Recently, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel for the Northern California Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NCMSDC) social media event for MBEs. The general consensus was that many MBEs had created various social media accounts but were unsure of what to communicate on each specific platform. I shared that the secret to ATR’s social media marketing strategy is blogging. We launched our blog more than a year ago and we’ve seen traffic to our website increase nearly 1000% since we started accurately measuring over six months ago.
In response to the interest at the event, I am writing this step-by-step guide on how to start blogging to generate business leads. The analogy I used during the panel discussion was that blogging is like fishing: you identify a place that has an abundance of fish, select the appropriate bait, and cast your line. Fish see that bait, get hooked, and you reel them in! Sound a little strange? Let’s examine further.
Identify the location of your fish (customers): Do you deal mainly with high level executives that are best reached through LinkedIn? Or maybe your target customers are best reached on Facebook? Identify the various social media platforms where your customers are and set up accounts there. After all, you don’t want to be fishing in an empty pond.
Select Your Most Alluring Bait (content): You need to communicate to potential customers why they should purchase your product or service and demonstrating your expertise is a great way to differentiate your company. I am a Diversity Development Manager at ATR International. I want you to know that I understand your company’s diversity goals and challenges and my company can help you achieve them while supplying the IT talent you need. I am sharing my knowledge about how to strengthen your online presence and generate leads through blogging. Think about what you do and what you can share that will demonstrate your subject matter expertise to your potential customers. Don’t be intimidated: write what you know best or reach out and ask customers for topics that they would be interested in reading.
Make Sure the Fish See Your Bait (Search Engine Optimization): Search Engine Optimization is just a term that means you want your company to be found easily on search engines like Google or Bing. There are many aspects to SEO, but a great place to start is to make sure that the title and content of your blog posts contain the keywords that you want your company to be correlated with in a Google search. Search engines also give higher rankings to sites that are constantly updating and providing fresh information, so staying consistent with blogging is important.
Cast Your Lines (platforms): Now that you have taken the time to write a blog post go ahead and cast those lines far and wide! You want that post to get as much exposure as possible. After all, you worked hard on it. At ATR I utilize the company blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and G+ to ensure that wherever my fish happen to be hanging out, they will see the bait that I have created for them.
Hook ‘Em (Call to Action): Every blog post that you create should end with a “call to action,” urging your potential client to contact you or provide their e-mail address for you to contact them. This way you can “hook” your potential clients to connect with them further about the products or services that you offer. A call to action can be a button (like at the bottom of this post) or a plain text sentence such as, “Want to hear more? Connect with Lauren at email@example.com to talk more about Supplier Diversity at ATR International.”
Reel ‘Em in (Close the deal): I am quite confident there is no further explanation needed here!
Now that you are familiar with how start blogging to connect with customers and grow your business, go ahead and give it a try! Go ahead and cast those lines and please reach out to me if you have any questions or want to share your success stories-I know there will be some very soon!
Diversity Business Development Manager
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