Retail always seems to be the center of conversation when talking about the power of social marketing. With the rise of influencer marketing, product placement and promotion has taken on a life of its own, so we get it. Self-made celebrities are unboxing products, recommending hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales, and getting paid for honest reviews on social media. The average consumer has become the new advertising executive. What you may not realize is that your service-based business can also benefit from social networking sites — you just might be focusing on the wrong ones.
The top five social networking sites for service marketing brands focus on geography-driven platforms or sites that connect service providers to users. That isn’t to say that you brand can’t benefit from other forms of social media; but if you can only invest in a few, these are your best bets.
1. Yelp: The most important social media platform for service providers is Yelp. This user-driven review site has become the gold standard for happy customers to share their experiences about local businesses and an honest snapshot of how these business are delivering service. Although many of the reviews focus on restaurants and hospitality, service-based businesses are also heavily represented. Because Yelp allows users to search based on geographic proximity, linking your business to the site not only helps increase your reputation as past customers’ post reviews, but helps new customers find you and identify your brand as a trusted, local partner.
2. Google+: You might be surprised to see Google+ make the cut on any relevant list about social networking sites. Consumers are not using this platform for … well …anything. However, it does have its perks. When you create a Google+ account for your business and link it to your geography=verified search listing, you open up the ability for users to review you, quickly learn more about your business, and ultimately navigate to your site. If nothing else, Google still weights Plus accounts in their search algorithm and a little boost in search rankings never hurt anyone. Google is the biggest search engine in the world, so whether you love or hate the platform, your business can benefit from simply creating an account.
3. Facebook: If Yelp and Google+ help customers find your brand and understand your business’s unique value proposition, then Facebook gives you a chance to solidify your expertise and become and established voice in your industry by posting relevant content that is helpful and engaging. Because Facebook is still represents the largest active user base in the social network ecosystem, it is the first place we recommend building a presence. If you only have time to post on one social networking site, Facebook provides the best bang for your buck thanks to the site’s new business rating and geo-based recommendation features.
4. Angie’s List: Although Angie’s List, and similar review sites such as Thumbtack, don’t always come to mind when thinking about social networking, service-specific review platforms are critical for service oriented businesses. Unlike Yelp, Angie’s List specifically targets service-based businesses (but ranks lower because it simply isn’t as popular). The Yellowpages are gone, but review sites are going strong. These sites increase your SEO ranking, provide transparency into your work, and help customers find you. In many ways, these sites help support your Google+ account by creating valid bank links to your business, which all work together to increase your local searchability and presence in Google Maps.
5. Handy: Handy, and it’s competitor Tackl, are a new entrant into the social networking realm. Unlike traditional social sites, these platforms allow users to book directly with service providers for household needs such as repairs, cleaning, and painting. Although every industry isn’t represented in this model, it’s important to realize that these types of platforms are allowing businesses to participate in the ever-growing sharing economy in a way they previously could not. These sites are becoming more widespread and popular across industries and we predict it will be one of the biggest growing trends as digital natives search for and choose people and brands they do business with.
It isn’t always possible (or even valuable) to be on every social media site out there; go ahead and click here to learn more about our social and digital marketing services. We use social media as part of our clients’ targeted, multi-platform marketing strategies so they can maximize their marketing spend and help all their channels work seamlessly together. So, are you ready to get social with us?