Wielding Social Media’s Power for Business Growth

With Louise McDonnellEP 175

Social media is a wild west that many business owners eagerly charge into, guns blazing, hoping to strike viral gold. Yet most find themselves wandering aimlessly, bleeding money and time, while seeing little results. So how do you avoid becoming another casualty?

In this episode, social media expert Louise McDonnell shares her step-by-step system for leveraging social media to drive real results and growth for your business. Learn how to lay the groundwork, define your target audience, optimize your platforms, develop an effective content strategy across pillars like awareness, expert positioning, sales, and advocacy, incorporate paid ads, and continually evaluate performance.

Louise McDonnell, a renowned social media trainer and strategist, has been working in digital marketing since the 1990s. She is the founder of SellOnSocial.Media and has published a best-selling book, the Social Media Content Planner Guide.


Key Highlights:

(00:00 – 06:54) From Service Marketing to Digital Marketing Pioneer

Louise accidentally landed an early e-commerce job in the 1990s, which catalyzed his whole digital marketing career.
She discovered she has an innate ability to decode complex technical topics and clearly explain the customer benefit in plain language.
Louise leverages this core skill today in running an agency managing digital campaigns and training others on actionable social media tactics through his academy.
(06:55 – 13:16) Categorizing Business Owners’ Social Media Approaches

Category A involves business owners who are either completely ignoring social media or have tried it sporadically without seeing real results and have given up.
Category B refers to those who are actively posting social media content but are still not generating meaningful levels of sales or leads.
Category C encapsulates business owners who only want to utilize paid social media ads when they have something new to sell, often without an overall integrated strategy.
(13:17- 00:21:36) 6 Steps to Effectively Leverage Social Media

Step 1 involves laying the proper foundations first, including setting smart goals, implementing tracking and analytics, and clearly defining the products and services you offer.
Step 2 is all about deeply understanding your target audience through profiling their pain points, desires, motivations, and the terminology that resonates with them.
Step 3 focuses on optimizing your website pages, landing pages, and social media platforms to align with your brand, offer clarity around your services, and speak directly to your ideal customer.
Step 4 is when you develop an effective social media content strategy across four pillars: awareness, expert positioning, sales, and advocacy.
Step 5 is incorporating paid social media ads to amplify your organic reach and social presence at key moments.
Step 6 is about continually evaluating your social media activity and campaign performance so you can refine and improve in future efforts.
(23:31 – 34:46) Four Different Content Pillars

First, awareness content refers to authentic behind-the-scenes posts aimed at humanizing your brand and connecting on a personal level with your audience.
Second, expert content positions your authority and expertise within your niche and offers solutions to common pain points your ideal customers are experiencing.
Third, sales content converts that social media following and trust into leads and transactions by promoting offers, events, downloads, consultations, etc.
Fourth, advocacy content refers to leveraging external validation like customer testimonials, favorable media coverage, awards, etc. to build credibility.

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Practical Pointers
In a business that is a solo operation, the owner must be the face of the brand on social media. But if you have employees, it’s worthwhile to use them as the face of your company, especially if customers interface with them. Still, make sure that they don’t become bigger than the brand itself. Anytime an employee is bigger than the brand, you lose all of your marketing muscle as soon as that employee leaves the company.
In order to maximize your success in digital marketing, you need to first lay the foundations so that you are clear on what you’re selling, and profile your target audience in a deep and meaningful way. Only by having a very clear vision of exactly what you’re offering and to whom, can you optimize your website and the profiles on your channels so that the right people discover the right information in the few seconds that they’re giving you.
Paid ads are an important part of a digital marketing campaign - but only when they supplement a larger social media strategy. If you’ve paid for ads on social media but have not had success, chances are that you skipped the previous steps of laying the foundations, profiling your target audience, optimizing your website and profiles, and developing a proper content strategy. If you do those steps first, your paid ads will be far more effective.
If you’re producing strong content on social media, but are still having a hard time getting those cultivated potential clients to cross the finish line to buy your product or service, consider creating an event, like a webinar or a summit. Having occasional events gives you the opportunity to say, “Here’s why you need to do business with me, and here’s how you book a call.”
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Guest Bio
Person Image
Louise McDonnell

Louise McDonnell is an award-winning social media trainer and strategist, has worked in the digital space since the early 1990s.

She is the founder of SellOnSocial.Media, and is a four-times best-selling social media author. Her latest publication, the 2023 Social Media Content Planner is already on the best-selling list on Amazon for worldwide sales.

She works with businesses, government enterprise development agencies, and non-profits to leverage social media to drive growth by achieving precise communications objectives and practical, ROI-focused solutions that are quick and easy to implement.

The social media marketing strategist is also a keynote speaker, vastly experienced in energising and inspiring local and global audiences in both major convention settings and bespoke in-house seminars. As a speaker, she has engaged audiences at events all over the world, from the INNOWAVE Summit Bulgaria to Livestream Universe, The Social Selling Summit, Mari Smith & Wave.Video Facebook & Instagram Video Ads Academy, the Social Media Summit Ireland, Digital West Summit, the Women Inspire Nation Conference, and the Irish Wedding Association Conference.

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