Social Media - Working for you?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I don't see any value to Twittter, and I try to keep my Facebook presence more limited to friends and family. Though I have 'friended' some Lawnsite folks and other colleagues, I have not friended any customers on FB.

    To me, FB is for posting photos, tell about a concert I've attended or a vacation I took, sharing opinions or recommendations for music, food, beer, films, etc. These are not usually things I share with clients, especially anything to do with politics or religion or otherwise controversial... I also don't want to expose them to a few of my friends who might not be as careful as I am about their use of language, etc.

    I do connect with clients on Linked In, and some of them have written me some nice recommendations, and some of those have led to work.

    Unlike Yelp or Angie's List, Linked In encourages you to solicit them, AND you can edit whether or not a recommendation appears on your profile.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  2. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    We also keep a presence in LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. One very useful feature is crosslinking across the three and your website blog and your press release service - post to one and a short version shows up on the others. Blogs are incredibly good for SEO.

    I would love to see some landscape lighting pros make better use of Twitter. Twitter can create celebrity if someone makes frequent interesting posts. We all live in our own reality shows but few people get to see them. Twitter is a way to share our thoughts and experiences in a real and timely way. Even if one can only post before work, during lunch and after work - that could be interesting. Imagine posting things you might share with your buds at the bar - make it real. Could be big! Takes courage.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Gregg. It is prett good practise to keep your personal and biz FB pages completely separate. Mixing the two can be counter productive. Carry on as per usual on your personal account and create a new, separate business page for clients and colleagues.

    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    I know it is not lighting related. But I use my FB page on a fairly regular basis, I will post new ideas, what expo we will be attended next, that kind of stuff. I have folks contact me asking about products, sizes, colors,etc.. I do not do a good a great job having everything on the site, cause we are selling at the expos. I see I get more likes the more I put into it. Like James said it is free advertisement.
  5. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Well, to each his own, but I can't see the value in adding to the commercial clutter, like the sponsored ads that seem to be occupying more and more of my newsfeed on FB.

    And Twitter might be very useful for Steve, but to me it would be just one more think to have to check on regularly.

    I like Instagram though.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I strongly agree with James. Not wise to use a personal facebook page as your business page. For a lot of reasons. But probably the biggest reason is that it's a total violation of FB rules. And when they catch you, they shut down the page. Now all those "friends" you worked to acquire - all the people you were engaged with - are all gone. And they aren't nice about letting you get the page back to see who they were either. You start from scratch and they ignore your requests for help. Best to just play by the rules. You might think that I had this happen to me. Nope. Just read about someone it happened to when I started my business page.

    I was always resistant to FB for the longest time as well. I don't FB personally. I think it's a total waste of time. If I wanted to keep in touch with old high school friends, people I worked with a decade ago, or long lost family members, I already would be. I don't need FB for that. But I finally realized that just because I found FB to be pretty senseless, there was a pretty huge % of the country who disagreed with me. Millions and millions of Americans use it every day, throughout the day. And it didn't make sense for our business to ignore that fact. So I finally jumped in like a year and a half ago.

    First challenge is getting fans. That's been a whole lot harder than I ever figured it would be. I just figured all of our hundreds of customers would just automatically "like" our page, once they realized we had one. Nope. Most of them didn't. So I had to come up with really creative incentives to get our clients to become fans of our page. Then, after I got as many of our existing clients to be fans, my next goal was to get more regular homeowners from my area to be fans. You see, having huge numbers of fans only really counts for anything if the fans are local people who might one day be in the market for what you are selling. If you get 500 fans but 480 of them aren't in your area, then it's just fluff. I know this one showboat landscaper in my town who has over 20,000 fans on his company facebook page. But if you ever take a look at who his fans are, they're all people from different parts of the world. Just look at the "recommendations" section over to the right of the page. It's all people from other countries. This is because in his quest to make his FB page look really popular, he went to sites like Fiverr and purchased a whole ton of fans. Problem is, 99% of these people are not from his area. So his page looks really active. But it's all a big show. 99% of his fans aren't people who live in this area and will never buy his products or services. So he's just spinning his wheels in an attempt to look like a big shot. This is an example of what NOT to do on your Facebook page.

    The real goal is to get as many local fans as you can. People that either ARE customers or are interested in becoming customers. Then the second goal is to keep them engaged.

    You can get new fans like James did - just word of mouth. But that's really slow. You won't grow your fan base really fast that way. I've got a few little things I do that help drive a few new fans to our FB page here and there too. But the main thing that has increased our local fan base is Facebook Ads. You can actually place little ads on Facebook for fairly cheaply - compared to like Google AdWords. So every few months I let our ad run for a few weeks. Every time I do, I pick up 5-10 new fans per week. And the great thing about it is I get to set the parameters on who sees my ad. So I purposely chose people who are between 30-60, people who live in the areas I service, people who are homeowners, etc. You get to set the parameters for like a dozen different demographic choices. This allows you to make sure that your ad is only seen by people that would be your ideal client. It costs money. But it's a really effective way to pick up clients. I have noticed that after about 2 weeks, the number of new fans starts to go way down. Probably just got saturated with my ad. So I wait a month or two and run it again. Then I usually get a whole new crop of likes. This has helped a lot.

    As far as have I seen results? Well, the good news is I don't really have to spend a whole ton of time on Facebook. I like to post something new (usually photos of a recent job) once or twice a week. But the reality is I'm usually far to busy to do it that often. So I sometimes just spend 10 or 20 minutes a week or less. Post a few photos, make a comment, get some likes, keep people engaged. But as far as results, it's been marginal.

    We did actually get to do a design for a large project and the client totally found us on Facebook. Unfortunately, he hasn't ever hired us since we provided him with the design and proposal. I drove by later and it appeared that he never hired anyone. So who knows. Maybe he'll call next year. But otherwise, the real benefit I've seen from it is in two ways. First, I've noticed that a lot more of my clients seem to be more engaged with our company. Checking up on us more regularly. When I talk to repeat clients I often hear them comment about how they love seeing all the photos we post on Facebook. So it sort of keeps them in the loop more regularly and I think it sort of makes them feel like their part of our cheering squad. The second thing is I get a lot of our clients who had no idea we did certain things. I get comments like, "Hey. I've been watching your posts on facebook for a while. Holy cow! You guys do some really nice work! Whole outdoor living areas?? Paver Patios??? Night Lighting???? I never knew you guys were good at that! We've been really impressed with your work." And whenever I hear that I'm thinking, "Well, where have you been? We've been doing that kind of work for years. You never went to our website???" Apparently not. It's interesting that people who never really checked us out too much before are now finding out we do all sorts of stuff they never knew we did - just from seeing our Facebook posts. And we do get work from that too. Specifically, more lighting work. I always try to post lighting jobs on there when we do them. And that always leads to more requests for lighting, even if the call was for a paver patio. They'll say, "Oh. And I don't know if we can afford it. But we've been seeing photos of the lighting work you guys do. So in addition to the bid for the patio, can you also give us an idea of how much it would cost to get a nice outdoor lighting system installed in the back yard too?" And a lot of the time we end up doing the lighting as well.

    So it helps. I wouldn't say that FB is a big % of leads by any means. If you're counting on FB to be a big source of new calls - you'll probably be disappointed. It won't be. Put your time and money and energy into figuring out how to make a great website and get it to be on page one of Google. That's where you get new calls from. I'd say Facebook is more a tool that just helps us keep our clients and potential clients engaged - so that they don't forget us. And also keeps them informed about what services we offer. A little better than our website does. Because I can make the best website in the world but my website doesn't reach out and post messages on people's FB pages. So they typically have no idea when I've changed something on the website. But on our company FB page, that's like a dynamic, always changing, website that keeps people informed all the time. It's almost better than a website in some ways. Website's good for new customers who are looking for you on the internet. Facebook is better for existing clients who you just want to stay engaged with.

    Well, I've written a book again. Sorry for that. Our facebook page is here if anyone cares to look at it;
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876


    Tim - I really like the photo you used as the main photo on your Facebook page. That just pops when the page loads. Friggin' Awesome!

    James, your page and main photo is nicely done as well.

    Ben, since you're my competitor - just don't read what I wrote in that last post. Ignore everything I said there. :laugh: J.K. Good thing we met earlier this year, huh? That Hall job's going to be a nice collaboration!

    Brandon, you got a nice FB page too! How'd you get so many fans? Are they all customers? Local people? I know it's taken me a ton of work just to break 300. So I'm impressed that you're well over the 400 mark.

  8. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Yes FB is a great way to connect with clients and find new ones. But I hate to tell you that Twitter is very beneficial for ALL businesses.

    Twitter & Google + are very beneficial for your website rankings. Search engines(like Google)read(crawl) your website to see how many times your pages have been shared. Your website is not displaying either of these ICONS.

    Just like LinkedIn & FB, you need to be a part of the conversation for them to work, right? In other words invite interest to your page or profile...and what do you always include in your profile? Your company website, which will=traffic.

    I highly suggest you make the time for both of these outlets, for your business sake. And I would also suggest not to connect FB & Twitter, because there may be info you do not want to be displayed at the same time.
  9. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    I have found that social networking is AWESOME! We have built some great relationships which have led to many referrals. I would say that about 10% of our business is coming from connections that we have made in social networks. It's also led to several write ups in magazines and papers which gives us cred, so to speak. . Right now our facebook page has over 2000 fans!
  10. ClipXE Software

    ClipXE Software LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

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