You can’t showcase your wares. You can’t post images or videos of people using, tasting, touching your products. So, what do you do?
Not having a social media presence is not an option. Consider these statistics from the SproutSocial Index:
- 57 per cent of consumers will follow a brand to learn about new products or services while 47 per cent will follow to stay up to date on company news.
- After following a brand on social media, consumers continue to engage in various ways: 91 per cent visit the brand’s website or app, 89 per cent will buy from the brand and 85 per cent will recommend the brand to a family member or friend.
- The top four reasons consumers will unfollow a brand on social media are poor quality of product or support (49 per cent), poor customer service (49 per cent), irrelevant content (45 per cent) and too many ads (45 per cent).
I invited social media experts from across the world to share their best advice to help services businesses succeed on social. Here’s some of what they had to say.
1. Collaborate and co-create
Neal Schaffer, fractional CMO and author of The Age of Influence, USA
If you are trying to sell services on social media, you are probably challenged with coming up with fresh content ideas to engage users while attacking the weak performance that most business posts get in any given social media algorithm. That is why you should be shifting to an influencer-first approach to content and ideally consider co-creating or sourcing 100 per cent of your content from influencers. When I say “influencers”, I am not referring to the likes of Kim Kardashian but to your employees, customers, partners, and followers who are active in social media, have built a community of at least a few hundred followers, and are creating their own content. Collaborate with these social media users through interviews for your blog, getting them to try your service and posting a review about it, having them appear on your podcast or webinar etc. By doing so, you will not only perform better in social media, but you will also deepen relationships of business value that provide tremendous benefits to all of your content marketing.
2. Create compelling video content
John Ross, CMO, Test Prep Insight, USA
Services businesses are uniquely positioned to excel at YouTube marketing. Whether your company cleans pools, installs septic tanks, or sprays for bugs, the nature of your business makes for compelling video content. And there is a very good chance someone is out there searching on YouTube for how to do your service themselves, DIY-style. This gives service business owners a chance to capture this DIY audience and extract a few benefits out of them. For one, you have the potential to turn some viewers into customers if they find that the service is over their head. Or more likely, you have a chance to get serious social media interaction through likes and comments on your YouTube videos. When connected to your website, this social media interaction provides real and significant SEO benefits.
3. Use real testimonials
Malte Scholz, CEO and co-founder, Airfocus, Germany
Businesses that offer services need to emphasise what the user experience will look like. A great tactic is using real testimonials. Your audience is much more likely to connect with real people and their first-hand experience. Don’t fall into the trap of staging testimonials too much. You want them to seem natural and spontaneous. Your job is to provide a framework as well as some of the basic guidelines. When it comes to format, you can use either written testimonials or videos. The latter are a bit harder to produce, but they can have a powerful effect on your audience.
Kindra Svendsen, vice-president of client partnerships, Speak Creative, USA
Interact with your customers! They want to feel like they’re being heard and paid attention to. Commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and otherwise having a conversation with them online is great for loyalty and promoting your brand name to others, especially when product reviews don’t exist. Customer service is the most important piece of the puzzle for service-based businesses. Too often, businesses focus on posting and forget to interact with their active audiences, which ultimately leads to a stagnant social media presence.
5. Evoke feelings with images
Natalia Shirshova, CMO and co-founder, REINNO, Bulgaria
Visualisation is extremely important. However, it can be hard to find appropriate visuals for intangible products and services. If you are marketing something that cannot be easily photographed, try to evoke an emotion with your imagery. Whether it’s security, inner peace or financial stability, show your audience what they would feel while using your service (or as a result of it). Social media is flooded with posts from millions of brands and a powerful image can help your business stand out. Don’t settle for safe and boring pictures. Use colours and faces, don’t be obvious, and make people take a second look.
Jacqueline (Jaci) Burns, CMO, Market Expertise