Overcome Social Media Marketing Frustration Thanks to 6 Steps
Social media marketing can leave even the most seasoned entrepreneur exhausted and filled with frustration.
We all start on this journey in a similar fashion–a head full of dreams and a heart filled with hope. Everyone dreams of the successes that lie ahead when they start their business. Sure we all know there will be challenges and pitfalls along the way, but we’re sure there will be a solution waiting for us when we cross those bridges.
Social media has been changing the business landscape for ten years. Some industries have been slower to feel the effect and some are completely immersed with their digitally savvy consumer. You may be just starting out, you may be starting over, or you may be ready to throw in the towel, but it is time to step back and look at how to incorporate social media into your marketing and business objectives.
Let’s all go back as if we were just dropped off at the same place…the starting point for our businesses. Even if you have been at this for 10 years, I want you to take each of these steps as if you are just starting today.
1. What is your business objective?
Of course to make money is the main objective for most, but is your business objective to become a well-known and well-respected business consultant? Is it to have a fitness studio with hundreds of students and a thriving team? If you are a realtor, perhaps your business objective is to build a thriving real estate brokerage that will be profitable with or without you doing all of the selling. This objective is important to get clear on because it will be the CORE of all of your marketing. It should drive every decision in your marketing.
2. Who is your ideal consumer?
So many people will say, “everyone is my ideal consumer,” and that is why their marketing is too vague. You need to focus on not just the person who will buy from you, but the person you would like to do business with. We have had several people “buy from us” that I shouldn’t have allowed to. These were people who were too high maintenance and frustrated our entire team day after day. Create a detailed profile for the perfect customer. If you have a couple different types of consumers that you serve, create two separate profiles. You may likely need to use social media differently for each persona.
3. Where do these ideal consumers hang out?
I hear so many people say, “My customers aren’t on social media.” You might as well say, “My consumers don’t use mobile phones or computers at all” and this may be true. You might be targeting those over 90 years old who live in rural farming communities and they still have a wall mounted phone with party lines (wow, how do I know about such ancient things?). If this is truly the case, then buy yourself a horse and get off social media altogether. Although you would miss the great tweetchats that go on each week in the agriculture world– #AGchat or #FarmChat.
You need to do some research to find out which social media sites your ideal consumers are on. You might do a survey of current customers, asking which social media channels they are most active on, or if you don’t have current customers, you need to mine your competitors and organizations that are complementary to yours but serve the same type of consumer. If you are a realtor in the luxury home market, look at resort hotels, luxury car companies, golf clubs or country clubs in your area. Find those social media pages on every channel and see where people are most active. What are they talking about, or engaging with? Take note.
4. What type of content do your ideal consumers engage with?
You started this one in the last step. You need to really dig into as many pages and profiles that you can to find the ones that have people sharing, liking, and commenting. Make note of a few things: What type of content is it? Video, funny images, short question type posts, long-form blog content? How often those pages are posting. Do they post once a day? Multiple times a day? When do they post? Are they posting in the early morning hours? Throughout the day? At night? Make note of the ideal times to post. If you keep notes on the pages, profiles, and information, it could come in handy if you decide later to do some targeted advertising to reach these same people.
5. Let’s talk lead generation
Before you start posting content on social media channels let’s go back to step one and revisit the objectives. If you want to reach people in your city to join your fitness studio, or you want people to hire you and your firm as consultants to help their leadership team, then you will want to start building an email list as well so you can get more specific with your marketing. To do this you can create some bigger pieces of content that people will exchange their email or contact info for when they download them. These bigger pieces can be resource guides, tip sheets, ebooks, video tips, a webinar, and on and on you can go. Any piece of content that people find valuable enough to give you some information in exchange for, is considered a “lead magnet” or “value offer.” You will then use social media to pull people toward these pieces of content. These lead-generation type posts will be mixed in with other content ideas you came up with in step four.
6. Now you can build those social media accounts
After all of this planning, and hopefully, creating of content, it’s time to open the doors to your social media accounts or do a “re-opening” if you have been using social media for awhile but without focus. Before you invite people to connect or come to LIKE your page, be sure you have it set up and ready. Put some interesting and visually appealing content up. Be sure you have filled out your profile and company information completely. Add that all-important profile pic.
Once you’ve gotten through these steps, prepare to put blinders on and stay focused on the tasks at hand. There will be many shiny objects calling you away from your plans, showing you new social media tools to try, new “critical” techniques you need to use. I, for one, will be someone shouting those things from the sideline but don’t listen. Stay the course. If what you are hearing doesn’t align with your #1 (business and marketing objectives …in case you’ve forgotten already) move on. If you can see how it fits into your own plan, implement and experiment.
Are Your Clients Failing to Plan for the Costs of Long-Term Care?
Written by: Matthew Paine
It’s been a tough few years in my family. My mother has been battling cancer for what feels like forever, and while she’s been managing her health with diet and exercise for some time, a few months ago everything changed. Her cancer had become aggressive, and chemo, which she had dreaded, was suddenly the only real option. My mother is in her late 70s, so the already brutal side effects of chemo resulted in a prolonged hospital stay that is currently at four weeks and counting. The good news is that she’s mentally strong, and she’s battling like a lion.
My dad is another story. Suffering from early-onset dementia, his ability to understand what’s happening and why my mother isn’t at home shifts from day to day. Because he’s unable to drive or care for himself (at least predictably), my siblings and I have been juggling taking care of him ourselves. It’s not an easy task, especially with jobs, children, and lives of our own to manage as well.
Like many families, none of us—my mother, my father, my siblings or myself—saw our current dilemma coming our way. Clearly we should have. My mother hasn’t been in top health for years. My dad’s condition is sure to get worse. And even if both of them were in perfect health, their age alone should have driven us to communicate better, earlier, and smarter. Despite being in the financial services industry myself, I haven’t been involved in my parents’ finances. I know they saved well for retirement, but I don’t know where they stand financially today. I don’t know what or how much insurance coverage they have. I have no idea how they plan to pay for their long-term care—or if there even is a plan.
The situation is forcing our family to get personal—and fast. Despite being careful about nearly every other aspect of our family’s financial lives, this one slipped through the cracks. We failed to plan.
Just like cancer and dementia, this failure to plan is an epidemic. And it’s only getting worse. To help your clients battle this epidemic, it’s vital that planning for long-term care become an intrinsic part of your retirement planning process. Here’s why:
Retirement planning alone isn’t sufficient.
We’ve all seen it. A client has a great retirement plan in place, and suddenly life throws an unexpected curveball. The later in life your clients get, the more likely that curveball will be the need for long-term care. According to the National Center on Caregiving, the number of people needing long-term care will hit a shocking 27 million by 2050. And according to the AARP, one in four people age 45 and over are not prepared financially if they suddenly required long-term care for an indefinite period of time. That statistic alone tells us that our efforts at planning are failing.
Long-term care costs are escalating rapidly.
According to a 2016 survey from Genworth Financial, a private nursing home room costs just over $92,000—about $7,698 a month—which is 19% more than it cost for the same care in 2011. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, lost income and benefits over a caregiver's lifetime is estimated to range from a total of $283,716 for men to $324,044 for women, or an average of $303,880—and less than 10% of that care is expected to be covered by private insurance.
Medicaid isn’t the answer.
Many people assume that public programs are the answer to long-term care, but in the case of Medicaid, a program designed to assist the poor, it is a last resort. First, while nearly everyone over age 65 has Medicare coverage, that program doesn’t cover long-term stays. That means that many people who need that coverage are forced to spend down their assets until they qualify for Medicaid. How poor must a patient be to receive benefits? In order to be eligible for Medicaid benefits, a nursing home resident may have no more than $2,000 in "countable" assets, and the patient’s spouse—called the "community spouse"—is limited to one half of the couple's joint assets up to $119,220 (in 2016) in "countable" assets. The result: even a couple who has spent a lifetime saving for a comfortable retirement can be forced to draw down nearly all of their assets before qualifying for Medicaid.
Once on Medicaid, long-term care patients lose the one thing many seniors care about most: choice. As a recipient of public assistance, patients rarely have a say in where they receive care. Whether that means being placed far from family, in a less-than-desirable facility, or even in a facility that lacks certain types of care (such as a dementia unit or other specialized care), the patient is at the whim of the state.
The good news is that even for those who feel there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there are options that can help seniors who are struggling to pay for their post-retirement care to not only cover those rising expenses, but to do so in a way that gives them the freedom of choice. A Veteran myself, I know that VA Benefits are highly underutilized—including long-term care benefits. You can learn more about these benefits here. As well, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)’s July report Private Market Options for Financing Long-Term Care Services offers a variety of options for helping finance long-term care needs. Included in that list is the use of life insurance policies to help to fund long-term care expenses—an approach that is supported by GWG Life’s LifeCare Xchange Program.
In my own situation, I know there’s a high likelihood that my dad will eventually require skilled nursing care. I hope that as my siblings and I begin to dig into the details of my parents’ estate, we’ll find that they have indeed planned for long-term care. If that’s not the case, I’m comforted to know there are options available to help ensure Dad is not only in a facility that can meet his specialized needs, but that his new home is where our family chooses for him to be. Life may throw its curveballs, but at least Dad’s care will count as a home run.
Matthew Paine is Senior Vice President at GWG Holdings. Mr. Paine started his financial services career with AXA Advisors, developing marketing strategies for the North Central Region and building his personal practice. Since 2008, he has lead sales teams in raising capital in various assets classes ranging from the Life Insurance Secondary Market, Multi-Family Real Estate, Conservation Easements, and MBS Hedge Funds/Fund of Funds. Mr. Paine has a BA in Marketing/Management from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and holds FINRA Series 7, 24 and Series 63 licenses through Emerson Equity, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC.
- 1 of 1653