Social media marketing that works!

Social media serves as the cornerstone for safeguarding and elevating your business. When you establish a solid foundation, you not only gain the capability to defend against and outperform local competitors but also position yourself to launch new ventures and surge ahead of your rivals. The primary principle of effective social media marketing is to envision social media as an online community with shared interests—a bustling coffee shop where people gather for lively conversations and entertainment. Just like any community, you’ll encounter supporters and detractors, but there’s no need to take offense. Think of it this way: if you own the coffee shop or the community center, why worry? From the outset, I decided that if I were to leverage social media communities to bolster my business, I needed complete control. Thus, I set out to construct my digital community, my virtual town, and although it’s not always easy or quick, it’s an essential endeavour.

Contrary to popular practice, where most business owners simply create a Facebook page solely dedicated to their business, this approach is uninspiring and ineffective. Whether you operate in a town, city, or village, you should build a digital counterpart of your physical location. If your business spans national or international boundaries, create a community that appeals to all your potential customers.

For instance, if your business is based in the town of Greendale, establish a Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter handle named “Greendale” or something related to your business locale, focusing on creating a communal space. Essentially, you are recreating the real-world experience within the digital realm. In this article, I’ll pretend to reside in the town of Greendale for illustrative purposes.

In the real world, I can network, meet people, hold seminars, engage in cold calling, and attend local events. However, the critical point is that to gain influence and establish a power base in the physical world, you must first cultivate it in the digital domain.

Constructing your digital social media stronghold and ramparts:

To start, create your page—e.g., “Greendale Town.” Ensure that your page exudes professionalism and a clear message: it exists to serve the community. Once your page looks the way you envision, it’s time to add content. When I say content, I mean valuable information that your local community would be eager to access—details about community events, local band performances, quiz nights, updates on local council meetings, tourist attractions, picturesque parks, and more. You might be wondering how you’ll find time for all this. The answer is simple: once you kickstart the process, it gains momentum and operates seamlessly. To accelerate the growth of your digital town, enlist helpers—individuals within the community who possess influence and business aspirations. Transform them into editors of your page, not administrators. You must retain complete control over your domain, as you trust no one with the empire you’re building. Why would others want to be involved? They share your goals: making money and gaining influence. If possible, recruit prominent community figures, such as the local mayor, who may have a charitable background, and encourage them to promote your page in exchange for posting valuable local content and their own business and community interests.

On each of my pages, I have 12 administrators. Aside from moderating and posting my business content and community interests, the pages and groups largely operate independently. Moreover, you’ll receive numerous stories and news items, asking if you would kindly share them. Ensure your Twitter account is connected with an automated feed. Here’s another advantage: all towns are surrounded by other towns and villages, so extend your reach using the same principles I’ve outlined earlier. Even if you don’t conduct substantial business in neighbouring towns, establish a presence there before someone else does. In my town, Greendale, I manage two community pages and groups, totalling over 150,000 members. I also oversee pages in neighbouring towns, ranging from 15,000 to 30,000 members. I have Facebook groups covering the same areas, but I’ll delve into these specifics later. I also manage pages dedicated to London, Greek Islands, and U.S. cities. My expansion is ongoing. Initially, my business was local, and Greendale remains my stronghold. However, to continue expanding my empire, I must broaden my digital sphere of influence. My business encompasses fitness/boot camps, martial arts, business networking, marketing, and I’m now involved in organizing business events that I can promote through my network of digital communities. I could launch any business and secure customers within 24 hours or less. Naturally, I never allow competing businesses to advertise in my digital domain, effectively quashing competition within the cyber town of Greendale. Keep in mind that over the next decade, the cyber town of Greendale will evolve into a more substantial and influential reality than you can currently fathom.

Creating your community should take precedence in your marketing strategy, so start building it NOW! There are myriad ways to amass followers. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive, so invite your friends to follow the page or group and encourage them to invite their friends. Better yet, buy them a drink and take charge of their phones, kindly handling the task for them. I’ve done this countless times, and not once has anyone refused. I recall sitting in a pub with three phones, inviting the friends of three individuals to like my community pages; with each click, a potential future customer emerged. If you’re thinking, “This may work for B2C but not B2B,” you’re mistaken. B2B dealings often involve businesses that cater to the B2C market. Suppose you run a commercial cleaning company, for example; you may seek business with local bars, pubs, or shops. Now, you have a compelling value proposition: offer them free social media exposure through your digital networks in exchange for utilizing your services. None of your competitors can match this level of exposure. I’ve assisted commercial window cleaning companies in doubling their business by leveraging social media’s power to secure contracts.

This approach also enhances your bargaining position for deals such as venue rentals, as evidenced by my recent acquisition of a struggling networking business that hosted weekly meetings across four local towns. While the networking business didn’t generate substantial revenue, it yielded numerous contacts and came with 10,000 social media followers, each running their own businesses. It was the social media coverage that piqued my interest. Now, I possess considerable leverage in any B2B transactions I undertake. This advantage has enabled me to offer marketing and social media courses for entrepreneurs and local business owners, with private consultations commanding fees of £200 per hour. Without the acquisition of a networking business, it would have been considerably more challenging and expensive to launch these endeavors.

This type of social media presence can position you as a leader both online and offline. Social media communities aren’t just avenues to generate profits or promote your business; they also offer opportunities to support charities and community causes. All my social media communities promote various charities and community issues. If I encounter a struggling business, or indeed, any local business facing challenges, I make every effort to assist them in