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Ten steps to social media marketing success

Fiona Pavely gives her take on the world of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Once a simple nice-to-have and a convenient way to keep in touch with friends and family we hadn’t seen in a while, social media today is an essential marketing tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes. For companies in the home, interiors and flooring sectors in particular, the online world of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest is the place to be and be seen.

Social media as a selling tool
While nothing can ever really replace being able to browse flooring options in person to find the perfect match, the initial search and increasingly the entire purchase now happens online. It’s fair to say that consumers are very often swayed by what they may have pinned on their Pinterest board when it comes decorating their home. And Instagram Stories and Facebook posts showing the latest flooring trends in real-life homes inspire people to create the look themselves.

Recent figures suggest that at least 75% of consumers purchase products as a direct result of seeing them on social media. In the UK, as many as 85% of consumers engage with adverts on the main platforms, with over half of them spending at least two hours a day scrolling through Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. It makes good marketing sense then that as a business, you go where your customers are to build awareness of your service and to persuade people to buy your products.

But is it enough to just create a page on Facebook and post the occasional story on Instagram? Social media algorithms are constantly changing, challenging the way people interact with the platforms and encouraging businesses to spend money on advertising to gain traction. Even then, posting sporadically, without a strategy in place is unlikely to be effective. Paying for followers won’t be impactful either, as without sharing content of value and that is of interest to your ideal audience, the followers you reach won’t be your target audience.

How can you make the most of social media marketing for your business?
Our 10-point plan will set you on the right track…
1) Have a goal in mind. What direction do you want your platforms to grow in? Establish a clear idea of the kind of content you want to share and think about the direction you want your platforms to grow. This will give you a purpose and stop you sharing content aimlessly.
2) Choose the right platforms. It’s not necessary to be on all of them, so focus on the ones that are used by your target audience. Pinterest is a huge hit with interior designers, for example, while Instagram is the first port of call for many consumers when they’re searching for home decoration inspiration.
3) Let your customers know you’re there. Some platforms, including Facebook, let you invite your own friends to like your page, which is fine if they are also your target audience, but you should be letting your customers know where to find you too. Including your social handles in email campaigns and on your website is a good way to spread the word.
4) Optimise your profile. This is as simple as making sure your ‘about us’ section is up to date, with relevant key words included to ensure you’re searchable. Make sure any images are of good quality and relevant too, so that it looks professional and gives a good first impression.
5) Create a plan. Post regularly and relevantly, by planning ahead with a marketing schedule. This will give you time to create quality content and will ensure that what you are posting is in line with any promotions or other marketing that you may be running.
6) Keep things fresh. Content that is fresh, new and exciting is best at cutting through the noise of your competition and encouraging your followers to engage, like and share. Create content that is bespoke to you and your business to stop the scroll. Ask questions, encourage comments, and catch the eye with visual content such as videos or a photo montage. Don’t be afraid to experiment – it’s the best way to find out what appeals to your target audience, and what doesn’t.
7) Don’t sell, sell, sell. People don’t like to be sold to, especially on social media. Be creative rather than intrusive.
8) Look for a hook. Trending hashtags are a powerful way of expanding your reach and gain new followers. But approach them with caution – make sure you only interact with hashtags and post about topics that are relevant to your business and of interest to your ideal customers.
9) Be social. The clue is in the name, after all. The algorithms reward engagement so create conversations and interact with others. Responding positively to comments and answering messages lets your audience know who you are and makes them feel like you care about them.
10) Learn from your mistakes. An important part in building a strong social media presence is knowing what works and what doesn’t work for you as a business. Making use of built-in analytics or using listening tools means you can get a glimpse at what your audience likes most, and can help you measure against the targets you’ve set.
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