You’re proud of yourself. You looked past the stereotypes and hired a millennial. And you did what a lot of business owners do: you put your token millennial in charge of managing your business’s social media accounts.
But is the office millennial really the best person for the job? Sure, they might know how to navigate all of the platforms better than you do. After all, you don’t know what the heck a “story” is in relation to social media or why you would want to post one.
But there’s more to nailing social media than just getting familiar with the platforms. So, if you put a millennial in charge of your business’s social media just because of their age, here are five questions to ask yourself to determine if you’ve made the right choice:
- Do they know my audience? Your millennial employees may know everything there is to know about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, but do they know your audience? The only way social works for businesses is if it connects with your customers. And in order to connect, you have to know the people you’re attempting to connect with. You have to know their likes, their dislikes, their values, their pains, their wants, their needs, etc. If you go out there and start posting without considering who your audience is and what will resonate with them, you risk offending them, excluding them, or even worse, disengaging them. The moment you lose their trust or attention, you’ve failed. So make sure your social media manager intimately knows, not just the social media platforms they’ll be using, but also the audience they’ll be engaging with.
- Do they know my brand? If there’s one thing people hate about brands on social media, it’s when they’re inconsistent or do things that don’t align with who the brand is and what it stands for. When you do things that don’t make sense for your brand or you contradict yourself on social media, the results can be disastrous. Your customers will know and they will comment when you appear to take a stand for something in a post that doesn’t align with your company and its values.So before you put someone in charge of your social media just because they’re digital natives, make sure they know your brand inside and out and can effectively represent you on all channels.
- What is their grasp of CTAs (calls to action)? The point of social media is to engage with your customers and potential customers. It’s not a one-sided conversation or a way to shout at your audience. But in order to engage, build relationships, and see a return on your investment in social media, you need to have clear, concise, effective CTAs on your posts. A lot of brands nail this by asking questions or urging people to take specific actions or click the link in their bio. But all CTAs are not equal, and your social media manager needs to have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that your office millennial is nailing the CTAs — that’s not a given just because you “get” social media.
- Do they know regulations and what to avoid for legal reasons? Social media can get you into a lot of trouble if you do it wrong. You could lose customers or even be sued or fined. Each platform has its own rules and regulations, and there’s a lot to consider in terms of how to use each platform and what to say/not say. Is your millennial social media manager familiar with these rules and regulations or are you just assuming they know what to do/what not to do because they’re socially savvy? Assuming is a bad call and could put your business at risk of a lawsuit, fine, or other issue, so make sure they have a good understanding of this important aspect of social media.
- What are their intentions? At the end of the day, your social media manager should be connecting with your customers and making your brand look better. Is that the goal of the office millennial you’ve put in charge of your social? Think about it: How good will your social media manager’s decisions be if he or she is only using your business’s platform to solidify his or her place as an influencer? Hey, it’s happened. We’ve seen it. So make sure you and your social media manager are aligned in terms of the goals, purpose, and intentions behind your social media decisions and actions.
Have You Picked The Right Person For The Job?
Your office millennial may be a great fit for the social media manager role, but it’s not a given. Take the time to really consider whether or not you’ve put the right person in place or if you need to spend some time reconsidering or educating your social media manager. Being a millennial does make the social media game a little bit easier — but it’s not a guarantee for success. There’s more to that recipe!
During our last FAQ, we focused primarily on reviews, Maps, rankings, and PPC. This time, we’re going to answer some of the more “offline” questions. If you have any questions you’d like Chris to answer next time, please submit them in the Comments section of this post!
#1 How Should I Handle Spam Calls?
The more you do with your online presence, the more spam calls you will get. The two most common calls (in our experience) are from people pretending to be Google and advertisers like Yelp, Angie’s List, and YP.
First, let’s talk about the “Google” calls. Google never cold calls anyone, other than to verify business information. If someone is asking about your ranking, wants you to give them information about your Google listing, or threatens that you’ll lose your Maps listing if you don’t ________, they are a scammer. You can hang up on these calls.
As far as advertisers go, the phone calls vary. Yelp tends to be the most tenacious, but they are not the only ones. With advertiser calls, if you aren’t interested in advertising, it’s best to simply tell them that it’s not in the budget right now, but that you’ll revisit the idea later. You don’t want to get angry with advertisers, as you often have a free listing on their site already and it’s not worth upsetting the applecart there.
Generally speaking, we don’t advise people to pay for advertising on individual directories, because the majority of search traffic comes from Google, and we don’t generally see a good enough ROI — but that’s a decision you have to make as the business owner. If a particular directory is very popular in your area, it may be worth it.
#2 What Can I Do To Boost Business In My Slow Season?
Seasonality varies from industry to industry, but let’s look at the chimney industry. Understandably, the early summer can be a very slow time for a chimney sweep. We recommend getting a handle on this by finding ways to reach your annual and repeat customers during this time.
Many sweeps find themselves booked out two, three, or even four weeks out when fall rolls around, and many customers don’t want to wait that long, so they end up calling a competitor who can get to them faster. Get ahead of this by offering discounts to existing clients who schedule their annual services earlier in the year. Forward scheduling is a great way to do this. When you finish at a customer’s house, see if you can get them on the books for an early time next year. Make sure it’s not a binding agreement and call to verify a month or so out. What you’ll find is that this helps get your repeat customers used to you being there during your off-season.
It’s a win/win:
- It works out better for your customer because you’re able to get to them quickly and at a reduced rate.
- It works out better for you because now you’ve freed up some time during your busy season for new customers, while also keeping income coming in during your slow season.
Another option may be to adopt an alternative service that’s big during your slow season. For a chimney company, that may be air duct cleaning or gutter work. Something that is more likely to be needed when you don’t have high demand for your other services. Like I said, this varies greatly from industry to industry, so you have to be creative and figure out what works best for you.
For more on what you can do to make the most of your slow season, check out “What You Can Do To Make Your Slower Season Your Most Productive One To Date.”
#3 How Do I Get My Business Name/Brand Out In The Community?
The key to getting your brand name out there is community involvement. You can sponsor youth sports teams, charity events, participate in festivals, form an office bowling team for a local bowling league, put together a BBQ team to compete at BBQ cook-offs, etc. Basically, be present in your community under your brand name. Being present at the events in your community goes a long way and it goes hand in hand with company culture.
Another possibility that often gets overlooked is scholarships. Offering scholarships is a great way to get your name out there, as many people from all walks of life have kids applying for scholarships.
Social media platforms can also be a great tool for building community presence and relationships, but you do need to educate yourself on the DO’s and DON’Ts before diving in. No one likes to be sold to on Facebook 24/7, and learning how to properly use these tools can be the difference between bringing people in and driving them away.
For more on building your business offline, check out “4 Things You Should Be Doing Offline To Build Business Online.”
#4 IYO, Is It Worth Becoming BBB Accredited?
One thing worth mentioning is that you can have a rating on the BBB, regardless of whether or not you’re accredited. In other words, you could have an A+ rating, benefit from that, and tout that on your website, without accreditation.
That being said, many people hold the BBB with high regard and accreditation may hold a lot of weight with potential customers. When you become accredited, you agree to hold your business to certain ethics and practices, which ultimately, may make those using your services feel secure and confident they’ll receive service with integrity.
Long story short: you’ll need to decide for yourself whether or not it makes sense for your budget and business.
#5 How Can I Get More Referrals?
There are a lot of B2B groups out there that are worth joining: BNI, Chamber Events, etc. These organizations can help get you connected with a lot of other business owners who can refer you to their clients. Just remember that, when appropriate, you’ll want to refer people to them as well. As with many things in life, you get back what you give.
For word-of-mouth referrals, I always suggest some sort of perk or benefit if you get a new customer via a referral from a current customer — maybe the existing customer gets $25 off their next service and the new one gets $10 off. This is just an example, of course. There are lots of ways to make this work that make sense for your service and your business — so get creative!
No matter what type of benefit you decide to offer, remember that the single most important factor in getting word-of-mouth referrals is the WOW factor. Go above and beyond what the job requires and really WOW your customer. These are the things that will lead your customers to want to tell others about the amazing experience they had with you.
Lastly, never neglect customer service. Even if you do the job perfectly, a poor interaction with the person on site or on the phone can leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth. Customer service is as large a part of your business as the work you’re doing — never let that fall by the wayside.