Do you ever suffer from business Instagram envy? You see your favorite café posting photos of mouthwatering meals, freshly-poured cappuccinos, and happy people having a great time in the stylish interior. How is your accounting firm supposed to compete? Even if you don’t have a tangible product to flaunt, there are ways to showcase the value of your service on social media and make the most of the marketing opportunities these platforms provide.
Here’s how to market a service-based business on social media.
Know who your clients are and where they spend their time on social media. Too many small businesses make the mistake of thinking that they need to have a presence on every platform. Rather than trying to push out consistent content across Facebook, LinkedIn, X, Instagram, TikTok, and, and, and, it’s better for small businesses to choose only the platforms their target audience uses.
For example, prior to working with us, a client of ours was putting a lot of effort into TikTok. They have an impressive following on the platform, and their posts get a lot of engagement there. But as we dug in to start working as their outsourced marketing team and defined their target audience, we discovered that their actual clients weren’t spending time on TikTok. In fact, they’ve never gotten a single lead from the platform.
Have you ever done some preliminary research on a service provider only to find that they haven’t updated or posted on their social media platforms for months, or even years? You may start to question whether they still exist! Consistency is key when it comes to social media, so keep showing up, providing value, and letting your brand shine.
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Service-based businesses often have a wealth of knowledge to share, and social media provides the perfect stage to showcase your expertise. Share tips, tricks, and industry insights through various content formats, such as videos, blogs, and infographics. Remember, what may seem like common knowledge to you can be a game-changer for your audience.
As an example, here’s a LinkedIn post for our client Financial Solution Advisors. Not many people will want to see photos of accounting dashboards and spreadsheets (well, not me anyway!), but small business owners will be interested in learning how to take advantage of the tax deductions available to them in this free download.
4. Show your brand’s personality
At the end of the day, social media is meant to be just that—social. Treat your audience as humans, and show your brand’s human side, too (aligned with the brand personality you want to portray). Some brands pride themselves on their sense of humor (follow Slack on LinkedIn for a masterclass in how to inject smart comedy into your brand); others like to keep things more professional. Regardless of where your brand stands on the personality scale of frigid to fun, maintain a consistent tone throughout your content so that people know who you are and what you stand for.
Pull back the curtain and let your audience see the people behind your service. For example, you can use Instagram Stories to share snippets of your daily operations, client meetings, or Q&A sessions. A meet-the-team series is another great way to humanize your brand and build a connection based on transparency.
We’re currently doing a series of meet-the-team posts for our client John Merrill Homes.
6. Showcase what makes you different
Use social media to tell your unique story and highlight how your service solves specific problems for your clients through your value proposition. You can tell your audience about your history and backstory, share your company’s values and what they mean to you, and focus on the things that you do better than anyone else in your industry.
People on social media aren’t interested in your business; they’re interested in how your business can make their lives better. Offer valuable content and information for free on all platforms regularly to establish your expertise and serve as a constant reminder of the value you provide.
Here are some ideas:
- Answer your clients’ frequently asked questions
- Share tips to help them overcome common problems
- Create visually appealing infographics to simplify complex concepts related to your industry
- Share videos that teach your audience something new
- Share lead magnets, like Brighter Messaging’s SEO eBook
8. Show, don’t tell, with testimonials
Social media isn’t the place to sell your services. Sure, a sale is a welcome end goal, but your social media content shouldn’t only be about selling. Your posts should provide value to your audience and help them with their problems so that you can gain their appreciation and trust. Speaking of trust, one way that you can be more promotional is by showcasing client testimonials. Instead of you telling your audience how great you are, let your clients do it for you, like this:
9. Use Canva templates
Even though we have our own graphic designer, we love how Canva makes it super simple to create social media graphics that are correctly sized for each platform. I highly recommend creating some templates that you can adapt for different posts, which not only saves time, but also helps create visual consistency and brand recognition across your platforms.
Social media is a great way to market on a more personal level than, say, a newspaper ad or a billboard. It gives you a unique opportunity to engage one-on-one with your clients as you respond to their questions and requests online. Forming this close relationship through genuine connection and communication helps position your brand as a trusted service provider in the minds of your audience members.
I hope these tips have helped you overcome the Instagram envy you get when you see the café you follow posting its food porn. Even if you don’t have a pretty product to sell, there is certainly a place on social media for service-based businesses. The key is showing up, sharing your expertise, and connecting with your ideal clients online. And if you need help creating a service-based social presence, we’d love to hear from you!
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