I have had the pleasure of meeting SO many people through social media. My partner…
“I don’t really think being on social is right for my business. I mean, my industry is so bloody boring – what the HELL would I post?”
Ever said that, or at least thought it? My bet is that if you work in tax, or law, or [insert other ‘boring’ service-based industry here], you have.
WELL GUESS WHAT! YOU’RE WRONG!
In fact, if you’re a business that falls into the ‘boring’ category you’re in a DAMN good position to really stand out online simply because others haven’t even bothered to try!
While sexier businesses, like fashion stores, find themselves jumping into a noisy, overcrowded social media environment, less ‘exciting’ industries starting out online get to stand out simply because there aren’t too many businesses who have worked out how to do it well (or at all)!
So, lucky you! What are you waiting for?
If you’re wondering where to start, here’s 7 ways to market a service-based business in a ‘boring’ industry on social media.
They say social media is plumbing of word of mouth in 2017. And, for once, ‘they’ are bloody right!
You see, most people these days conduct a ‘digital interview’ before they decide to engage the services of a potential business. Whether you know it or not, people are jumping online and searching on Google to see whether YOUR BUSINESS is one that they want to work with.
If you have an active Facebook/Instagram/Linked In account, it will show up in their Google search. People will click on the link and they will start checking you out to find out more about you.
Your social media presence is painting a picture of you before someone has ever picked up the phone and spoken to you. This is true whether you the new, cool coffee shop down the road or you run an accounting practice.
One way you can really use this to your advantage is to set up a review strategy to get people leaving positive reviews about you on your page – in particular, your Facebook page. By encouraging people to leave positive reviews, potential clients will see that you are a trusted, reliable business.
People do business with those they know, like or trust, and a trail of positive reviews provides social proof to those who may be thinking of doing business with you in the future.
Facebook reviews – this plumbing company has a great review strategy, which leaves a good impression on potential customers that are visiting their page.
There are two ways that you can use Facebook for client reviews:
Facebook reviews and ratings can only be set up if your business is categorised as a ‘Local Business’.
Once enabled, when a customer leaves you a positive review on your Facebook business page, their Facebook friends will be notified about that review and see it in their own news feeds. Since Facebook users, on average, have 130 Facebook friends, it’s easy to see why Facebook reviews can be a valuable tool for generating awareness and interest in your business.
Facebook reviews are most effective when you have a strategy in place off Facebook to actively encourage people to leave reviews. For example, you might have a line in your email signature requesting that customers leave a review, along with a direct link to make it easy for them.
When a person raves about you on their own Facebook page using a status update, and tags you in it, it is the ultimate form of social proof because it is coming directly from them. It also means that the review is seen by the Facebook friends of that person, which means that it is amplified to a whole group of potential new clients.
Sounds great, right? The downside is that it can be difficult to achieve. There are a few great ways to encourage people to take action and use their Facebook page to write a review on your service:
People come to social media to be entertained, engaged and informed.
Even if your service based business isn’t an exciting one in an industry perceived as ‘fun’, you can concentrate on providing value by informing your audience and being the go-to for industry information and updates.
Producing online content with educational tips and advice positions your business as the authority in your industry. This puts you a step ahead when people are making a decision about who to do business with.
Here’s a few examples for a few different kinds of service based businesses.
Check out Wealth Enhancers
Just because your industry might be a little stale doesn’t mean you have to be!
Using humour along with sharing fun, interesting content on your social media accounts (connected to your industry) is a great way to inject some personality into your business.
This type of content encourages likes, shares and engagement, and makes a lasting impression on your potential clients.
It also differentiates you from your competitors.
Here’s a couple of good examples of businesses who are doing this really well.
The Queensland Police Service and NSW Police Service do this very well. Law enforcement is a serious business, but through their social media posts both of these bodies have managed to humanise themselves and build repore with their communities.
They get their message across in fun and engaging ways which people engage with, and which ultimately provides organic exposure that they could not have otherwise achieved.
Transferwise are another business that are great at injecting humor and personality into the otherwise fairly bland service of wiring money.
In this series of videos, they ask people around the world what they know about other countries – and the results are hilarious.
The subject matter is loosely related to international money transfer, and provides people with content that they will find entertaining and interesting as an introduction to the business.
Think about the personality of your brand (or yourself!) and how you can bring that out in the way that you present your business on social media.
Don’t be afraid to be ‘human’ on social media, this is what can ultimately draw people to an otherwise ‘dry’ business or brand.
The art of storytelling is one that is especially useful for ‘boring’ service based businesses, because it has the effect of making your business more relatable.
Even if your service in itself isn’t particularly exciting, there is a good chance that the outcomes for your clients could be worthy of mention.
Think ‘Humans of New York’, the highly successful social media account that documents the stories of ordinary New Yorkers on Instagram.
How can you tell the story of your business/clients/yourself in a similar, engaging manner – even if the actual industry you work in isn’t an exciting one?
For example, a house builder could tell the story of the homes they build, and the families behind them.
A lawyer specialising in creative industries could post an image of a musician client and his back story, as well as (for example) why copyright was so important to ensuring their livelihood as a musician.
If you specialise in advising on Occupational Health and Safety, you might have an interesting story about how you got into the industry in the first place that you could share on social media, or you might want to profile some of the people that you work with.
Paypal are an example of a company who have nailed this, taking a faceless payment service and highlighting the stories behind the people who used it.
According to Hootsuite, this particular campaign resulted in a 327% increase in engagement.
What makes you and your business tick? What’s the culture like? What’s happening behind the scenes that might make people relate a little more to your business?
Documenting the behind the scenes allows you to inject some life into your social media accounts.
This is also a great tactic for businesses in service based industries that are sensitive in nature – for example, funeral services – because you are able to concentrate on your staff, values and things other than your day to day.
Whether you are a one man (or woman!) show, or you have a bigger business with more employees, showing off what happens behind the scenes is another way to make it more relatable despite the nature of your industry.
Here’s a few examples of companies doing this really well.
Just Digital People are a Brisbane recruitment company, and do a great job of showcasing their staff through their social media channels. They’ve got an Instagram account that showcases their staff, with clever scrolling posts that show a staff member followed by a rapid fire tip from them.
They also produce their own mini show called ‘The Recruiters’ with their staff – a fun, tongue in cheek web series.
Hootsuite feature behind the scenes snippets of life working at the company. This is an excellent strategy for those seeking to establish themselves as an attractive employer, as well as humanising their brand.
Having a social media presence as a ‘boring’ service based business is valuable even if you don’t think that your content can compete with businesses in more ‘exciting’ industries.
Why? The answer lies in paid advertising.
Having a Facebook and Instagram page in particular allows you to use the laser sharp paid advertising features of both platforms to serve advertising to your potential clients.
Given that paid Facebook and Instagram advertising is (at this time) still one of the best and most cost effective ways to promote a business online, it is worthwhile having a social media presence simply so that you can make use of this function.
Let’s say you are a service based business specialising in providing OH&S training services to businesses in the Brisbane CBD.
With Facebook paid advertising, you can target advertising for your services to employees of your dream hit list of businesses to work with, offering free advice over on your Facebook page.
Your business isn’t ‘interesting’, but it might be valuable to some of that targeted group of people and it’s a great way for prospecting for more business.
If your service based business is boring and you don’t think people will be interested in your content, you need to think laterally.
What other relevant content might your potential audience be interested in that is still loosely related to your audience, or to your potential client?
For example, you might work in legal services but your potential clients are micro-businesses with big aspirations. In this instance, you would do well to set up an Instagram account with a focus on inspirational quotes on hustling and working hard.
Another good avenue to consider when looking for relatable content is your business values and what it stands for. For example, are you environmentally friendly? You could look to incorporate this into the content that you output on social media.
If there isn’t anything that comes to mind, start putting some thought into what really makes your business tick, and how you can incorporate what you stand for.
And that’s it! If you’ve made it this far, I hope it means that you have found some value in this article. If so, I’d be grateful if you could share it!
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