How can your business stand out in our digitally-focused, on-line world? Social media is the answer. If you don’t have a social media presence and aren’t sure how to get started, it’s never too late.
And if your social media efforts aren’t getting the results you would like to see, read on for some helpful tips.
If you are a true newbie, you will want to eliminate “social zero”. Social zero means no social media presence. This is totally unacceptable. Let’s get you out there!
It’s easy to get started using social media for business.
We recommend that you have a page on Facebook, Instagram, Houzz, Google My Business and possibly LinkedIn. Any one of these is a great place to start building your business network. And it doesn’t cost anything to create a Facebook page, start posting on Instagram or showing off your completed projects on Houzz.
Houzz, Instagram and Facebook are good choices for designers because they’re all about the visuals. They’re easy to use. All you need are photos that show off your work.
GMB is essential for being seen in search results. Keep your GMB profile up-to-date by including your business hours and a link to a map for directions to your place of business. There’s lots more you can do on GMB, such as post and share pictures, get and write reviews, reply to questions, post special offers and “follow” businesses to receive notifications. If a prospect looks for your business by name, your GMB profile is the first thing they will see.
LinkedIn is a great social media resource if you get referrals from other companies. Joining relevant LinkedIn groups and building a network can be valuable for businesses that sell high-end products with long lead times. You can also build a relationship with the manufacturers whose products you sell.
Deciding which social media platforms to use doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can use different social channels to reach different audiences or to meet different business goals.
The average internet user has 8.4 social media accounts, so you can connect with them on different platforms for different purposes.
You Need a Plan
But before you leap in, remember: every good business strategy starts with a good plan. Without a plan, you have no clear goals for what you’re trying to achieve. That means there’s no way to know if you’re getting a return on your investment of time, effort and energy.
Take the time to create a social media plan upfront. This ensures all your social efforts support specific business goals.
Setting goals for your social media efforts isn’t difficult. Some common goals include
- increasing brand awareness
- getting leads
- driving visitors to your website
- developing a customer base
- improving sales
If one of your goals for your business is to build credibility, then getting active on social media will get you on your way.
An example of a good SMART goal for social media marketing would be something like, “We’ll increase our number of Facebook followers by 25% by the end of the first quarter.”
Specific: The social channel (Facebook) and a metric (number of followers) are specifically identified.
Measurable: The number of followers can be measured from Facebook numbers
Achievable: The goal is not unreasonable, such as 100 new followers in a day.
Relevant: This goal is relevant because it will have an impact on our overall social media presence.
Timely: The goal has to be met by the end of the first quarter.
Social Media Drives Business
Learn from the "Big Boys"
Don’t be afraid to learn from companies larger than yours. However, don’t compare your social media efforts to what companies larger or with more resources than yours are doing. Larger brands will always be able to outspend and outproduce you.
Do pay attention to what they are doing, then use their activities to get ideas for your own business.
How are your direct competitors using social media? While you don’t want to copy them, learning from what others have done is a great way to reduce your learning curve. L
Social Media Marketing
Once you have created your pages, the next step is to develop a social media marketing program that ties in with your other marketing activities. Your brand, your content and your messaging should all be consistent, no matter where it appears.
All social media platforms rely on photos. You will need a portfolio of photos to generate an active social media presence. Hire a professional photographer to best capture your finished work and show it to its best advantage.
Your team can help build up and maintain your portfolio by taking pictures, shooting short testimonial videos and providing suggestions for educational topics – all great assets that will increase the level of activity on your social media platforms. This activity will, in turn, help build followers and gain likes and shares for your content while building brand awareness.
K.I.S.S. (Keep it Short / Sweet)
People on social media want instant gratification. They’re not going to read long posts, so you need to gear your posts to their short attention spans. Get their interest quickly with short copy and attention-grabbing visuals. No long, rambling introductions.
Keep your content relevant to your audience and show off examples of your fabulous work.
When you provide small amounts of information over time, visitors will look forward to your posts. You can build trust and become an authority.
The Rule for Content
Try starting with the 80-20 rule. Use 80% of your content to inform, educate, or entertain your audience. Use the other 20% to promote your brand or sell your products.
Know Your Customer
Targeting the right audience is one of the most important parts of social media marketing. Rather than throwing content at a wide audience, identify the ones who will most likely want to see what you are doing. Know who your buyer is. Focus on their habits, likes and dislikes.
Define your prospects’ demographics, which will help generate keywords for posts and messaging. Treat posts like talking to someone one-on-one, so the reader feels more inclined to click and read.
A Powerful Tool
One reason using social media for business is so effective is that you can micro-target your audience., and what other social pages the consumer follows. You can drill down to where you can even exclude specific zip codes to avoid marketing to areas that have not generated many leads for your Reach out to specific audiences using criteria such as family status, zip code, region, income levels business.
Social media also allows you to remarket to people who have already interacted with your business, whether on your website or through social channels. You can maintain a conversation with those people who may need a little more information – and motivation(!) -- to make a purchasing decision.
Social media can be an effective and inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website. Just be sure your website landing page meets the 4 Cs: clever, colorful, clickable and concise.
Of course you will link your website to your social media channels. And vice versa. Additionally, an effective social media strategy will include asking people directly to follow, like and share your social pages.
The unique benefit of social media marketing for small business is that it allows you to talk directly to customers and followers. You can build relationships over time, rather than asking for a sale upfront. you certainly can use social to get a sale upfront.
More than 44% of internet users use social networks to research brands. Part of that discovery is getting to know who you are as a brand and what you stand for. When people engage with your content, be sure to respond. This helps to build trust and form a following.
For most Facebook users, there are more than 1,000 potential Newsfeed posts at any one time. Engagement is one of the signals Facebook uses to help predict which of those posts users are likely to see. When you establish relationships with your followers, they are more likely to see your posts. Nurturing relationships can also help you build a loyal community that will lead to ongoing sales over time.
Getting new customers is great, but there’s lots of value in continuing to interact with form customers.
You don’t want to come across as a faceless business with zero personality on social media. In this age of transparency, people want to get to know your company on a more personal level.
Many businesses make jokes and aren’t afraid to talk to their followers like they would their friends. A human social media presence has become an expectation among many followers.
A successful social media program will be one where posts are consistently made, are relevant to homeowners in your area, are fun, engaging and helpful but are not a hard sell. People do not want to feel they are being sold to.
Dovetail Marketing is a full-service rep agency whose goal is to match kitchen and bath designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele. Owner Bob Aungst III represents Brighton Cabinetry, US Cabinet Depot, Presidential Cabinetry, Jay Rambo Cabinetry, Great Northern Cabinetry, and StyleCraft.