What do you really think about using social media for your business?

With Facebook boasting over 1.5 billion active users and Twitter with over 300 million, you can bet that your customers make up a portion of these users.

They're using these platforms, along with several others, to directly access news or new information and to research products, services and your brand.

Now, it's not if you should be using social media, but how can you use social media to get customers for your business?

It's simple when you think about the buyer's journey. The buyer's journey is made up of three stages: the awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage. Social media is largely in the awareness stage. However, this does not mean can't use social media for other stages of the buyer's journey

Put yourself in the mind of a consumer. When you need an opinion about a company or more information about a business, who do you turn to? If you guessed, social media and your followers, you are correct.

You must understand how your customers are using social media and interact with your brand, whether it be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Snapchat.

Social media isn't where you constantly bombard your customers with sales messages. It's where you extend your conversation with potential clients BEFORE they are ready to buy from you.

You need to share content that educates, empowers, and entertains your customers. It's what they want. This type of content is huge on Facebook.

Most business owners fail to understand this after setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account leading them to believe that the ROI of social media marketing is extremely low.

Watch the video above for more insight on you can be successful in using social media marketing for your business.

If you find that social media is not your high point or if you're eager to learn more effective strategies, we'd love to speak to you. You can subscribe to #AskYokelLocal and submit a marketing question that you need a solution to.

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Hey. How you doing? My name is Darrell Evans, co-founder of Yokel Local. And I got a quick question for you:

What are your real thoughts about the power of social media to grow your business?

I'm pretty sure you're reading blogs, I'm pretty sure you've been solicited either through email or telephone calls. I'm pretty sure you've probably met some folks in a networking group with BNI or local chamber of commerce and you're hearing that social media is where it's at.

But you haven't been able to connect the dots, alright?

So I'd like to help you connect the dots or at least help your mind get around how and why social media is so critical in terms of the entire buying process for your customer.

Social media today and I'm sure you're no different than this, today ... I don't have my phone with me but you're either carrying an iPhone or an Android device, or maybe a Microsoft phone or something of that nature. You're probably using an iPad.

You're probably doing things at home that are different than you've ever done. You are probably not watching TV as much as you once did.

In fact, I was reading a statistic not too long ago that the mobile phone usage has cut television consumption by over 50%. And if you think about it today as a business owner, as an advertiser, you have sort of a limited channel of access of where you could drive your messaging home in the past.

Back then we had telephone books and direct mail and all these... it's very narrow if you really think about it. There were enough opportunities, but it was fairly narrow.

People aren't paying attention to billboards and radio. And there's so many things to do today, and social media, of course, is right in the center of that conversation.

We talked about Facebook having 1.4 heading towards 1.5 billion people, 300 million on Twitter, and we could go on and on, 300 million or so on LinkedIn.

Your customers are using these platforms because that's where they access information, they access news, they research products and services, they get information about your brand and how well you perform, whether you're thinking they're doing it or not.

So it's not a question of whether you should be using social media, it's the how that trips up most business owners.

So how do you use social media marketing to help drive customers to your door?

And I'm going to break it down very, very simply. I always say when I'm doing presentations or meeting with business owners that social media is not where you acquire new customers. It's where you build brand awareness about your business, your products, or your service.

Social media is where you extend and engage in a conversation with potential customers before they're ready to buy.

If you watch any of my other videos, you would have heard me say something like this, that there is three stages in the buyer's journey. There's the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage.

So guess what?

Social media is 100% in the awareness stage.

It doesn't mean that it won't show up again in the decision stage, but if you think of it over in the awareness stage, when someone has a problem that they need to solve and I sit on Facebook and I watch it all the time, and I take snap shots and screenshots every time I see something like this where I see one of my friends asking for a recommendation or a referral to a plumber, a landscaper, a doctor, or so on and so, airline tickets.

I remember getting ready to take a flight. And I remember seeing some ticket prices for Spirit Airlines and I'm sorry, but I never heard of the airline before and the price was so obnoxiously low that I put it on my Facebook page and I mean, I had 50 people give me their feedback about Spirit Airlines.

Social media is where friends hang out; they stay connected.

When we would go to school back in the day and we would go see a movie on Friday night or Saturday night let's say. On Monday we would congregate at school and have a conversation and that conversation might lead to three or four more people going to see that movie.

Today, that's happening on Twitter. It's happening on LinkedIn. It's happening on Facebook. It's happening on Snapchat. It's happening on Instagram. And that might not be where you spend all your time.

And that's really where business owners struggle cause you're probably driven, you're focused, you're really focused on the things that matter to your business, so you may not use these platforms as a consumer, you use it a business owner and you're doing different things.

And so the big challenge that we usually have to deal with is helping you unwrap your own behavior on social media and understanding that you're customers are not you. You typically are not your ideal customer anyway. You're not going to do the same things they do. The access is inexpensive, or I'm just going to use the word cheap.

Let's think about what your options are, television and radio. I remember we were pitched a radio campaign not too long ago. $300 for 30 seconds. $300 for 30 seconds the minimum buy was 10 spots, or 10 runs. So three grand, right? For three grand for 300 seconds. Three grand, 300 seconds. Does this ring through? I mean, let's not get into billboards and television ads and all this other stuff. But that's the dollar amount.

When I can look at Facebook and I can run a $300 campaign on an entire month and I can get exactly who I want to buy ... or sorry ... Exactly who I want to see my brand, see my product, and engage with me in some case. See the television ad or the radio ad, it's going to be all for 30 seconds and it's going to be out of site out of mind.

But on Facebook or Twitter you're actually building real estate, you're building mental real estate, you're top of mind and it's such a low cost that a lot of business owners say, "Well, what's the ROI of social media marketing?" Well, if it's done right, it's really, really high. I mean, that's the bottom line.

The problem is most business owners aren't doing it right. They're trying to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account and we track and monitor this stuff, it's so funny to watch. But they set up a Facebook page and they set up a Twitter account or whatever it maybe and all they say is, "Come in for a free consultation. Download this coupon to buy my this or that. Hey, we've got a special on this and that."

And you're not doing the three things that I talked about on social media to build an audience in the awareness stage. And that is they're not posting engaging and entertaining content. They're not posting education information that potential customers would be interested in. And they're not posting empowering things that would ...

Every human being wants to be inspired and happy. And somehow we get in our mind of business and we think that, "Well, because there is 1.4 billion people on Facebook or 300 million on Twitter or 300 million on LinkedIn that as long as I get into this group or that group on the Facebook platform and start pitching my product or service, then I should be getting some business." And it's just backwards thinking.

Social media is about relationship.

It's just go back to the movie example. If I watch a movie this weekend, in fact, at the time of the recording of this video, Captain America, the new battle movie is coming out. I'm a superhero fan, fanatic in fact. But I see that movie this weekend I'm going to check in on Facebook and I'm going to let people know that I'm at the movie theater, and then I'm going to comment. People are going to ask me, "Hey, how was it? Tell me how it was."

That's the same conversation I would have if I was in high school back 20 years ago, 25 years ago and I show up on a Monday at school and I said, "Hey, this is what I did this weekend." And then I send six or seven more people to the movies or they go to the movies because of my comment.

Social media is about connection. It's about relationship. It's about top of mind awareness. And how does that play into your marketing funnel?

Well, it plays really, really nicely.

I've been doing it since 2006. I got on LinkedIn in 2006, Youtube in 2007, Twitter in 2008, Facebook 2009. This company exists to help business owners like you, even though you may not use social media understand how to navigate that conversation in social media.

So if you struggle with social media, you haven't had the results you wanted, and you'd like to converse more about how an effective social media plan fits into your business marketing strategy of getting new customers for growing your business, then we'd like to chat with you about that.

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