English Español Deutsch Français Italiano Português (Brasil) Русский 中文 日本語

Social Chat 2.5: How to Promote Yourself on Social Media to Increase Sales




Rebekah: Well, hello and welcome to Social Chat with SEMrush. I am your host, Rebekah Radice. I am here alongside our panel of experts today to talk about how you can promote yourself on social media to increase sales. 

Say hello to Christina Nicholson. Christina, thanks so much for joining us. Tell us where you're located, and tell us a little bit about you. 

Christina: I'm in South Florida. I am in Wellington, which is just outside of West Palm Beach. I am a former TV reporter and anchor. I did that for about 10 years, and then I veered off, and I joined the other side, as they say, and I got into public relations. Instead of being on the news, I actually put people on the news now. 

As we know, a big part of that is social media. There is so much under the media umbrella. Social media definitely plays a big part in amplifying that traditional media exposure that I help business owners earn. 

Rebekah: Then we've Kelly Noble Mirabella. Kelly, thanks again for joining us. 

Kelly: Thank you so much for having me on today. A little bit about me, I am in Southern California, in a little town called Santa Clarita. I have been a social manager for the past 12 years. I have owned my own business for the past 10, and for the past three and a half years, I've been a Messenger bot; Messenger marketing geek girl, if you will. Thanks for having me. 

Rebekah: Awesome. Then finally, last but not least, a dear friend of mine is Mitch Jackson. 

Mitch: Thanks for having me on today. It's really nice to meet everyone else on the show. I'm a California trial lawyer, practicing here in Orange County, California. I'm also the author, you guys, of the book, The Ultimate Guide to Social Media. I wrote this book because we've used social media to expand our brand from local to global. It's changed everything with our law firm. 

Rebekah: Let's keep this very interactive and dive right in and talk about how you can actually use social media to expand your reach, to drive awareness. But more than that, to actually sell your product or service without feeling spammy, maybe slimy or annoying, and then be able to naturally attract an audience that's eager to buy what you have to offer.

Driving Sales Through Social Media: Start with Relationships

Christina, I want to start with you because you've, as you talked about, built a public relations business, and I think you've done it with all of that that I just talked about in mind that you can increase your visibility and your sales through the power of relationships, you can increase that awareness and do it all very naturally, very authentically.

I'd love to hear from you how exactly you really started to use social media to build that awareness but to build those sales and what are some of those tips that you could pass along today? 

Christina: The biggest mistake (businesses) make is they try to go in for the sale too quickly. You need to build that know, like, and trust factor. Years ago, we had to see something, what, six, seven or eight times before we decided to act on it. Now. It's probably 60, 70 or 80 just because we see so much all day every day, especially when we're online. 

The key to selling on social media is to actually stop selling and just build that know, like, and trust factor, so that way you're always top of mind. Then when people are ready to work with you, they know exactly who to go to. 

Mitch: Build that relationship, build that know, like, and trust like you mentioned, and create the type of environment where when somebody has a legal challenge or a professional challenge, regardless of what you do, you're that person they think of. It's the relationships that I think leading to long-term sales and increased end of year profits. 

Rebekah: Yeah. I love how all of this feeds right into, Kelly, what you're doing every single day, and how you could really nurture and grow those relationships with chatbots. 

Kelly: Yeah. I think one of the big misconceptions that have come out with Messenger bots, a lot of people say they're annoying and it takes the human touch out. And as I mentioned, a misconception because what I'm finding is that Messenger bots help you build relationships to scale. 

If you're doing them correctly, you can drive people not only within the Messenger bot into conversations where you're building that rapport, you're building that relationship, and you're building community, but in my world, I also use them to put people over into my Facebook group, which is incredibly community-driven and very, very active. 

I think it's so important to understand that these tools are not there to replace the human. The human is always the center of it all. It is always important to be thinking about the end user and to always be thinking about how we can build that rapport.

We want to be the person people think about down the road, and not everybody is ready to buy right now, but when they are ready, who are they going to think about? It's going to be the person they trust. It's going to be the person they've built that rapport with, that has given them value along the way. 

With all the amazing tools that we have at our disposal in the world right now, if we could find the right tools that bring things together and put the puzzle pieces together, all these tools together can make that experience so much better for the end user, and in the end, make the conversion so much easier for the business. 

Rebekah: You talk about all of these tools and I think one that we're using right now, video, is such a big part of that. You see people from around the world. We have people here from Afghanistan. Let's see. We've got Pennsylvania, more from Florida. It's really amazing to me when you see the power of what is available to us today as a business, as humans to be able to connect around the world.

That's why I thought it would be such an interesting conversation to bring all three of you here today because you have very different specializations, but you come at it from a very specific, very similar place, and that it is all about creating relationships. It's the tools, everything that we're using isn't there to replace those relationships, but really, they're to extend those. 

Mitch: Tools and platforms will come and go. Relationships can last a lifetime. Something special about the tools, but there's something even more special about the relationships. 

Focus on One Platform

Rebekah: Have you found that there is anyone social network when you're trying to get more promotion, more sales for your business? Has there been one network that has better supported you in achieving that goal? 

Mitch: What I've noticed about social media, about technology, about digital, especially video and live video, is it's allowed us to take that one-on-one relationship where someone used to sit across my desk and answer that same question on a one to 1,000 24/7 because people are digesting our content today, right now and on the other side of the world 48 hours from now. 

When I talked to Prof. Niklas Myhr at Chapman University, he keeps reminding me that this is a global branding effort that all of us are engaged in, and we need to remember that. Social and live video really does allow you to connect on a human-to-human level.

Kelly: It's interesting because I've been doing all these things for so long. I completely agree that video is incredibly important. In my own strategy, YouTube has been the standout for me over the past two years, but that being said, every business and every personal brand is going to need to make that decision. 

My advice, though, is to pick the one, the thing, right? I pick the one thing and I have a lot of energy and I put it all towards that thing. That's not to say I don't use other platforms, but the focus is this one thing. 

If you focus and have a consistent strategy, and you're basically obsessed with being the best at YouTube or the best at Facebook Live or the best at whatever, whatever it is that you can get your message out there, whatever that vehicle is, because you're focused, you will achieve higher quality and better results rather than, "Let me just spread it all over the place. Let's spread myself thin."

Rebekah: Yeah. If people take one thing away today, it is exactly that because it's so counter to what we've been told so often and for so many years of, "You've got to be everything to everybody. You have to be on every single channel." 

Adapt to Your Strategy to Specific Social Media Platforms

Christina: I think, first, you need to know where your people are and what they're doing where they are. For example, I have a public relations agency. My people for that are on LinkedIn. That's where I'm going to find my C-suite executives on LinkedIn, but I also mentor small business owners who can't afford a PR agency. 

Those people are finding me on Instagram. What I post on Instagram is very different than what I post on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, it's more straight business, it's more straight ROI. On Instagram, it's more, "I'm a working mom, and this is how I built my business with kids at home."

Even though the messaging, the end message is the same, the way I'm delivering it is different. Twitter is also great for my business, but Twitter is great when it comes to connecting with people, connecting with journalists and building relationships. 

I really just think it depends on where your people are, and what you have to show, too. Kristen was saying in the chat that she has a client that is very visual. Well, obviously, Instagram is going to be great for that. 

I can post on LinkedIn every day because I don't need a pretty visual. On Instagram, I'm not posting every day because I don't have tons and tons of pretty visuals. Maybe I'm posting once or twice a week. 

For me, it's very dependent on who is on the platform and that determines what I am posting and how I am sharing my expertise with the people who are there to receive it. 

Mitch: What Christina just mentioned, what Kelly just mentioned, I absolutely love that. If your audience is on LinkedIn, then think about focusing on LinkedIn using written content, using LinkedIn video and LinkedIn live video, but there's a caveat to all of this, and I look at social media as putting out different welcome mats to my law firm and to my life. I share a lot of my personal hobbies and passions and interests on social media, which humanizes me. 

While you're doing all of this, take a step back and ask yourself, "Am I not doing video because I just don't like how I look and sound on video?" In other words, are you limiting yourself as to why you're not using a particular platform or can you give yourself permission to expand a little bit and put yourself out there on a podcast, on a video, writing written blog content.

It's not necessarily the platform. It's the quality and the entertainment and the engagement level of the content that you're putting out there. If you put out good content and then repurpose that content, take clips and share it on other platforms, take pieces of your blog posts and tweet them out with links back to your post or your video on YouTube.

Social Media: Consistency Brings Success

That's the way you can expand your sphere of influence. You can save yourself time, and you're also being consistent. I think that's where I see a lot of people drop the ball. They create great content, but they're not consistent. 

Kelly: I agree with the consistency. You don't become an overnight success. You really have to continue to hone that and be very consistent, so that people show up because you show up. It's easy to get discouraged.

Christina: I mean, anything social media, it's crazy time-consuming. We all have other things that we need to be doing. For me, batching is the biggest savior when it comes to being consistent. 

For example, this morning, I just wrote four scripts for four YouTube videos, and when I go to record them, I will sit down and I will record four YouTube videos at one time. I don't even change my shirt. I don't even care. 

You get so much done faster when you batch things, and you just do it all at once, and it's so easy to be consistent. Get it in the calendar. That is your to-do list. If it's in the calendar, it's getting done, and batch it, and then you really will have no excuses. 

Kelly: Something that we taught in that course and I still teach some of my consulting clients is it's a habit. Just like working out, you become more aware of possibilities when you create a habit. 

If you are brand new to being live or creating that kind of habit, one of my suggestions is to start with stories like Instagram stories, Snapchat stories, Facebook stories, whatever your platform is, and don't just jump on whenever you feel the whim, but have the habit, "Okay. Today, I'm going to create three stories," and do it every day, and because you do it every day, it becomes a habit. 

Mitch: I think with social media, what's really important is if you pre-promote, have your show, have your post, have your podcast and then post-promote. That's a very effective way of getting the most bang for your buck with respect to the time and effort that you put in.

Promoting Through Social Media Ads

Rebekah: Vish was talking about relationships and building momentum and building those habits, and then also all of this content we're creating, and he's wondering from a relationship standpoint, "Can you put money behind the content, maybe with Facebook, with Instagram, with Twitter ads, and really see a benefit or do you have to create a completely different type of content, say promotional content specifically, to get the best bang for your buck?" 

Kelly: One of my very good friends is Amanda Robinson, and she is an expert in Facebook Ads. Some might call her the Queen of Facebook Ads. She taught me something that I found really valuable. When you first run an ad to an audience, that's a cold audience. A cold audience is not going to convert for you. You have to still build an audience. You still have to build that relationship. 

The idea is to take this cold audience and show them in your ad something that builds that trust that we're talking about, that is beneficial to them, that is value-driven and not directing them straight over to buy whatever. Obviously, it depends on the price point of your product. If you're just selling T-shirts or something or mugs, then that's a little easier, and you have a smaller window. 

What she says is to start with a cold audience, and then build your audience smaller and smaller. You're basically funneling them down, AKA, you're building that know, like, trust with them. You're building that relationship with them. 

By the time you get them down to the conversion ads or organic, that is going to be easier to convert because of the relationship you've built. It doesn't matter if it's paid or organic, the relationship trumps everything. 

Christina: Well, when it comes to ads, I'm the anti-ad girl, which is very rare. I think if you are going to advertise or you are going to even just put something out organically on your own platform, remember, people are going to say, "Oh, of course, you're going to say that. You're just promoting yourself." 

You have to think from a consumer's point of view. Look at how you consume content; we ignore ads. A lot of us ignore ads just because we know somebody is just trying to sell us. You need to work with that ad, switch it, change it, rearrange it, so it looks like it is benefiting the person you are targeting, and it is not you just pumping your own tires. 

Mitch: My favorite type of advertising, and I don't like advertising or marketing; I'm all about building relationships... but user-generated content, okay? UGC, if you can get your clients and customers to take videos and share pictures about your products or services and say great things about you.

If you get other people talking about you and verifying who you are and what you do and how you great you do it, that's the most powerful, I think, content in the world. When you combine user-generated content with video and live video, the sky is the limit. 

You don't have to spend money to get your brand noticed and to sell products and services. If you do, take a step back and make sure your ad, your advertisement is a good communication, is good content. A lot of people just throw money at Facebook and Twitter and they wonder why all they hear are digital crickets. 

You want to start off with quality content that's engaging, entertaining, helpful, it's all about adding a benefit to the third-party consumer. Then you look at, "How can I promote this on the various social media platforms?" Too many people promote first and then wonder why nothing happens. 

If you're not communicating clearly in a headline or in the first 30 seconds of your video or live video, you're probably going to have somebody tap and swipe and go someplace else. I would suggest that people learn how to communicate. 

Using Facebook Groups to Build Relationships with People

Rebekah: There's a followup question from Kristen, who is hearing that we're not touching on or talking as much about Facebook. I know we just talked about Facebook Ads, but she's asking if anyone here on the panel is actively using Facebook, and specifically, Facebook groups...in terms of building those relationships, building those connections. 

Kelly: If I wasn't giving all my energy to Messenger bot training, I would train on Facebook groups because they are so flipping powerful. I think the reason you don't hear people, like in this conversation, we're not just like, "Facebook, Facebook, Facebook." It's because Facebook is a behemoth. 

I mean, you've got groups, you've got pages, you've got Messenger bots are based on Facebook. You've got WhatsApp. There are so many things. There's ads and various types of ads. Then there's the video and the live video. You don't have to do them all. It's just like you don't have to be on every social network. Facebook is so big now, you don't have to do them all. 

In terms of Facebook groups, I actually have a very strong Facebook group strategy. For those of you who are wondering, "Do Facebook groups work?" It is so immensely powerful to have a Facebook group. I have a Facebook group at the time about 1200 people, and I was able to make almost $10,000 in sales on my chatbot course without advertising at all because of the relationships that I built in that group. 

By the way, Facebook groups are not for you to just use as a page. They're completely different. As my friend, Bella Vasta says, "Your Facebook page is your front yard. Your Facebook group is your backyard." That's where all the fun happens. It's where you're having the barbecues and drinking the brewskies with your friends. That's where the communication happens, the relationships are built, the memories are built. 

Mitch: One of the thing in Facebook groups, for me, the key is engagement, okay? Being active in a group is one thing. Responding, sharing useful content in the comments, actually working and helping on providing value within the group that you set up or that you're a part of, I think it's critically important. 

Tracking the Impact of Social Media on Sales

Rebekah: Now, Stephanie is asking, "Okay. So, we're ramping things up, we're getting things going, we're moving our audience possibly from Instagram or Facebook into our sales funnel. How do we best track sales?" Does anybody want to take that one? 

Christina: I think the question is "How did you hear about me?" after they become a client is a great one. That works twofold. It's a great question because then you get a response, "Oh, I saw this YouTube video," or "I was at the SEMrush webinar." 

"That's great. I can track exactly where you came from, and I know to double down on that." 

People put marketing and sales together, and it drives me nuts because marketing happens first, and then it leads to sales. I think we have to separate these two things. If we're going to talk about sales, then that's a conversation with the person after they close the deal like, "How did this person enter my email list?" You can track that. You can go back and track that. 

If they remember where they heard of you, you can track that, but I'm thinking of even just things that I buy looking around my home, "How did I hear about this?" It's hard sometimes for us to remember because, again, we need to see things so many times before we decide to make a decision on it. 

I think tracking can be tough, but we do have things like analytics. I mean, I use SEMrush for my SEO research, and they're great with analytics. Look at your analytics to try to answer those questions as well, whether it's Google Analytics, your Instagram analytics, what's going on in your email list, but remember, marketing is step one, and then sales is step two. When you try to combine them, things can get a little messy and hard to track. 

Kelly: If I'm selling my course, for instance, then I might have a separate link or a tracking code, if you will, attached to that ref URL that goes from my Facebook group into my course. I might have one that goes from my Messenger bot campaign into my course, that goes from Facebook into my course, and I can directly track how exactly I got those conversations. 

Then if you're running ads, for instance, you should have a pixel installed on your pages. If you don't have tracking code installed on your websites and on your landing pages, do not spend money on Facebook advertising. You are wasting your money because that is exactly what it's there to do. It's there to tell you, "Did these people convert because of this?" It's there to help you track. It's there to help you bring people further down into the funnel. 

Rebekah: Yeah, and what you're talking about is UTMs, so that you can track every single campaign, and the cool part about SEMrush is that you can. Let's say you've got a very specific campaign, you can create a UTM that allows you to track exactly where that traffic is coming from, so that you can see what was the medium, what was that source, and what is truly driving those sales. It's going to allow you to make far more informed decisions going forward, too. 

Mitch: For those of you in the service industry, we ask, I think, two really important questions with new clients. When somebody reaches out to us via phone call, a DM on Twitter, an email, we always ask, "How did you hear about us?" 

When they say, "Well, I saw you on the internet," everyone is trained to drill deeper. "Well, where on the internet? What platform? What was it that got you to reach out to us?" 

That first question really does give us insight as to where people are coming from. From a service industry standpoint, the second most important question we ask our clients at the end of initial client consultation, we build trust, we build rapport. We look them in the eye and we say, "How would you like us to communicate with you?" In other words, "Would you like us to use Facebook Messenger? Would you like me to DM you on Twitter?" Text is the big thing. Sometimes it's just a matter of asking open-ended questions to get the answers you're looking for. 

What Does a Healthy Content Mix Look Like?

Rebekah: Having a healthy mix of content is a question I get asked a lot and, "What does that actually look like? Can I just simply create videos all the time or do I need to share a mix of blog posts and videos? Is there a type that you have found that converts at a higher rate, that turns those conversations into actual sales?" 

Kelly: I'm going to go back to how I started this whole talk, and that is focus on one thing until it's so dang good until you are so good at it that you can do the best at something else. I gave up two podcasts, a very consistent blog post, so that I could put out consistent YouTube videos, and that alone made all of the difference. 

A lot of people will disagree with me. It's maybe not the path for everyone, but this is what Andrew and Pete taught me. You will feel exhausted if you're trying to keep up with everything. 

If you feel like you need to do a blog and you also do video, get a virtual assistant. Get a writer and hire someone to take your videos and repurpose them, but don't bog yourself down thinking you have to do everything. There are people who all they do, the only thing they do is write 5,000-word blogs, and they're killing it. 

You want to be the destination. That's what my girl Bella Vasta says, and it goes for everything in life. Be the destination. Be worthy of going out of your way. 

I want people to go out of their way to come to my YouTube channel, not because I have blogs. I get that the argument is, "Well, everyone takes in something different." I'm not trying to please everyone. If you prefer to read, I prefer not to write. Maybe I'm not the right person for you. 

Again, it's not going to work for every business, but if you can focus on what you are very good at or get better at, then I believe, and it's proven in my own business and in a lot of the clients of Andrew and Pete, that you will succeed at a higher rate than if you try to oversaturate yourself and then burn yourself out, to be honest, but that's my personal opinion.

Mitch: I'm a firm believer: you should focus on what you enjoy doing, right? In other words, share your passions, your interests, your hobbies, your why. What's your why in your life, and how does that correspond to what you do for a living? Can you combine the two? Because if you do what you enjoy doing, especially when you're creating content, it doesn't feel as much as work. 

I like telling other professionals, focus on your why, bring it on the digital platforms, tactfully and creatively incorporate that why with what you do for a living side, show your human side, and it doesn't feel like work. 

Repurpose Your Content and Share Other People’s Content

Christina: I think when it comes to creating content and sharing content in a variety like you were talking about, Rebekah, remember, you don't need to share your content over and over again. Repurposing is great. The video, you can get transcribed easily, turn that into a blog post, cut the video down, turn it into a tease, make people click over here. 

There's so many different ways to repurpose content, but almost half, if not, more than half of what I share is other people's content. 

Don't just think about promoting your own content, but share content that your audience would benefit from as well. Then that will take some of the stress off of you that you don't have to produce as much. 

Because honestly, when it comes to content production, it should be quality over quantity because they're going to ignore all of your quantity if it's not good. Get some good quality pieces, and then repurpose them in a variety of ways. 

Let me tell you, people will not remember seeing the same thing twice in a week because they've seen thousands of things all week. Even if they're seeing something that looks similar to what you posted five days ago, they don't remember.

Rebekah: Believe it or not, it's been an hour, and we have to wrap this up. The three of you, I said this was going to be a stellar conversation. You absolutely did not disappoint. Thank you so much to each of you for taking your time out. I would love for the SEMrush community to be able to connect with all of you. 

Mitch: You can connect with me all over social media, @MitchJackson.

Rebekah: Awesome. Kelly? 

Kelly: You guys can find me everywhere, @Stellar247. 

Rebekah: Woohoo! Christina? 

Christina: You can find me on Twitter and Instagram. I'm @ChristinaAllDay. I'm also on LinkedIn. Just search my name, Christina Nicholson. I also have a podcast. It is Become a Media Maven.

Rebekah: Excellent. All right. Well, thank you again. Check out SEMrush.com: we talked about that UTM builder, but there is so much more. It's a fantastic way for you to really understand how you're driving sales with social media, and be able to track just like we talked about.

All levels

Check out other webinars from this series