5: Finding and Targeting Clients

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Hi everyone and welcome to episode 5 of Your Social Media Journey. Today, let us talk a bit more about clients. I am sure you have heard the term “Ideal Client” thrown about on social media. If you hang around marketers much, this is one they love to talk about. If you have a small business, you are probably always in pursuit of your ideal clients. So it is very important that you know exactly who your client is - this is so that you can ensure that you are putting out the right content on your social media channels, aimed carefully at your potential clients. It is important that your content is correctly structured and targeted. If not, you will find yourself aimlessly wandering around accounts and comments, seemingly doing all the right things but never really getting the result you want. 

Can we just briefly talk about results? I am assuming that you are looking for more business, more sales and growth, or continued sales and growth of your business. By the way, aiming to get social media followers just to hike up your follower number is pointless. In fact, if you ARE already on social media, chances are that you have already been targeted by one of those accounts that promise an increase in you follower numbers for a sum of money. Please do not be tempted by this, ever. If you do, you are only setting yourself up for failure. All social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, routinely wipe out spam accounts. It is a big no no. Let’s talk about what is a yes yes instead!

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, show your content to people that actively seek you out - thats the keyword here, ACTIVELY. They comment on your posts, send you direct messages or like your posts -

You need to first identify exactly who your clients are and then focus your marketing efforts correctly so that you are reaching the right people. This is a very strategic way of marketing and differs enormously from traditional advertising that had a wider net. For instance, when we see TV advertising, although it is aimed at particular audiences, everyone ends up  seeing it, to some extent. Social media, however, is so personal that you would be wasting valuable screen time if you do not zero in on exactly who your business wishes to serve. Facebook has recently announced that The Future Is Private. Instead of casting a wide net, you are more likely to be successful if you are target only your clients. 

On Facebook and Instagram, as well as Twitter, you will have noticed that as soon as you start liking or commenting on posts that interest you, you get shown more and more of similar posts. This is quite annoying, at least it is for me - but it is what it is and currently, the almighty algorithms are working this way. If I double tap on a makeup video, or particularly love a gardening video, my newsfeed’s Explore section quickly fills up with pouting women and men, slathering on colours on their faces! Also, what IS the deal with pulling fake cutesy faces? Thats just a personal bugbear! However, I am sure they are selling a TONNE of makeup products on the back of their silly faces. See? I am simply not their idea client! So as a viewer, their efforts are wasted on me. 

Before we get started, let me just quickly reiterate why engagement rates are more important than follower numbers or likes. On Facebook and Instagram, if you have a vast number of followers, but very little engagement with this community, then first - it can look as if you built your following in a dodgy way, and second, it is pointless having such a big following if it has such little impact on your business! After all, we, as business owners, use social media to generate leads and customers, right? With just a bit of strategic planning, you can target your clients effectively and THAT is what will make your business see the benefits of all that time you spend on social media!

Competition is fierce on social media and if you identify your clients, in detail, and serve them and only them, they will value your content and engage with you more. 

So, here is how you identify who your ideal clients are and how to engage with them directly. 

First, you need to establish your own standing amidst all this. Where do you think your product or service will be consumed? If you are a florist, you probably want to start on a local level, where you can deliver easily. So, it does not make sense to target clients that might not live in your area. And while it is very desirable to expect all the orders to fly in just because you make beautiful flower bouquets, or create gorgeous jewellery or bake delicious cakes - that tends not to happen! Am I right or what? Well, with a little bit of help, you can put your products or services exactly where they will be seen by the RIGHT people and before you know it, those orders will be flying in!

Here are four steps you can take towards identifying and targeting your ideal clients - 

1) Step number 1. Search the location tags on Instagram. On Instagram, type in the location in the search bar and swipe to Places. Here you can see what other people have been posting for that particular location tag. Go through those pictures and videos and you will immediately start getting a sense of what people around you are posting. You will quickly be able to see what interests tend to dominate your own local area, what people are posting about and most importantly, what people are interested in. If you live in an urban area, this is where you will find NEW businesses. In fact, just researching for this podcast gave me four new accounts to follow in Greenwich! My next steps will be to go through their feeds, leave comments and try to engage with them. Every little helps!

2. Step number 2. Staying with the florist example, if you were to type some specific hashtags, you will notice posts pertaining to your particular industry. So, hashtag LondonFlorist will bring up all sorts of floral images. Be more specific, look for hashtag HackneyFlorist. NOW you are in business. Because here will be content from not only other florists in Hackney, but comments from their customers. So this is where you ideal clients are hanging out. You will be able to see exactly which posts are getting a lot of love, which are not. And now you can forming your own strategy on what to post to attract similar customers. If you are just starting out, start building your network here. Unless these are private accounts, you can even go to individual accounts of customers and see what else they like! All the information is out there, you just need to find it out!

3) Step number 3. If you run a small business, or are the social media manager for a small business, then consider carefully exactly who it is that you are selling to and what they like and dislike. Think about how your product or service is helping solve your customers’ problems. A very simple way of doing this is to research what their concerns are online. For instance, if your customers are mothers of young children, then follow MumsNet and NetMums on Twitter (this is very UK specific, of course, but I’m sure there are similar organisations in your country!) and visit their websites. You will be surprised at how diverse the conversations are and just how many topics are discussed there. Twitter is a great way of understanding what goes on in a small group, especially if the group is tweeting actively. This will also allow you to create content that targets your customers - rather than just posting pretty pictures and hoping it will work.

4) Step number 4. Inform and educate - Give away information for free. Now, the first question I get asked is, “If I give away stuff for free, why would anyone pay for my stuff?” - It is easy. If you do not give information for free, it is available for free anyway, on Google. So why not become the channel that people trust for information that can help them. Once you become a trusted source of information, you are in a good position to be approached when people actually wish to pay for a service, because they already know you. Holding back on social media does not make sense at all. You should aim to become THE expert in your industry. You should become WHY people come to you!

So, to recap, the four steps for identifying and engaging with your ideal clients are:

Search location tags on Instagram

Search comments and engagements on specific hashtags

Find out conversation points on other platforms, if you are targeting specific groups of customers

Inform and educate - become an expert!

I hope you found this useful and are ready to have a proper go at creating your own social media strategy. I am always happy to answer questions on my Instagram account, @yoursocalmediajourney, or by email. The shownotes will always be available on my website www.yoursocialmediajourney.com. If you liked this podcast, do please subscribe for more and I would really appreciate a review, where-ever you are listening. It goes a long way towards supporting me and my work. Until next time, bye for now.