This article was contributed by Pratik Dholakiya.
These days, if your business is not on social media, it amounts to people not being sure your company even exists. Today nearly 70% of customers use social media for researching businesses and items before purchasing.
Social media has become one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience in a way that directly leads to increased sales. You need to learn how to use this vast audience to your advantage and leverage your social media presence to gain more clients for your design business.
Here are ten easy ways to use social media as a way to gain more clients for your design business.
Live stream a Q&A or tutorial to show your expertise
Numerous studies have hammered home the fact that people prefer to watch videos over all other types of marketing content. Live streaming is the newest extension of video marketing, but it has shown to be a highly effective way to increase audience engagement. In fact, now the three major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) all offer live streaming capabilities, and they will notify your followers as soon as the cameras start rolling.
One of the best ways to use live stream is to market your skills by offering a Q&A session or giving a tutorial. By livestreaming, you are allowing your audience to send in questions or comments in real time, so use that to your advantage. Acknowledge followers, answer questions, and respond to compliments during your video. See here for Live Video tips & ideas.
Post videos of your design process to YouTube
The statistics for YouTube use are staggering; every minute, 300 hours of content are uploaded to the site, and it is the second largest search engine in the world. Using YouTube to promote your design business will actually help your SEO rankings, leading to increased organic searches and conversions.
Giving your followers a little glimpse into the behind-the-scenes process makes your brand seem more personal, and how-to videos are one of the most popular category uploaded on YouTube. It’s also a creative way to display your talents and expertise to potential clients.
Geotag your posts to attract local businesses or clients
Location marketing is a way to truly home in on your target customers or businesses. Be sure to tag your location for your posts, check in to businesses, and clearly display your location in your contact information. Geotagging your location also boosts your SEO rankings when that location is searched. Any clients searching for your services in their area will be glad to see exactly where your business is located, since it takes out the guess work for logistics.
You can also take location marketing one step further with ad targeting based on location. Facebook is one of the most commonly used platforms for this type of marketing, since many users openly share their location and actually allow Facebook to track them for recommendation purposes. With Facebook Ads, you can set your parameters and hyper-target your ads for a specific location.
See here for how to make Facebook more SEO friendly and how to optimize your posts for maximum shareability.
Connect with influencers
Social media influencers have founded a sense of authority on various topics by establishing accounts with large followings, high engagement through likes and comments, and regular posting. By connecting your business with their name, you benefit by receiving that credibility. Facebook and Instagram are the primary channels for this type of marketing, but connecting with bloggers or content marketers is another highly effective way to market your designs. Source
Network through LinkedIn & Post Links to Your Published Work
Since LinkedIn is not necessarily known for its creativity, it may not be the first social media platform that comes to mind for a design business. However, it is actually one of the strongest social media sites for sales conversions – with rates over 240% higher than Facebook sales conversions! It’s also one of the best ways to find qualified leads – bringing in up to 80% of many business’s leads.
Create a portfolio on LinkedIn by posting links to your finished work. LinkedIn is all about networking, so ask your clients if you can tag them in your posts, and perhaps ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing your links as well.
Create stories through Instagram and Snapchat
Story-telling has consistently been an effective way to connect with your audience, and advertisers have been using this strategy for years and years. Now, the popularity of posting to your personal “story” on social media (what better for a design business than to make it “visual”!) makes it easy for businesses and individuals alike to become story-tellers through sharing snippets of their day and experiences.
Studies have shown that posting content in sequences have 9x the follow-through view rate. Plan out your story-line ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to get creative with it. For example, Instagram Stories let you use features like hashtags and locations to personalize your story. Use these features to your advantage to make your content visually appealing and unique. Share the progression of a project, show a before and after, or share other exciting content that will appeal to your audience.
Use social media to promote giveaways
Everyone loves freebies, and hosting a contest through social media is one strategy to increase your number of followers. Promoting a giveaway can draw in higher traffic to your website and boost your SEO. Be strategic and set a goal you want this content to accomplish. If you want to increase your followers, require contestants to follow you, share your post, or tag friends. If you want to promote a new service or product, then use it as the prize. The key is to promote it by posting high quality photos or pictures, clearly explaining the rules, and, of course, following through by picking a winner. Source.
Include purchase options on all channels
Make your social media your easiest point of sale by embedding buttons that lead customers directly to your website check out. Since this makes the purchase process quicker for the customer, it will decrease the amount of abandoned shopping carts and website bounces.
Instagram recently added in a feature where brands can embed sales information (such as price) in photos, with live links to your site. Pinterest also lets you create Buyable Pins that direct customers to your website. You can easily add purchase buttons on your social media posts if you use a DIY ecommerce platform like Shopify for your online store. Shopify has built-in social plugins and apps to help you create product posts with embedded links, which can be shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and more.
Track the links you share
Adding in links to your website or product page can eat up precious room in your social media posts. Most platforms set character limits. Anyway, shorter text descriptions tend to do better than longer posts. Make the most of the limited real estate by shortening your links into 13 character links with Google’s URL Shortener or Bitly.
The key advantage to this system, besides saving space in your posts, is that you are able to track each link you create. This means you can see exactly which posts produced the highest amount of clicks, and it can help you determine with social media channel is the most effective for your business.
Integrate posts with your overall content strategy
Lots of companies have conducted extensive research to determine the optimal times to post. Scheduling out your posts so they go live during peak hours will increase audience reach and engagement.
Now, the trouble with so many social networks where you need to maintain a presence is, present day scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Buffer only offer you the option to schedule across networks, not to time them correctly in line with your overall content strategy.
Staying on track for your posting schedule can be tricky, especially if you’ve got a lot on your plate. The best way to stay ahead of your deadlines and organize your posting schedule is by creating a calendar that is integrated into your overall marketing campaign. For instance, a collaboration and task management tool like Workzone will notify you when events are due, such as when you need to make a post or produce new content.
If you need to coordinate across departments or with clients for a campaign, you can combine calendars easily with the whole team so that everyone is on the same page.
One of the best things about social media is that is provides a platform for you to connect personally with your audience. Use your creative skills to strategize your social media strategy by sharing videos that provide your audience insight into your business. Connect with local businesses easily, share your design portfolio, and collaborate with big names in the industry with a few clicks and shares. With just about 70% of the American population active on social media, if you are not reaching out then you are missing out.
About the author: Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.