If you run a local contracting business, such as a landscape or painting company, the social media marketing landscape can seem a daunting one. Which is the best place to grow your business? Is it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube? And how can you get more from these tools if you’re on them already?
Here’s a round-up of some of the best ways to reach and grow your customer base via social media and how each platform can help you achieve very specific marketing goals:
Facebook – Stay In Touch with Customers
Most of your fans on Facebook will already have done business with you and are looking to stay in touch or learn more about you. In that regard, Facebook is a great platform for amplifying everything you do – showcasing examples of your work, special offers, your charitable/community projects, opening hours, and even promotions targeted just at your Facebook fans.
But it’s getting harder than ever to get “heard” on Facebook. Most of your fans are passive. Meaning that, for the most part, they don’t seek you out. If you happen to appear in their feed, then great, if not, then your engagement chances drop dramatically.
If you’re looking to get more out of Facebook, you may want to consider Facebook ads. Paid ads will compliment your organic (free) presence on Facebook and help you reach more of your existing fans as well as other users – increasing your fan base and generating leads. These ads can appear in the right-side of a user’s feed or be embedded within the feed as “sponsored ads” (where they tend to perform better averaging a 44x higher click through rate at a 67% lower cost-per-conversion than right-side ads).
Google Plus – Boost your Search Rankings
While Google Plus doesn’t have the audience that Facebook has, it can have a direct impact on your Google search rankings. That’s because the content you share via Google is added to its search engine and prioritized in user searches. Since most people begin their search for consumer products or services on Google, an active Google Plus presence can help boost your rankings and drive new prospect traffic to your site. Go ahead and share similar content as you would on Facebook. To learn more about how to get more out of Google Plus read: Want to Learn How to Use Google Plus for Business? Of Course You Do!
Twitter – Good for B2B and Reaching Influencers
Twitter has always been a good way to get the word out and connect with people who have influence such as local media and other organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce. If you have an active blog, Twitter is a useful tool to promote that content and drive traffic back to your website.
But is Twitter a useful lead gen tool? It’s hard to gauge, I’ve found Twitter to be more effective as a business-to-business (B2B) tool, but it does offer a paid ad option in the form or Promoted Accounts (Twitter looks at your current followers and finds people with similar interests and recommends that you follow them) and Promoted Tweets (Twitter monitors your account and promotes you best Tweets to users). If you’re already using Twitter, these ads can be a nice complement to help boost lead generation.
Read more about how promoted Tweets work and how to build a Twitter strategy for your business from SmallBizTrends’ Lisa Barone.
Pinterest – Share your Work and Boost Website Traffic
With its heavy emphasis on visuals, Pinterest is a great network for posting and sharing images of the work that you and is proven to drive more traffic back to business websites than any other source. The secret to Pinterest success is to avoid randomly uploading images from your smart phone, instead make sure those images are hosted on your website so that when a user clicks on them they are redirected back to your site.
For example, you could create a landing page that showcases “Our Work” and then promote those images on Pinterest. Another option is to post images from your blogs. Optimize your Pinterest account by setting up boards that showcase specific projects or inspiration ideas that appeal to the consumer, like “Kitchen Makeover” or “Dream Patios”. Another visual channel to consider is Instagram.
YouTube – Show that You Know Your Craft
YouTube (the third most trafficked site behind Google and Facebook) is a great resource for sharing how-to videos and tips that demonstrate your working knowledge of your craft and help promote your business on search engines. You don’t need any flashy camera equipment, use your smartphone to record a simple task, like how to prune a rosebush or how to grout bathroom tile and post it on your YouTube channel. Don’t stop there, post and embed your YouTube videos on your site (create unique landing pages for certain topics), your blog, and other social networks.
Here are some facts from ithinkbigger.com about why video is worth the investment:
Video improves brand association by 139 percent (Unruly)
Video increases conversation rates on website landing pages by 80 percent (Orion 21)
Video improves click-through rates on email campaigns by 300 percent (Forrester)
On average, Google ranks websites with video five times higher than websites without them (Forrester).
How do you pull this all together? Take baby steps, spend some time testing one platform at a time, monitor your results and adjust your strategy accordingly. Use tools like Facebook’s Insights tool or Hootsuite to monitor click-through rates. Compare the popularity of certain types of content and monitor where your incoming website traffic is originating from. Use this data to inform and adjust your content strategy, adding paid ads to the mix.
Above all, give it time.