You don’t have a problem with understanding that social media can be a powerful tool for building your online presence. You get it. You already know you should be posting regularly. The real struggle is coming up with compelling post ideas about your flooring installation business. Shannon Vogel, owner and operator of Reach Social, understands that this is a common struggle. In the Floor Academy podcast episode: Organic Social Media Basics – Shannon Vogel – Reach Social, she unpacks a plan for quickly creating compelling content so that you can keep your name in front of existing customers and prospects. Here are some of the highlights.
“Show me something pretty.”Eye candy can be a particularly effective way to pleasantly interrupt someone’s mindless scrolling and make their synapses spark with ideas about their own flooring. Vogel points out that it is important to recognize the mindset of someone on social media who, after a long day of work, is ready for some “me time” on the couch. She describes a woman with a glass of wine in one hand and an iPad in the other, her feet propped up on the coffee table. The woman is scrolling because she wants to see who had a baby, whose kid went to first grade that day, and whether people went out to dinner or ate grilled cheese sandwiches. Vogel says that homeowners don’t want to be “punched in face” with spammy messages like, “Hey, I’ve got hardwood for $2.99.” She recommends you “gently insert your message” into the feed. One of the most ideal ways to accomplish this is with inspirational images. “Show me something pretty,” Vogel says.
“Tell them what you want them to look at.”It’s easy to assume that your audience will see what you want them to see when you post an image, but that doesn’t always happen. Vogel explains that if you post an image of a room, and you intend for your audience to notice the floor, they may notice a lamp instead. She urges contractors, “Tell them what you want them to look at.” Imagine that you are a person viewing the image for the first time. What is it about the image that you want people to notice and understand? Be specific. Communicate that message clearly and effectively. Use before-and-after images to tell a story. According to Vogel’s research and experience, before-and-after images are the most popular type of social media post. They get the most response from homeowners. She says that contractors can “visually tell a story of what they can do with their craft” by posting such images. She emphasizes the importance of explaining the changes the audience sees, saying, “If you don’t tell that story… who knows where they’re going to take it.” Vogel once again reminds listeners to put themselves in the shoes of the homeowner and explains that they see their home as an extension of who they are and how they run their life. She says that when a homeowner sees a builder-white bathroom transformed into a spa retreat, that the homeowner thinks, “That’s all I need to choose you.”
Establish yourself as an authority.Establishing yourself as an authority in your field is important for many reasons, from building trust and credibility to differentiating yourself from competitors. There are many ways to do this. Let’s look at a few of Vogel’s suggestions: Provide valuable content. Vogel encourages contractors to “add a tip” and “offer helpful advice to your audience” and “focus on providing a solution to a common problem.” Share what’s hot and trending. Vogel says when you post about what’s hot and trending it shows you are “in the know and more of an authority for what you do.” Educate your audience. Vogel suggests listeners ask one-brain-cell questions or post, “Do you prefer A or B?” because it “shows that you care about their opinion.” She says if you get a lot of feedback, you can use that information as a springboard for an educational post. Vogel encourages listeners to go ahead and use “dumb questions” as an educational opportunity, because, “chances are, if someone asked, others want to know, too.”
What customers say about you matters more than what you say about you.“People trust what other people say about you 80% more than they trust when you say it,” Vogel explains. That’s why it is so important to take every opportunity to share positive feedback from your clients. Clients use a variety of communication channels to share their opinion about your services, from thank you cards to online reviews. When this happens, be sure to share. Vogel suggests scanning or taking a picture of handwritten thank you cards and posting them to your social media. The best form of “social media currency,” according to Vogel, is a 20-second video client testimonial. Vogel cautions listeners not to brag. She suggests that client-feedback social media posts be prefaced with something like, “We’re so grateful that our customer took the time to share their experience so that you could see what it’s like to work with us, as well.”
“Humanize your brand.”It can be difficult to connect with your audience in a meaningful way if all of your social media posts are about your services or products. The best way, according to Vogel, to be more relatable and approachable is to “humanize your brand.” Here’s how. Share something about your company culture. Vogel says, “Show me you, as a human.” She offers examples like a walk for Alzheimer’s or pictures of your office dog. Introduce your team. Vogel suggests companies highlight an employee each week or month. “Ask all your employees the same three questions,” she says. The first two questions should be pretty standard, professional, and predictable, but the third one should be different. Vogel wants it to be something really specific and unique. Although your questions might differ, here are the questions Vogel used:
- Why do you work at [your company name]?
- How long have you been in the business?
- What is your favorite snack at 3:00 in the morning?