In our post about identifying your woodworking market, we touched on three major points that we feel should be thoroughly examined and consistently reexamined to ensure you know exactly who your target market is. In the third point we briefly discussed how to reach your market, and we believe social media platforms can be crucial benefactors. Here are 8 suggestions we would like to discuss that will improve your social media engagement and experience.
1. Choose Your Platforms Wisely
Not all social media platforms are created equal, and deciding which platforms will be a waste of time and which will benefit your business should be determined by whom your target market is. Check out this blog by Blue Corona that looks at the top five social media platforms and how they can benefit your woodworking business. Using social media as a form of promotion and public engagement cannot be ignored. Social media is the only free way to daily promote and engage with potential customers from all over the world; and it only takes a little time out of your day. Facebook alone has 1.45 billion daily active users, and Instagram has over 500 million. Believe it or not, over one third of the world has a social media account and the potential for sharing your wood products and woodworking services has never been this vast.
2. Thoroughly Set Up Accounts
Setting up your social media accounts is more than just posting a profile photo and some basic info. This is your opportunity to share who you are (or who your business is) and link to your appropriate websites, blogs etc. It is also your opportunity to set up activity notifications, page roles and depending on the platform, page structure. Including the correct contact information, addresses, appropriate hashtags, and staying conscious of your keywords, will all play a role in thoroughly setting up your social media pages. Some platforms such as Facebook offer the opportunity to verify your page, which can tremendously help your page get noticed and have maintained validity. Check out this blog by Social Nicole on why you should verify your Facebook page. We feel that another major step in setting up your accounts is making sure your profile and header images are sized correctly. ShareThis has a great cheat sheet with the correct image sizes for different social media platforms. First impressions matter and having high quality, correctly sized images can immediately encourage customers to have a professional opinion about your woodworking business. All in all, it’s important to fully and thoughtfully set up your social media accounts. Otherwise, you are only using them to part of their potential.
3. Create Quality Content
Your posts should be strategically thought out, high quality and engaging. Many smartphones have incredible cameras and can capture great images and videos. Couple that with engaging text, and you can have a great post in a couple of minutes. It has been said that information is the new selling, and that providing knowledge is providing value. So give your followers quality information and content they want to look at, not something they will quickly scroll past. Let your products and services sell themselves instead of constantly pushing for followers to make a purchase. People love to see the story behind a company or product, so show them. Live videos, photos and text that show your process and progress will give life to your business and draw followers into your story. The more followers feel they know you and your brand, the more likely they will be to engage with your posts and hopefully, eventually make a purchase or refer you to someone who will.
4. Engage with Followers
There are many ways to engage with followers on social media. Responding to comments, messages, reviews and page likes are obvious, but what is less obvious is engaging through your posts. Inquiring for customer opinions in your posts such as asking, “Which of these live edge tables do you like better?” is a great engaging tactic. On Instagram stories, you can now run polls, which allow customers to cast their vote and engage like never before. Another great engaging tactic is to have a giveaway. Ask followers to share your post and invite 5 friends to like your page and at a given time you will choose a winner from those who participated. You can be as creative as you desire with these engaging tactics, as long as you can deliver what you promise.
5. Post Regularly
Successfully using social media platforms for your business requires actively posting quality content. If people stumble across your social media page and see that your last post was from over a month ago, they most likely will not engage and assume that you are not actively in business. Even if the potential customer does know you are in business, the chances of them contacting you through a bland social media page are slim. Posting regularly shows your current customers and potential new customers that you are active and engaged in the community that follows you and that you will respond quickly to their inquiries.
6. Follow Others
Following other woodworkers and woodworking companies is a great way to get ideas, keep up with the market, and make sure you are staying innovative in your approach on social media. If the opportunity arises, it could also lead to mutually benefitting relationships with other woodworkers and woodworking companies. Following social media groups is also another great avenue to engage with possible customers and gain followers. Woodworking groups are often looking for people to contribute knowledge and ideas, creating the perfect platform to share your knowledge and expertise. Another fruitful practice is to follow certain hashtags relevant to your target audience and genuinely comment on posts that grab your attention. This will usually result in a response and often times a new follower. Following an account only takes a few seconds, and if you ever feel you made a mistake, it’s just as easy to unfollow.
7. Run Paid Advertisements
Although social media is free to use, sometimes it’s worth paying into. There is a reason social media advertising is forecasting at $51.3 billion USD for 2018 according to Hootsuite. Social media now offers intuitive and in-depth targeting to reach your desired audience, locally and worldwide. You can target geographic locations, interests and hobbies, music preferences, religious preferences, etc. All of the data for your campaigns can be reviewed at any time to see if changes are necessary and to keep track of your return on investment (ROI). Advertising on social media is cost effective, traceable, targeted, and can link directly to where you want your viewers to land.
8. Get on YouTube
Although YouTube is a considered a social media platform, we decided to discuss it separately from the other existing platforms due to its search power. Being the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube is a powerhouse for search data, keywords and information. Advertising on YouTube has all the power of Google AdWords and Google Analytics to monitor ad success and can be finely targeted to your preferred audience. If you don’t already have a YouTube page for your business, here is a great video that will guide you through setting one up.
Be sure to use engaging titles when posting your videos and write equally engaging descriptions. This following video is a few years old but still has some good information on writing engaging titles.
Some ideas for videos could include:
1. Tutorial (how to) videos
2. Product reviews
3. Tricks of the trade
4. Completed projects
5. Time-lapse videos
6. Delivering or using a product
7. Customer reviews
8. Tours of your facilities
9. Behind the scenes
10. New shipments
Get creative with your videos, be intentional and be sure to share your channel on your other social media pages. Once videos are on YouTube, you can post them into your website, use them in blogs, send links to customers, etc. In the online world, content is king. Google holds the crown, but YouTube visually shares the throne.
If using social media platforms seems daunting to you, find someone who can effectively manage your social media platforms for you. If you need training or hands-on-help, feel free to contact our marketing manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, if you are in the market for specialty wood such as live edge slabs or gunstocks, visit our website at www.cpswoods.com.