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Facebook: Love it or hate it, no home service business can ignore what has become the dominant social media platform on a global scale. Without a social media strategy that includes Facebook, your marketing efforts will be crippled. You have to go where the eyes are in order to get your company seen. Right now, that’s on social media platforms.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update 2016, 79 percent of Americans who are online use Facebook. This a 7-percentage-point increase from a survey conducted in 2015. Facebook itself reports that it had 1.28 billion daily active users on average for March 2017.
Importance of timely and quality posts
If you set up a Facebook page for your business, you need to use it. Nothing says neglect like a social media account that hasn’t been updated in weeks or months. That’s not the image you want your company to project.
Remember that Facebook is about conversation. Develop your posts from the perspective of your audience. They’ll tune out sales pitches. Give them important information: tips to make their lives easier, solutions to household issues, advice about the common problems your technicians deal with regularly.
Pay attention to the news. Posts that touch on the topics that people are talking about — be it natural disasters, drought, events of interest — will attract more attention. Especially important: Don’t be afraid to be human or have a little fun with your posts. Followers don’t want to just read sterile corporate news.
Become an expert
Facebook also gives you a platform to portray yourself as an industry expert. Provide the right content, and people will begin following you on Facebook and pay attention to what you say. Your company can become a trusted source for industry news and advice.
Share your content
The regular use of Facebook complements a broader content marketing strategy. Consider starting a blog for your company. Posting links to the blogs on Facebook will drive traffic to your website. The more traffic your website receives, the better chance your target audience will be able to find your company in internet search results.
Boosting posts and why it helps stimulate business
Facebook is free. That’s one of the attractions for many companies. It gives them a chance for free visibility and outreach to a potentially large audience; however, that doesn’t tell the full story. For a business to make the most use of Facebook, it has to be willing to invest some money into a marketing budget.
There will be times you want to ensure that more eyes see a particular post. Maybe you’re talking about a special on drain cleaning. Maybe you’re showcasing an important project. Facebook gives you the option to pay to boost specific posts from your business page. They will appear higher in the news feed of your followers, so there is a greater chance your audience will actually see them. Boosting a post also provides a way to reach people who don’t follow your business.
A boosted post can also target a specific audience of your choosing. This audience can be specified based on their interests or location. It can be targeted to your existing followers, or to people who have similar interests. It also gives you the option to include a call-to-action. This could include contacting your business, making an appointment, or signing up for email communications.
You can’t just boost posts willy-nilly without a plan, though. You’ll waste money without seeing any real benefit. Create a plan to offer relevant information to potential customers and to reach the demographics that can help grow your business.
We all know the struggles of recruiting home service technicians in today’s world. It can be hard to find quality applicants. Facebook is another avenue for finding potential employees. It’s an approach that your own competitors might be using. In fact, about 84 percent of organizations are turning to social media to recruit employees, according to a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Don’t lose a potential employee to a competitor because they can’t find you.
There is a flip side to the use of Facebook. In addition to being a platform to increase the visibility of your company, it can provide a very public pulpit for disgruntled customers to sway impressions of it. A single one-star review can sting, but let the bad reviews start piling up without addressing them, and you’ll have a problem on your hands.
Having an active Facebook presence for your company gives you the opportunity to engage these unhappy customers and address their concerns. You can potentially convert the situation into a positive, increasing your reputation as a business that will do right by its customers, whatever it takes.
Monitoring Facebook during a crisis
Let’s talk frankly: The emergencies that home service business owners have to deal with don’t always have anything to do with a customer having a bad water heater or leaking plumbing. Sometimes the bad things happen to your company. It could be an accident or the behavior of an employee. Someone connected to your company could get arrested.
Social media can turn an even minor incident into a full-fledged emergency concerning the reputation of your brand. News spreads instantly, and you’ll need to be able to counter rumors and keep ahead of media attention.
Facebook gives your company the ability to respond quickly and to keep on top of what people are saying. Be ready to monitor your employees’ accounts to ensure they are not transmitting incorrect information. They are the most visible ambassadors of your company. Have a plan in place to keep them informed about the facts of the issue and how you are managing the crisis. Ensure they know your expectations of what can or cannot be said.
There are, unfortunately, times when one of your own employees might be a problem. Facebook gives people a platform to express themselves, but sometimes those expressions can be controversial, hurtful or perhaps even borderline illegal. If someone identified as one of your employees posts horrible things on Facebook, you’ll need to know about it and respond accordingly. That’s why having a social media policy in place is so important.
Getting help with your Facebook strategy
So, now you’ve gone out and started your business Facebook page. Is anyone managing it and your other social media platforms? Have you given the task to a busy employee who tries to throw up some posts now and then? Do you turn to family members or friends for help? How often should you post? What are the best times to do so?
It takes research and expertise to use Facebook to its highest potential. Home service businesses can struggle with the demands of dealing with social media in a professional manner. A communications professional can take that off your plate and let you concentrate on dealing with client needs and growing your business.