If you’ve grappling with whether or not your business should be on social media, we’re here to answer that burning question with a resounding YES. It is absolutely essential for landscape lighting businesses—contractors, electricians, landscape lighting designers, distributors, you name it—to not only have social media accounts, but active ones with new and relevant content added each week, and to consider advertising on one or more platforms. In this blog, we’ll share our industry insights on social media strategy and help you learn from our personal experiences. Here are our two biggest takeaways. First, it all comes down to brand visibility, awareness, and influence—staying top-of-mind when buyers are ready to make their purchase and being present for them to review and research your products, services, and company culture, which they use to validate you as a company and their own purchasing decisions. The other top takeaway is: Facebook is king, yielding the best results for the lowest ad spend. Let’s shine some light on this area and review the top four reasons why social media is integral for businesses in the outdoor lighting industry.
One of the biggest benefits of using social media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin, are the incredible metrics, analysis, and targeting tools available to make sure you are exposing your brand to the right audience at the right time. You can simply set advertising filters based on demographics, including age, gender, location, purchasing behavior, interests, hobbies, and income. It’s scary how unbelievably molecular you can get! It’s one of the cheapest ways to advertise effectively, and we’re advocates of it, especially on Facebook. In fact, Facebook is where we have found our target audience to be. Today, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults report that they are Facebook users, according to Pew Research, and about 75 percent of these users say they visit Facebook daily and more than 50 percent say they log on several times a day. This is some serious opportunity for brand awareness and to stay top-of-mind. Further, according to the Pew study, it is the social media platform with the highest rate of adoption by those earning $75,000 or more annually.
According to Forbes, more than 80 percent of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by the people they follow on social media and their posts. Hubspot, the popular inbound marketing platform, supports this statistic, noting that consumers are 71 percent more likely to buy something based on social media referrals (what they see on social media); and Business Insider found that Facebook makes up 50 percent of those social referrals. Finally, according to a Gartner research, nearly 85 percent of millennials say user-generated content from strangers has some influence on what they buy.
Validation & Getting on the Bandwagon
Stay competitive. Your competition is on social media, so you should be, too. Not only that, you need to be setting the standard. More than 70 million businesses are active on Facebook, and more than 5 million of these businesses are implementing paid Facebook advertising as part of their overall marketing strategy. Oh, and nearly 96 percent of social media marketers report that Facebook offers the best ROI (return on investment, i.e. best bang for your buck) than any other social media platform. Further, more and more users view Facebook as a validation tool. “If you aren’t on Facebook, are you really a business? Are you legitimate?” Don’t let there be a question. Create an active account and make sure to populate it with fresh content each week! There’s nothing worse than an empty, abandoned, or outdated page! Then, take it a step further, and make sure to respond to public and private messages in a timely fashion. This is another mode of customer service communication after all!
Research & Reviews
Potential buyers are also doing more social media-based research. Forty percent of all mobile users are searching for a local business or interest on social media, but what is even more telling and compelling is the fact that Facebook users are paying attention and reading Facebook reviews and using it as part of their purchasing decisions, according to Forbes. Therefore, it is important to solicit excellent reviews, monitor your ratings, and be on top of any negative feedback and respond quickly and accordingly.
Network Your Social Network
As you can see, Facebook—and many social media platforms—are powerful tools that help you target your audience with a measured approach. It helps showcase your work, stand out from the competition, and positively influence purchasing decisions. Tapping into social networking is an excellent and cost-effective way to create brand awareness and employee advertising that works. We recognize that social media content creation and customer service—also known as community engagement—is a full-time job. So we recommend starting small. Pick one platform—ahem, Facebook—and once you get a handle on that, then consider branching out and dipping your toes in LinkedIn or Instagram. Good luck, and get networking!