In the past, professional services businesses were often seen as unlikely candidates for benefiting from all that social media has to offer. But with more people spending their time online, having a social media presence is becoming a necessity to succeed in the digital world – no matter your industry.
The saying goes ‘people buy from people’ and this stands true in professional services too. Today’s customers want to connect with the businesses they buy from, no matter what’s being sold. That means you have a duty to engage your audience, build credibility and grow relationships, all which can be effectively done through the power of social media.
In this blog, we discuss:
- Why social media is crucial for professional services businesses
- Six factors to help you grow your business using social
Why social media for professional services?
Today’s professional services industries are predominately online and that means your potential customers are too. Even those that traditionally operated in physical environments such as estate agents, solicitors and automotive specialists have made the shift to a digital-first approach.
Speaking to paid social media specialist, Megan Graham, she shared her thoughts on how all businesses can reap the benefits that social channels present:
“Moving forward, I believe all businesses should be using social in one way or another, even if it’s solely from a branding perspective. No matter whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, social media channels are discovery platforms. These channels are often a first point of contact for many customers before they take the next steps, whether that’s going direct to the company they want to engage with or signing up to their emails.
Unlike PPC where we know users are actively searching for specific terms, we don’t have that level of intent on social. Instead, we work to understand what users are already engaged with that your business might relate to before connecting them to your brand. It can really support raising brand awareness and can bolster other channels you’re investing in too.”
With active social media users creeping past the 400 million mark at the end of 2021, it’s clear that social media has become an important part of life for many. To make the most of social media today, here are our top pointers that can help you elevate your strategy.
1) Understand who you want to target
Like with many digital marketing channels, knowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social media is crucial to success. This is the only way you will be able to create content that they want to engage with, whether that’s a like, comment or share. It also helps with the next step of converting your social media followers into customers.
Social media platforms are audience-first platforms. Our strategies are guided by the individuals behind the devices which makes audience data key. Start by looking at who is already following you on social, or, if you don’t have any social accounts yet, who are your existing customers? The aim is to understand who would want to engage with you on social media so you can target them better.
2) Take a full-funnel approach
Targeting your audience can become confusing if you don’t take a full-funnel approach. Focusing on segmenting your audience by the different stages of the funnel can make creating a strategy much simpler.
- Top of funnel: Known as the awareness stage, your audience might not know your brand yet, but their behaviour suggests they could be interested in what you offer. This stage is ideal to target using social media platforms as users commonly have an open mind.
- Middle of funnel: During this stage, users generally know what they want but they’re still researching who to convert with.
- Bottom of funnel: The final stage of the funnel is when the user makes a decision and a conversion is made. This stage is extremely important, but don’t make the mistake of focusing all your efforts here. Without consideration of the upper parts of the funnel, it becomes much harder to encourage users to convert.
Finding a balance to target your audience at the different phases is important. For example, if your objective is to grow your brand, raising brand awareness is important but you will only be filling your upper funnel. Taking a full-funnel approach ensures you’re covered at every stage. For example, you could create consideration campaigns that build credibility and encourage users to drop into the bottom of the funnel by taking action.
3) Get your creatives right
The creative elements of your paid social ads are what your audience sees. As the online world only becomes more competitive, the most compelling ad is the one that will grab the attention of your audience and make them interact.
Even with an effective targeting strategy, solid audience data and a well optimised account, your ad creatives can be the difference between a high performing campaign or one that misses the mark. However, there’s no one size fits all approach, and this is why ad creatives can be difficult to get right.
Being strategic with your creatives means considering your business, your audience and your objectives. Many social media platforms have designed their advertising functionality in a native way, making ads seem like a natural part of the social media experience when designed with care.
These questions can help you craft an effective creative:
- Is the creative clear and concise to quickly engage the viewer?
- Is the key messaging placed at the forefront?
- Does it feature relevant branding so users know who you are from first glance?
- Has it been created with social media channels in mind? Consider sizing and colours.
- Does it avoid overcomplicated text or design elements?
- Have you featured a relevant CTA?
4) Create short-form video content
Continuing from ad creatives, short-form video content is an effective component of many social media strategies. Videos on social are becoming one of the most valuable content types, particularly with the rise of visual platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Both long-form and short-form video ads achieve high engagement rates, but short-form in particular is regularly seen across social channels, delivering engaging and immersive branded content.
5) Combine your paid and organic social media strategy
Integrating your paid and organic social strategies can help you reach new customers, strengthen existing connections and grow conversions. Focusing on one without the other could impact your level of success as each have advantages and disadvantages.
For example, organic social media tends to revolve around nurturing relationships with your audience. However, as with any organic tactic, it’s often slower to reach your objectives and while technically free to use, it can take significant experimentation to get right.
Paid social media on the other hand, can help you nurture relationships and connect with new users before converting them into buying customers. While an organic social media presence is effective for building a loyal and engaged customer base, social algorithms can mean that you must pay to play in today’s competitive landscape.
Integrating the two can yield the best results and help to grow your business. However, getting the balance right can be hard, often requiring experience and expertise to combine the two in the most effective way possible. Fortunately, this is where an agency can usually help by providing insight into tried and tested tactics to help you reach your social media goals.
6) Choose the right platforms for your business
There are several social media platforms to choose from, but this can make the choice overwhelming. It’s important to remember you don’t have to do it all. Doing your research and selecting the channel that aligns best to your business and audience is a good starting place.
As an audience-first agency, we use audience data to inform the strategy. Rather than targeting each channel in silo, you can use audience data to build a connected strategy which will then point you towards the best channel. Once you’ve found an audience and channel that works for your objectives, you can scale your efforts to place ads in front of even more people.
In the professional services industry, LinkedIn in particular has made a name for itself as a popular social media channel. This professional networking platform allows you to connect with prospects, clients, colleagues and more. For example, if you’re an insurance business who wants to target the financial or legal department of a business, you can do this using LinkedIn’s job titles. However, it’s also worth noting that other social media channels are also growing in popularity for professional services industries including Instagram and even TikTok.
Grow your business with social media
Professional services businesses deserve to have a social presence. At first, you may believe that your firm is not exciting enough to have a consistent place on social media channels. However, by working with an experienced agency, your social media efforts can form a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy and when combined with your wider strategy, social offers another valuable channel to engage and connect with potential clients.
Interested to find out more about how we can help you leverage social media to grow your professional services business? Contact the team today.