My last post was on a webinar I watched recently. This post expands on that to provide another key point on how to use social media marketing to grow your business. This information is also based off the webinar “Social Media to Grow Business,” presented by Mike Stelzner, founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com and the author of Writing White Papers.
Providing VALUE to Your Audience
There are a lot of ways to attract an audience on the internet. However, I think that the strongest strategy (and the one that will attract the most loyal customers/audience/etc) is to provide your audience with value.
If you are doing this right, your audience will view you as someone they can rely on to solve their problems, someone who can give them the answers to questions they have, and someone who cares about them personally.
Initially, you will catch the attention of your audience by giving away resources for free. They will appreciate these pieces of information that solve minor issues they are dealing with. You do not want to give away everything though! Free resources will be things that are a little bit easier to produce and that will solve smaller problems. For example, you might have a blog that outlines basic “How To’s,” or video clips of your interviews with industry experts, maybe you have an infographic of some statistics you’ve discovered from research. These free resources will help you build trust with your audience. They will see that the content you are providing them is valuable and they will come back for more. They will forward your resources to friends and industry partners through their own social media channels and your name will begin to spread across the internet.
Once an audience member trusts you, they will be willing to give you something in return for your value-adding content. For some things, like a short e-book or more extensive “How-To” series, they will be willing to provide you with an email address. Email addresses are especially important to your business as you begin to build your contact database. When your people begin to give you their emails, they are telling you that they trust you to provide them with more valuable information in a way that will be beneficial to them. (CAUTION! You should not use your email address list to spam your people! Remember they are important to you and trust you to take care of their emails and not send them to partners or overload their inbox with too much marketing selling emails).
After email addresses, your people will be willing to purchase information from you with real money. This is what you have been waiting for! Finally! You are making revenue from your work. People will pay for resources like extensive industry reports, subscriptions to consistent high-quality content (Online summits or a webinar series with well-known industry speakers, DVD series from a speaker, books). There are many types of content that you may be interested in selling. Make sure that you are providing high-quality, highly valuable content when you begin to charge money for your products. Your people trust you and believe that they are paying for an equivalent value. The worst thing you can do is provide less value than they expected. Disappointment spreads fast on the internet, but so does excitement and satisfaction.
So Remember: Your people are looking for VALUE. They are looking for insight, for great people, and great products.