It's no secret that Instagram is my favorite social media platform. In fact, I offer courses and all kinds of free resources on the topic.
Because creative businesses need Instagram.
But there's a trend I'm noticing and that is that a lot of creative online business owners (new and not so new) have put all their eggs into the Instagram basket. And I totally get it! Because I was there too. I was just posting on Instagram all day, enjoying watching my following grow, but I wasn't making many sales.
And it left me feeling deflated. What was I putting in all that work for if no one wanted to buy?
So I started reflecting and realized a couple of things:
1. I was putting too much time into Instagram. (learn how to save time on social media)
2. My marketing strategy was incomplete. In fact, I was really missing the mark.
So I put my social media knowledge and my strategic communication degree to good use and I started coming up with a plan that actually would bring me what I desired and that's what I want to share with you in this blog post.
You're literally getting a FRONT ROW SEAT into my complete marketing strategy. Because it isn't just Instagram. And yours shouldn't be either.
A good online marketing strategy needs three basic things:
- Traffic - this is the amount of people who are actually visiting your website, shop pages, and sales pages.
- Community - these are the people who talk to you and who engage with you on social media
- Value - this is what you GIVE to people so that they will trust you, like you, stick around, and eventually buy from you.
Are you missing any of these three things in your business? Where do you feel like you're falling flat?
Now, I want to go through the various tools that are used in my marketing strategy and what I use them for.
- SEO (search engine optimization) - Optimizing your website for search (aka Google) is a great way to get good, organic traffic to your website. If your headlines give people what they expected when they clicked the link, this traffic is going to stick around because they made the choice to click on your link based on their very own search preferences.
My friend Jessica Freeman is a WHIZ with SEO.
- Pinterest - This social sharing tool is my biggest traffic referrer. Social as a whole drives over 60% of the traffic to my website and Pinterest takes up over 60% of that traffic. It's important to know that Pinterest is thought of as a social media website, but what it really is is a visual search engine.
Want to learn how I use Pinterest to drive so much traffic? Follow me over here.
This traffic is KEY to my business's livelihood. Without eyeballs on my work, on these blog posts, I don't get clients, I don't welcome new people into my Facebook groups and other communities, and I don't make sales.
While I do get traffic from other sources, right now in my business, Pinterest and Google are my main traffic drivers.
I need a community on social media because I need to understand my audience and I need to know what they want me to make. If I just guessed all the time, I would be clueless and unsuccessful. I intentionally use my online communities to gain knowledge about my online audience.
- Instagram - This is a place for me to showcase my work, get personal with my audience, ask lots of silly questions (and serious ones too, but silly are my favorite), and share the process of my business. This is a place where I share tips and tricks, but never too much because I want to leave something to be desired on the other end of my link. This is a place where I cultivate the idea of community and same-ness among my followers. I try to make them feel at home and involved in my business on Instagram. In general, Instagram is not a HUGE traffic driver because links are only allowed in certain places.
- Free Facebook Group - Facebook groups certainly don't suit every business model, but for mine, my Facebook group is essential. Community really takes a step UP in the Facebook group because it is private. I want my members to feel comfortable talking about their struggles, asking questions, and with helping others. On Instagram, I gain insights into what kind of person my audience is and in my Facebook group, I gain insights as to what kinds of problems they need me to help them solve. In addition, I am a part of many other Facebook groups, which allows me to show my expertise and be helpful (never, ever in a spammy or sales-y way).
- Twitter - I don't use Twitter much in my business anymore because my analytics show that the return on my time investment is not really worth it, but this could be an alternative place to find community if your audience loves to spend time there.
- Blog - This blog is not just a fun little place where I write articles. This blog is a place where I share IMMENSE value with my audience. I really let the curtain fly here and I share as much as I can with you, my amazing readers. Why? Because my relationship with my audience is not one-sided. I really strive to LISTEN to my audience and to GIVE them what they need in order to move forward. This is all about solving a PROBLEM for your audience and I truly believe EVERY online business niche solves a problem.
- Facebook Group Livestreams - This is very similar to my blog, but they live on video and in my free Facebook group. It also gives me a chance to chat in real-time with my audience and to get to know their behavior on social media. Are they quiet? Do they love to chat? What time of day works for them? Those types of things.
- Email List - Growing an email list is an absolute essential piece of EVERY online business, no matter the niche. Because your social media accounts could get banned or a company could go out of business (remember Myspace?), it's important to literally OWN the data of as much of your audience as you can get. My email list also serves as a place to offer value, but also serves as the main place where I offer sales of my digital products. This is the place where sales generally occur.
- Youtube Channel - Coming Soon - Subscribe to get updates!
Phew! There we have it! That's my marketing strategy. It's not a little bit of work to maintain. In fact, I probably spend at least half the time in my business working on marketing, because I believe it is as important as the actual products I create. All of these things work together to achieve my business goals.
The traffic that I receive from Google and Pinterest funnels into my email list, blog, or Facebook group and all of those things lead to each other. My audience has several options for touch points with my brand, which keeps them engaged and involved in my business.
The biggest secret of all though is this: I truly value each and every person that passes through one of my marketing channels. Some are more vocal and some keep themselves in the shadows, but I work hard to make sure everyone feels heard and valued. Do this in your marketing strategy and you'll be killin' it.