Many consumers use social media to look up and research a business before they choose to purchase their services. These consumers want an inside look in your business before trusting you. Social media is a great way to build trust with your audience because of the variety of post options and the opportunity to dive deeper into the values your business holds.
The focus of your social media program should be on conveying reputability by encouraging customer reviews, which is connected to your digital presence and ORM, and showcasing your business offerings, values, and personality on a consistent basis. The overall followers and engagement numbers are not as important as providing your prospects with another way to learn about your business from your team and your previous customers in an online social environment. Again, it’s important to only use essential social media channels to maintain consistency in posting and communicating with your followers. Having outdated social media pages can negatively impact your reputation and turn prospects away.
Social Media Platforms
Be specific when choosing social media platforms for your business. What do your customers use the most? Do they interact with businesses on those platforms? Asking them will reveal a lot about your opportunities with social media. Your customers can help you narrow down the platforms themselves as well as the content to share on them.
Also, look at your competitors’ pages. What platforms do they use? Which pages do they see the most engagement? Consider using those platforms.
The key for posting on multiple platforms is to cater the content, image sizes, and hashtags for each platform. You want to set up each page to look similar (according to your visual branding), but each page should cater to the audience members who are likely to follow it.
For example, if your employees follow you on LinkedIn but your best customers follow you on Facebook, your content and messaging will differ for each platform. This takes trial and error, so don’t be afraid to ask your employees and customers what they think (and watch the data).
At SharedTEAMS, we recommend starting small and scaling up from there. So, start with one social media platform; ideally, the one that is most likely to benefit your business. Then add additional platforms from there once your team can manage the additional workload well.
Social media pages should be consistently active. Daily posts or multiple posts per day are ideal, but unrealistic for many small businesses. Instead, focus on publishing three quality posts per week and scale from there if it benefits your business and you are able to do so.
The day and time you post don’t matter as much as being consistent because the algorithm for most platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, means posts are not seen right when they are published, but instead in the order the viewer is likely to want to see the posts based on interest. However, Twitter still shows viewers’ posts when they are published. Nevertheless, it’s best to post when your audience is likely to be on, which is probably before and after work, and maybe even during lunch; be sure to A/B test posting times as you dive in as your audience may be scrolling at different times.
When you need to promote something timely, such as a sale or event promotion, create multiple posts on the same topic and spread them out in advance to give your audience multiple reminders.
To publish social media content, you can use social media scheduling tools, such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Buffer, which include free plans, as well as ZohoSocial, Oktopost, SocialOomph, Sprout Social, and more. We recommend choosing one social media scheduling tool based on your platforms, needs, and budget. This way, you can create posts in one sitting and schedule them to publish in a week, a month, or at a later time. This streamlines the time you spend on social media for your business, but don’t forget to check your pages, too. Alternatively, you can publish directly to each native platform, but this often takes longer, especially if you want to share a similar post on multiple platforms, and most platforms don’t have scheduling options, limiting your publishing times to “now.”
social media content
Local services businesses need to be authentic on their social media pages. Promotional posts have their place, but educational and entertaining posts should be the majority. Local services businesses have a great opportunity to take photos and videos, and show the inside scoop on their jobs in real-time (if their customers approve of it). That means dog walkers, handymen, and cosmetologists can show off their work to their followers.
Using user-generated content is a great way to show your customers what working with you is really like. Encourage your customers to share their experiences online in the format of a review, preferably with photos. When a customer is very satisfied with their experience, they are often happy to do so. Then the reviews benefit your online reputation (see Online Reputation Strategy in Foundation) and can be repurposed as user-generated content on your pages. (On Facebook, customer reviews are not shared on the business page like posts are; instead, they are located in a separate section.)
Video content is powerful on most platforms, including social media and your website. Many local services businesses provide unique services or common services performed in a unique way. The best way to showcase these services is through video. Not only are followers more likely to watch a video than read a block of text, but it may be the best way to inform your customers how your business works – by literally showing them. These informative videos can answer questions and calm nerves, depending on the service. Videos can be recorded and edited on a smartphone. Remember to use your Brand Guidebook when developing video content.
Creating and sharing video content also involves adding helpful descriptions for YouTube or Vimeo and social sharing. Descriptions that help viewers understand the context of the video (beyond just the video title) can improve SEO as well.
To develop your video content strategy, you need to determine whether it will replace or augment other content you are sharing. Depending on your business and resources, your answer will vary; however, augmenting long-form content, such as blog articles, with videos can help showcase your industry expertise in a digestible format. Capturing a quick video in addition to before and after photos of a customer’s job can provide you with more content per customer experience, allowing viewers to see your team in action in multiple formats.
Use the Data
Social media is always changing just as your customer’s needs are always changing, which is why it’s important to review social media analytics for all of your active pages at least monthly. This will help you review the latest comments, messages, and reviews, as well as see what content received the most engagement (likes and comments).
Engagement isn’t the top priority for local services businesses (instead, informing prospects and customers is), but it’s still a good practice to see what content your followers like and what content helps reduce common customer questions. Since your social media pages are meant to inform followers and convey reputability, using the data to make changes to your social media program will only benefit your social media program and business all around because you will be helping your customers.
Social media is meant to be “social,” so local services businesses need at least one dedicated team member to check each social media platform daily, minimum, in order to reply to follower comments and DMs.
If your team can manage it, set up and use Facebook Messenger bots for your business, which allow you to utilize the benefits of chatbots without any legwork. Messenger can benefit your local services business because it is likely that a large segment of your audience would prefer to contact you via Messenger than through other avenues.
Once you set up your Facebook Messenger bot for your business page, be sure you have a team member who can check it and respond to it most of the time, especially during business hours. It’s also best to create automatic messages so your customers can see your business hours and receive answers to common questions, even if your business is closed.
Our team works as a fluid extension of each of our member’s businesses by developing strategies and executing projects in whatever capacity is best for their unique needs.