Blog Post Highlights | Benefits + Tips for Success
+ Truth: Your small business already is social
+ 9 benefits of social media for small businesses
+ 3 tips for marketing your business successfully using social media
Social media can get a bad rap. For some, it’s seen as a time-waster, an Internet cave full of trolls loving to hate, and a place where fake news has us all confused about what’s real.
And for those running small wood flooring businesses dawn to dark, installing, sanding, finishing, estimating and, finally, bookkeeping and marketing, before falling asleep at the table?
This blog post explains why social media might be a valuable marketing tool for you to add to your business’ full plate and tips for making sure it’s a manageable and worthwhile effort, not just one more thing to do.
Your Small Business Already Is Social (Even If It Isn’t Social)
Your business already is built on social, whether you are using platforms like Instagram and Facebook or not. Word of mouth? That’s social. It’s valuable and can give you high quality leads, for sure. But it’s only one method for doing it, and it’s slow.
Social media takes that word of mouth and blows it up to something those occasional word-of-mouth conversations between neighbors can’t even dream of making happen.
9 Benefits of Social Media for Small Business
Build your brand and customer loyalty. Social media makes it easier for customers to find you and see what you’re doing, see what others think of what you’re doing, and start building trust in you.
It also gives your past and current customers a tool to share photos and information with friends, family and your prospective future customers. Those people give pats on the back that they found the right flooring guy or company, and they make each other feel good about hiring you in the future.
Learn about your customers. Social media offers a two-way street. If a homeowner collects photos of dark wide-plank solid oak all day every day on Pinterest or Houzz, you have a conversation starter that immediately connects them to you.
Have they been difficult with previous contractors? You might see red flags you wouldn’t otherwise run across until it’s too late.
Convert more leads. Customers hire who they trust. Your social pages can show you at work and show your finished results. It can answer questions homeowners might want to research, like what equipment and products do you use, and if you do the specific type of work they need?
And your social posting shows your professionalism by how you write your posts, respond to comments, and talk about other customers and treat their homes.
Build relationships through customer service and social selling. Social media is an increasingly common way customers reach out with sales and technical questions. Quick, solid responses to sales questions can make you stand above competition.
Digital ads are more cost-effective than print. Many of you know well the cost of putting an ad in the phone book or local newspaper. But how well do you know if those ads brought you business in return?
Without an active effort to ask every prospective customer, you have no idea. Even then, you don’t know who it reached that you didn’t talk to. With digital marketing, like through social media and Google, you can track a lot of information. And it will cost much, much less.
Increase website traffic. A primary goal of a business social media account should be to drive traffic to the company website. Facebook allows links within posts. Instagram allows one link in the user profile. YouTube, Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Houzz.
They all can drive visitors of your social accounts to your website. More traffic to your website improves how easily customers can find you when searching in Google.
See what your competitors (and industry friends) are doing. You can learn from both. Maybe you get to peek inside how they run their business or you learn something about a technique. Maybe you pickup some tips for handling your social media pages better or see opportunities for gaining an edge with customers through social media.
Build relationships with pros. Social is, of course, about being social. Social media is a tool you can use to build friendships and establish credibility with fellow pros in the industry. At the heart of that is diving deeper into your craft.
Run into a tough situation on the job? Hit up the social media group for ideas for how to solve the issue. There are Facebook groups you can be invited to join, and there is the #floortalk shop-talk community on Instagram that was started by Jorge Boror (@callmetito), of Rende Hardwood Flooring.
Speaking of Rende and “Tito,” read some personal insights he has about using social media to build business and his pro network on the Lägler North America blog. (Read "Interview with a Contractor: Social Media Success")
3 Tips to Make Social Media Marketing a Success
Social media is a tool for showing your customers you are the one they should hire. You are the expert. You have the answers to your customers’ questions, fears and flooring problems.
Here are three tips for using social media to boost your marketing without causing more hassle than its worth:
Set reasonable goals. You don’t have to spend much time, just be on point with what you post. Start by using one or two social media channels that will connect with your audience. Decide what you want to achieve in the near future (examples: brand awareness with homeowners, a more real-time customer service tool, drive traffic to certain pages of your website).
Post photos and videos that point toward those goals. You take breaks throughout the day, so use 30 seconds during a break to grab a photo or video and post a line of text with it. Stay on message with your goals in mind, and use a handful of hashtags that make sense. That’s it.
Be consistent. Start slowly and post only a couple times a week, if that’s what is comfortable. Don’t jump into posting on Instagram five times a day unless you know you will keep up that pace.
You will not successfully build a following if users see you posted several times last week and then went radio silent for three weeks. Consistency is as important as what you post.
Show who you are. Social media is an equalizer. It used to be only large companies could afford to promote themselves in big ways – TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads. Now, you can shoot videos (don’t have to be Hollywood quality) and photos (this isn’t Sports Illustrated) and tell your own story (no professional writer is needed).
People trust people. Show customers who you are behind every floor you sell, install or refinish. Let them see your process in the work, and the exceptional results you create that they couldn’t possibly tackle themselves. Show the good stuff you do and the personality you have, and let that stand tall on its own.
Like building your flooring business, it takes time. Quality is the focus, the quantity will come.