Can social media really generate leads for pest control businesses?
Ultimately the answer is yes, but the way you use social media will be an important factor when it comes to seeing real results.
Having an effective social media strategy is about more than just sending out a few tweets every month and expecting users to automatically engage. There’s a lot more that goes into it than just creating a Facebook or Instagram account.
The good news is that your audience is already out there discussing topics related to your business on social media. In other words, you just have to tap into those topics, find your audience, and provide something of value to them.
If you’re not exactly sure how to do that, don’t worry. Here are a few things you can do to generate leads using social media.
Watch for Trends
As we said, your audience is already out there using social media, so your first task will be to find them and listen to them.
It’s important for businesses – especially those in a service industry like pest control – to create an actual presence on a chosen channel. That means browsing through posts that others are writing and looking for hashtags that relate to industry topics.
Keep in mind that people speaking about your industry or even your business won’t always mention you directly. Statistically, of all the Tweets about your brand, only 30% actually include your social media handle. For the most part, you probably won’t be notified if someone is talking about your business.
That means it’s your job to search out your audience and see what’s trending. Your best bet is to search for industry-related keywords and hashtags.
On Twitter, trending topics appear on the left hand side and can be filtered by related trends or worldwide trends.
Twitter recently introduced a new feature called Twitter Moments, which allows you to browse top stories related to your interests. Your “moments” can be found at the top of your homepage.
You can also search for specific hashtags using the search bar in the upper right hand corner, which will give you a list of related posts, pages, photos and videos including those hashtags.
On Facebook, trending topics are listed on the right hand side of your homepage.
You can also search for businesses, hashtags, groups, or topics being talked about related to your industry through the search bar at the top of every page.
(Brandwatch also published a useful article with a few tips for searching for trending topics on other platforms.)
Solve a Problem
Once you’ve identified your audience, you will need to find ways to engage them. The key to engagement for a field service business is about more than just sending out a certain number of tweets or posts each day. You have to send out the right kind of tweets and posts.
Essentially, you have to do the same thing on social media that you do with customers in person: Solve a problem.
Your ultimate goal is to help social media users see you as the next logical step on their journey. This means that you’re watching for trends and identifying specific questions that people are asking or fears they have about your industry. Then, you provide the answers to those questions.
Your strengths will lie in being seen as an expert in your industry and as someone that has practical advice for their customers.
You should be tweeting about articles that address key problems, for example, or events and webinars that help other field service businesses stay current. You could even send out daily tips about pest prevention for restaurants or other businesses that you serve.
Ideally, your social media presence will assure both current and potential customers that you know your stuff and can be trusted. A few posts that generate confidence will be worth twice as much as dozens of posts that provide little practical value.
You also have to consider how you deliver your social media posts. The key to creating a substantial following is relatability. Users want to believe you’re a real person that exists to help them in some way.
Social media is a direct marketing tool, which means that you’re dealing with users one-on-one, even if you have thousands of followers. This also means that your users expect a certain level of personalization in your posts and responses.
They don’t want posts that sound like a sales robot wrote them. This doesn’t mean you have to use casual language or slang in your posts, it just means you have to make them relatable in some way.
One way to sound instantly more relatable is by using an active voice in your posts. An active voice tells your audience who is speaking and what action should be taken, whereas a passive voice tells your audience that something is happening.
For example, you could tweet, “We are hosting a free event on the danger of improper pest control next week. Won’t you join us?” That’s using an active voice.
Tweeting, “Sign up for our free pest control event next week” would be using passive voice. While both communicate the same message, one is more relatable and more likely to receive a response.
Think of relatability in terms of being able to have a conversation with your audience. If someone can respond to your post with a simple yes or no answer (in the passive voice example above, for instance), it’s probably not very relatable.
What you want is the ability for someone to ask a question or start a conversation based on your social media post (“When is the event? Can I bring a guest? How much is it to register?”).
And remember that if someone tweets at you directly or comments on a Facebook post, you should respond. Have someone in your office send a quick message back to them letting them know you heard them. If you can, provide an answer to their question directly on your social media channel.
It’s also important to remember that social media isn’t all about gaining a certain number of followers, likes, or shares. There are many users who engage with channels that provide specific benefits.
For example, you could share compelling data, industry statistics, intriguing facts or even survey results that your audience might find interesting. If those facts also link back to your website in some way, that’s even better. (The more you can point people back to your website, the more results you’ll see.)
You could also target your posts toward giveaways, product offers, or other discounts. Studies show that 94% of people follow brands on Twitter in order to receive deals and offers and 79% of Facebook users like a company to receive discounts or promotions.
But value doesn’t have to be directly related to sales. You could also offer value by live streaming an event on your channel so users don’t have to click elsewhere. You could also live stream answers to customer questions or give users a behind the scenes look into your industry.
Social media is also a great way to test out new products or services. You could unveil a new product and offer discounts to social media followers if they engage with you through a follow, like, or comment.
The goal shouldn’t be just to talk about your business – it should be to figure out what your users want and then offer it to them in a simple and friendly way.
The point of social media isn’t necessarily about promotion. It’s about connection. However, you can promote your business through that connection by offering something of value to your audience in a relatable way.
If possible, use your social channels as a way to address industry topics and trends (remember to search for the topics first, don’t assume you know what they’re talking about) and present yourself as an expert.
Use an active voice as much as possible (“I will,” “We will,” etc.) so that users know they’re talking to a person and not a robot.
Most of all, have fun with it. Don’t see social media as a chore, but rather view it as an opportunity to build real relationships with your customer audience, even if it’s just in 140-character tweets.