Finding the true value in creating online content

May 9, 2016 -  By


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How one lawn care company leverages Facebook.

Many business owners don’t see the true value in engaging and creating content for their online followers. Once my General Manager Kevin Adan and I embraced this tactic as another part of our marketing pillar, we saw our business grow.

Since my lawn care business, Weed Man of Roswell, began implementing a social media strategy over the past year, we’ve seen the benefits of regularly engaging with customers using Facebook.

From February to May 2015, our team generated more than 560 web leads, which we define as any time a customer comes directly to us through Facebook or our website. The result was the sale of 210 full programs, due to our online efforts alone.

We’ve learned it’s vital to create conversations with your followers, take part in the conversations and, most importantly, use social media to prove you are a reliable resource to the online audience.

In the beginning, it may be challenging and seem tedious for those who are unfamiliar with the various platforms and their functions, but once you get into the habit of treating social media as another way to connect people with your business and its services, you will reap the rewards of doing so. Here are four tips.

1. Use social media as a format to provide relatable content. When looking for lawn care advice, many people reach out to local lawn care providers on social media looking for free and quick help. This is the ideal situation for a business to increase its credibility among the general public. By sharing content over social media, a business can become part of the conversation and establish itself as a trusted source of information among an audience. For instance, we’ve found sharing our blog posts on our Facebook page has increased traffic to our website.

It helps to dedicate one or two people within your organization to understanding the nuances of an effective social media strategy. My administrative manager is in charge of our online presence. He spends four to five hours per week managing the accounts.

As a team, we also collaborate and brainstorm what our followers want to know, how we can present new information more clearly and how we can continue to build trust and authority in the industry. For example, if an employee recently received an amazing testimonial from a customer, we often share that for our “Testimony Tuesday” post.

Social media has the power to strengthen your relationship with casual followers so they return to your channels for reliable answers. If done correctly, the information will likely by shared by those followers with their friends and family, ultimately exposing your brand to a new audience.

2. Learn the platforms and monitor them. It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the many social media platforms. Learn what they are capable of and how they can make your social media approach easier. Programs like Hootsuite, or certain features on the social media sites themselves, save you time by allowing you to manage multiple social media accounts in one place. Using these features and programs, you can schedule tweets or Facebook posts to publish at key times or on certain days of the week.

In addition, take time to research similar social pages with a responsive and engaged following. Pinpoint some of the ways those pages share information and emulate those strategies on your own page.

Keep in mind that the public uses each social media platform a different way. Don’t load content in the same way for each social platform, i.e., having Facebook posts sync with Twitter. Based on my team’s experience, we find our Facebook and Twitter users engage with us differently, and we’ve found it doesn’t always make sense to post the same thing on both platforms because the response won’t be the same.

It’s a good idea to stay up to date on changes within each social platform. For example, a recent report said Twitter could make changes to its timeline algorithm that may have a significant impact on the life cycle of a post.With establishing a strong social media presence comes monitoring the sites, keeping up with the conversations users are having and answering the questions they’re asking. Careless and inactive observation can lead to unanswered questions that can jeopardize the businesses image and create a negative reputation of being unresponsive and unreliable.

Posting content also comes down to trial and error. My administrative manager looks at the analytics of each post. If he sees that content posted on Monday mornings doesn’t receive many likes or comments, he considers trying a different time and day. It’s helpful to compare the successful posts with the poorly executed ones and analyze all the factors that may have caused one to do better or worse than the other.

3. Remember to spark conversations and be the helping hand. A common mistake is waiting for online users to ask all the questions. Be a resource for people by initiating the conversation. Often we pose questions to people such as, “What are your top lawn care concerns?” This tactic opens the door for the conversations and comments to begin. When we take this approach, we find that other people reach out to us with the same concerns as those who publicly comment. The social media pages literally give you the platform to be the go-to person for others. Those people who may not have asked a question still read the conversation trail and can get their questions answered.

4. Keep marketing and social media efforts separate. I can’t reiterate this point enough. The biggest mistake a business owner can make is blurring the lines between his or her marketing efforts and social media tactics. While social media is a component of marketing, when you shove them in the same box, it can get messy. Be genuine with your intentions to help rather than only promote your business. You don’t want followers to feel intimidated to reach out over social media or worry that they’ll be hounded as a lead. Whether they use your services or not, you want to be viewed as their go-to person for whatever they need within your area of expertise.

When a business uses social media properly, it speaks volumes about the company. You want it to be known that you treat your online followers with the same level of respect you give to current customers. Continue to make them a priority, even if they’re not customers. By being genuine, followers’ overall impression of your business will be positive. Whether or not they’re in the market for your services now, a year from now or when they acquire a new home with a lawn some day, they will think of you.

McClure is the owner of Weed Man of Roswell in Georgia (Facebook.com/WeedManRoswell).

Photo: ©istock.com/mactrunk

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