When it comes to what you post — that’s where a lot of folks go wrong. As Diller mentioned, landscape contractors often just re-post content they see from a fellow industry professional who they respect. But that isn’t doing anything to help your business.
“You can’t post the same content that another landscaper is posting and then expect to be viewed as remarkable,” Diller says. “If companies want to be seen as remarkable — as different from everyone else out there — then they have to do something different.”
Diller says that comes in the form of posting original content that is also valuable to the reader. Value is the key piece.
“With Facebook you can now ‘like’ someone’s brand but hide their content,” Diller explains. “If you’re constantly filling up their newsfeed with content that they don’t deem valuable, they’re going to hide you. That makes it even more important to only post content that people are going to care about. Any time you go to make a post, you should ask yourself: ‘Why does this matter to our followers?’ If you can’t answer that, you shouldn’t post it. The posts you’re making cannot just be valuable to you.”
Where a lot of companies fail with social media is when they make their posts too “salesy.” Diller says when companies use social media to try to sell to customers, rather than engage with them, they are likely to get tuned out.
That’s not to say they will fire you as a service provider, but you’ll miss out on opportunities to engage with them on the more personal level that social media offers.
Diller goes on to quote Donald Miller, CEO of StoryBrand, a company that helps businesses clarify their messages, who says, “companies are notorious for marketing to external problems, but customers truly buy because of internal problems.”
“Instead of selling programs and services, you better be marketing a solution that makes your customers become the hero in their own story,” Diller adds. “They won’t buy your lawn care program, but they will buy a yard that neighbors envy and that wasn’t a hassle for them to get. That’s a brand people will be less apt to hide in their newsfeed.”
Phelps says she approaches social media with a lot of empathy, trying to always think about what posts might offer their customers some helpful advice. For instance, last year, the team frequently encountered cicada killer wasps in the field, which are large and scary-looking wasps. Knowing the team was seeing them frequently, Phelps figured homeowners might be, too, so they did some research.
“We found out that for as scary as they look, they really don’t bother humans unless provoked in some way,” Phelps says. “We shared what we found with our followers on Facebook.”
Baisley also uses social media to post helpful content. In fact, he even posts downloadable e-guides, tip sheets and short videos. Some of this content even shows folks how to do work themselves.
“We provide a ton of DIY content,” Baisley says. “That might sound counterintuitive, but we’re positioning ourselves as the experts. And, at the end of the day, people have busy lives and often hire a professional. They appreciate you for showing them how to do it — how to solve problems — but they usually end up wanting you to do it for them.”
Staying away from salesy posts is also important to Level Green. Mayberry says he would never post sales content on Facebook.
“I never use it like a sales tool as that would go against our company’s values,” Mayberry says. “We are constantly touting the fact that communication with customers is one of our biggest selling points; that we are frequently in touch with them and get to know them on a more personal level. If we then tried to go sell through social media, we would be completely losing that personal connection we believe sets us apart.”