For Authors and Entrepreneurs
Marketing can be a bit of a bee in your bonnet, especially if you’re much more comfortable safely working the day away in your home office than standing out online.
LinkedIn may have you overwhelmed.
Facebook changes rules and permissions faster than any sane person could keep up with.
And Pinterest is SO FABULOUS, you’re in danger of getting lost amidst all the prettiness and forget all about running a business.
Raise your hand, fellow “let’s paint the kitchen TEAL” Pinterest browsers. 🙂
With paid subscriptions and paid advertisement on all these sites, and each platform playing by a set of rules that isn’t too obvious to the unsuspecting entrepreneur, things can get murky, to say the least.
This is a walk-through of how to plant your flag and raise brand awareness (aka let the people who’re out there, looking for you, know you exist) on the OG (original gangster): Facebook.
No credit card required. You can get the results you need for free if you’re willing to show up for and invest in your audience. Believe me, they’ll return the favor manyfold. But let’s start from the top.
One: Integrity is key.
Playing it smart in today’s online world means realizing that good marketing is honest marketing, and for an author/solopreneur, that essentially means being the kindest version of yourself, even and especially when you’re online as opposed to the real world.
These are amazing times for entrepreneurs.
Branding is no longer a big-player game and never has it been easier to connect to your core audience without an intermediary. It’s like having a free all-access ticket to a 24/7 global trade fair, with one big, bad bonus:
Potential business partners are actively looking for you.
Your job is to communicate your value in context to their needs, to let them experience how exactly you’ll make their life better, serve their needs, inject joy or success into their journey.
Two: Brand Awareness beats Marketing Talk
The key to getting your name out there and build authority and reputation is threefold:
- Show up.
- Speak up.
- Play nice.
The target audience you play to may change with the platform, but your underlying message should always be one of generosity, expertise, and kindness.
If in doubt whether to hit send, just contemplate if you would like to do business with the person behind your message.
Three: Who are you Talking to?
A big part of your readership might be made up by your camerades in arms: Fellow *enter your job description here* find you via industry keywords or click on content that covers areas they’re interested in.
Showing up for your colleagues makes heaps of sense:
Network referrals, anyone? I’d say about 30% off new clients contact me based on a referral or a guest appearance. We’re all in this together, and showing up for industry topics, colleagues, and issues of the day might just turn out to be a profit propeller.
- Search engines sift through social platforms for data and show results as long as they’re labeled “public” (just one more reason to google yourself frequently and make sure all your tags and mentions are in line with your brand).
- Showing face with generosity, humor, and grace raises expectations of what working with you feels like: Talk about raising your know-like-trust factor!
- Business karma is REAL. I love referring colleagues and if a client lets me know they reached out to me thanks to a recommendation, I love sending out surprise packages with books and coffee and chocolate.
- It’s not just me: Any Facebook group timeline of even the most serious business group will show you that polls, calls for referrals, and asks for recommendations on anything from business books to cars (!) are the busiest posts around.
Four: Serving beats Pitching
While writing with your industry in mind is a potential hay-maker and CAN help you get started or unstuck, your main focus should always be your dream prospect (singular):
I’m talking about the person who already knows they want exactly what you have on offer, and are browsing the www to find it.
Except, that’s usually NOT how it happens.
We spend the majority of our non-working days online and our phones have turned from communication devices into pocket-sized shopping malls.
And what do you do in a mall, besides devouring a Frappuccino and contemplating a cinnamon roll?
You window-shop. When the timing is right (or you’re flush enough) to treat yourself, you already know exactly what you’re NOT looking for, where to expect the best selection of your favorite brand’s newest collection and that one lady who greets you respectfully without crowding you.
Or, in the day and age of online shopping, all your favorite items are already in your cart – or bookmarked to your wishlist.
All this to say:
The time to plant your flag, stand out for your value and personality, and deliver R.I.C.H. content is ALWAYS.
Your brand is the personification of the emotions you spark in your audience, and all the great things they grow to expect from you. So before you set up yet another social media profile, make sure you’ve got the time to show up for yourself – and for your audience.
Now, let’s talk about Facebook Pages:
If you choose Facebook as your preferred hunting ground and want to create a Facebook page, it will pay off to have it set up before actively participating in groups.
That way, whenever you say something potentially life-changing, your readers can look you up and find you an established professional with something to say instead of a one-hit-wonder.
BUT (see, how I stressed that?): An FB page is only as good as your drive to fill it with R.I.C.H. content.
– from your target audience’s point of view.
A dead Facebook page is like a dead anything: it will start to stink at some point. Worst case, the vultures take over. If you go through the steps of setting up a Facebook page, be smart about it. Plan ahead and be prepared to commit to consistency and relevance.
Make sure your page reflects your professional approach.
An Impressum, professional-looking logo and branding, and a link to your business website are a must, along with an actual content plan and crystal-clear contact details.
Take advantage of Facebook’s Appointment feature.
It’s just one more way your prospects can reach you, and you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to pick their favorite point of contact.
Don’t lay all your eggs in one basket.
On its own, your Facebook page won’t do much to drive business your way. It can certainly help get you noticed, but the current Facebook variables provide a less than ideal soil to grow meaningful reach and leads to your dream clients without putting in a LOT of time and at least some money.
Your average post will appear in the timeline of 3% of your Facebook page followers, and the numbers dwindle if your post contains a link that points outside the platform.
What your page can be is a relevant stepping stone between your Facebook presence in groups and your website.
Using your Facebook page to blog or recycle articles published elsewhere is one way to keep it alive and put it to good use.
While you’re browsing groups aka client watering holes, jot down potential blog topics. Participating in groups is your chance to talk directly to your dream clients.
Be the fly on the wall, learn about their pain points and issues, the newest trends and ever-returning sorrows, flat-out cries for help. This is your chance to bring valuable input to the table and provide no-strings-attached, free support.
Facebook’s parameters are ever-evolving to best meet the platform’s paying clients, aka businesses that pay for ads.
If you plan on organic (aka unpaid) traffic only, you might feel discouraged by these numbers.
But Facebook is favoring community over (unpaid) marketing content, meaning your group posts trump your page posts in reach.
As small business owners, playing it smart on Facebook means hand-picking the clients you want to work with and showcasing how you’re catering to them exclusively.
Take a page out of Facebook’s own playbook here:
Define your clients, find your clients, learn what they need, provide that. Easy as pie.
To get you started/unstuck today:
- Always, ALWAYS step one: Define your core audience, the people who want or need exactly what you have on offer.
Read up on them, jot down favorite topics, hashtags, recurring questions. Set foot into your dream prospects’ world.
- On Facebook, the best-kept marketing secret is this: Join groups. DO NOT SELL. Show that
– you know your stuff
– you’re a fudging pleasure to be around
– you’re happy to pay it forward
- No need to reinvent the wheel: Sometimes a helping hand towards finding a great bookkeeping app or a great book on Economics 101, or the next great weekend read will make someone’s day. Just show up and be human.
- Interact with your dream clients’ Facebook pages and business profiles. On your own Facebook page, mention them by their handle to talk to them directly. It’s all about a human connection and a genuine interest in your prospects’ life: Prove you’re invested in their outcome, regardless of their financial investment in you.
Still on the fence about adding another platform to your online marketing to-do list?
My suggestion, from entrepreneur to entrepreneur: Ditch FOMO and focus on THE ONE platform that will get you the best ROI.
Interaction with your core audience makes most sense via their(!) preferred online channel.
Energies, audiences, and best practices differ between platforms and sub-groups, and trying to successfully maintain more than one social media presence while actually growing a business is a sure-fire path to overwhelm.
Instead of opening up yet another online “branch”, consider focussing on where you get the most relevant eyes on your content.
PS: Don’t build your life on borrowed ground.
Even if ALL your dream buyers are on social media: fleeting rules and a non-committal approach to business are a wonky basis for your livelihood.
Social Media is about the SOCIAL part of business, your website is where the actual magic happens:
Showcase ethics and expertise via your 24/7 online storefront and fill it with R.I.C.H. content to cater to YOUR clients on YOUR turf.