According to the SproutSocial Index, after following a brand on social media, 89 per cent of consumers will buy from the brand and 85 per cent will recommend the brand to a family member or friend.
Get it wrong, and you’ll drive potential customers away.
The same SproutSocial research shows consumers will unfollow a brand on social media if it posts irrelevant content (45 per cent) or too many ads (45 per cent).
But what if you sell a service or something intangible? You might be wondering how you can use social media to grow your business.
As head of an agency that specialises in services marketing, I invited social media experts from across the world to share their best advice to help services businesses succeed on social. Here’s what some of them had to say.
‘Don’t just set and forget’
—Dale Reardon, CEO and founder, Travel For All, Australia
So many companies use social media to just shout at everyone without engaging, participating or listening.
You cannot simply set up your social media with some automated posting system and ignore it — that will get you nowhere. The key is to engage with people. Get involved in discussions and reply to customers or prospects when they comment or ask questions.
—Carmen Varner, social media manager for small businesses, USA
Integrate personal content into the mix. Why, out of all the businesses in your area that offer the same service, would someone pick your company?
Potential customers want to get to know the people behind your service, the ones who make it all happen. It might be the reason they choose to do business with you over some other company.
‘Share useful content’
—Edward Eugen, 10Beasts, England
Find out what your audience needs and give it to them. When your audience realises that the content you share helps them, it will be easier to build a relationship with them. They will follow you, comment on and share your content. And, when the right moment comes, they will buy what you sell.
But first, they need to see that they are getting something out of it. So, be useful to them. Make their life easier, happier, better. And then show them your services do that, too.
—Amber LaShawn, brand strategist, Brand Girl Magic, USA
Leveraging partnerships is one of the quickest ways services brands can find success on social media.
By teaming up with other accounts that have similar audiences, you boost your visibility, without the stress of trying to beat the algorithm. Platforms, like Instagram, are making this easier by releasing features that allow you to go live with up to three other people.
Consider story takeovers, guest training, panel discussions and interviews when brainstorming partnership opportunities.
‘Don’t spread yourself too thin’
—Domitille Holik, founder, Mademoiselle Social, France
It can be detrimental to a service provider to try to be on every social platform. It all comes down to knowing your target and choosing the best place to reach them.
If you’re targeting women Millennials, Instagram and Pinterest are the places to be. If your market is younger, like Gen Z, then TikTok would be a good choice.
—Ezio Razzi, freelance copywriter, EJR Media, Italy
We live in a world in which everyone can claim to do or be anything, in which it is easy to fake almost anything, but the one thing that you cannot fake is proof of results.
In whatever you do — whether you’re a dentist or a mechanic — show proof of results, of happy customers. You can display them as written testimonials, photos, short videos, reports or statistics.
‘Shoot it yourself’
—Abby Herman, director of strategy, Snap Agency, USA
Video doesn’t need to be professionally filmed or edited. In fact, most of my clients have had better social media engagement when they posted a self-recorded video or a simple tutorial or a behind-the-scenes bit.
—Emily Griffin, internet marketing co-ordinator, SERVPRO, USA
Service-based businesses should provide value. Educate your target audience so they want to keep up with your business and will call you when they actually need your services. For example, if you’re a home cleaning business, this may be posting weekly spring cleaning tips and tricks that home owners may want to try and share.
‘Define your target audience’
—Reem Aubdool, founder, VM Director, England
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen services businesses on social media trying to target anyone and everyone.
When you define your target audience, you’re able to create engaging content for them which will help them to connect to your brand.
‘Turn golden nuggets into gold’
—Steven Horne, owner, Steven Horne Affiliate Marketing, USA
Instead of promoting your services up front on social media, give your potential customers little golden nuggets that they can do themselves and then promote your services on the backend.
For instance, if you’re in the lawn mowing service, you can share tips to help your customers with the upkeep of their lawn in between services. After that, promote your services as a reliable source to do the heavy lifting.
‘Show your personality’
—Niles Koenigsberg, digital marketing specialist, FiG Advertising + Marketing, USA
People flock to social media platforms because they crave interpersonal connection, which can be tough to establish with a business. But what you need to remember is that your business is personal to you.
You need to showcase your own personality on your social media profiles to build up a brand that is not only reflective of your services, but also reflective of you.
By Jacqueline (Jaci) Burns, CMO, Market Expertise