For a platform that didn’t exist 20 years ago, social media has quickly become a fact of daily life for the majority of consumers in the world. For that reason, it needs to be a point of focus for businesses as well. With new platforms popping up regularly and viewers watching content on different devices, it’s difficult to understand where you should be and how anyone would find your business in the busyness of social sites.
Don’t let that stop you from diving into the fray of social media. With some research and a solid plan, you can make social media marketing work for you.
Why social media?
Having a website is essential for your business. When you have a website and not just a social media presence, you control your message and who sees your content. On social media, you are at the mercy of algorithm updates and pay-to-play tactics. Social media giants need to make money and charging businesses for advertising, boosted posts and audience engagement is a typical way to do so.
This doesn’t mean you can ignore social media. It’s likely every one of your customers is on social media and would be willing to follow your business after you complete a project in their home. Your social profiles should point visitors toward your website where they will find complete information, accurate contact methods and details that are impossible to accurately explain in the few seconds most people spend looking at a social ad. Seeing your name on social media will remind former customers of your business and may prompt them to get in touch for further services.
Your basic social media business account is free. Of course, you may choose to promote certain posts or create ads, but simply having a searchable social media presence won’t cost you anything except time. Because having a social presence is free, it’s a great idea to be on the same channels as your ideal audience. When they are searching for information, most people go to Google and Facebook first. Make sure they can find you easily and be welcoming to those who reach out via social media.
Before signing up for every social channel available, develop a social media strategy for your business. Checking your posts against this strategy will help you provide a consistent experience for your followers and will never leave you wonder what kind of content to post.
I’m already on social media
If you already have a social media presence, great! You’ve got your foot in the door of this valuable marketing strategy. As you are learning more about social media strategy, you’ll want to review what you currently do on social media and how you can improve your communication. This reevaluation is a social media audit. Ask yourself these questions as you look at your present social media efforts:
- Am I on the right platforms? Is my target audience spending time the same places I am?
- Can you tell that all of these profiles belong to the same business? Are you consistent in your imaging, name, logo and message across all platforms?
- Am I using the platform consistently and seeing results from my efforts?
- How are people/ followers interacting with my brand on this platform?
This is your chance to clean up your social media presence and make it professional and inviting. Think about what you want people to associate with your business and brand and make sure that is what they see when you are in their news feed.
Choose your platforms
There are dozens of social platforms available today, with more being added all the time. Your business does not need to follow every internet trend by creating and updating a profile on every single social media site. Find the ones that are best for your business and are used by your target audience. Even if you want to eventually have a presence on multiple platforms, start with one and grow from there.
Some social media site you may want to consider are:
- Facebook. This is almost a no-brainer because of the vast size of the platform. There are 1.7 billion Facebook users in the world and chance are, you next customer is scrolling right now. Because Facebook is the original social site, they have had time to develop a lot of integrations for businesses. It’s easy for people to share content, including business posts, pictures, sales and announcements. A lot of unique content is generated on Facebook and easy shared, creating viral sensations. They also features groups, which allow people with a common goal or characteristics to communicate.
- Instagram. This platform is highly visual so if your area of expertise is making kitchens look like a magazine spread or landscaping yards designed for pleasure, this is for you. The audience on Instagram is younger, but they are generally looking to stand out and want to hear from businesses that can help make their homes Instagram-perfect.
- Pinterest. This is also a visual platform. Dominated by women, Pinterest users are searching for creative solutions and new ideas. They aren’t just looking for something pretty. Generally, they are ready to make changes and are actively looking for ideas and designs they can use in their homes.
- Twitter. If you plan to post regular blog content or become an influencer in your profession, Twitter is the place to be. The goal with Twitter is to gain followers who will look to you for facts and valuable information. This will drive traffic to your website and blog.
- LinkedIn. This platform is just for professionals. Anyone on this site is probably gainfully employed and looking to network with other professionals. If you provide services to other businesses, this is a great platform for finding customers.
- YouTube. If you are comfortable with creating video, this is a great way to engage with potential customers. Visual content is memorable and gives you a chance to show what you are capable of. Online, viewers are more likely to watch content than read it. Bring your unique voice to the conversation by showing people what you can do.
Choose your name
Make sure your business name is not already claimed on the social platforms you plan to use. Common names like “Top Flooring” may be unavailable. Just like choosing a domain name for your website, you want a name that reflects your business and is easy to remember. Make it clear that people have the right company when they tag you in photos of their new front door or patio. Don’t let another company get credit for your hard work!
Broaden your network
Social media is not just for self-promotion. It’s for keeping in touch, sharing important information and growing relationships. That’s how you use it as an individual. So continue to think of it that way for your business. Being on social media is a chance to grow your connections with people you may never meet in real life. Follow other people and businesses that you want to have a relationship with, including:
- Subcontractors or general contractors you work in conjunction with
- Businesses you have done work for (If a business hires you to install new sinks in their bathrooms, follow them so you see when they are getting ready to do other building updates.)
- Businesses you would like to partner with
- Industry influencers and trend setters
- Industry publications
Following these business pages is just part of the equation. Once you are connected on social media, you need to engage with them to keep the conversation going. Ways you can do that include:
- Liking their posts
- Commenting on posts, blogs, photos and videos
- Sharing their content
- Link to their content on your page
Once you have established yourself as a faithful follower and a source of valuable ideas and interesting conversation, these businesses will start to do the same when you post content. Social media is a two way street and the relationship needs to be nurtured for it to be mutually beneficial.
Social media accounts are meaningless if you never use them. While you want to provide enough information to keep your followers engaged, you don’t need an overabundance of educational content or stylized photos. And remember that people are generally not on social media to be sold to. They are looking for interesting information, entertaining content and connection. Yes, you are giving away ideas and expert advice for free, but people expect to find value in following you on social channels. Knowing they can find honest and relevant information on your profile builds trust and makes them more likely to hire you in the future.
Commit to posting a few times a week, even if it’s sharing information that other people have created. Some ideas to get you started include:
- Introductions to team members. This is a great chance to humanize your business and make a personal connection with your followers.
- Show photos of projects you have completed. Ask the homeowner’s permission to post anything that would identify their home.
- Share information about the products you use
- Highlight specialized skills your team has
- Repost valuable information from industry leaders and suppliers
- Create entertaining photos and videos that encourage people to dream about what is possible
- Tips and useful reminders
- Make sure you respond when someone asks a questions or comments on your posts
- Recommendations and testimonials from customers
Set social media goals Social media will certainly help you reach new audiences in unique ways. But why are you on social media at all? Is it just so you can have thousands of followers? Probably not. Think about what you actual goal is for your business and how social media can help you achieve that goal. Don’t waste hours scrolling your Facebook feed or watching unrelated YouTube videos. Creating a strategy for social media outlets keeps you focused and prevents you from getting bogged down in the endless content online.
Having defined goals will keep you focused while you are online and provide you with a roadmap of what to post and when. Your social media goals may include:
- Brand awareness
- Increased inquiries
- Increased engagement
- Closing more deals
- Making more money
- Establish yourself as the authority in your field
Remember when you set goals to think about SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals. Something vague like making more money won’t help you grow your business. Increase sales by 10% over the course of the next 12 months is something you can return to again and again to measure your success.
Monitor your success
You can’t change what you don’t track This is true for habits like exercising and eating well, and it’s true for your business’s marketing efforts. You need to be able to see exactly what is working and what isn’t so you can adjust. Social media is always changing and evolving. Algorithms are updated regularly, meaning that your visibility can change drastically from one day to the next.
It’s unnecessary to spend hours a day analyzing the newest social media data. But you want to know that you aren’t wasting your time posting valuable content that no one sees. Understanding even the basics of the analytics for your social media accounts will help you make the best decisions about where and how to spend your time and advertising dollars.
While the exact method of finding and tracking this information changes from site to site, you can access all of the following important information. Pay attention to these metrics to understand how your audience interacts with you on social media:
- Visit to your website via social media
- Number of views
- Number of click on each post
- Sign ups/ calls
These insights will give you information on what your audience wants and exactly how they are interacting with you on social media.
Don’t let social media intimidate you. It can be an important marketing tool for your business if you understand how to use it to your advantage. More than funny memes, social media can boost your sales, increase your brand reputation and help you connect with your next customer.
At trades.org we know all the important social platforms and can create a profile that reflects your business and attracts attention from the most likely potential customers. Our brand management services make social media marketing easy.