technology plays an essential role in business operations and in addition to websites, customer interaction and billing solutions. social media has also risen in the ranks when it comes to necessary business technology.

When deciding whether or not social media is worth the investment, look at what these green industry experts have tried and what results they have achieved.

Build a following

It’s one thing to say to get active on social media and another to stay involved in the process for the long term.

First, get an idea of ​​which platform will best suit your audience before you start posting. According to Jeremy Thorne, owner of ThorneCare Landscape Solutions, LLC, Facebook has proven to be an excellent place for homeowners and consumers alike.

Thorne adds that they also used Facebook ads and improved their posts. He says they didn’t cost too much money but gained a decent number of new customers.

“If you spend $ 200 improving a Facebook post in a certain area for two weeks while you may not see an immediate return on investment, the people who see it are sharing it with their neighbors, their family and her friends, “says Thorne.

Overall, Thorne says you could spend anywhere between $ 600 and $ 800 on Facebook ads in a year, but that could potentially bring in twice as many new customers.

He emphasizes that if you take this route, you need to be in tune with your posts and ads. If you do decide to post one week but walk away from two after that, you are sure to see a drop in your interactions.

“You also need to be in line with tracking your referrals so that by the end of the year you will know where these customers are from,” he says.

Should I have a dedicated social media manager?

Another common question related to social media management is whether to hire someone to specifically manage these websites.

The short answer is, it depends.

LandCare regional vice president Mark Hopkins says they don’t have a dedicated social media manager. However, at the corporate level, they have a few people on their marketing team who are broadly involved with branding.

“Social media is only a small part of what we do, and most of our in-depth interest is organic,” says Hopkins. “Some companies may find it useful to have a certain social person, but we don’t.”

Hopkins also notes that tracking social media metrics can be more difficult because LandCare is 100 percent targeting commercial customers. While they may not focus specifically on social media, Hopkins says they strive for consistency with branding, and their marketing team makes sure they maintain a similar theme and message across all platforms.

Hope Smith, People Experience Manager at Plants Creative Landscapes, says that her team has a specific social media manager, but notes that it is not necessary to have such a position or even have a full-time employee in that position.

If your company doesn’t hire someone for this type of role, Smith says there are plenty of free resources available to help you track social media information.

“There are a ton of different metrics available when it comes to the type of information you’re tracking,” says Smith. “Depending on the type of content you’re posting, you might want to measure a certain type of metric.”

Smith recommends taking the time to understand what each metric means and which one you want to work on to improve it. She says looking at these metrics will also help you better understand what type of content is engaging your audience so that you can appropriately edit your posts.

Negative feedback and calls to action

Online reviews are becoming increasingly important for businesses these days. However, what if you inevitably get a bad review?

Smith says the most important thing is not to let a negative review go unnoticed. Even if it’s an issue that really isn’t your company’s fault, or wasn’t the result of something your crews got it wrong, according to Smith, it’s still important to open up and respond to the comment.

She recommends responding professionally and then asking the commenter to contact you directly instead of continuing the conversation online. This prevents conversations from being displayed publicly on your websites.

“There isn’t really all that you can do to get rid of negative reviews, but the most important thing with any type of review or feedback is a large amount of quality reviews,” says Smith. “The more positive reviews you get from your customers, the less a negative review will affect your overall position on the platform.”

How do you get your audience to reach out to you once they’re tuned to your platforms?

According to JW Washington, Senior Director of Sales, Learning, and Development at AriensCo, the key is to engage your audience differently based on the platform you’re using.

According to Washington, Facebook audiences are very home-focused, which means their posts are written and geared towards homeowners. On Instagram, he says that they mostly work with professional landscapers to create a sense of community with them by showcasing and engaging with their work.

He adds that you can also engage your audience by offering clickable promotions or using paid ads to target specific markets that you want to bring in.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This information was presented in a webinar during the NALP LANDSCAPES 2020 event.