Dear Socially Stephanie:
I run a local services business. Think plumbing, cleaning, you know, the type of business that would be featured on Dirty Jobs. I am having a hard time coming to terms with the idea that social media can actually help my business. It's not sexy. It's not exciting. And I just don't think people want to receive posts about what we do. Am I wrong?
Unsexy in Ukiah
Dear Unsexy in Ukiah,
My dear, dear friend. I know what you are experiencing. You aren't alone. In fact, I've heard this same story over and over again. I don't even need to take your pulse. Because I already have your diagnosis. The good news is, it's totally curable and I have just the prescription you need.
You have low social business esteem. We're going to change that for once and for all. But you need to do what I tell you. Ready? Being sexy is not the only thing that makes a company awesome, cool and worthy on social media. In fact, au contraire. What makes a company follow-worthy on social media is their ability to talk to their audience as if they are one of them. I'm sure this is something you do every single day to all the customers who walk in through your doors. If you didn't, then you wouldn't be in business still.
Now I want you to stand in front of the mirror and repeat after me: "I am follow-worthy. I am interesting. I have something to say." Now repeat. Feeling like Rocky Balboa? Good.
Just because you feel good about your social identity, doesn't mean you believe that social media could work for your business. Let me tell you this: it can and it will. Now, I could sit here all night until I'm blue in the face and tell you how important social media is. How you need it to grow your traffic. Blah. Blah. Blah. But what we really need is actionable steps. So here is your action plan.
The next step is figuring out what you CAN do on social media and on which social media networks you should focus on. Because you aren't sexy by nature, we are going to flaunt your other assets -- the most important one being that you do the jobs that your customers don't want to do. And you do it well. Next in line is that you add value to your customers life by educating them on the services you provide. And lastly, you have great deals to offer strictly to your social media believers -- your followers.
The first place I think you can really make a splash is Google Plus Local. It is the most important social network for organic search traffic. Plus, if you want foot traffic, that Google map should be your new BFF. First you'll have to verify your business if you haven't yet. By doing this, you'll be able to attach your G+ posts to your location. Awesome!
You'll also be able to collect reviews, which are read by 85% of consumers. Wait, did I just tell you to focus gathering reviews on GooglePlus? You betcha. Because Google is the first place people go to while searching for a local business, you want your G+ ratings to be high.
As for the content you need to share, it's all about the educational posts. What does your customer need to know before they hire you? What do they ask you often? Why do they need your service? All educational, all informative, all value driven content. Of course, you'll want to add some images and how-to videos for good measure.
Another place I want you to focus on is Twitter. On Twitter you literally have the ability to monitor keywords and find real local buyers in real time and direct them to hire you. You will want to monitor words like "looking for" "anyone know" and "need a." These words indicate the seriousness and the urgency of your potential customer. You also want to geotarget tweets in your immediate business area. If you just monitored "plumbing" you are bound to get a whole bunch of crap (so to speak) and it will be tough to determine your best leads.
Why do they want to hire you? Because you educated them and informed them on what you do and why you do it best. In other words, you sold them. And people can be lazy, so if you find them you are making the research process for them much easier.
So Google Plus is your outbound channel and Twitter is your inbound channel. Together they work wonders for bringing you new customers. See, what did I tell you? You don't have to be a sex-bomb to show a little skin on social media. You just need to be yourself.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells