Those who are signed up to get my emails will know that in March, I decided to get my butt in gear and begin a structured experiment on different social media marketing techniques to see what actually helps grow my business.
With March complete, the results are in… and I was DEFINITELY caught off-guard. Some of the things I thought would be amazing have totally fallen flat… and other channels I seriously underestimated.
In a terrifying act of transparency, I’ve decided to share my results with you. My hope is to show you three things: 1) What works and what doesn’t, 2) That it takes a while to build up a strong, visible business, and 3) How easy it is to start tracking your efforts yourself.
Here’s what went down.
In years past, I’ve focused exclusively on posting on my Facebook page and trying to grow a following organically. I’ll tell you now: This is NOT effective. Instead, in March I focused on using Facebook as a networking tool. This meant engaging in Facebook groups that had my ideal clients, starting genuine conversations, and adding people as friends—yes, to my ACTUAL personal Facebook account.
I still posted 1-2 times a week on my Facebook page, as I think it adds some valuable credibility as a serious business owner. I also started sharing posts from my page on my personal account.
Hours spent engaging in Facebook groups: 11.48
Hours spent on Facebook posts: 0.52
Number of new page followers: 9 (6% increase from February)
Number of new users who clicked to website, according to GA: 110 (156% increase from February)
Bounce rate: 63% (which is a decrease from February)
New subscribers: 1 (though I suspect several other subscribers came from here who didn’t click directly and therefore weren’t tracked)
New leads: 3
Engaging in Facebook groups was definitely a successful technique for getting my name out there. The key here is that I’m not out to make sales—I’m out to make friends who are running their own businesses. This is genuine. And if those friendship naturally result in some referrals or requests for help, awesome. But if not? New friends! 🙂
I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with my Instagram account. In March, I started with the goal of posting and engaging daily, but ended up posting only once or twice a week. Posts fell into three categories:
- Personal posts
- Posts promoting new blog articles
- Posts with longer content to spark discussion
I also spent some time engaging with other Instagrammers, commenting on their photos, engaging with their stories, etc.
Hours spent posting: 2.26
Hours spent engaging: 1.19
Number of new followers: 27 (11% increase from February)
Number of new users who clicked to website, according to GA: 11 (83% increase from February)
Bounce rate: 75% (which is a decrease from February)
New subscribers: 0
New leads: 0
While the new followers were exciting, I was really disappointed by the lack of clicks to my website. It makes sense, though, since the only place to put a clickable link is in the bio.
In the future, I’ll be using this more as a platform for continuing to engage with you guys and share what’s new. I’ll also spend more time engaging with non-followers per advice from my friend and Instagram rockstar Ami Williamson of @damnwrite:
“Try using 30 hashtags per post. And most importantly – find accounts you genuinely love and engage with them – watch and respond to their stories and posts. That’s the real “secret” ;)”
Pinterest is extremely exciting because of its potential to make content go viral. The best advice says to treat it like a search engine—by pinning your content, you’re submitting it to their index.
I use a free tool called Tailwind for scheduling my pins. The real benefit is Tailwind’s feature called Tribes. You can share your pin with hundreds or thousands of other like-minded pinners, so you’re not just sharing the pin with your own followers, but you have the chance of being pinned on someone else’s board outside your network from day 1. It’s also a great source of new content to pin on your own boards.
Hours spent: 0.76
Number of new followers: 2
Average daily impressions for website pins, via Pinterest analytics: 145 (222% increase from February)
Number of new users who clicked to website, according to GA: 32 (220% increase from February)
Bounce rate: 97% (which is an increase from February)
New subscribers: 0
New leads: 0
The pin views and clicks were not too bad, but the bounce rate is so high that those clicks aren’t worth anything.
I’m not sure yet how to improve this. Usually a high bounce rate means you need to ensure the pin image matches the destination page’s image and design… but for the most part, it does. I could try different pin image designs or sizes to make it more clickable in the hopes of reaching a wider audience. I could put more hours into it overall. I could also try getting onto group boards, where multiple users are pinning together.
I’ll keep putting up my new posts and spending a bit of time on Tailwind to keep my account active, but this platform will stay low-key for me for now.
While I’ve always kept my resume updated, I never knew how to use LinkedIn in any meaningful way. However, right at the end of February a friend invited me to join his LinkedIn pod. A LinkedIn pod is a group of people who work together to like and comment on one another’s posts. The algorithm then boosts those posts to wider audiences. I wrote a unique #CopyTip post every week, and I also shared my new blog posts as links as they went live.
Hours spent: 5.86
Number of new followers: 24 (7% increase from February)
Number of new users who clicked to website, according to GA: 17 (467% increase from February)
Bounce rate: 79% (which is an increase from February)
LinkedIn is sometimes thought to be dying platform, but in reality it’s a really good place to be if your clients are businesses. I strongly believe that you can make really impactful friendships and connections on LinkedIn. I’ll continue posting regularly to build up my reach and credibility, and I’ll also begin contacting folks directly based on the advice in this podcast episode.
What did I learn from these marketing experiments?
Overall, this month has been a great success. While the majority of my client work comes from referrals, I know that these social efforts will pay off more and more over time.
My biggest takeaway from this month is that getting clients isn’t about sending content into the world and hoping people respond to it. I did that for a long time with zero results. Instead, it’s about growing your network. Constantly delivering great value to specific individuals who need it.
At least, that’s the ongoing hypothesis. We’ll see what April holds 😉
Your turn. What’s ONE platform or marketing technique you’ll test in the coming month? Let me know in the comments!
Join the newsletter
I'm sharing everything I'm learning about building a freelance business in my weekly emails.
I'm learning a lot. You will too.