Many contractors who utilize social media are doing it because: 1) they see their competitors doing it, and 2) a social media marketing agency sold them on the idea that using social media would lead to all kinds of new business. The problem, typically, is that there is no real strategy involved, and no means by which to measure the effectiveness of their social media efforts.
Andrew Pototschnik works with lawn care companies to formulate and facilitate social media efforts as part of overall strategic marketing campaigns. Here are his tips to help you establish a marketing-based social media strategy that will actually help turn your “likes” and “followers” into “leads” and “sales.”
Look at social media like other forms of marketing. Social media should be treated no differently than direct mail, telesales, door hangers, email marketing, etc. “It’s just another tool in your marketing toolbox,” Pototschnik points out. To that end, if direct mail or other forms of marketing are still working for you, don’t stop doing them. Social media is something you can simply add to the mix. In fact, social media will be even more effective when combined with a solid email marketing effort.
Understand how most people use social media. Most consumers still turn to search engines like Google or Bing when searching for a new service provider. Thus, it’s likely that the majority of your social media followers will be existing customers who already know about you and have visited your website. Recognizing this important fact is the first step to formulating a meaningful social media marketing strategy.
Identify your content strategy. Some social media agencies say it’s all about branding, so all that really matters is getting a bunch of people to follow you and share your posts. But if you want social media to help generate sales, you’ll need a more thought-out strategy.
You can’t just set up a Facebook business page, for example, and start posting things. You want to plan out your campaigns well in advance, and actually establish a schedule of things you’ll post throughout the year.
Keeping in mind that you’ll be talking to existing clientele, your goals should be to:
- Deepen relationships with existing clients. “It’s harder for clients to fire a friend,” Pototschnik reminds. Talk about your company, employees, vendors, the community, etc., in order to establish more of a personal connection with clients.
- Encourage clients to refer you to their friends. Discounts, raffles and other incentives can help.
- Gather testimonials.
- Promote additional services. This is where planning in advance really comes into play because we’re talking about seasonal add-ons, in most instances.
Measure if it’s working. Just like with other forms of marketing, you need to know if your social media campaigns are working. This can get tricky, but is definitely doable.
Facebook, for instance, has built-in analytics called “Insights” that measure how well your posts are working. Additionally, Google Analytics can tell you how many of your website visitors are being referred by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. And like you might already do with other forms of marketing, you can set up unique phone numbers and/or promo codes so you can track where new leads are coming from.
“There is no substitute for training your phone staff to ask callers where they heard about you,” Pototschnik reminds. “This is the ultimate judge. Who cares how many Facebook fans you have. You want to know how many people are picking up the phone and calling you based on what they saw on Facebook.”
Be sure to visit Andrew’s website to download his free report: “11 things I wish I had known before I hired this shady ‘SEO’ company and wasted a bunch of money and time.”