Why Your Social Media Marketing Is Suffering
You know that hilarious, but risqué video or photo you took? It was so cool! Until your prospective boss found it. And darn; you can’t just ‘remove’ it from the internet, either. So I guess the picture of you in too-small underpants sporting a rainbow wig while holding a bowling ball is going to be around for a while.
That problem is small compared to what happens when businesses use Social Media poorly. I’ve published the report by social marketing experts at HubSpot that shows the ‘Top 40’ most ‘liked’ businesses on Facebook. None of us were happy to see “Home Contractors” in spot number 37, just below funeral parlors.
Why the rotten performance? It’s not the rainbow wig episode above (or, at least we hope not), but it is more likely a few of the following:
6 Rules that Rule Social Media
According to word-of-mouth and social marketing expert, Gary Spangler, most businesses do social media wrong. Follow these rules to make sure you don’t fall into a social media trap.
Action #1: Be Clear. Social media and online marketing must be transparent and honest. Clearly communicate offers, giving ‘conditions’ and ‘guarantees’ openly. Testimonials (FTC ruling here) must announce that atypical results are not typical and/or what the average results might be. Every now and then, it is sheer genius to admit a ‘flaw’ in a product of yours. Credibility soars.
Action #2: Have a policy. Let your staff know that posts are restricted to certain personnel and must be proofed before posting. Let them know how you’re using it; get input from them on what they’d find useful on a contractor site and begin posting those ideas. (They’ll be famous!)
Action #3: Watch “Friends” Posts. If you have friends or “partners” on your social pages, make sure they agree with and follow policies. If not, the “delete” key is in order.
Action #4: Be willing to ‘accept’ a critique. It’s going to happen. Somebody’s going to say their drunken poodle is a better heating and air contractor than you are. Respond to online criticism with a cool head, because you can’t ‘take it back’ once it’s said. If you’ve made a mistake, admit it, mention how it should’ve been handled or that this experience changed company policy, and move on. Again, bonus points for being human, unless, of course, you’re a drunken poodle.
Action #5: Disclosure. If there’s a financial incentive or partnership among endorsers on your site, you must say it (FTC again). Half the time someone invests with you is because you’re excellent, so don’t hide it.
Action #6: Monitor industry news. Learn from others’ mistakes and successes. If you see missteps, take note and precautions. If you see a good idea, incorporate something similar.
What, you still have questions? So does everybody else. In fact, here are some of the most common questions I’ve received about social media. As usual, I am extremely serious and helpful, in a seriously helpful-type manner.
“What is the best informative post that receives the most response?”
Adams answers: We have over 100 that are supplied to our clients across the nation, and the “generally” best received posts are a combination of humor/useful information.
Our #1 is a photo of a fat gray cat with a post that says, “If your AC/Furnace filter looks like a large gray cat, it’s probably time to change it. Here’s how…” And that goes to the main website where we’ve supplied both a “how-to” and a video of the process. This has gotten huge response, and as you’d imagine, many likes and many service calls.
Our #2 is “Top Questions My Technicians Get” and we begin to answer a question on Facebook that is linked again to the site. These, too, result in lots of likes and service calls.
“How do you budget your time on social media?”
Adams answers: This was a particularly hot subject. Since we are in the business of marketing directives, here you go:
Spend no less than 20 minutes per weekday, nor more than 1 hour per weekday on Social Media.
Post no less than 8 times per month, nor more than 40 times per month. (Or twice a week up to twice a day.)
Clearly, both of the above ASSUME that you have “pre-done” posts made, and “set” to launch, interspersed with streaming posts that are made at the moment. If you do NOT have pre-done posts, you are choosing to take a) way more time and become b) way more random while c) divesting of the ‘70/30’ content to promotion ratio so often recommended.
“Do contractors need social media? If so, why?”
Adams answers: Yes. Because I said so.
Actually, you DON’T NEED Social Media. You don’t need wrapped vans. You don’t need direct mail. You don’t need shoe covers. (You see where I’m going with this?)
You only need Social Media as it advances your relevance, taps into a different audience, assists in boosting image and TOMA – quietly, but not explosively – generates leads and regularly builds community. Those may sound subtle and avoidable, but they have become part of the marketing fabric of today’s consumer.
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