Boosting Your Service Business with Social Media
Strategies for service-based entrepreneurs looking to leverage social media
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It seems every day a new product goes from social media darling to sold out must-have seemingly overnight. Service-based businesses can still get a lot of mileage out of social media, but they’ll need to think differently than retailers. Digital marketing and social media specialist Kia Young joined our small business webinar series to talk to our community about making the most of the platforms available.
For Young, a winning social media strategy for service professionals begins with clarifying why you’re on social media in the first place; what message you want to share; who you should be speaking to on social media; and finally, how your message, your clients’ needs and the needs of a particular platform all intersect.
Choose your social media objective.
Your reason for having your business on social media needs to go beyond gaining followers and visibility. Young always urges her clients to be specific in identifying a goal, such as generating a certain number of leads per month, booking speaking engagements or teaching clients about a concept. From there, determine the kinds of content that meet those objectives.
What are you saying?
An important social media objective many entrepreneurs overlook? Sharing their values. Ultimately, people spend money with providers they feel share their values. Showing that you know your stuff is second nature to a lot of providers but customers often make decisions based on emotions, even when it comes to services. “That’s why we have to be relatable,” Young explained. “[Clients] want to make sure that they’re making a good investment with their money.”
“Don’t forget to let them behind the curtain,” she continued. Of course, don’t share things that feel too private and be mindful of safety but know that you can’t be absent from your business on social media. Testimonials, upcoming projects and case studies are all great content to share with your community.
What about sharing too much?
It’s easy for service professionals to worry about giving away too much of their expertise for free in their social media posts, but Young counseled that that shouldn’t determine what you post. “It is impossible for someone who isn’t an expert at what you do to piece together everything [you’ve posted] and be able to say, ‘I got it, I don’t need her because she’s given me everything for free.’ That’s not going to happen.” Guard your trade secrets as needed but be sure you post content that provides value to potential customers.
Who are you talking to?
Strive to reach both your target audience and your ideal client, and understand why these are two similar but distinct groups. “Your target audience includes your ideal clients, yes. But it expands beyond that to your peers, to your ideal clients’ peers, and people who really influence them,” Young explained. For example, if you’re a massage therapist, your target audience should include people who get massages regularly (ideal clients), as well as the personal trainers that might refer clients for massages. “I feel very strongly that it’s just as important at times to talk to the people that are adjacent to your ideal clients, because those people can appreciate your work.”
Uniting the needs of the platform, your clients and your business.
An entrepreneur can spend endless time trying to figure out what the engineers at Facebook or Twitter are doing, but Young believes that isn’t the best way to get your content seen. There’s no perfect number of times per week to post or word count, but it is important to be relatively consistent. “Focus on quality, not quantity, when you define what ‘consistent’ is for you, because it’s often less than you think it is,” she said.
Instead, focus on creating things that people want. “We actually have a job when we show up to social media, and that is to create content that people engage with, because the platform itself wants your help keeping people on the platform.” To that end, platforms reward accounts and posts with a high level of engagement by showing them to even more users (keep in mind that average engagement on Instagram, for example, is from 3% of your followers). On the other hand, if you post often but have low engagement, “you’re actually sabotaging yourself.”
Remember, you don’t have to be on every social media platform; take note of where you get the most engagement or where your industry’s conversations are happening and stick with those.
On the subject of paying for ads, Young urged our community to reframe their thinking about what payment actually is. “We are paying for organic reach with our time…paid ads are how you skip over investing in time.” Advertisements can be an important tool but they still have to provide value to the viewer and align with your social media objectives.
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