While factors like what social platforms are new, where people are hanging out, and how we can use these platforms changes at a rapid pace, the basic premise of selling goods and services online does not change.
The sequence of a business transaction remains this:
Manufacturer creates or provides product
Person hears about product
Person decides product is something to want or need
Person follows Manufacturer’s procedure for payment
Person becomes Customer
In order to have a sustainable business, you as Manufacturer want to establish a rhythm of this sequence on repeat. Since social media can be an amazing, free tool to help with this, and all of your competitors are using it, you not only want to consider using it, but consider using it differently, and more efficiently, than your competitors.
In order to use social media well, you want to look at the sequence of a business transaction and mimic it in the social space with social tools. Instead of having a storefront window, you have your social profiles; instead of word on the local streets, you have personal tags, and hashtags, and location tags and tweets.
And while you re-create this sequence, you’ll also want to master being personable (“social”) in the way you use each platform.
To help with all this, I’ve created a cheat sheet that you can print and write all over as many times as you need. And to explain how to use the cheat sheet, I’ve recorded this video, a shorter version of my Facebook live stream on this topic a few months ago (notes are below):
Social Media 101: a 5-Link chain
No matter how creative, the social strategies that generate the most revenue all fit the 5-step cycle (or 5-link “chain”) that I detail in the video:
Link #1: A (Solid) Product or Service - In order to make money, you have to create or offer something worth buying. That means something that stands out in its marketplace, something that resonates with a definitive group of people. If you don’t have a product, or your product is not very good, it will be hard to make money.
Link #2: A Target Audience You Know Like the Back of Your Hand - When you know your target audience really well, you can design your product, website, ads, packaging, language, and brand aesthetic to let the right people know, “Hey, I’m talking to YOU.” This means when the right people see what you’re offering, they’re more likely to notice it and give it their attention for more than a fleeting second, giving you more opportunity to pre-create the benefits they’ll receive when they buy from you.
Link #3: Content that Serves - To engage a community of people (cough, your target audience) on social media, you can’t only be selling, selling, selling all the time. You need to be a member of that community, which means starting interesting conversations, offering help when you can, and being fun and interesting as a brand. This is what will make people want to follow your social accounts; then, when you do want to sell or promote something, you have a larger audience of people to speak to.
Link #4: A Way To Engage with Others - Even your most loyal customers won’t go out of their way to visit your social profiles day to day, and therefore only ever posting on your own profile is a waste of time and energy. Engaging with people on the platform who are part of the community you want to work with is key. Responding to their tweets (or re-tweeting them); commenting on their Instagram posts; and participating in their Facebook groups are all ways to engage beyond your profiles. This lets new people know you exist, that you’re active in the community, and that you care, while also reminding existing followers to engage with YOU.
Link #5: Somewhere to Send Paying Customers - When someone discovers you because Instagram suggested your profile to them, or because you solved a problem for them inside a Facebook group, they might click over to your profile to see if you’ll be an interesting business or brand to follow. This is where they will discover your Content that Serves. If they want more of where that came from, you want it to be super easy for them to buy from you. This usually means linking to a specific page on your website, a place that should be beautiful and easy to navigate. Here is where they will discover your (solid) product or service in all its glory, and often be converted from Person to Customer.
Was this helpful? If so, leave a comment below! And if you’re wondering how to go deeper on this topic, check out some recommended links right beneath this post, or head over to my Web Design Kits to create a beautiful website of your own!
Hello! My name is Alexis.
Coffee lover, day dreamer, foodie, and creative. Currently working and living in New Hampshire, I’m an eclectic mix of forward-looking and completely old-fashioned.