Need a New Year’s Resolution? How about looking at your social media marketing?
A new month, a new year — make sure your strategies are meeting the latest trends
January 8, 2019 by John Bleasby
It’s hard to imagine a contracting business moving forward in terms of growth and projects without an attractive website. Are you overlooking your social media presence? In Canada alone, there are nearly 23 million users of social media platforms. However, the landscape is constantly shifting. What was relevant and effective in 2017 or 2018 probably needs review going into 2019.
Let’s have a look at what some experts are currently saying.
The right platform for the message
“People don’t use every social media channel in the same way,” writes Katie Hughes on pulse.equinetmedia.com. That’s important for contractors to understand. For example, experts feel that Twitter is a news information sharing platform used primarily for networking and finding information, not so much for lead generation. LinkedIn works much the same way — it’s more a B2B thing. Instagram, however, is an inspirational site, full of great photos and, if you are ahead of the pack, an ideal platform for videos of one minute length (more on that later). The limiting factor is the inability to post a hotlink in the post. An Instagram post is a standalone message, not a delivery portal to your website.
Then there is Facebook — it cannot be ignored. But it’s a behemoth! Everyone is on it, so it’s crowded with messages, both personal and business-related. And what works on Facebook may not work on Instagram. On the other hand, it is very flexible in terms of inviting further customer contact through links and engaging followers in conversations.
To help understand the various platforms and more, read our previous series on Social Media Marketing
Part 1: Maximizing Instagram with videos
Part 2: Getting noticed on Facebook
Part 3: Twitter anyone?
Part 4: Getting the timing right
Part 5: Social media marketing and The Plan
Money does not by results
Some smaller companies wishing to use social media effectively might feel compelled to spend their way to success through agencies or pay-for-hit lead bumps. However, Julien Côté of marketing firm Mackenzie and Baker, Mississauga, ON, is cautious about that approach, saying, “Big money does not always produce big results in digital marketing. In fact, the digital sector can be an absolute sinkhole for a budget if not properly navigated.” He also believes that companies need to establish their social marketing goals at the outset and have the discipline to stick with the plan while results become measurable, then updating and evolving the plan as the results are understood. “Make any new implantations incrementally,” Côté says. “Try not to overlap changes, understanding that too many changes will skew results.”
Content is King
Success on digital platforms is as much about what you say and how you say it as it is on which platform is used. At the most basic level, your content must be concise, clear, grab attention, support your brand and be engaging, Côté continues. He offers ideas such as company announcements (new additions to your talented team), giveaways, and thoughtful suggestions in the form of creative ideas. Mix it up! Being personal and relatable is great, but don’t overdo it — too many cat pictures can cloud your essential message.
Be a video star. It’s easy!
Static posts are becoming less and less influential. Video is the way to go going forward. Some suggest that 80 per cent of what people will consume online will soon be video content. It doesn’t have to be complicated or involve high production values. The mere presence of talking heads (ie. you and your team members, shot on a mobile device) brings life and personality to any information you are sharing. Videos increase feelings of trust and confidence. You get to literally tell your story and educate in live action. Your company becomes less of a corporate entity and more of a place where consumer dreams can be envisioned. Of course, a video tour of a project is great too. Just remember to keep it short, no more than one minute.
Responding to social media
Consumers today expect quick responses to questions or problems. It’s a great idea to ask an open-ended question as part of your social media message (eg. “Have you ever dreamed of a kitchen like this?”), or providing answers to common questions (eg. “How can I get enough storage into a small bedroom?”). That approach can help establish your company as an industry leader in creative solutions. However if you don’t respond to those who comment back, you’ve missed the point. If you’ve gone to all the trouble of making yourself appear available, then be available! The same goes for any negative reviews or feedback. It’s critical to respond with answers and resolutions.
What is ‘social listening’? Aleh Barysevich writes on socialmediatoday.com that traditionally social listening is the proactive step of monitoring social media platforms, looking for keywords that might trigger a consumer response. It also means keeping track of one’s own brand reputation (eg. reviews) and managing customer service. Listening also allows you to understand what potential clients are looking for, allowing you to establish you and your company as educators and solution-providers. It’s certainly the next step forward for those companies already running a social media marketing plan.
What tools do you need? Start by looking at Awario. This program helps you monitor your brand across the web, including blogs and news sites. It also can locate any negatives about your company. The monthly subscription seems reasonable for small and medium sized businesses.
Finally, look around and see what others are doing. There’s nothing new under the sun, the philosophers say. After all, tweaking someone else’s idea to suit your goals and objectives is fair game!
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