When I consult with small businesses about their Digital Media Strategies, I’m often met with hesitations like:
- I’m just doing my job – and while I’m passionate about it, I don’t know who else would be!
- Some aspects of my business are icky – do people want to see that?
When we look at how the Social Media revolution is changing our lives, it can’t be only nail-salons, wedding planners, major brands and celebrities who benefit from the new channels to reach their audiences.
Social Media offers an incredible chance to communicate with our customers. Small businesses have a big advantage over large corporations because talking to their end customers is on the core of their business model.
But what if you have a business that is very ordinary – or even one that no one really wants to think about?
In a Facebook group I recently joined, I met Scott Glaze from Arab Termite & Pest Control of Kokomo, Inc. Kokomo is a small town of about 60,000, just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. Scott is the VP of Arab Pest Services, which has 21 associations across the USA.
Pest control is not something we want to think about and yet – I would call Scott’s firm with any pest control question I had because of their great presence on the digital platforms I spend my time on.
I had the pleasure of recording a Google+ Hangout with Scott last week and below I have split out the most important parts up for you.
Arab’s main benefit from being on Social Media is brand recognition.
Anybody that has an insect related issue needs to think about Arab first.
It’s going well – it’s not like the phone is ringing off the hook with people that say “I saw you on Facebook,” but we get decent feedback from it.
People that want to take care of their insect problems on their own are also welcome to get expert advice on Scott’s channels.
Being on multiple networks meant that Scott ran out of time to maintain an effective Social Media Presence.
When he realized this, he hired the Social Media consultant Carly Alyssa Thorne to create content, and service the online community.
Social Media has replaced much of Arab’s traditional advertising.
For a fraction of the cost of renting a billboard, Arab now reaches their audience more directly.
As with most established businesses, the most sales are generated by referrals from happy customers.
So, what would a pest control business post about?
Social Media is not a replacement for a non-fiction book – it’s more like a magazine or a TV station. We get information wrapped in entertainment.
What I like best about Arab’s Social Media presence is the amazing images posted on the channels. Mostly these are outstanding photos from the insect world and some are a bit scary!
Scott had this experience:
55% of our followers are female – they don’t really like images of spiders and bugs. So we throw in a colourful gecko or a glass-wing butterfly.
There are 4 main things I learned from Scott’s testimony:
- People want to deal with people they trust, not advertising machines
- Not all content shared needs to be 100% serious and educational to be effective
- Effective Social Media use increases brand recognition, and the savings on traditional marketing can be more important than short-term sales
- Consistent Social Media management takes time and energy. Sometimes it is more efficient to adjust staffing or hire outside help
Please share your experiences with promoting your small business online!