For a machinery dealer, not being on Facebook is like refusing to stock the latest, greatest tractor model everyone’s asking you about. You may still have quality products to offer but you’re putting a wall up between you and your customer.
The online world: social media marketing
There’s an overwhelming amount of social media sites out there. Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and more. With all these options, the idea of launching a social media campaign can seem far too daunting to bother with. But, according to social network management giant, Hootsuite, you definitely should be bothered.
“Social media not only enables an organisation to amplify its brand, but also build trust, credibility and human relationships at scale.”Roger Graham, senior director of growth and marketing
Get ready for a great big sigh of relief because you don’t need to worry about 99% of the plethora of sites available. In fact, our research shows machinery dealers are going to get the best return on investment (ROI) by focussing on just one: Facebook.
Twitter operates in such a rapid-fire fashion that posts are often quickly buried. Pinterest and Instagram are geared towards a younger, female demographic who are, generally, far more interested in kittens and acaí bowls than farm machines. If you don’t know what acaí is, this is not the demographic for you. It’s not like there’s no value at all to these platforms, it’s just the ROI for businesses in our industry is so small, it’s hard to justify the time they take to manage. Especially when you’re just starting out with social media marketing.
YouTube certainly has value. It is the top social platform for engagement, and video is almost three times as popular as photos on Facebook. However, you will find it a lot less stressful to start one at a time. And Facebook is easier and more valuable on the whole. It has the highest number of users of any social platform so anyone you might reach on one of the other sites, you’ll likely reach on Facebook anyway.
Social media statistics for machinery dealers
As a machinery dealer, you’re looking at a predominantly male demographic and Facebook has the highest number of male users.
You’ll also benefit from the fact that Australians are leading the world in Facebook use. “Digital in 2017”, a report published by Hootsuite and We Are Social, revealed the global average for daily Facebook use is 55%.
As a nation obsessed with one-upmanship, Australians smashed the competition with 75% of us logging on to the book of face on a daily basis.
Warning: Facebook can be highly addictive
Facebook’s own data scientists acknowledge how addicted people become to facebooking (which is an actual, dictionary-approved word now):
“It’s the first screen they look at in the morning and often the last screen they look at at night before they go to bed.”
Within this waking window, people check back multiple times on their home computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. If there was an app to have updates zapped directly into your sleeping mind it would probably make its inventor rich.
As a social tool, Facebook is a poor time investment with an ROI of precisely zero. There is no money to be gained from liking pictures of your friend’s baby or watching videos of cats falling off things. And you’ll never get that time back either. However, as a business tool, it opens up a whole new world of opportunity for you and is one of the most worthy investments you can make with your time.
How to get started with Facebook marketing
It’s best to think of Facebook as an online ecosystem unlike any you’ve encountered before. If you try to cram your current marketing strategies into it, you will find yourself in an unpleasant square-peg-round-hole scenario. Your strategy needs to be targeted to the unique nature of the platform.
Set a goal and strategy before you start
This gives you direction for your Facebook marketing and a way to measure your success. Your goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive (aka SMART). Your strategy can then be logically built from this goal. And, as each goal is achieved, new ones can be set. For more help on this, there are plenty of online resources on SMART goal setting.
Social media requires regular upkeep. People are more fickle online so you need to keep yourself in the forefront of their mind. The great thing is, it’s not difficult to come up with a quick post. It is, however, important to make sure you are only posting quality content. You want to be in people’s minds for the right reasons. So always think before you post.
As you go along, you will start to get a feel for how often your audience wants to hear from you. With Facebook’s feedback system of likes and emojis, you can also gauge what types of posts are grabbing people most and tailor your future content to suit.
It’s important to add this content at the right time of day. Your posts are going to get more traffic if they pop up when people are online. A post made at midnight will be buried by the time people are awake to see it.
Once your page is set up, you can monitor the way your audience uses it through the “Insights” section. If you don’t yet have a page, you’ll need to build an audience before these stats become meaningful. To help you out in this beginning stage, here’s a tip from our Machines4U data: peak times tend to be just before work and just after work, with another slight peak around lunch. If you deal mostly with tradies, this would be around 6:30 – 7am then 4-5 pm. For the 9-5 crowd, Facebook use tends to peak around 8:30 am and then again around 5:30-6pm.
From our research, we’ve found discounts, competitions and giveaways are the top three reasons people will follow a business page. People go to Facebook to entertain themselves. While they are always happy to learn something or discover a new product they might need, they still have a strong preference for fun, easy to digest content. A construction worker we spoke to told us:
“I usually just scroll for the pictures and videos. If I like the picture I might read more.” David Heron
While not every user shares this ethos, Facebook is a quick-fix platform and people tend to disregard big chunks of text.
Facebook is a social platform. While its online nature can make it seem impersonal, people go there to connect with other humans. This is especially important for businesses. If all they ever get is bland product news and updates, people will quickly unfollow your page. Avoid jargon. You need to write in a likeable, conversational style that suits the audience of your business.
With journalism going digital, many businesses have gained free advertising through curated stories about their fantastic customer service going viral. On a smaller scale, happy customers are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. And, on a personal scale, being kind and genuine is good for the soul.
It takes time to build connections and relationships with your audience, so be patient. Don’t fall for any of the dodgy, get-popular-quick schemes that sell you bulk likes. Fake likes aren’t going to get you anywhere in the long run. Engaging in genuine conversations, providing useful, interesting content, and offering rewards and incentives to loyal customers; these are the things that will take you far.
Encourage and reply to comments
One of the best ways to build a relationship with your customers is to actively encourage them to comment on your posts and engage in conversation with you about mutually interesting topics. When you do get a post or comment, respond quickly; aim to always get back to them within 24 hours. The longer you take to reply, the less people will be willing to engage with you. Over time, they will end up drifting away. Facebook records your average response time on your page, so aim to have an impressive stat for users to see.
No pressure selling allowed
Facebook is designed to be a fun, social space; a relaxing experience. People are already feeling sketchy about the ads that litter their walls, if you come in guns blazing with the hard-sell, you will rapidly alienate people. A better tactic is to join in conversations, join groups relevant to your business, become a valued part of the community.
Avoid advertising slogans in your comments and don’t overdo it with product-related posts. Too much business stuff will have users unfollowing you quicker than they log off when their boss catches them browsing. Worse still, you might start getting negative reviews and comments. It’s not hard to avoid this. Just be real and be respectful.
What Facebook will give your business
The only upfront investment you’ll need to make with Facebook is your time. A business page is free to set up. However, you do need to make a solid time investment to make it stand out.
With a quality Facebook page, you’re not only delivering your business on a large scale to your target demographic, you’re also gaining a greater understanding of what they’re doing, what they’re liking, what they want, and what they don’t want. Valuable information for any business to have.
Social media can also works in tandem with your traditional marketing methods. Pop your Facebook address on your website, business cards, letterhead, advertisements, in your email signature and in store. The more accessible you make yourself to your customers, the more they’ll want to engage with you.