Typically, marketing your business online using social media and content marketing has always been one of the most effective ways to build your service business brand. But it is even more important to do so during a global pandemic. Many businesses are in a position where they have the opportunity to adapt and get creative with their digital operations; their marketing should not be any different. Here are some advantages of adopting an online marketing strategy that includes social media and content marketing.
Everyone Is on Social Media—Even More Than They Were Before
Well, at least 246 million Americans—over 70% of the US population—are on social media. In recent years, the average daily time spent on social media ranged from 30 minutes to two hours a day. However, as many people began to self-isolate at home in March of 2020, social media channels saw an unusual spike in usage due to coronavirus. In a survey conducted by Statista, 63.7% of people said that their usage of YouTube increased, 62.3% noted an increase in their time on Facebook, and 43.1% reported spending more time on Instagram. This means businesses have an opportunity to meet their target market right where they are spending even more of their time: on their preferred social media channels.
Additionally, directly following word-of-mouth, TV ads, and search engines (in that order), paid social ads are the fourth most frequent way that people find new products and services. Furthermore, much of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), which is the top way people find new products and services, happens on social media organically via recommendations and engagement.
“If you treat customers poorly, people will know and tell others to stay away. And because of social media, they can influence not only their friends but also friends of friends and beyond.” – Josh Mendelsohn, VP, Privy
The same is true the other way around. If you want to build a great WOMM strategy, provide great customer service and experiences and then encourage those customers to start shouting out your business on social media—effectively endorsing and referring you to their friends and followers.
A Chance to Humanize Your Brand
Publishing unique content, giving your brand a voice, and engaging one-on-one with customers and prospects humanizes your brand. As with the rapid push to digitally transform your business, the demand for human-centered marketing is also being accelerated by the pandemic. You might be saying, “wait a minute, how is it possible to be more digital and more human at the same time?!” Well, we live in a digital world. But at the end of the day we are all still humans and, at its core, social media was made to connect humans to humans, on a digital level.
A social media strategy is only as good as the content you put into it. Use social as an outlet to tell stories about your business and build your authority in your industry’s space. How was your business started? How has it transformed? How has your community shaped who you are today? How are you navigating COVID-19 within your community? People relate to other people, not brands. Be authentic and show your audience the individuals behind the brand and put the power of that human connection to work for you. Most importantly though, think outside of the box and make sure that your authenticity is just that: authentic. Perfection is not the name of the game on social media, but authenticity is.
Sharing your customers’ stories is also very powerful. You can do this in the form of case studies or by encouraging user-generated content. User-generated content, commonly referred to as UGC, is simply content that a customer posts about your brand. For example, if you are a lawn and landscape company, encourage customers to post before and after photos of your work. While you can share that type of post just as easily, it makes it much more authentic and less “promotional” when it comes from a customer.
It may seem like case studies only happen in the corporate world, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Consider creating a video or blog series telling stories of how your team has helped customers who were in need of your services, how your team made the experience pleasant, and how they helped create a positive outcome. For example, if you are a pest control company, there was probably a time that you helped a customer out with an unmanageable infestation that presented itself in an untimely manner and your team had to act fast. Or as a cleaning company, you can tell the story of a customer whose rental home you help take care of in their absence, providing the ultimate convenience and most optimal experience. There is endless potential around the amount of storytelling content that a service business can create.
Advertising on Social Media Is Affordable and Highly Effective
All digital advertising efforts should complement each other to gain the full benefits of a digital marketing strategy. But if you are working with a smaller budget, social media advertising is a great option. It’s fairly low cost, but can achieve excellent results. This is especially true for businesses that operate at the local level, like most home service businesses.
Using Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn advertising (for those who are in the B2B space), you can build a full campaign consisting of brand awareness, consideration, and lead generation by reaching your target audience in their news feed, video stream, stories, and many other placements.
In particular, Facebook and Instagram have some of the most sophisticated audience targeting capabilities online. With a bit of creative thinking and the time to map out your target audience’s top personas, you can get your message in front of the right person at the right time. For example, think of getting your content in front of affluent homeowners with full-time jobs, children, and little time to maintain their landscaping; a landlord whose tenets just informed her of a rodent problem; a working mom who would rather be at the park with her kids on the weekends than inside cleaning; or reaching homeowners at the right time when everyone is going to kick on their air conditioner for the first time this year. Targeting these personas, and many others, is possible using the demographic and behavior targeting available to all businesses on both Facebook and Instagram.
Combining your content efforts and advertising is the formula for a really strong social media strategy. When you spend a lot of time creating all of this great content and make sure the right users are seeing it, those users will then eventually hire you!
If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into these strategies, please visit some of our previous blogs below that cover these topics in detail: