Insights from Anne Michelsen, a contributing writer with GreenMark Consulting Group
Whomever your clients are, most of them are guaranteed to be on social media. In fact, a recent study found that on average, Americans check their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts no less than 17 times per day. And the most frequent social media users are adults over the age of 25.
There are other benefits to using social media. It’s easy to use and free to get started. Also, it’s great for tight budgets when and if you do want to start advertising.
Another great thing about social media is that it has become increasingly visually oriented over the years. For an industry like ours where aesthetics is a top selling point, that’s a great advantage. Even platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, which used to be text-only, now can be used to full advantage to not just tell, but show your customers exactly what you can deliver.
Here is a rundown of some of the most popular social media sites, plus suggested posts and frequencies for your landscape business:
Facebook is currently the largest social media site in the world, with more than 1 billion users. For most companies, if you are just going to post on one social site this is the one to be on. Facebook is also a prime place to be if you want to target the 45+ age demographic and those earning more than $75,000 a year.
How to use Facebook: You’ll want to set up a dedicated Facebook page for your company, separate from our personal profile. You can also run ads on Facebook, which you can target to your specific geographic area and ideal customer demographics.
What to post on Facebook: Use this platform to build your audience and establish yourself as an authority. Landscaping tips, trivia, quotes, and of course lots of photos of your beautiful work are all in order. You’ll also want to encourage your audience to interact with your page. Surveys, questions, and which-do-you-prefer type posts are all popular. Videos are great, too! It’s Ok to post a sale or special deal on Facebook, but balance it with a lot of stuff that’s entertaining or informative.
Suggested posting frequency for Facebook: 1-2x per day. Afternoons are a great time to post.
Twitter is another very popular social site, reaching about 20% of the adult population. If you have a younger clientele, consider this network; the majority of its users are under 50 and nearly a third are aged 18-29. Twitter will reach a balanced range of income demographics.
How to use Twitter: Once you get on Twitter you’ll want to start by typing your city and state into the search box and following a bunch of Twitter users in your local area. A lot of them will follow you back, which will help you gain an audience.
One of the mistakes many companies make on Twitter is to just post their own stuff. However Twitter can be extremely interactive. Use it to chat up other local business owners – it can lead to productive alliances. And don’t neglect to share (or “re-tweet”) other people’s posts, affectionately called “tweets”. Many will reciprocate, which will expose you to their audience and help you attract more followers.
What to post on Twitter: Twitter posts are short, no more than 140 characters. So use Twitter for short “sound bite” type messages. You can post a little teaser and a link back to another post or article elsewhere on the web. Or, concentrate on posting photos of your projects and plants. It’s also a great place to spread the word if you’re hiring!
Suggested posting frequency for Twitter: 5-7x per day
LinkedIn is a dedicated social media site for business people and is absolutely the place to be online if you are looking for business clients. Even if you specialize in residential work, don’t write LinkedIn off. You’ll find a high percentage of high-income individuals hanging out there, too. Most users check LinkedIn daily.
How to use LinkedIn: Don’t make the mistake of thinking of your LinkedIn account as a glorified resume. When used strategically, LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate of any of the major social medial platforms. In fact, many business owners have more success using LinkedIn to generate leads than their websites.
Like Facebook, you can set up both a personal profile and a business page on LinkedIn. It’s not necessary to do both, however. A well-written personal profile gives you a powerful online presence for connecting with other business people. It’s kind of like the online equivalent of a country club, so act accordingly – overt pitches will get you nowhere. It’s a good idea to join LinkedIn groups where your ideal customers are likely to hang out, and be as helpful to others as possible.
What to post on LinkedIn: LinkedIn users are there for business, so post appropriately. Cat videos will not be appreciated! Instead, share useful tips, and don’t be afraid to shout out your business news. For instance, if you win an award, hire a new employee, or get featured in the paper, be sure to share it here. Nice, professional photos of your projects are also appropriate.
Using LinkedIn is a skill that can’t be summed up in a few words. Contact us if you’d be interested in learning more about leveraging this powerful social platform!
Suggested posting frequency for LinkedIn: 1x per business day
Targeting affluent women? Pinterest is the place! 84% of Pinterest users are female, and this social site brags a higher-than-average income demographic.
How to use Pinterest: Pinterest is an image-based site where users share pictures of things they love. On this site, you’ll be creating “boards,” which are collections of images (“pins”) that have something in common. For instance, you could have a board that features backyard fountains, or one on gardens designed for children. Users can follow each other, or they can follow individual boards. The beauty of Pinterest is that users share frequently by re-pinning images they find and like onto their own boards. This can help your images go viral and get a lot more exposure for your projects.
What to post on Pinterest: Think of Pinterest as the ultimate online scrapbook. And think about what your ideal customer would be interested in. Then create boards that would appeal to her. If you think of each board as a portfolio of ideas visitors can use when they’re planning their own landscape projects, you’ll do fine. It’s good to re-pin others’ posts, but be sure to put a lot of your own images on there, too, with links back to your web site or Facebook page.
Suggested posting frequency for Pinterest: 5 to 30 times per day
Basic social media is easy to do, but it can be time-consuming. And having a specific strategy can help ensure that it’s time spent wisely. If you would like to know more about how you can leverage social media to benefit your landscape business, contact us at greenmarkgroup.com for a free marketing strategy session today.