You can brag about follower counts but likes alone —don’t translate into purchases.
These 17 small businesses have figured out a Social Media strategy. Minus the marketing Oz behind the emerald curtain. (Wizard of Oz reference, FYI). Social Media is one of those "the best things in life are free" for small businesses. It doesn't cost much but time & creativity to start seeing results. And captivating your ideal clients like Dorothy’s ruby red shoes.
You can create an online presence, locally, globally or even worldwide in a few clicks. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We first, must draw in the people who need your service. And that takes more than hopping on an app and posting, "I'm open for business".
How do you sell an intangible product online?
These service-based businesses have uncovered a strategy that works for their brand and sanity. In return, they’ve closed more deals and exploded their online/offline influence. Pay attention to what’s said here, they’ve given up their best-kept Social Media secret to help more businesses (like you) score the same results.
They've discovered how to promote, grow the brand and engage with their audience because another FYI —profits happen more often when you’re NOT selling at all.
You won’t be hearing from me until the end, I’ll let these 17 service-based businesses tell you for themselves.
“You can use social media to turn strangers into friends, friends into customers and customers into salespeople.”— Seth Godin
PROMOTE LE BRAND
“Social media can be tricky, if you're just going to post random pictures and the same ole-same ole do not waste your time there's too much noise out there.” - Bryan Clayton
STOP! Before You Post:
"Social media can be tricky, if you're just going to post random pictures and the same ole-same ole do not waste your time there's too much noise out there. However, if you're going to invest time to make something new, funny, or informative people will pay attention to it. We created a meme account specifically focused for the lawn care industry on our Instagram. It's one of the only accounts dedicated to poking fun at the lawn care industry and the nuances that go along with it. We have grown our following base to over 10,000 and people love the funny memes we make related to the lawn care industry. It's a good way to build awareness about GreenPal and our community of lawn care services that are ready to hire at the touch of a button.” Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal the Uber for Lawn Care
“Instagram has been such a useful marketing tool for us. We’ve been using high-end photographers with thousands of followers and tagging them in our posts and have seen results with more followers and likes on certain photos. Instagram is one powerful, free tool. All you need is the manpower behind it to make it succeed!” Carly Moore, PR Manager, Bond Collective
“A huge part of my brand revolves around promoting my versatile personality, energy, and style.” - Jam Gamble
Be Y.O.U. All Of The Time:
“A huge part of my brand revolves around promoting my versatile personality, energy, and style. Being a self proclaimed #SlayerofTheMic it's imperative that I use Twitter and Instagram to post videos of me in action: public speaking, performing at events, and connecting with my audience/potential clients. I'm getting BOOKED! The amount of booking requests I've received when my potential client says, "Honestly, your energy is off the charts! I've heard you’re the woman for the job —just from what I've seen via social media.” They've even started to use my hashtag! #SlayerofTheMic. Now that's success. “ - Jam Gamble #SlayerofTheMic and Connector of People, Ideas, and Energy
Host a Contest:
“Currently, Twitter is the number one platform I'm using. Not only is it great for reaching new audiences, but it has also proven useful for building relationships with media and influencers, which has helped get my site's name out there more. As for growing my audience, I've recently found offering relevant giveaways to be a great means of reaching new followers. Last month, we did a gift card giveaway that ran a month long. One of the ways to enter was to follow us on Twitter (@CutCableToday), which netted us 200 new followers. I plan on continuing our giveaway strategy and eventually expanding to Facebook.” - Chris Brantner, founder of CutCableToday.com
Find Your Place In The Social World:
“I find podcasting on BlogTalkRadio, and putting out an e-newsletter through Constant Contact are the most powerful social media tools for my business. LinkedIn gives me the chance to connect with my target audience and position myself as a thought leader. Podcasting allows me a greater reach and connects me to leaders around the world. It also helps me build relationships with other gurus around the world. These relationships have led to my inclusion in online webinars, summits, and programs.” - Diane Helbig, Growth Accelerator
GROW LE BRAND
“Many friends and colleagues told me I shouldn't bother using paid advertising and I should just 'hustle' in online forums, groups and communities to find paying clients. But I made the decision early on that I didn't have time for that.” - Amanda Davies
Don’t Believe The Hype:
“Facebook is without doubt the most powerful marketing tool around. I have grown my business as a solopreneur to multiple 6-figures in just over 12 months by using Facebook advertising alone. Many friends and colleagues told me I shouldn't bother using paid advertising and I should just 'hustle' in online forums, groups and communities to find paying clients. But I made the decision early on that I didn't have time for that (I was still working in my 9-5 job at that stage) and it's unsustainable if you want to grow and scale your business to mighty levels. Using highly targeted ads that are put in front of the right people at the right time, has grown my list by thousands of customers and sold out my programs. The financial results speak for themselves. You also have the ability to re-target potential customers who have already shown an interest in your business, which puts you ahead of the game to an even greater scale. The power is in the targeting.” - Amanda Davies, Psychologist + Coach at lightpurposeliving.com
“There are 40 million active small business pages but only 2 million of those businesses pay for advertising.”
Give The People What They Want:
“Facebook is successful for us because of the visual nature of photos and videos. It allows us to engage with a target audience of Disney and travel lovers across the country. Our main Facebook page has 120,000 organic likes and well over 1,000,000 post likes. The interaction that occurs helps us build a relationship with our “fans” thus creating a virtual bond. One of the things we do that is showing results is being relevant. We’re one of the first on the web to announce any BIG Disney theme park news. It gives us credibility and our Facebook page becomes the place to be to find out the latest and greatest news. Additionally, we ask our fans what they want more of. Catering to them is important as opposed to merely guessing what they want.” Greg Antonelle, Mickey Travels LLC
“A high click-through rate is often more valuable than "likes" or comments. Tips, FAQs, and informational articles that are of incredible value to families everywhere are posted on our Facebook fan page.” - Simplify Experts
Value on Value on Value:
“Over the past year, over 15% of their web traffic has come from Facebook, where we post regularly. Although engagement and followership on Facebook isn't huge, a lot of Facebook users that see the content click through to the website. A high click-through rate is often more valuable than "likes" or comments. Tips, FAQs, and informational articles that are of incredible value to families everywhere are posted on the fan page. So our general strategy is: write relevant, quality blog content, share that content through social media channels where your customers already live, and get them to want to visit your website to read on.” Simplify Experts, Professional Organizers
“We regularly ask our clients to post reviews and this practice has produced measurably results.” - Matthew Weiss
Let Them Eat Cake:
“Many prospective clients will use Google/Yelp/Facebook to find and vet our services. Having many positive reviews stationed there gives us a competitive advantage. The most powerful word in the English language is "ask? We regularly ask our clients to post reviews and this practice has produced measurably results. We "push" our reviews URL to prospective clients that are considering retaining us.” Matthew Weiss, President of Weiss & Associates, PC
From Local to Worldwide:
"Twitter is the only completely open platform where anyone can see my posts. To grow my reach, credibility, and mailing list, I use key hashtags on tweets of my blog articles and I run the weekly #PeopleSkills global Twitter chat which trends every Sunday. Hosting a Twitter chat has helped to show my expertise. I leverage the chat and all my Twitter activity for workshop announcements and for my upcoming book and associated workshops on leadership and morale. The open design of Twitter is the greatest no cost neon sign ever invented." - Kate Nasser, President, CAS, Inc., The People Skills Coach™
“Posting consistently has been key to engagement growth.” - Kunle Bristow
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop:
"Instagram is by far my favorite platform. I create memes that relay news that will happen 5 years into the future or forecasts what will happen within 20 years. Instead of what's in the news today. In addition to providing commentary on our human future —I also re-purpose these memes on Twitter and that has increased my engagement on both platforms. Posting consistently has been key to engagement growth and I have seen an increase in my (website) opt-ins as we continue to tape episodes of our web television series Futurism Weekly." - Kunle Bristow, Managing Director / Anchor Futurism Weekly
ENGAGE LE AUDIENCE
Networking Social After-Party:
“We have a ruthless social media connection policy. As a busy networking professional attending daily real-life events, we insist on connecting with a new contact on ALL their social media platforms WITHIN TWELVE HOURS. Why? We've identified this as the ideal window for facial recognition leading to smooth professional connections. Using this approach, we've been able to massively boost our outreach, particularly on LinkedIn, with demonstrable and quantifiable successes coming out of this approach. Continuing the conversation on Social Media within this time span, we've struck while the iron is hot. So far, I can think of four deals that have come out of this. Sometimes, it's difficult to come home from a networking event and have to spend time connecting - but I've seen the results. They're real. This policy is bearing fruit.” Sarah Sajedi, Director of Research & Development at ERA Environmental Solutions
“Breaking the post length rules.” - Janis Isaman
Break The Rules:
“On my Facebook page, I can post articles and lengthier opinions that accentuate a point of view and my voice. Breaking the post length rules as most of my posts are "too long". But the longer they are, the more engagement improves.” - Janis Isaman, My Body Couture movement specialist & coach
“Rather than using the machine gun approach, spamming hundreds of people and hoping a small percentage reply, the one thing we do is contact directly, with a thoughtful and very personalized message.” - Steve Acho
Don’t Be A Spam Bot:
“LinkedIn has by far been the best social platform for our B2B technology staffing company. Like all good social platforms, it allows one to get deep context for other professionals, including showing mutual connections. Rather than using the machine gun approach, spamming hundreds of people and hoping a small percentage reply, the one thing we do that has shown the best results is take the time to target specific people, and contact directly, with a thoughtful and very personalized message. It’s extremely time-consuming to do well, but last month I went from cold email to contract with a $4B company in 24 hours.” Steve Acho, Founder & CEO of a technology staffing tool company
Another LinkedIn Maneuver...
“LinkedIn is the best means ever created to help OTHER people look good in the context of business. Instead of lauding my own accomplishments, I use LinkedIn to highlight those who book me to speak at their conferences or events, as well as friends and colleagues in business who are accomplishing great things. Start highlighting other people (be sure you tag them to let them know) via LinkedIn, and watch your likes, shares, and comments grow.” - Spencer X Smith, Speaker
“I primarily use Instagram to promote my massage therapy studios in Brooklyn. Instagram is awesome because you can geolocate new potential clients by searching for nearby images recently (publicly) posted. It has become a great place for us to look for clients including: local gyms, yoga studios, Pilates studios, etc. We know these are our ideal clients because they care about their health, active, local, and likely sore from working out so hard. We reach out by writing words of encouragement and support on their gym selfies or progress pics. Which feel personal and at the same time let them know that we are here for them if they need us! This has resulted in tons of new clients for my studios (we only opened a few months ago).” Rachel Beider, Massage Expert CEO of Massage Williamsburg
“I get new followers all the time that are actually organically interested in my brand.” - Luna Matatas
Organic Reach Is Not Dead:
“My brand is colourful and friendly - Instagram allows me to project these flavours through my photos on the platform. It keeps the visual attraction of my brand and content in tact. The followers on Instagram seem to be more responsive then other platforms, so I get new followers all the time that are actually organically interested in my brand. While my follower count is low, each of those followers are meaningful. I use the platform with customer service principles in mind. If someone sees a workshop they want to take and comments “omg I want to go to this”, I respond directly to their comment on the page and invite them to DM me to order. Instead of sending them to the registration form on my website. This interaction feels personal. The fact that I'm offering a service that is sensitive and shame-prone, building a personal connection encourages people to feel safer. The PR part of my marketing is more important to me at this stage than solely basing my marketing decisions on reach.” - Luna Matatas, Sexpert
Follow The Yellow Brick Road...
After hearing from over 100 business owners (in the making of this article) confess their favorite platform of tried & true strategies, I am exhausted but most importantly —thankful for those who shared their online marketing secrets. THE RESULTS ARE IN Social Media is your best chance at reaching the people who need YOU, my precious.
Your Turn: What’s the #1 platform you use and what (one thing) are you doing that is showing results --mighty or tiny?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey-O, you got through the list! 🎈*Celebratory dance in your honor* I am Tennile Cooper of sheisepic.com, helping business owners put their passion on the page to stand out online as a Digital Strategy Copywriter. Swipe my free list of bad buzzwords to keep off your Social Media timeline and other gadgets. Or say Hey-O on Twitter (@TennileCooper). All I tweet are GIFs.