Entrepreneurs can market their products all day long, but their work means nothing without a complete and coherent strategy. Their brands need to be seen.
Laura Pence Atencio is one such seeing eye on the social media marketing path.
She is an author, radio show and podcast host plus an online marketing strategist. Known as the Social Savvy Geek, she has guided “speakers, authors and coaches into best-seller status, helped fill their events and gotten them ideal speaking engagements.”
Pence Atencio and marketing entrepreneur Madalyn Sklar discussed the best strategies to put brands on the digital map.
With more people using social media and less of them using actual maps, your digital signature is your calling card. It’s important to be active and keep your location prominently on people’s browsers.
“Social Media is top of funnel,” Pence Atencio said. “It’s a great way to gain awareness, build community and drive traffic to your website.
“There is no barrier to entry on social media,” she said. “Anyone can get their message out there. It takes work, but no one gets in your way but you.”
The amount of information available can be overwhelming.
“It’s amazing how much data we have at our fingertips on social media,” Pence Atencio said. “Want to know what ads your competitors are running? Done.
“We are social creatures who crave connection,” she said. “Social media provides platforms for connection.”
Sklar emphasized that social media is free and easy.
“Set yourself up with a presence that helps you and your business,” she said. “It’s a must for every business.”
Pence Atencio gave her top tips to get seen by the right audience on social media:
“It’s all about relationships,” Sklar said. “Spend time developing them. This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, but it pays off big.”
Her visibility tips are to know your audience, do polls, listen and then get seen by using video.
“Video is the best platform to get your audience to know, like and trust you on social media,” Sklar said.
There are many innovative ways to get traction on social media.
Whenever possible, create content that highlights other people and give them credit. When publicizing what you produce, do it on an assortment of platforms, making sure to tag your subjects each time.
“Create marketing, content and editorial calendars,” Pence Atencio said. “Then follow them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are too many moving pieces to manage and scale solo.
“Stop looking for shortcuts, magic pills, easy solutions or trying to keep up with fads,” she said. “Just do the work. Small, consistent actions add up over time. Create solid, quality content that will stand the test of time. Show up. Dive deep.”
“I have found that using what’s new in social media gets you great traction,” Sklar said. “Right now, IGTV — Instagram TV — is new and exciting. Venture into that. Twitter Live video is available, but no one uses it. Use it. Video equals traction.”
The money shot is when you turn your audience’s attention into leads.
“Think ahead and plan the customer journey,” Pence Atencio said. “Be intentional in your marketing. We use our 90-Day Launch System to plot content and funnels in advance.
“This is where the power of tools comes in,” she said. “Marketing automation and systems allow you to plan, test and scale. “
However, automation should not be automatic at the sacrifice of humanity.
“Pay attention,” Pence Atencio said. “Speak directly to your ideal client — one ideal client at a time. Ask them to act. Listen to them.
“Make sure you have a simple funnel in place that works,” she said. “You can fancy it up later.”
Sklar always keeps her ear to the ground.
“I listen to what my community wants and needs,” she said. “I will periodically do polls, which helps me better understand how I can serve them. It becomes instant leads.”
Tapping into user-generated content is another marketing tactic that can bring great returns.
“Ask the right questions and interact with your audience,” Pence Atencio said. “That’s the key to get useful responses and engagement. We added a skilled community manager to make this happen.
“People love to tell you about themselves and share their experiences,” she said. “Make it about them, not about you. Give them the space to share.”
Sklar has found the conversations never stop.
“People are talking about you, your service and your product,” she said. “Do regular searches for this. Then leverage it by resharing and retweeting. Ask if you can use what they said as a testimonial.”
That could create a great tweet, which Nick Martin at the social media management company Hootsuite described:
For a complete marketing strategy, Pence Atencio has her favorite tools.
“Top for me are Infusionsoft and CoSchedule with Buffer,” she said. “I can’t imagine my business without them. Marketing automation combined with social promotion are foundational.
“We regularly use Animoto and Canva for video and social graphics, Thinkific for hosting courses and SamCart for checkout pages,” Pence Atencio said. “We run Thrive Themes on WordPress.com because we are conversion-focused and love the ease of use. Everything integrates seamlessly with Infusionsoft.”
She also gives visual tools their due.
“For podcasting we love libsyn and iTunes,” Pence Atencio said. “We use Smart Podcast Player to display episodes on Social Savvy Geek. For webinars, we use WebinarJam and Ever Webinar Review.
“We pretty much run everything through Apple and Google ecosystems,” she said. “SaneBox keeps my inbox near zero. It easily sorts and prioritizes email so my assistant can spend her time on more high-value tasks.”
Other tools help for searches.
“Crowdfire and triberr help us find quality content that gets great engagement, shares and clickthroughs,” Pence Atencio said. “We aren’t about vanity here. We want results.”
For her part, Sklar added these tools: ManageFlitter, AgoraPulse and Videoshop.
To build your brand online, be you. You are the product you’re selling personally and professionally. Then be available and a trusted source of good information that will make your audience want more.
“Value your business from the beginning,” Pence Atencio said. “Invest in your brand strategy. Have brand standards that allow you to present an intentional, consistent brand voice.
“Your brand may grow and change over time,” she said. “Do the best you can with what you have. Keep improving over time.”
Content and messages should fit within an overall marketing strategy.
“Make sure the brand you develop aligns with the audience you are attempting to attract,” Pence Atencio said. “Just because you like something doesn’t mean it will work.
“Likewise, just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” she said. “Outsource your weakest skills as soon as you can, whether that’s graphic design, copy writing or otherwise.”
“It’s not all about you,” she said. “Make it that way, and your audience will find someone else.”
Pence Atencio and Sklar continued their conversation in greater detail on Facebook Live.
Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.