Gerry So from Okappy tells you all you need to know about using social media to grow your business.
No one can deny that social media has transformed the world. There are now over 2.3 billion active social media users in the world, that’s a rise of 176 million in the last year. For the trade social media has been seen as a ‘nice to have’ for a while, and not quite the right channel for the industry. However, increasingly we see people using the channel to find tradesmen, trusting peer recommendation more than advertising.
What are the benefits?
Drive Sales – The most obvious answer, and the reason all businesses really use social media, is to increase sales. We all know that being at the forefront of the customer’s mind is important, especially in the trade. They may not need you at the point they see your page being shared, or someone recommending your services, however, you’re placing yourself front of mind for when they do.
Improve Communication – There is a real focus on improving customer service through social media. You may be liaising with clients to book jobs or responding to feedback or enquiries. However you do it, you need to be quick! When it comes to social media, users expect a swift response, much faster than they’d expect a response through another method of communication. Allowing your customers to contact you in this way gives them much easier access to you, on a communication method they prefer, whilst demonstrating transparency.
Build a Reputation – You can also build a great reputation through social media. Demonstrating your knowledge, highlighting competitive offers and responding quickly to customers, all lead to a great reputation that will make people choose your services time and time again. It makes your company human and reaches the user where they feel most comfortable and where they are in control.
Which different options are available?
You have many options to choose from, whether it be a page on Facebook that allows you to be tagged when someone asks “Can anyone recommend an electrician?” to a lifestyle board on Pinterest that subtly promotes your brand through great completed project photography. Or it might be advice and guidance videos through YouTube promoting you as the expert. It’s just a case of trying them out and seeing which works for you.
Offers and promotions are the obvious content to share, to entice people and encourage sharing. However, simple approaches such as humorous pictures, open questions or a little boast about some great feedback can all create interaction. Guidance and advice is great too, as it gives users a reason to keep coming back to your page.
How can I monitor the ROI?
You need to set goals to be able to monitor your ROI. First think about what you want to achieve, do you want to promote a certain offer or just get your company name out there? You might then aim to add an additional 100 followers within the month, or aim to increase engagement by striving for a minimum number of shares per post. Whatever your goals, be sure to monitor them periodically to ensure your time and money is spent wisely.
How do I get started?
The best way to get started is to pick just one or two channels and start using them on a daily basis. Of course you can outsource the work to a marketing agency if needed, however, platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer can help you manage multiple accounts. The key to it all is to take the time to make it work. Initially it’s going to seem like a drain on your time, however, as it becomes part of your day to day you’ll start to gather momentum and with relevant content you’ll begin to build a following.
How can I tell if it’s working?
Gauging whether the work you’re doing on social media is successful is probably one of the trickiest areas. Don’t simply judge it on how many likes or followers you have, although that is of course a great way to see how you’re performing. Instead focus on engagement, so how many people are liking, favouriting and sharing your posts, how many people are commenting on them or leaving feedback on your page, this will give you a better indication and help you identify the type of content that works best.