In this weeks newsletter:
- Creating the minimum viable social media presence.
- Making your profile ideal for referrals.
- The first three steps to take with your social media strategy.
In the last few editions of this newsletter I’ve been attacking the “traditional norms” of digital marketing, which is a funny phrase for something that is so new. I’ve been particularly hard on social media over the last month, so let’s take a break from dunking on them and look at what is an effective way to leverage these platforms.
If you want to see why I’m not as aggressive about social media as a small business strategy, look no further than this study which includes little tidbits about brand engagement with posts. This is a global average for all industries, so take with a grain of salt. But, the numbers show it’s hardly worth it even for major brands. The brand engagement rates for the major platforms were:
- Facebook: 0.26%.
- Instagram: 1.16%
- Twitter: 0.06%
A little historical context to consider
Before I get started, let’s consider the perspective of thought leaders and influencers in the marketing space. Generational changes to marketing happen. But with digital marketing the cycle can be much quicker, depending on when they entered the industry.
Up until the birth of social media, blogging was considered a digital must-have. New, young professionals made a name for themselves blogging and in turn recommended it to everyone. For the last decade however, social media grew and a new batch of young people have grown their careers on the backs of these platforms. So, it is only natural they recommend dropping blogging and doubling down on social.
The issue here is that both of these are blanket statements that worked for these people. They don’t work for everyone, especially when you are comparing business brand versus personal brand. Most of the people making YouTube videos telling you to make YouTube videos to grow your business make their money exclusively by telling you to make YouTube content. While that may work if you’re a budding YouTuber, they have no idea how your customers interact with you, where they discover you and how they make their buying decisions.
Why should you trust someone that only makes Facebook posts about how to grow a Facebook following? All they know is Facebook, not lead generation for homeowners interested in custom construction.
When thinking about your social strategy and what is best for your business, consider how people use these channels.
TikTok viewers love their feed and want to be entertained. Can your company deliver entertainment? Are you known for entertainment?
What is the process to buy your product or service? While viewing Instagram Stories, will they make their purchase decision based on your ad?
Every service company gains most of their customers from referrals, not dancing and pointing at text boxes. This means there is a way to use social media to get new customers, but probably not what others have told you before. More than likely once a customer has found your business, they have already made up their mind on what they want. What you need to focus on first, is need. What they need is:
- To know that you can provide a solution to their problem
- That you are safe and reputable
- That you will make this easy
- How to get started
So here is my list of what your social profile and social media strategy should include as a local, service-based business.
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- Accessible options.
Accessible profiles with very clear contact details are a must to carry broad, equitable reach to all prospective clients.
Completely fill out all communication options prospects have for contacting you. You can no longer simply offer a phone number as the only option. If you expect your existing customers to give out recommendations, it is imperative that the person receiving your info can take action right away.
This means listing an email address, phone number, and direct messaging enabled on each platform. Not everyone has the option to instantly make a phone call, especially if you let 80% of your calls go to voicemail. Once they land on your social profile, you want them to immediately take action and in their preferred way of contacting you.
You also want to be very clear about your response time. Be honest with them and yourself. If you let all your calls go to voicemail and call people back at the end of the day, say so. The same goes if you have a method that you will respond to more quickly. In my Facebook profile, I have both in my bio in addition to all the other ways to contact me.
Why offer options like text or email? These options aren’t just increasing your general accessibility, but also offer ways for people to discreetly communicate with you while they are working. With the popularity of open-office formats, making personal calls is nearly impossible while they are at their desk and stepping away for an extended period of time may not be feasible.
In addition to all of the above, offer accessible options for people who are dyslexic, hard-of-hearing, deaf, blind, and even low income as these can all be barriers to someone reaching your business.
There is a lot to consider and this list is a great place to start with familiarizing yourself with the challenges of accessible communication.
- Simplified discovery.
The last thing your prospective customers want is ambiguity. More than likely they already have an idea of what they want and when they land on your social profile they need confirmation that they are in the right place. You need to make it easy for them to establish confidence that you provide what it is that brought them there in the first place.
A word of caution. A mistake I often see at this stage is attempting to upsell before the prospect even makes contact. They could be looking for a Spring clean-up of their backyard, but that is buried under a barrage of other services like lighting, pools, water features, and retaining walls, which deter them from contacting you. Remember that this first stage is about showing the customer they are in the right place.
You can accomplish this by creating a post and pinning it to the top of your profile. Here is an example of my profile with a post introducing my business and services right at the top.
- A path forward.
This is an important step and the information that will have the most impact on converting more customers from your social media accounts. Your prospective customer has so many questions and is probably nervous. You will be working on their most important and expensive asset. Plus, their lives will be significantly disrupted while the work is performed.
You need to put them at ease.
Again, back to my profile. You’ll see in my pinned post I added two links. One is to my About page explaining why I’m in business and who I support, along with the services I offer. The second is to a FAQ that provides more specifics around my services and details how we get started.
Although this information isn’t actually on my social media profile, it is easily accessible while being front-and-center. You can quickly create a page on your website and pin it to the top of your profile, laying out the steps to get started. Everything from first contact, to the site walk, estimation, delivering an official quote, and setting the job start date.
- Examples of your work
Publish this to your feed as you complete jobs. This is a reference point that your customers can use to refer you and prospective clients can use in their buying decision.
Remember, it’s not about people seeing you in their timeline, it’s about creating opportunities for your customers to refer you by tagging a friend or sharing a post. It’s about your customers recommending you with a review and a prospect seeing it and looking through your work. Make it easy to refer. Make it easy for that prospect to see what you do. They don’t care about Abe Lincoln quotes and National Donut Day. They care about their need and if you can fill it.
Wrapping this up
Social media marketing has been traditionally treated as a way to get cheap and easy attention. Now that billions of people use it everyday, users are overwhelmed with a barrage of content while the social platforms do everything they can to keep the users in the app. Rising above all the noise while also competing with major TV networks, comedians, actors, and athletes, is nearly impossible.
But the good news is, you don’t need to compete with all of this. Instead, keep your social media presence simple, straightforward and accessible. Rather than investing time and energy in keeping up with the latest internet trends and memes,focus on giving your existing customers an unbelievable experience and then make it easy for them to refer you to everyone they know.