients.


So let’s assume you’ve already got your SEO set up. What can you do about social media?


You’re going to have to come up with your own strategy. But I can show you mine.


So let’s go.


  1. I cast a wide net with Twitter.


Twitter is the outer limit of my marketing funnel. It’s where I stick out my feelers to pick up on current developments. I also try to make as many contacts with as many people as possible.


Twitter is all about casting a wide net. You don’t want to focus too much on any one fish.


  • I post my own material (including links) twice a day.


If I’m on a social media site, I need to post my own material.


I have to demonstrate my value and uniqueness to the world.


Simply having the account is not enough. I have to use it regularly and keep track of developments.


  • I use hashtags.


Hashtags are the backbone of Twitter.


If you’re not using hashtags, you’re limiting yourself.


But slap a hashtag on a post (say, #ContentMarketing, anyone?) and you’ll expand your reach to anybody with an interest in your topic.


  • I follow people back.


If you follow the people who follow you, other people will notice this and they’ll be more likely to follow you.


We can argue about the merits of this all day. There are pros and cons here.


But the short version is that this is part of why Twitter is “the wide net.”


  • I retweet frequently.


When I retweet, every once in a while I find somebody who will trade retweets with me.


This is important!


The more of these people I find, the more I can amplify my reach beyond my own personal followers.


  • Overall strategy: I try to draw as much exposure as possible, so I can filter that exposure to the other social media sites.


  1. I direct my Twitter feed to LinkedIn and Facebook.


Once I’ve got a nibble, I post a link that takes my Twitter audience to LinkedIn and/or Facebook.


The people who follow the links have expressed an interest in hearing from me.


This way I draw targeted leads to the next level of my funnel.


  • I post more targeted material here.


LinkedIn and Facebook are where I put the really good information my targeted prospects will be interested in seeing.


The people I’m most interested in contacting will self-select by making a habit out of interacting with my posts.


The more likes and comments a post gets, the more successful it is.


  • I get to know my prospects as individuals.


As I comment on the posts of others (and especially as they comment on my posts) I get to know my prospects’ concerns, both as individuals and as a group.


I also get the chance to build relationships in my professional community.


  • I greet everyone who adds me, and I do my best to get a feeling for their needs.


It’s important to be personable on social media. (It is social media, after all.)


The more people you interact with, the more you’ll know what your ideal customer needs.


And the better you know that, the more you’ll be able to meet those needs.


  • Overall strategy: I try to be social and start conversations.


  1. I produce content worth reading.


Of course, it seems a little arrogant for a writer to claim his work is worth reading. But that’s the goal.


I work hard to produce content that gives value to my visitors, because I know that only quality content will serve my purposes.


  • I make sure it’s worth sharing.


What makes content worth sharing?


Content that’s worth sharing is content that gives you value.


It lets you learn something you need to know.


It shows you a different way of looking at the same old things.


I do my best to make my content worth sharing, because only content that’s worth sharing gets shared.


  • I make sure it’s worth commenting.


Content that’s worth commenting on is written in a unique voice.


It has something to say.


It invites conversation.


It asks the reader to reach out and respond.


Remember: content marketing is about starting a conversation. Do all you can to make that happen.


  • I make sure it’s worth subscribing.


This means my content isn’t just a one-time thing. I show up with my best work, week after week. The more content I put out, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more my knowledge is worth to readers. I’m making a treasure for my prospects to find.


  • Overall strategy: I make sure my content is relevant to my audience.


  1. I create a repeatable process to maximize visits to my site.


Now that I’ve set up the basic outlines of the funnel, I turn it into a process.


That means tracking the important metrics and learning how to maximize them.


It means identifying every problem and learning how to solve it to the best of my ability.


  • I take measurements and set goals for growth.


The key is to identify the metrics that directly line up with your goals.


For example: if you’re using Twitter to cast a wide net, the most useful metric is the number of views of your posts.


  • I optimize my social media content.


Now that I’ve got some data and I’ve done some observations, I can do A/B testing to find the types of content that perform best on each of my social media platforms.


This allows me to set ever-increasing goals so I can eventually set a pattern of continuous growth.


  • I optimize my site content.


As I produce more and more on-site content, I form a better idea of the kind of content my audience needs.


To a degree, I can even do testing on this. But certain types of content will consistently perform better than others.


I’ll know to produce more of that content and less of the stuff that doesn’t work so well.


  • Overall strategy: I always have something I’m trying to improve.


The most important part of this process is to set the right goals and use the right metrics. If I choose the right problems, I keep myself on the right track throughout the promotional process.


Of course, this is a complex strategy and an abstract post like this hardly scratches the surface of what the actual execution looks like. But it should get you thinking.


Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about social media. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help.


And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at if you’d rather do it that way.


Good luck, and good copywriting!


How to Engage Prospects With Social Media

I know, I know, you’ve heard everywhere that you need to be on social media. But if you’re on social media you’re probably not trying hard enough. And if you are trying hard enough you’re probably not catching your mistakes. And if you are catching your mistakes… well, if you’ve reached that point I’m the one who should be asking you for advice!


The thing about social media is that there are a million ways to do it all wrong. So I hope you won’t take offense if I say you’re probably doing about nine hundred thousand things wrong right about now.


(It’s nothing personal, it’s just that there’s a learning curve at work here.)


There’s an upside to that statistic I just made up though: if you can get your act together and do social media right, you can master it. And since you’re doing nine hundred thousand things wrong, there’s plenty of space for improvement.


So let’s cut through the misconceptions about social media and figure out how you can really use social media to get real results.


Build Individual Relationships

So many brands and so many freelancers get into the (frankly awful) habit of thinking their whole social media effort is about racking up followers. The thought process here seems to be, “Well, if I have ninety billion followers, some of them are bound to trickle down and buy eventually.”


Now, maybe if you’re Wal Mart that kind of thinking can work. If you’re Wal Mart, you can afford to throw a few million bucks at the problem and see if it does anything. And if it doesn’t, it’s no big deal.


But here’s the facts, bub: you ain’t Wal Mart.


Prospecting and selling on social media means actually getting out there and actually engaging with people. Make friends. Crack jokes. Ask questions. Everybody’s out there trying to do the same thing you are. Find the people you belong with and get to know them.


Now, maybe you’re thinking, “That’s good and well for a freelancer, but my small business can’t do that kind of thing.” And to an extent you’re right. People aren’t generally eager to have brands jump in on their conversations (especially not in any overtly salesy way).


But even if you’re a small or medium-sized business, you have options for building relationships. You can host a Twitter chat. You can ask questions and follow up with the people who answer them. You can steadily use social media as a tool to dial in on who your prospects are, how to find them, and what they need to hear from you.


Speak to Your Prospects’ Needs

Here’s the thing: it’s much easier to produce content that speaks to your prospects’ concerns after you’ve built a relationship with a few of them. And I’m not talking about all that malarkey people like to spew about big data and how it’s supposedly so useful. This is about getting to know your prospects.


I’m talking real, human knowledge. I’m talking the kind of knowledge that you feel in your fingers and in your tongue. It’s that little glow in the heart you feel when you meet somebody you can really respect and admire.


It’s not something you can manufacture with data. It’s not something you can find an algorithm for. It’s a matter of real human connection. People can tell the difference between somebody who’s going through the motions for the sake of making a sale or doing what the data says and somebody who’s really speaking to them.


I don’t want to get all mushy here, but I think that’s what words like “spirit” mean. It’s something people share when they’re really and genuinely speaking and listening to one another. And it’s exactly that which you need to bring into your social media use.


If you hear the concerns of people you’ve gotten to know and genuinely care about, you’ll gain insights into your prospects’ needs that you can’t access any other way. And that is how you create a social media presence that stands out from the pack.


Experiment Constantly

Among other things, this means being consistent with your social media use. From now on, there are no days off social media. You’re here for a reason, and you’re not leaving until you figure out how to satisfy that reason.


Listen: every industry is different, and you’re going to have to figure out what works best for you. I’m a freelance writer and I do a lot of my marketing on social media. That means I’m interested in finding brands that need a skilled writer. And that means I’m constantly calibrating my approach to figure out what these brands need and how best to serve them with my social media presence and my blog.


Sure, experimenting with social media takes a lot of effort. But the more effort you put into the process, the better you get at it. And the better you get at it, the more you’ll eventually come to love social media.


Believe me. When I first started working on Twitter and LinkedIn, I hated social media. I thought it was a vapid waste of time and that anybody who wasted their time with it was an idiot who deserved to have his or her head smashed in. (That probably accounts for a lot of the mistakes I made at the beginning!)


But if you stick with it, you’ll realize there’s more to social media than angry people spouting their awful political opinions all over the place. There’s a wealth of information out there. There are brilliant people doing brilliant work. With a little time and a little cleverness, a network like Twitter can allow you to connect to almost anyone you can even dream of contacting.


Think about that for a minute.


Make a list of five people you’d like to get in touch with someday.


Go see how many of those people have a Twitter account just like yours.


Remember: if you get good enough at social media, you can take your account (or your brand’s account) and connect to anybody. The possibilities are literally only limited by your imagination.


So keep at it. Maybe you’re fumbling through the social media these days. But with time and practice you can turn it into something amazing.


How to Put Twitter Marketing to Work for You (Part 1 of 3)


Twitter is one of the most widely used social media sites on the net. With 319 million active users as of the last quarter of 2016, Twitter is a marketing hot spot ready for the taking.


So how do you get all that goodness working for you? Well, read along and I’ll give you the guidelines!


  1. Define your goals.

It can’t get any simpler than this: if you don’t know what your goals are, you won’t know when you’ve accomplished them.


Are you trying to draw traffic to your site? Are you trying to increase your follower count? Are you trying to use Twitter to directly increase sales?


All of these goals require different tactics and different metrics. It’s important to define objectives at the beginning, or else you’ll never know if you’ve succeeded. And even though it can be tempting to go after followers, sales, and traffic all at once, remember the old saying: “If you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.”


  1. Follow influencers in your industry.

If you’re going to break your message through, you’re going to have to figure out what the most successful people in your industry are doing. So follow them. Also: be sure to follow anybody you’d like to do business with in the future—it helps you keep tabs on prospects.


When you follow influencers and watch what they post, you can learn what works in your industry. And if you like, you can always put a little influencer marketing to work. Either way, it’s good to be able to recognize the influencers and learn from their ideas.


  1. Post regularly.

This one should be obvious. Remember: if you’re not posting regularly, you might as well not be posting at all.


Consistency is the name of the game. There are some companies out there that post to Twitter once a week, without a plan and without any intention of following up.


That’s not an acceptable procedure. You’re never going to get results without posting at least once a day, and probably a fair bit more than that. Social media is an iterative process, so the more often you post, the faster you get to know what your followers engage with!


  1. Combine Twitter with content marketing.

If you’ve got social media generating plenty of clicks to your site but your content is so bad nobody looks at it, you’ve got a problem. So how do you fix that?


Get some content marketing going on that site. The best strategy combines great social media postings with content that gives your visitors excellent value. Your visitors have to see the kind of professional content you’re capable of producing.


Content marketing also feeds into some remarketing tactics you should probably hear about. Unfortunately, I’m not going to have any space to fit that info into this post, so you’ll have to wait till tomorrow. Sorry!


  1. Retweet and promote others.

If you want people on Twitter to promote your brand, you have to start out by promoting other people’s brands. It doesn’t have to be anything excessive. Just a retweet or a mention now and again can be enough.


When you retweet someone else, you’ll be able to see if they reciprocate by retweeting one of your tweets. This kind of informal arrangement can lead to strong social and business relationships.


But watch out: there are many accounts out there that are so eager to retweet that they drown out their own brand in the process. So just watch out and make sure not to overdo it!


  1. Be social!

Here’s another one that should be obvious. This is social media. You need to be social.


Now, what’s that mean? Two things.


First off, it means you need to engage with your followers. If you keep up the social media campaign for any length of time, you’re going to gather fans who want to form a relationship with your brand. If you’re looking for business, you respond to them. You never know what business enthusiasm can lead to.


Second, it means you need to have a friendly and approachable online presence. Sure, you want to be consistent with your brand, but it’s important that you show a human face. It pays off in the end.


  1. Test to find the best posting times.

Generally, B2B businesses get the best results by posting sometime around noon (when people are on their lunch breaks), while B2C businesses do better later in the evening. That’s how they maximize their impressions and their engagement.


But that being said, there are a ton of variables here. If your social media following is spread out over a wide geographical area, for example, your optimum time to post will be likely to change.


So the real takeaway here is that you should be mindful of when you post. It takes a little testing to get it just right, but the results are worth the effort.


  1. Consider hiring a professional.

Let’s face it: you’re a busy person, and your time is valuable. Sure, you could take the time and the classes to learn how social media marketing works. Sure, you could spend the time and resources to take care of a social media strategy yourself.


You could do that.


But once again: you’re a busy person. Every minute you spend working over the social media is another minute you’re not spending running your business and coming up with new ideas. It’s definitely worthwhile to talk to a professional who knows what he or she is doing when you’re working on social media.


  1. Make sure your content is valuable.

This is something that’s definitely going to vary with your industry.


Valuable content in a B2B business might mean information about how your followers can solve problems relevant to your expertise.


In an entertainment business, it will mean spreading new and exciting things for your audience to enjoy.


Ask yourself this question: what kind of content will my ideal customer be most likely to enjoy and engage with?


Figure that out, and you know what you need to post. (And since you post regularly, you can experiment with this to find out what gets you the best results.)


  1. Consider using paid advertising.

One of the unfortunate facts about social media marketing is that organic growth is just about an impossible nut to crack. Twitter is engineered to give you best results if you shell out a little for advertising.


I’ll get into more detail with this tomorrow, but if you’re serious about making Twitter into one of your marketing venues, you’ll need to get serious about using Twitter ads. I know you might not be too happy to hear that, but it’s true.


But here’s the fact: if your business has the marketing budget to make a case study, it has the budget to get an ROI on Twitter ads.


How? Wait till tomorrow!


As always, thanks for reading and best of luck to you and your endeavors. Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got any questions. You can reach me in my comment section, or if you like you can email me at


What are Your Social Media Metrics?

What do they tell you about social media?


They tell you consistency is key. And it’s true, in a way. They’re definitely not entirely wrong.


But here’s the thing: there’s consistency that comes from having goals in mind and striving to reach them, and there’s consistency that comes from stubbornness.


The most important element of success is the ability to adapt.


Now, why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because I want you to realize it’s not enough just to post every day to be successful at social media.


If posting every day was enough, it would be easy. It takes more than that.


What does it take? It takes experimentation.


If you’re going to make it with social media, you’ve got to push the envelope to see what works. You’ve got to make decisions. You’ve got to ask yourself:


  • What are my social media goals?
  • What metrics are going to measure my social media success?
  • What can I do to maximize those metrics?


Success isn’t just a matter of indiscriminately trying. It’s a matter of asking yourself what exactly you want to accomplish and what you can do to make that happen.


That means systematically coming up with possible solutions and trying them one by one. You’ve got to take your success as inevitable and keep going until you’ve made it real.


So: what are you trying to get out of your social media presence? What metrics are you using? What are you doing to make those metrics all they can be?


Or are you just interested in social media for the sake of having a social media account?


Why Won’t Your Social Media Strategy Work?

If you’re trying to market your business on social media, you’ll face three major problems.


Those problems are:


1) How to increase clickthrough to your site?


2) How to increase your follower base?


and 3) How to increase interactions with your posts?


But when you think about it, your three problems really reduce down to one huge problem.


Why’s that? Well, when you ask yourself how to increase clickthrough to your site, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?


Simple. You increase your follower base. So the answer to question number one is to ask yourself question number two?


Now: how do you increase your follower base?


That’s easy. You just increase the rate of interactions with your posts. An account that’s got lots of interaction is a lively, growing account, right?


Of course it is! So the real problem with social media marketing is: how can you increase interactions with your posts?


There are a handful of different ways to do this. The trouble is, most of them are spammy and kind of lame.


Now, what do I mean by that? Well, let me give you an example: if you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, you’ll run into the “retweet for a retweet” crowd. These are the accounts that share your content on the expectation that you’ll share their content.


It’s a good way to get a lot of retweets, but it doesn’t work as a long-term strategy because it waters down the quality of your content.


People will see you sharing everything you can get your hands on, so they won’t develop a relationship with your brand.


And that should be your main goal. You want to create a brand people will want to engage with. That means producing great content that’s so wonderful they can’t help but get involved.


That means getting to know your current audience.


That means finding out what they need.


And that means giving them what they need.


Great content wins out in the end. Don’t you think so?


How You Can Improve Your Small Business’s Social Media Strategy

They’re everywhere.


Facebook. Twitter. Instagram.


If you’re like me, part of you probably wishes the internet had never been invented. If you’re even more like me, part of you probably wishes social media in particular had never been invented.


So before I tell you how to put your strategy together, let me take a few words to tell you why you’d want to.


Why bother with social media? Isn’t it just something for Millennials? Isn’t it going to die out soon, anyways?


Well, there are plenty of reasons to bother with social media. The first reason is that 52 percent of Millennials already report finding products and services through sites like Facebook and Twitter.


The numbers are lower for other generations, but there are dedicated social media users in every generation. So it’s a mistake to think it’s just for Millennials.


But isn’t social media just a fad? Isn’t it going out the door soon anyways?


If that’s your excuse, you’d better think again. The biggest sites have been around for over ten years, and they’re still gathering steam.


LinkedIn dates all the way back to 2002.


Facebook was started in 2004.


YouTube came along in 2005


Twitter followed the pack in 2006.


If it was a fad, it would be over by now. But that’s still not the best reason for getting on social media.


What is the best reason, you ask?


Simple: your competition is already there. They’ve already got their social media campaigns set up. They’re moving your customers down their marketing funnels.


And every day, they’re increasing their lead on you.


You’re not going to make it unless you catch up. And that’s what I’m here to show you how to do.


How Can I Start?


Let’s begin with the basics. Like anything else, before you begin you want to define your objectives. You’re too clever and forward-thinking to jump into anything without knowing your goals. If you’re getting into the social media game, you’re going to know your conditions for success.


Well, what kinds of objectives will you go after?


If you’re first starting out your account, you’re probably going to want to increase your following. After all, you can only get your message heard if somebody’s listening, right? It’s important to grow that following to the point where it starts feeling like a community where your followers will want to regularly engage. Otherwise you’re spending a whole lot of time talking to nobody.


Once you do that, you can get to work on your other objectives. Now, what are those?


One thing you can do is use your social media presence as part of a content marketing strategy. Just like SEO optimization, social media will generate targeted traffic to your site. If you own a content site or an e-commerce store, that’s often enough to generate sales in itself.


If you work with more big-ticket items, you might aim for generating leads instead of directly generating customers. Set up a mailing list on your site, and you can turn that mailing list customers.


Traffic generation. Lead generation. Sales generation. What else?


You can use social media as a testing ground for gathering information on your market. Find out who your customers are. Find out what they want. Test for interest in new offers before you invest too much time and effort into them.


Those are just a few of the goals you can pursue with a solid social media strategy. And while you’re working on these, you’re always working on the greater goal of generating awareness and good will to your brand.


Once you’ve developed your objectives, you’ll need to work on your online brand strategy. There’s a real temptation to treat a social media account like it’s a place to broadcast all your personal thoughts and opinions. And that’s just fine—on a personal account.


With social media, however, you’re going to want a clear message to send your customers and potential customers. That means normal, everyday branding, but it also means developing a separate strategy for each social media venue you take on. (What works on Twitter probably won’t get you too far on LinkedIn, for example.)


If you’ve already developed a strong brand, you’re ahead of the curve here. There’s not a ton of work for you to do with coming up with individual strategies for every social media site.


If you don’t already have a strong brand, you’re going to want to develop one. It helps if you come up with a buyer persona, as a starting point. What’s a buyer persona? It’s a written sketch of your ideal buyer, and it helps you develop a sense of what kinds of appeals will attract the kind of person you’re looking for.


When you’re preparing the buyer persona, you’ll want to get to know what it feels like to be your ideal customer. You’ll want to ask yourself questions like:


  1. What are the problems this person deals with on an everyday basis?
  2. What excites this person more than anything else in the world?
  3. What is this person really afraid of?
  4. What does this person really want?
  5. What kinds of subjects does this person think about every day?


And so on, and so on, and so on. You’ll want to answer all these questions and more when you’re working on your buyer persona, but that should give you an idea of the kind of think you’re going for.


Why bother with all that? Well, by taking all that effort to enter directly into your ideal customer’s worldview, you’ve learned what they value most and (more importantly for you) what it is about your offer that will make them realize how much they need it.


Think of it this way: I’m not a computer guy. So if I go to Best Buy to get a computer, I’m not going to be too impressed when the salesman tells me the screen resolution is such-and-such a number of megapixels. But if he tells me it’s got an image so clear it’s like having a hawk’s vision, then I’m interested.


So it’s always a good idea to get to know your potential customer’s point of view. Sometimes you’ll have it easy, and your customer persona will be someone a lot like you. Sometimes you’ll have a more challenging customer, somebody you have less in common with.


The key thing is to find the way your ideal customer thinks, so you can speak their language and learn what motivates them. It’s practically a cliché to say that part of marketing means entering into your ideal prospect’s thought processes. This is worth doing, and it’s worth taking a thorough, step-by-step approach, because you want to make sure your customer knows you’re someone they can trust and be comfortable working with.


Now that you’ve identified your goals and your ideal customer, it’s time to establish your presence on the major social media sites. (Some people will tell you that you absolutely must have a presence on every major site, but that’s not really necessary when you’re starting out.) You’ll want to get started on at least a few of the “Big Five” sites: that’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.


If you’re wondering where to start, here are a couple tips:


First off, you’ll want to remember that some sites appeal to certain interests and certain age groups. (Your average Instagram user is younger than your average LinkedIn user. There’s a higher proportion of female users on Facebook than on Twitter. Restaurants will tend to rustle up more business on Instagram than on LinkedIn.) Figure out where your ideal customer is most likely to be, and establish a strong presence there.


There are good reasons to establish yourself on several sites. The best reason is that presence on multiple sites allows you to cross-promote between them. If you’ve got a major Twitter presence and let your followers know you’re also on Pinterest, they’re likely to follow you. Multiply that through all your accounts, and you’ve got the potential to generate some major amplification!


So: you’re started out and you’re ready to go. How does it feel? Are you getting the results you wanted? Keep at it if you’re having trouble. Social media can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s nothing a pro can’t handle.


One last point before moving on: every site you’ll try has its own strategies. What works on Twitter won’t necessarily work on LinkedIn. This particular article is about general strategy, but I just want to make sure you remember there are still differences throughout all these sites.


Paid Advertising: When and How to Use It


With this section, I’ll show you one of the major differences between sites: paid advertising. I’m only going to talk about the two biggest paid advertising sites (Facebook and Twitter), but that should show you what I’m talking about when I get into the differences between sites.


But before I get to that, let me give you a quick overview of what paid advertising is and why you might want to use it. There’s all kinds of great advice all over the internet, but what you need to know is that paid advertising is a good way to generate a lot of high-quality, targeted leads in a short period of time. (Or a long period of time, depending on your strategy and your budget.)


I’m sure you’ve seen the ads on Facebook before, at least. That’s what we’re talking about here.


So why would you want to use paid advertising? Well, first of all because it’s a way for you to get more followers on your account without having to use any kind of weird tactics.


Paid advertising gives you the chance to increase your reach almost passively. That’s why it’s a good way to generate new leads and new prospects, especially if you’re planning on introducing a new product.


Of course, there are any number of reasons why you might use paid advertising, and the great thing about that is that different objectives are actually built into the process of buying advertising on these sites.


But that’s enough about the generalities, let’s get down to specifics. Like I told you before, Facebook and Twitter are generally the most effective places for paid advertising—or at least the biggest—so we’ll focus on them right here.


  1. Facebook Paid Advertising
    • Facebook offers many different ad types, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. There are photo ads, video ads, carousels, slideshows, and canvases.
    • There are many different campaign objectives, including 1) boosting posts, 2) promoting your page, 3) reaching people near your business, 4) increasing brand awareness, 5) increasing your reach, 6) generating website traffic, 7) get your app installed, 8) raise event attendance, 9) draw video views, 10) collect leads, 11) increase conversions, 12) increase in-app engagement, 13) increase claims on your offer, 14) promote a catalog, 15) draw store visits.
    • With Facebook ads, you’ve got major options when it comes to targeting your audience. (Now’s a good time to keep your customer persona handy!) You can narrow your audience by demographics, interests, and behaviors, and by narrower and narrower interests after that. If you want to target your ad to men aged 50-55 who love Fifty Shades of Grey and the Velvet Underground, you can do that.
    • Pricing for Facebook ads can vary considerably, but in the US, recent figures indicate a cost per click of 27.29 cents.


(Honestly, this is just an aside, but it’s amazing how narrowly you can target these things. If you don’t believe me, just check of this story of one of the most brilliant pranks ever. Unfortunately, cases like this have since led Facebook to dial back the sensitivity of their targeting just a little bit.)


  1. Twitter Paid Advertising
    • Twitter ads come in three types: promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends.
    • Twitter offers several different campaign objectives: 1) website clicks or conversions, 2) Tweet engagements, 3) followers, 4) awareness campaigns, 5) video views, 6) app installs or re-engagement, 7) lead generation.
    • Twitter’s targeting options aren’t nearly as extensive as Facebooks, but they still include location, gender, language, device, platform, carrier, etc. You won’t be pranking your roommate with Twitter ads, but you’ll still get the people you’re looking for.
    • Depending on how well you’ve targeted your ad, Twitter advertising can average somewhere between 50 cents to $10 per click. Promoted trends can cost as much as $200,000 a day, so be sure you have a clear plan in mind before you play around with that!)


Everyday Running: How to Increase Engagement & Followers


Social media is nothing if you’re not engaging with your followers and generating more leads. Now, the particulars of your strategy will vary depending on your industry, your temperament, and the sites you’re using, but this is where I’ll tell you the basics.


I’ll give you a short overview first, and then we can get into a few specific strategies for increasing your follower count and generating a conversation.


The name of the game is: consistency. A social media account that doesn’t post regularly might as well not exist. I’ve known companies to post some throwaway line, maybe once a week… and then they were surprised that they weren’t getting the results they wanted.


You’ll want to exercise two kinds of consistency: consistency of frequency and consistency of message.


Consistency of frequency means you’ve got a routine when it comes to posting. If your company is going to use Instagram, you’ll probably want to post at least once a day. If you’re posting once a day, five days a week, you want to be reliable and regular with your posting.


This is important. It’s not just that you maximize your chances to generate a wildly successful post. You also create a feeling of dependability and professionalism. Even if your followers don’t consciously realize you’re posting on a regular schedule, the simple fact of seeing your posts every day will reassure them that you treat your social media presence seriously.


In short: develop a posting schedule, and experiment with it till you find the best times to post.


Consistency of message is more or less a matter of good branding. You want to have something to say if you’re going to use your social media account effectively. So many brands simply tailor their posts to what they think the audience wants to hear, and that kills everything that made their brand unique.


If you want to spread a message that stands out of the pack, you need to have a message. You can’t be afraid to make your brand stand for something, if it’s something you truly believe in. If you drive away some potential customers by posting about what really matters, you can make up for it with the loyalty of the new customers you attract. They’ll know you’re like them, and they’ll want to do business with you.


Now, before you ask: no, I’m not saying you should post anything personal or unprofessional. But I am saying you shouldn’t necessarily shy away from expressing your political views in your social media presence. These things are definitely polarizing, but for some industries it’s extremely appropriate.


Next in line comes our strategy for increasing your follower count. This is a complicated subject, but I’ve got a few general pointers that should help you along:


  1. Focus on the sites where your customers are likely to be.—Some sites are better-suited for certain industries. A restaurant will probably get more mileage out of an Instagram account than a Pinterest, for example. And if you run a blog, you’ll probably get better results from Pinterest than Instagram. If you run a B2B business, you’ll probably want to focus your efforts on LinkedIn. It’s important to have your presence spread out across multiple sites, but some sites are more effective than others.
  2. Share valuable content.—This is something that’s definitely going to vary with your industry. Valuable content in a B2B business might mean information about how your followers can solve problems relevant to your expertise. In an entertainment business, it will mean spreading new and exciting things for your audience to enjoy. Ask yourself this question: what kind of content will my ideal customer be most likely to enjoy and engage with? Figure that out, and you know what you need to post. (And since you post regularly, you can experiment with this to find out what gets you the best results.)
  3. Remember to be fun!—It’s easy to slip into deadly-serious mode when you’re doing social media for your business. Sometimes that’s appropriate, sometimes it’s not. The point is: you’ve got to strike a balance. Even if you’re a B2B business, you’ve got to avoid being deathly boring. (But you also want to avoid making everybody puke by being hyperenthusiastic and throwing around words like “ninja” and “rockstar.”)


Now that you’ve got a following developed, it’s time to increase your engagement. “Engagement” is kind of a catch-all term for likes, comments, shares, etc. It’s something you’ll want to work on, especially if you want to turn followers into qualified prospects.


  1. Host Q&A Sessions.—The fact is, people are a lot more likely to do business with you if they’ve seen your face and heard your voice. Hosting Q&A sessions can be a wonderfully effective way to accomplish this. Whether it’s scheduling a Q&A on Twitter by using a pre-arranged hashtag, or going live on Facebook, you’ve got several methods for doing Q&A that should help you build trust and demonstrate your knowledge.
  2. Ask Questions (In a way that gets answers).—This is a bit of a more everyday strategy. If you’ve been in social media for any length of time, you’re bound to have noticed that followers generally hate responding with comments. You ask them a question, and you might as well be talking into the air.—Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you there are ways to encourage people to answer your questions, and it’s all got to do with the way you ask. If you offer your followers a multiple-choice question, they’re much more likely to answer. And once they’ve answered a question, you’ve got a foot in the door for learning even more about them.
  3. Engage with mentions!—If one of your followers takes the time to mention your brand on social media, you’re going to want to engage with them. Even if it’s something as simple as a thank-you and an invitation to keep in touch, it builds good will and helps you demonstrate how much your brand cares. Remember: everything counts!


How to Generate Leads and Increase Revenue


Unless you’re a content site that’s just trying to maximize clickthrough, you’re going to want to have a strategy in place for lead generation.


You’re going to want to turn followers into leads, and leads into customers.


You’re going to want to set up a sales cycle, in other words. It should look something like this:


  1. Attract followers through consistent, relevant posting.
  2. Generate clickthrough to your site with relevant links to great content.
  3. Turn clicks into leads by allowing them to opt in to an email list.
  4. Gradually build a relationship of trust leading to a sale.


(That’s the basic overview. There are a lot of things you can try to accomplish those four steps, but that’s the ideal sequence you’re aiming for.)


Now, I’m going to take a minute here to tell you about content marketing. I know, I know, I know: content marketing isn’t the same as social media marketing. That’s true.


BUT, social media marketing and content marketing both work better when you’ve got them working in sync.


If you’ve got social media generating plenty of clicks to your site but your content is so bad nobody looks at it, you’ve got a problem.


The best strategy combines great social media postings with amazing content that gives your visitors excellent value. They have to see the kind of professional content you’re capable of producing.


You’ve got to show them the kind of content that makes their fingers itch to write a check for your company.


What am I talking about here? I’m talking about consistent branding. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: consistency is the number one factor in creating an unstoppable brand.


When your followers click onto your site, you want them to know it the same person produced this content and the content on your social media accounts.


That’s how you build a relationship of trust that leads to a sale, and potentially to a long-term business relationship.


Social media can also get great results from upselling. Your current customers are likely to be some of your most dedicated social media followers, right?


Right. So if you use your social media account to educate your followers about new offerings as you develop them, you can give them the opportunity to get in touch with you about any offers they think they could use.


In other words, a dedicated social media following offers you the chance to continue a conversation with your best leads and customers, all over the world, all at once.


That’s why it’s worth your while to come up with a solid social media strategy.


Go Ahead and Get Started!


Like I told you at the beginning: the competition already has their feelers out all over social media. It’s a game that’s constantly adapting, and in capable hands it can produce a steady stream of reliable customers.


Remember: it’s not too late to get in on social media.


If you think your current strategy needs some work, be sure to get in touch with me at I can take a look at your current approach and we can find a solution that works for you.


For the rest of you: is there anything else you want to know about social media? Should I tell you a little more about how to calculate your ROI, or would you like an SEO guide? Whatever you need, if it’s related to social media, content marketing, or copywriting, feel free to ask.


Thanks for reading, and as always best of luck to you!