I am Laura Pence Atencio, and I am the founder and CEO of Social Savvy Geek. I help entrepreneurs today find engage their target audience online using online marketing.

Planning out Your Marketing Plan

I think the first thing people usually fail to do when launching any sort of marketing is to plan. The first thing you always want to do is have a marketing plan. I say to first start with an actual marketing plan and I do help people develop that if they need to.

Then we develop a marketing calendar which helps them decide which activities to focus on first to get the most results and the fastest results for their efforts. Then we’ll break that down into a content and editorial calendar to help them decide what kind of content to create and what activities to promote online to reach their target audience.

Start Locally

I’m not looking for local shopping on Facebook for the most part. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your business on Facebook. But yes, you should always start local or you should list on your physical address on Google. It helps you be found locally especially if you’re in a zip code where most of your clients are. Even if you’re providing online services, it doesn’t hurt to have a local presence. I’m listed as a local business in both Denver and Richmond, Virginia where we have two offices. But local helps with Yelp, it helps with Foursquare, and then people will find you how they will find you.

Which Social Media Platforms Should I use For My Online Marketing?

You don’t want to jump in everywhere at once and overextend yourself. You won’t do the job well. For example, right now I have a personal Instagram but not a business Instagram because I haven’t set a person to managing Instagram and as a person it’s OK to kind of jump in and out of social media as you please. Once you’re representing your brand full force, you don’t want to be sporadic anymore. You want to be very consistent in your social media activities. It’s better not to be on a platform than to be there and have a poor showing.

How Can I Find My Target Audience?

There are few ways to find your target audience. One of the best ways to easily find out your target audience is to look at your competitors. Read their messages and get an idea for who they’re reaching out to. Keep in mind they might be doing it wrong. Search your competitors and see who they’re targeting. You can tell through the language they use who they’re targeting even if you don’t have the analytics tools to dig deep. You can also hire out to a market researcher. If you’re just starting out you need to validate your audience, if you’re not sure where exactly your audience is, or you have tried reaching out to your thought your audience while you’re not getting the results you expect, hiring somebody to do a little bit of market research can go a long way.

How Effective Can Twitter Be For My Business?

It depends on the industry, but if your industry has anything to do with well-educated people with good incomes and who are entrepreneurs themselves, it’s excellent. It’s also a good place to find attention for your company. If you’re looking for any media, people who are in newspaper, television, or radio still use Twitter to find leads. So it’s great to be active there even if it seems a little counterintuitive for your industry.

If you’re trying to get more traffic to your site or be well known, I can’t think of a better place to start especially since it doesn’t cost you any money. You’re distributing whatever content you are there. It’s also the easiest place to make new connections if there’s someone in an industry that you need to meet and they’re on there you can follow them.

And it’s not weird. And then if you start communicating with them on Twitter it’s not weird. But if somebody just friends you on Facebook and you don’t know them, that’s weird. Don’t do that!

But you can move to get to know influencers by following them on Twitter, and interacting with them—not stalking them, but interacting with them at a nice even clip until they know who you are and know you by name. Then you can connect with them on LinkedIn and say “Hey we’ve been tweeting you now for six months” or a year or how long it is until you feel comfortable. And then they will accept your LinkedIn most of the time. Then once you’ve been on LinkedIn with them for a few years and you interact with them they’re in a nice normal human manner then you can be friends on Facebook and all of a sudden you know influencers who you are in conversation with daily Twitter is where you start.

How Often Should I Post?

Then you have to keep in mind also your bandwith. And you want to be consistent. So don’t bite off more than you can chew. Do you have staff? Are you by yourself? Do you have a virtual assistant or are you a group? It’s a different situation for everyone. But I always say when you’re sharing and creating content you want to use a 70-20-10 rule.

70% of what you’re doing out on social media should be you curating content—that is, sharing other people’s useful content which could be these influencers. Don’t just choose one. You want to have a wide range of appropriate people you share, but if you have say 5 people you’re trying to make connections with and you regularly say once they share something of theirs retweet it hosts something about it on your blog and talk about it. It’s an easy way to create content without having to put too much time into it then that’s great.

Then 20% of the time you want to share your content. It’s branded, it’s useful, it’s in service, you created it, and it’s got your name and your company name on it so people know when they share it that it came from you.

The other 10% of the time you should be interacting with people and doing anything that would make someone see you pretty much saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” such as a promotion of yours. If you’re doing a sale, showing your product, or showing what you’re working on, showing an expo you’re going to… anything that’s basically “all about me.” That’s 10 percent. It doesn’t matter how much you’re posting to long as you keep to those kind of percentages.

How are Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing Different?

Content Marketing is more around your creation of your core content and social media marketing is more about distribution of said content. They do go hand in hand, and I can see where the line would be easily blurred, but also you have to think with social it is social. So at some point you need to get into audience growth and build a community and that uses your content. But it is content: it’s people! It all flows together. I often have people ask me what is the one right way to create content or the one right way to do social media marketing. There’s not a right way. There’s 50 right ways. It’s “Which way is right for you in your business and the path that you are on?” and “In which order do you want to add in the right things?”

How Do I Build My Audience?

Again, my favorite place to find people is Twitter because it’s so easy! You can like find someone who you like in your industry. For example, I love Amy Porterfield. She’s real, she’s kind, she’s generous, she teaches, and people who like her will like me. So I go and I follow people who follow her. Why? Because her followers will also like me!

Then you find you know other people in your industry. I have a coach locally, Nancy, and she’s amazing. She works with the same audience I work with. We follow the same people! Find people who are further along in the same journey you’re going down and follow and like people who like them. You can do this on Twitter and you can do it with Facebook advertising.

There are a lot of ways to find those people, but I would start with following people on Twitter and then connecting with them and then all the other places and create your Facebook page and definitely use a little tiny bit of paid advertising. Even if you don’t have a huge budget, you can do $5 and then get people on your email list. That’s where all your value is. Any of the other platforms could go away. Twitter could leave (I’ll cry, but it could). And Facebook changes their terms of service. All of a sudden you know everybody was seeing your stuff, now it’s 6%… now it’s 3%, and you may have to pay the price… so always, always send people some sort of incentive to get onto your e-mail list.

Should I Plan Out my Social Media Posts?

Yes. Yes! Absolutely. You should have a theme you know overarching theme of what are you working on for the quarter. I’m not saying that if an opportunity comes your way you shouldn’t jump on it and add something in and maybe shift something back. But then you still know what you’re doing and you can make a shift. This is not success by you know scrambling like a hamster on a wheel just to put stuff out there. Even if you’re just plan out your next month right now, if you rough sketch it if you don’t have time to do more than that, and then start really planning for the next quarter then do that. You know you can’t take back what’s gone past, but you can you can move forward. Absolutely take it take a step back and plan now.

Final Thoughts

Work with a coach, even if it’s not a marketing coach. I actually prefer if people come to me for marketing coaching after having worked with a business coach first. Work with a business coach first, then get a marketing coach. You need both, but I’m a marketing expert, and I have a marketing coach. Why? Because your project is your project and you’re too close to it! You always need an outside eye and an accountability partner. You can’t go it alone. I really don’t think people can sit and just do this by themselves. You’ve got to have someone to hold you accountable.