Episode 2 | Built to Market Podcast
Love it or hate it, social media is an integral part of promoting your business’s digital presence.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I'm a marketing professional who really doesn't love the practice of creating social media for myself or for my business, and I'm willing to bet you don't love creating social media for your business, either. There are many things we do in life that we might not love doing - like getting your flu shot...
Getting your flu shot and social media for your business have more in common than you think:
- Both can be impromptu or have to be scheduled.
- Both take time.
- Both social media and the flu shot can sometimes be painful.
- Both can have positive or negative effects.
- Both are elective.
But we know why we get the vaccine, which overcomes our objections; that why is how to handle the love-hate relationship with social media. Here's why:
Social media deeply affects your digital presence
First, it impacts your search engine ranking. You amplify your website's visibility by sharing your website on social media. That improved visibility drives more traffic to the website. So, if I write something, I share it on my social media, which generates backlinks. People see that because they're not going to my website every day. They click on the link; they go to my website. If you listened to our episode last week on SEO, you learned all about backlinks, what they mean, and how to implement them.
Second, search is changing. And I'm not talking about the effects of AI. However, AI does create all sorts of changes for us. Search is changing! How we search for information is different now. Remember when the default search was a search engine like Google? Now, we will use social media to ask our questions - especially Millennials and Gen Z.
If you think, “Oh, my customers are not Millennials and Gen Z,” then you will go out of business. The Alpha Generation doesn’t have purchasing power yet, and a Boomer leaves the market every 15 seconds as of this posting. Social media is a must-have—end of story.
Social media mythbusting
Now that we’ve settled why you have to have social media let's bust some myths holding your company’s social media back.
Myth: If we start social media, we must be on all platforms.
Bust: That's a big, big myth. You don't have to be on all social media platforms.
What you should be doing is determined by two factors.
First, what platforms are your customers on? Don't guess or gut this one if you don't have the data or you don't have a fully developed customer persona, which is just a characterization of your ideal customer backed up by data.
Then, I want you to do a quick one-question survey of your existing customer base, asking which social media platforms they regularly use. That one question will tell you which one, two, or three social media platforms you should focus on.
Myth: Social media is free.
Bust: Social media content creation is not free.
How much time and budget - yes, budget - are you available to create quality content on social media?
Social media is not free. You do need a budget, and you do need time for social media. So if you don't have a lot of time, when you don't have a lot of budget, you should only focus on one platform.
Myth: I can publish the same post on all my social media platforms.
Bust: Even if you technical can, you shouldn't push the same post to all social media platforms.
Technically, you can post the same post on all social media platforms. A lot of marketing software enables you to do this. With one click of a button, you push out this post everywhere. But how often have you looked at a post on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, and the image wasn't sized right and looked wonky?
That's because it was optimized for one platform, not the platform you're viewing it on. Each platform has its unique features, audience, and formatting. Ensure you optimize your post for every platform you choose to participate on. And as a rule, if you post on the platform, you need to commit to that platform.
We're discussing a marriage here - you must be all in. If it's an afterthought, or if you're pushing the same copy of the post optimized for another platform and you're not changing up the images or the sizing, you're not taking advantage of some of the native features of that social media channel.
Do it well, or don't do it at all.
Myth: I have to post daily or multiple times a day to be relevant to the algorithm.
Bust: You do not need to post daily to have a social media presence.
The number of times you post is not relevant to the algorithm. What is most important is the number of quality followers you have and their activity on your posts, such as liking, commenting, sharing, clicking links, and your bio.
What you do need to do is focus on the quality of your social media posts. I recommend that you post a few times a week. If you can’t handle 2-3 posts per week of high quality, then settle for one quality post per week. Need reassurance? Take a look at Taylor Swift’s Instagram accounts. Swift posts on average 5 times a month. If Taylor only posts 5 a month, you can, too.
4 ways to improve your website's digital presence through social media
1. Only choose a social media platform where your customers are
Social media is a great way to connect with potential and current customers, build relationships, and promote your business. Ensure you have active profiles and target your audience of customers. Don't feel that your contracting company, your roofing company, or your manufacturing company must be on every single social platform.
If your ideal customer is a homeowner, consider their age, lifestyle, and geography. That information lets you determine their preferred social networks, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Not sure where to start - here is a cheat sheet list of social media platforms based on the type of company you are in the built environment:
- If you sell directly to consumers only, you are a B2C business.
Examples of B2C businesses include residential real estate agents and brokers or residential contractors like a plumber, HVAC, or roofing company. You're interacting with homeowners and potential homeowners.
That means your customers are Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. The social platforms that primarily serve those generations are YouTube and Facebook, followed by Instagram.
- If you sell directly to a business, you are a B2B business.
B2B businesses include general contractors, component distributors, windows, doors, and hinges manufacturers, commercial real estate brokers, or architects.
Your customers are the same generations: Boomers to Gen Z. Most of the time, if you are a homeowner or potential homeowner, you also possibly are in the workforce here. LinkedIn is the gold standard social media platform for B2B businesses, followed by X (formerly known as Twitter, though that is up for debate), and then Facebook.
- If you sell to consumers and businesses, you need to consider the best of both worlds.
Businesses like yours should look at YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
2. Size doesn't matter
Looking for niche opportunities where you can stand out? Consider other smaller, less-known platforms. For your B2C contracting company, consider local platforms such as NextDoor or Yelp. If you primarily sub-contract to general contractors or bid work, consider local organization digital platforms for business-to-business networking.
Pro tip here - want to discover a niche within a large platform? Look for groups to join. Facebook and LinkedIn both have public and private groups you can join. Start by seeing if your local chamber, union, or building association has a group where you can request an invitation.
3. Balance your content
Balance your content between authentic posts and curated posts. Share informative and engaging content on your social media channels. You don’t have to wait for the perfect project photography or drone video. Authenticity counts on social media - in fact, posts that are a little less polished and impromptu get more engagement than those that are over-produced.
Consider in-progress photos of your work, behind-the-scenes photos at the office or on the job, and day-in-the-life posts from different staff members. Is creativity running on empty? You can also curate industry news or tips for homeowners or project managers. You can also use social media to run contests and giveaways and to answer questions from potential customers. Social media is not a one-way street. It's a conversation. It's just like networking through a computer.
4. Use social media as a channel for customer service.
Often overlooked, social media is great for customer service, especially for B2C companies. Allow customers to contact you through social media messaging. This one-on-one direct messaging makes it easier for customers to communicate with you without having to search for your phone number or an online ticketing system.
If you are a customer-centric company - and you should be - you need to go where your customers are and not make solving a problem for them more of a hassle. Open up DMs and assign someone on your team to monitor and reply to customers.
A powerful tool
Social media marketing has become a powerful tool for connecting with potential and current customers. You can establish meaningful relationships and promote your business by maintaining active profiles on your target audience's social media platforms. And it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming hassle like laundry or a flu shot.
It's simple. Choose 1-3 platforms based on your customers and post quality content one to a few times a week optimized for each platform. Be creative, and don’t get hung up on over-produced content or perfection.
Remember, the world we build matters. If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. Now, let's build opportunities together.