Social Media Marketing for Tree Services
Tree Services that use social media needs a social media plan. Without one, your company is just wasting its time. Would you really hire someone to design and build a magnificent sign for your business and then stick it out on some random highway somewhere? That’s what you’re doing when you’re scattershot posting on social media. Like any other media, using social media to connect with your customers and persuade them to take action requires a plan and the time and money to implement it.
Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to use fourteen different social media platforms to create a social media plan, or set aside several days. All you really need to do is make five decisions and then follow through on them.
Five decisions you need to make and follow through for a great social media plan.
- What social media is the best fit with your tree service business?
- What are your social media goals?
- How will you measure the success of your social media plan?
- What is the budget for your social media plan?
- Who is going to implement your small business’s social media plan?
Keep reading to learn how to apply these decisions to your tree service business and create a social media plan that will reach your goals and your customers.
Which Social Media is Right for your Tree Service Business?
One of the best pieces of advice about using social media for business I can give you is, you don’t have the capacity to use multiple social media for business well, so it’s important to focus on using only one or two and learning to use them well. This is the first step of your social media plan.
Which One or Two Social Media Should You Pick?
That’s easy. The ones your target market is using.
You see, different social media appeals to different audiences. LinkedIn, for instance, is the biggest network of business professionals and Linkedin is the leading social media channel for B2B marketers; If your Tree Service business works with property managers or maintenance departments it may be a good fit.
Instagram is mostly used by young people aged 18 – 34; I see many tree care companies on Instagram, but it can be hard to pull any business off Instagram for tree care professionals. If you do use Instagram, my advice is to have a branded image with a theme. It can work with the right hashtags and location plan.
Pinterest users are mainly women (accounting for 81% of users in 2018). Pinterest can be good if you are looking to gain website traffic and although not a major factor, posting to Pinterest can gain you a little SEO juice.
Both Facebook and Twitter have a much more equally divided gender base of users, although Twitter has a much higher percentage of college users and Twitter’s users are generally younger.
Basically, all you have to do to pick the “right” social media for your business is find out which ones your target market is using.
How to Find Out Which Social Media Your Customers Are Using (H2)
One way to find out which social media your customers and/or potential customers are using is to ask them. It’s easy enough to create a little survey that you can use in your email billing or as I like to do have a customer care survey to collect some data. If your website gets a fair bit of traffic, you can set one up online. SurveyMonkey is one tool you can use to create web-based surveys. Entice people to participate with a prize draw or other tangible benefit.
You can also search online. One of the fastest ways is to use a site such as PeekYou if the person is in the U.S. ; enter a person’s first name, last name and location (state) and PeekYou will compile a report of their online presence. You can see what social networks they use for free. Another way is to do a Google image search for the person; click on the person’s image and then click through to the page. Usually it will be a social media profile shot that you can then use to track other social media that the person uses. Often, for instance, people use the same username for all their accounts, so once you get the user name, it’s easy to find them.
Word of caution: Don’t be a creep or stalk any customer or prospect.
Step 1 of your social media plan.
Once you know where they are, be selective: you’re only going to use the top one or two. If the social media you’ve chosen is new to you, you should set aside time to play around with them and get to know them before you do anything further (ideally by setting up and using a personal account rather than whatever account you’re going to use for your business, so you don’t accidentally poison the well).
What Are Your Social Media Goals?
Now that you’ve decided which social media you’re going to use, you need to decide what your purpose is for being there. For business, social media can be used for the same purposes as any other marketing channel; it’s how the goal is pursued that’s different; not the goal itself. You can, for instance, use social media to:
- Increase your referrals or leads
- Build your word-of-mouth
- Increase product sales
- Become known as an expert or thought-leader
- Drive traffic to your website or blog
- Develop new products or services
- Provide customer service
In other words, you can use social media to pursue and achieve any traditional business goal you can think of. The trick, as you’ll see in the next step, is to make sure you have chosen a goal that you can measure.
The other trick is to pick only one or two goals and make sure that they are complementary. Using social media to provide customer service, for instance, requires a very different implementation than using social media to drive traffic to a website or blog. Providing excellent customer service, though, may be a goal that fits nicely with developing service if you’re able to develop that level of engagement from your followers.
Remember, for now, one or two goals are enough. You need to be focused so you are able to consistently execute your social media plan. Other goals/good things may happen incidentally, but races are not won by people meandering around.
Social Media Goal Setting Tips
As always when goal setting, your social media goals need to be relevant, actionable and achievable.
Don’t set stupid social media goals. Your social media goals have to have a demonstrable relationship to your business strategy. I can’t tell you how many businesses proudly regale me with their stories of social media success – and then reveal that their social media success is just… well… social. Getting 3,000 Facebook likes or 8,000 Twitter followers is nice but as a business goal, it’s just silly. What’s the value of a Facebook fan?
Zero – unless you can prove that he or she is actually using your service or referring you to others.
Step 2 of your social media plan.
Think. Prioritize. Write down your social media goals. Make them as specific as possible. Not “Facebook will get new customers” but “Facebook will increase leads from new customers. Goal of 10 messages per and drive 30 website visitors a month”
See Goal Setting: Your Guide to Setting Goals for more help with setting goals. (Link)
How Will You Measure the Success of Your Social Media Plan?
This is a step that small business owners often leave out when they’re trying to create a social media plan, but it’s one of the most important.
Generally, social media success has to be measured by the same yardstick as any other marketing effort; cost and Return on Investment (ROI). That’s why it’s so critical that you have chosen social media goals that you can measure.
To make measuring your social media ROI easier, your small business needs a website. (Having a business website also gives your social media followers a destination; your website is the hub for all your online and off line business marketing.)
Once you have a website for your tree service, you can use Google Analytics, a free tool that lets you track and analyze various website, mobile and social media application data. Using the goals feature in Google Analytics makes it simple to see if and how your site engagement goals are being met, for instance.
(There are other tools that you could use.)
One thing you may want to do is use the information gathered to compare results across marketing channels. In other words, to see, if you’re using Facebook and YouTube to try to achieve the same marketing goal, which one is providing the best bang for the buck – just as you would do if you were measuring the ROI of marketing campaigns using traditional media, such as comparing the ROI of a campaign of ad spots on Google with a series of newspaper ads or EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail).
What metrics are you using to measure your success?
In a survey by The Manifest in 2018, 20% of business owners said engagement was the most important metric while 19 percent chose audience growth. Other important metrics for small business owners and managers included clicks to website at 16%, leads or conversions at 15%, number of posts at 13% and reach at 12%.
Step 3 of your social media plan.
Set up/create a business website if you don’t have one and install the tool(s) you’re going to use to measure your social media goals. Use them religiously once you start putting your social media plan into action.
What Is the Budget for Your Social Media Plan?
Fifty percent of SMBs spend less than $300 per month on online marketing while 47% of small business owners handle marketing efforts on their own.
Not that either of these things are a good idea. Make no mistake; there are no freebies when it comes to social media for business.
Organic reach is almost dead and if you’re going to develop a social media presence for your small business, you will spend money to have someone else do it or you will spend money to do it yourself.
Even if you think you’re doing it for free because using Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest is free and there is all manner of free tools out there to make using social media easier and better, you’re not, because your time is worth money, too.
You need a social media budget. How much? Well hopefully, you already have a marketing budget for your small business so your budget for your social media plan will be a percentage of this.
I do not recommend that any tree service company use only social media to market itself. I’m emphasizing this point because small businesses have a tendency to latch onto anything labeled as “free” and there’s been a lot of buzz about how social media marketing can be a low-cost alternative to traditional advertising. It is not.
Your small business marketing should always be comprised of a marketing mix because there’s no single marketing channel that will reach all of your potential customers or clients.
One other part of your marketing mix that you need to include in your marketing budget is your Tree Service website because using social media to market your small business without having a website is like trying to drag race without a driver.
What Else Should You Use to Market Your Small Business?
What the rest of the marketing mix is depends, in large part, on your target market and revenue goals. For Tree Service businesses this could be or should be Google Ads and SEO. Plus, a monthly newsletter to keep your business top of mind with past customers, get more referrals and reviews too. Don’t think a direct mail campaign to an area with a lot of homes and big trees is out of date. I pull great results as the awareness or initial phase of the marketing funnel with postcards for my clients.
My general advice? Choose the amount of money you’re comfortable with spending on marketing – and then double it. I’ve yet to meet the small business owner that’s spending anywhere near what they should be spending on marketing! I would spend $1,000 to $2,000 a month every month to gross $30,000 to $40,000 and you should too.
Step 4 of your social media plan.
Review your marketing plan (and marketing budget) and integrate your social media plan into it.
Don’t have a marketing plan?
Writing the Marketing Plan will lead you through the process.
Who Is Going to Implement Your Tree Care Business Social Media Plan? (
Before you tell me that you’re going to implement your social media plan yourself, tell me how many free hours you have in a week.
Uh huh. Tell the truth and be honest with yourself.
Can you be consistent week after week coming up with content to post. Content that moves people through your sales pipeline.
In a presentation given at a Social Media Success Summit, one speaker said that he spent 20 minutes a day Monday to Friday to monitor, comment on and update the social media he uses and another two hours once a week to update the company blog. That’s three hours and 40 minutes per week and he didn’t mention making his monthly newsletter, doing any SEO or posting to his Google My Business.
Note: I spend on average 6-8 hours per week per client. This includes running Facebook and Google Ads.
Plus, he added, you should set aside eight to ten hours for the initial learning curve phase of each social media platform you decide to work with and be aware that any social media campaigns you undertake will need additional bursts of time. This includes creating ads and a sales funnel.
Even if you have or can free up those hours now, can you do it next week? Next month? All year long? Every social media platform is cluttered with abandoned profiles.
I was doing research on one county here in New Jersey for all the tree services. Out of the 31 tree services, there were 23 abandoned Facebook pages.
That’s not to say that you can’t use social media for business yourself and implement your own social media plan. It’s just that if you are thinking of doing this, you need to be aware of the time and consistency demands.
From experience, the hardest part is coming up with fresh content. The time-consuming part is making images or video for each post. A picture tells a thousand words, are your images telling the right story?
There are an increasing number of tools that can be used to automate your social media posts but creating posts and setting them to drip still takes time. Contractor Marketing Network uses Buffer for all our social media publishing. Along with some other third-party apps, these help schedule and monitor your social media accounts.
Some businesses get around this problem by assigning various staff to do their social media. If you do this, remember that the cost of staff doing social media is not only their salary or wages but the cost of whatever else they could have been doing in the time they’re now spending on monitoring, commenting and posting.
If you don’t have staff to assign, it’s easy to hire someone to put your social media plan into action and manage your small business’s social media efforts. If you don’t have the time now or suspect you won’t later, this is the route to social media success you should take. Incomplete or amateur social media efforts can hurt your small business. Big gaps in posting lose momentum and followers.
Step 5 of your social media plan.
Think seriously about your time commitments and decide whether or not you want to personally take on the task of putting your social media plan for your business into action. If the answer is “Yes,” you’re going to be the one to do it, go back to your first decision about which social media you’re going to use, pick one, and start becoming familiar with how it works. Once you know this, you’ll be ready to start figuring out how to use that social media to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your social media plan.
If the answer is “No”, then it’s time to get the search underway to find a person or company that will be able to effectively implement your social media plan for you.
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