Using Social Media to Promote Your Service Business: 5 Dos and Don’ts

Opinion: Don’t expect a random follower that has no idea who you are to spend tens of thousands of dollars with you

According to research from The Drum, Facebook influences more than one-half of people’s online and offline purchases. Social media has become such a huge part of our day-to-day lives that not being active on social media can be detrimental to your business.

To make social media work for your business, you need to learn how to do it right. This is even more important if you run a service business: Due to the high upfront commitment your business requires from customers, you won’t be able to get away with what people selling products that are impulse buys can get away with.

If you own a service business, below are some essential dos and don’ts you want to avoid.

Focus your social media activities on your ‘low-entry’ point

How easy is it to sell a $7 product on social media? Very easy, no doubt. How about a $10,000 service? You can be sure it won’t be as easy.

When promoting your service business on social media, your approach needs to be different from that of someone selling a product that can be bought on impulse. This means that there needs to be a low barrier to entry, where you get people to know more about you. Educate them with case studies and relevant information about their unique challenges and why your unique solution is what is needed to solve these challenges.

At this stage, you need to start learning more about terms like “marketing funnel,” “marketing automation,” “tripwire,” etc. In other words, you might need to use social media to get people on your email list or to first buy a low-priced offer, and then upsell your higher-priced service.

Identify and focus on relevant social media sites, but don’t ignore the rule of seven

When trying to make social media work for your services business, there are two things you need to quickly realize:

  • All social media sites are not equal.
  • Ignoring the rule of seven could be the most dangerous thing you will do.

First, it is important to realize that not all social media sites will equally serve your business purpose. LinkedIn, for example, is regarded as one of the most effective social sites for consultants and service businesses. You can’t compare the rich and targeted environment it affords your business with that of a site like Twitter. Depending on your industry, there might even be targeted social sites that businesses you want to target use: Identify and focus on these social sites.

While being targeted, you also don’t want to ignore the rule of seven. This rule states that the more exposure prospects have to your offer or message, the more likely they are to convert. To this end:

  • Be on as many relevant social media sites as possible—more is better: Eventually, when there’s an audience overlap across multiple channels, the rule of seven kicks in.
  • Repurpose your message: It’s easier than ever to transform content from one format to another. With a variety of web design tools to choose from, you can transform practical any piece of content into different forms of graphics. In no time, you can turn ordinary text into a graphic, infographic or slide. This allows you to distribute the same message on the same site in different formats, or to distribute the same message across different sites that accept different formats. Regardless of the purpose, repurposing your content will only benefit your services business.

Integrate email and social media

Social media provides the greatest reach of any medium, and people easily spend more time on social media than elsewhere. However, it is important to realize that the return of investment of email is unmatched, even by social media. According to data from the Direct Marketing Association, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect an ROI of $38. A smart business learns how to combine both email and social media, and this can be especially important.

If you don’t do email marketing yet, perhaps it’s time to start. While an email service provider that offers automation features will be best, even one that doesn’t will still do the trick. The key lies in repeatedly getting in touch with your prospects, educating them and consistently telling them about your services.

Don’t assume it’s a numbers game

A major mistake people using social media make is that of assuming that it is a numbers game. As a result, you see somebody open a social media account, rapidly gain 100,000 followers with bots and automated tools and expect something to happen. If you run a services business, this just won’t work. Don’t expect a random follower that has no idea who you are to spend tens of thousands of dollars with you.

Instead, take a more gradual but effective approach:

  • First, identify and focus on targeted social media sites that are relevant to your target prospects.
  • Focus on engaging and building a relationship with target prospects on social media.
  • Focus on a strategy that allows for deeper engagement with your audience—often, this means getting them onto your email list.

Don’t think being overly promotional will help

It is also important to avoid making the mistake of assuming that being overly promotional will help. It won’t.

While being overly promotional might sell a $7 product, or any other impulse buy purchase, being overly promotional while promoting your services business won’t only not make a difference, but you will significantly alienate yourself from the audience you’ve carefully built.

Robert Mening is a web consultant who has helped more than 25,000 people start their websites. He runs the Website Setup project. You can follow him on Twitter: @RobMening.

Image courtesy of ileezhun/iStock.