Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach potential customers is a no-brainer in today’s internet age. But actually growing your business with the aid of social media is easier said than done.
If you spend any time filtering through contractors’ Twitter or Facebook accounts you will find that several have been abandoned with the last post dating back a year or more. Why is this happening? If social media is such a great resource for engaging with customers and growing one’s business, why are so many contractors checking out of it? Let’s explore some of the self-sabotaging standards that stunt social growth.
Posting the Wrong Content
One critical misstep that is prevalent among service professionals seeking to establish a web presence is the type of content they are publishing. We have to keep in mind that social media is a marketing tool and part of the responsibility as a business owner is to learn how best to utilize this tool. When web users engage with a page on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., they are looking for substance that they normally can’t get anywhere else. Content such as videos, articles on helpful advice, tips, recommendations, humorous industry references, a behind-the-scenes look at your operation, and photos of your latest jobs are all ways you can connect with your target audience. Rather than utilizing this resource as a way to engage with clients, business owners are using social media as a means to hard sell goods or services. When the central focus of every post is to drive viewers to purchase a product or service, people become disengaged. Then your target audience responds by either ignoring your page or, if they’re already followers, unliking or unfollowing it.
Forgetting the “Social” in Social Media
Another oversight many business owners are making is leaving out the “social” aspect altogether. The presumption for most who end up abandoning the social sphere is that you only use the accounts to create posts and promote self. Unfortunately, this practice is very ineffective in this setting. It is the equivalent of shouting in a noisy, crowded room with the hopes that someone — whom you don’t know — makes an effort to filter through the chaos to hear what you have to say. If you want to establish relationships with customers, industry influencers, or fellow contemporaries, then you must invest the time in getting “social.” Listen, take an interest in what your audience is occupied with, and find ways to communicate with them.
For example, if someone posts a question about whether they should be pouring a particular substance down the kitchen sink, follow up with a tweet, write a comment, or send them a link on “What not to pour down the drain.” This technique does two things: First, it helps to break the ice and start a conversation. Second, it provides a window for following up with the individual where then it might work well to pitch your service/product. In addition, take the time to go through the other person’s page to find a post or photo you can “like.” Remember, a relationship is a two-way street. Take the time to celebrate your audience’s accomplishments by engaging with the content on their pages.
Lack of Consistency
The concept of consistency is something that is necessary and applicable in every facet of business, yet it is often the most neglected aspect of social media marketing. You wouldn’t neglect to attend a manufacturer’s training seminar about a new product installation, then expect to be able to effectively install, troubleshoot, and perform maintenance on the unit. In a like manner, if you aren’t consistently producing new content, engaging followers, or expanding upon your social media strategy, you can’t expect to see any business growth coming from that area. One or two posts a week or every once in a while does not cut it. The same measure of steadiness that governs all other aspects of your business must be applied to the social platform. An easy rule to follow, for those just starting out, is to create a new post once a day. (Note: retweets and shares don’t count.) Not only will this challenge you to look beyond pitching your goods/services, but it should also prompt you to examine what others are doing and how their clients are responding.
About the Author:
Jaime Jimenez is the marketing coordinator for ACV Triangle Tube, headquartered in Blackwood, New Jersey.