There are many choices when it comes to using social media for your business. What’s a good use of your time and resources? Follow these steps to find out how.
Identify Your Customers
Your first step is to determine who your ideal customers are.
Determining where your customers are spending their time on social media will help you decide where you should focus your resources. Don’t waste time on Facebook if your customers aren’t using it. If they’re using Instagram instead, focus your time and energy on learning that platform.
Raise awareness about your company in the consumer’s mind. Regularly posting will increase the chances of your company’s message being in your customer’s feed. Posts should be informative, professional and should involve high-quality images of your team in action. Using a cellphone camera for this is fine as long as the camera has excellent resolution and the lens isn’t scratched or smudged. Before heading out, take a few hours to read and watch videos about what makes for a good image (time of day, lighting, angle, etc.). If your budget allows, a professional photographer is an even better option.
Show your customers (and potential customers) what’s happening in their area, what things they should be looking out for and how you can help. It doesn’t have to be a hard sales pitch. You’re looking to establish your expertise with these regular “organic” posts. Over time, doing this will establish you as the local expert.
Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines (Google in particular) look for connections. Yes, the information on your website is important, but seeing alignment between the information about your address, hours of operation, phone number and payment methods accepted across the web helps search engines to trust the information they find. In short, having all the information about your business coordinate across the internet helps those engines trust that the information they find about you is accurate.
Since you can control this flow of information by claiming and populating your Facebook page, creating an Instagram business account and starting a Twitter feed for your business, you can impact how trustworthy your business is viewed by Google. Another factor in ranking relevant search results is the frequency of posting. If you’ve got a great feed, Google trusts that you are a regular user of these sites and assumes you’re looking for more business. It's a marginal impact on your search rankings (where you show up on a page when someone is searching for what you offer), but every bit helps.
Paid Ads Can Create Leads
Lastly, you can use the advertising function for these sites to help you generate more leads. Facebook, in particular, has great flexibility. Many sites allow you to target potential customers based on a wide range of interests, page likes, job titles or hashtags they follow.
This is another great reason to invest in high-quality photos. Great images resonate particularly well when you’re trying to sell services in an industry where visuals help. If you’re selling hardscaping, show a completed project. If you sell maintenance, consider showing a freshly mowed, beautifully striped lawn with great edging and mulching. For tree care companies, you might consider posting the opposite; show photos of “What happens when you try to DIY this” to potential customers. If you’ve got those photos from job sites, you were called to where a tree lands on a car, that might be a strong argument for calling a professional.
These ads should have a very compelling offer. Create a promotion that doesn’t give away a ton of profit while, at the same time, being a great perceived value for the customer. You want to set up a unique landing page for these ads. Make sure that when someone clicks on an ad, they’re being directed to a page with more information about the service you’re recommending and a way to buy directly, or at least submit their personal information to get a quote.
Your first job is to identify your ideal customer and where they might be spending their time online. Then, generate educational posts that inform them about seasonal issues to watch for on their lawn, ornamental plants or trees. Create content that educates them about what the issues are and their options. These posts help with your SEO efforts in two ways: by populating your business profile on social media sites and regular posts showing search engines that you’re actively working at gaining new customers.