Effective marketing for your plumbing company is all about getting your message in front of your ideal clients, reaching them where they are. These days, it’s almost certain your ideal clients are on social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram.
If your business already has robust presences on both these social media platforms, that’s great! If you’re only on Facebook, Instagram is a sensible addition to your social media strategy. One-third of U.S. adults who are online also are on Instagram. Users skew towards millennials, who have reached prime homeowning age.
But it may surprise you that in today’s crowded social media world, organic reach is not enough to effectively market your company. Organic reach means unpaid social media engagement, the kind you get when one of your follower's likes, comments or shares one of your posts. Just as Google’s search engine algorithm is constantly changing, social media platforms regularly update how their users see content to improve the user experience and keep them on social media longer.
In January 2018, Facebook led the charge away from organic reach for business pages and towards a pay-to-play model. The social media giant shifted its algorithm to give preference to content from a user’s friends and family, content that generates quality engagement and longer comments. Known as Facebook Zero, the shift meant businesses have to turn to paid Facebook ads to get the reach they need.
While a solid foundation of organic, engaged followers is vital to building a good social media presence for your business, using ads can help your message reach the potential clients you most want to target, and for relatively little cost. Combining the two while following a carefully crafted social media calendar is a recipe for social media success.
Build on organic
When growing your social media presence, it’s a good idea to start organically and build from there. Social media algorithms favor authentic, organic interactions. While each platform handles it differently, Facebook and Instagram users can see what their friends like and follow. Shares and comments can show up in Facebook friends’ news feeds.
Encourage those who already have a relationship with your company to like and share your Facebook page and Instagram account. This includes clients, employees, friends and family. Some companies have prize drawings and contests to drive likes and follows.
Make sure your content on Facebook encourages engagement by looking for topics that might drive conversation. On Instagram, strive for slice-of-life photos from your business along with aesthetically pleasing or fun photos to drive likes.
Organic reach works similar to word-of-mouth advertising. It goes from friends to family and attracts like-minded people. But organic can only go so far. Paid advertising can help grow your brand with a broader market.
Targeted and fast
Facebook and Instagram are great social media platforms to choose because Facebook owns Instagram. Because of this relationship, their ad-building and ad-buying interfaces are combined. This is especially important for your plumbing business because of the ability to target your ad’s audience based on geographic location as well as age, gender and interests. You can even target people within a certain radius of your business address.
What good is an ad if nobody clicks on it? It’s vital to choose the right ad format, the right information or offer, and the right call to action for the goal you’re trying to accomplish and the people you’re trying to reach. Facebook and Instagram offer a variety of ad formats and call-to-action buttons to try, each aimed at a different goal.
You could also try placing an ad in Instagram or Facebook users’ Story feeds. These video-based ads show up as users scroll between the Stories of people they follow. Stories will outpace news feeds as the primary way people share on social media this year, notes TechCrunch.
Make it authentic
But there’s another factor at play in today’s social media advertising. As consumers become more jaded about sponsored social media content, it becomes more challenging to engage them as they scroll. This trend is driving advertisers across all industries to strive for authenticity in their advertising, going with the Facebook Zero flow and making ads more genuine and meaningful.
As Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes wrote in Fast Company:
“Using social media as just another ad channel — filled with flashy clickbait and promo codes — feels increasingly out of step with social norms and user preferences. Instead, progressive companies will focus less on maximizing reach in 2019 and more on generating transparent and meaningful engagement, and 50 percent of respondents to our survey agreed that personalizing social content will be a key challenge.”
This is a case of needing to know your target audience. If you can make your social media advertising something they would be drawn to anyway, your ads will achieve far better results.
Before you dive into social media advertising, make sure you can create content that will appeal to your target audience and that you are committed to posting regularly. Craft a social media calendar for your business and plan the year, including seasonal specials and promotions. With a plan in hand, you can make every post count.
Of course, help is available for social media marketing. A PR and marketing firm, especially one experienced in the home service industry, knows what appeals to your target audience and can craft social media posts that will maximize your reach and grow your brand.