Recent statistics indicate that 2.3 billion people are active on social media.
If you want to grow your business without spending a ton advertising on a billboard, go where your customers live: on social media. But in order to win audiences (and ultimately, business), you have to smart about how you tackle it. Social media is a big—sometimes overwhelming—space for business owners, filled with convoluted rules on how to run your company online. We break it down by platform and offer our social media tips for business head-on.
First, Choose Your Platforms Wisely
If you’re new to social media as a business, pick one or two platforms you’re comfortable with. The key is to update your accounts regularly with useful, shareable information about your brand or industry. Here are some platforms to consider:
- Facebook: By far the most popular social network for adults, Facebook is a prime destination for people to share word-of-mouth referrals for all kinds of services. Create a business Facebook page from your personal account and invite your friends to come on over and like or share the page. Many neighborhoods have Facebook groups where people share their favorite businesses and services. You want to be one of them! Post videos and photos of the work you do, expert tips and even coupons and discounts for liking or sharing your page.
- Twitter: It’s all about conversations on Twitter—in 140 characters or less, of course. Follow other people in your industry—and in complementary industries—and try to resist the temptation to make snarky observations about the world at large, which is the tone that most tweets take. You can share photos, videos, tips and promotions here too. The goal is to give off a professional, friendly vibe.
- YouTube: As the second largest search engine, YouTube is not to be ignored (even if you’re camera shy). It’s easy to post short, simple videos on everything from a Q&A, tutorial or product review. You’ll have your brand videos published in minutes!
- Pinterest: While Pinterest users may not be as great in number as other platforms, their passion has no parallel, especially when it comes to DIY projects, fashion, fitness, beauty, photography and food. If your home service falls in any of these categories, it’s a great idea to create an account and start pinning. You’ll note that Pinterest has a feature called Rich Pins, which help potential customers access your business easily.
- Other platforms to consider include Instagram, Tumblr and Google+. While Instagram and Tumblr are largely visual and appeal to a younger demographic, Google+ simply doesn’t have the same number of users as the top social networks. If you have the capacity to maintain these accounts in a meaningful way, give it a try! If you’re not sure, focus on the ones that will get the most eyeballs on your business.
Create a Social Media Calendar
If you’re a small company and your last post is from eight months ago, your followers will question whether you’re still in business. It’s important to make time to consistently share content. The good news is that you can repurpose content from one platform and share on another. For example, if there’s a fun, quirky news article that relates to your business or if you snapped a quick pic of something fun or interesting on the job, you can share on all your platforms.
Humans love photos—and love taking them too. If you can make 90 per cent of your social media posts more visual across all platforms, you’ll draw in a lot more eyeballs. Dog walkers might share a photo or video of a happy customer on a long walk; interior designers may post a photograph of a trendy find they’ve unearthed; window or gutter cleaners can share before and after photos. Pro-tip: Avoid posting photos of people or clients’ homes without their permission.
Publish Short Videos
Smartphones make recording and sharing videos ridiculously easy. If you’re the face of your business and you aren’t camera shy, consider making at least one short video short (a minute or less is preferred) to post to social media every week. Think of snappy how-to’s, bio videos, Q&As, expert advice videos and more. People love to put a face to a name, so as long as you’re friendly and relatable, you can start to build trust without ever needing a paid ad.
Share Your Expertise With Your Audience
It should go without saying that you have a website. Consider adding a blog feature and updating it every week or so with a short post that offers a few tips. Cover topics like:
- Frequently asked questions from clients (one per post)
- Seasonal advice you give to clients (Top 3 things to consider this spring)
- How to perform one of your services (which will probably demonstrate just how good you are at it!)
- Safety tips
- Product reviews
Share every blog post on social media to direct traffic to your website and build a larger profile.
Engage with Your Followers
If you’ve got a vibrant presence on social media, some of your followers may leave comments on your posts or page. Positive or negative, it’s critical for your business that you acknowledge every single one. Be friendly, upbeat and appreciative of great feedback; adopt a concerned, customer-service approach for the not-so-great ones. You’ll be seen as a responsive, caring professional with excellent manners, which goes a long way to building trust.
Go for Shares, Not Likes
In other words, think quality, not quantity. On our personal social media pages, we love to get likes. However, for social media, likes are nice but shares are king. Think about it: If a handful of your followers shares just one post with their network, you’ve got instant word-of-mouth referral possibilities to potentially hundreds of people. Not only that, by sharing your post, it’s a tacit approval of your business. People inherently trust their peers over advertising.
Give Them a CTA to Your Website
Be sure to embed your website in every single social media post. The goal is to get future business, right? Your website should have all of the details about what you do, including testimonials and contact information to reach out to you directly. It’s easy to lose sight of the purpose of every post. If it’s to garner more business, send them to where all the details live.
Not sure where to begin? Do what feels most manageable to start. That may be just observing your competitors’ websites and social media pages to get a sense of what style most matches yours. It’s important to provide consistent communications. The more you carefully consider it, the more effective it will be.
About the Author: Heather Hudson is an accomplished freelance writer and journalist based in Toronto. She writes for a number of publishing, corporate and agency clients who depend on her to deliver high-quality, on-brand content and journalism with a fresh perspective. Learn more about her work at heatherhudson.ca.