In this day and age, it’s critical for businesses to have a presence on social media, in some form or fashion. Not every platform is going to make sense for your company and target audience, but to engage with customers and stand out from competitors it’s crucial to have a spot on the board. In fact, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, Social Media Examiner stated that 90 percent of all marketers agree that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses compared to other content marketing tactics.

Whether your company already has a social media presence and has been sharing pest-related content, or is just getting started on its social media journey, having a strategy in place can help ensure you’re creating and sharing the right type of content with followers. A page with no consistency in the type of content being shared or in the frequency of posts is not going to effectively contribute to your business goals and objectives.

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you start or improve upon social media strategies:

  1. Develop and maintain your own voice. Find a voice that clearly represents the personality and culture of your pest control company and make sure it is consistent across all social media channels, the company website and any other avenues on which you’re sharing content publicly.
  2. Share real-time, relevant content with your followers. Know your follower base and serve as a hub of educational information for them, posting about relevant topics, concerns, etc. Was a new study published about a heavy mosquito season underway and what this will mean for Zika virus across the country? Sharing a link to this information in real-time with mosquito prevention tips might be more impactful than a post that simply addresses your company’s products and services.
  3. Follow the 80/20 rule: Making sales should not be the sole focus for your social media posts. When posting, keep the 80/20 rule in mind to ensure your content does not seem too self-serving — 80 percent of the content you post should be informative or entertaining, while only 20 percent should be about your company, products or services.
  4. Think about frequency. Don’t spam your followers — constant posting without any thought or strategy can quickly lead to a decrease in followers or an uptick in unsubscribes. As a quick rule of thumb for some of the top platforms, on Facebook and LinkedIn, shoot for one post per day, one to two posts per day for Instagram and half a dozen posts on Twitter. Consider putting together a posting schedule to stay on track!
  5. Keep your posts fresh. Be as original with your content as you can. If you want to revisit old content, just come up with a new way to deliver the message. If you’re posting an old article about signs of a termite infestation, serve it up with a new statistic, timely news hook or a fresh image that will likely draw attention!
  6. Don’t beg for engagement. If you’re sharing relevant content that you believe will resonate with your followers — think: seasonal pest-proofing tips or how to identify certain household pests — “likes” and “shares” will happen organically. Stay away from directly asking followers to like or share your content and let your content speak for itself. However, it is a good idea to cross-promote your social platforms. For example, if you’re on Facebook, you could share a link to your Twitter or Instagram page to encourage engagement on those properties as well.
  7. Leverage holidays and awareness days when appropriate. As you work on your plan, make a list of relevant holidays or awareness days that would make sense for your company to acknowledge. As an example, National Pet Day just passed, so the PestWorld Facebook page posted tips to keep pets safe from fleas and ticks this spring — a natural tie. A bad example of this tactic is when the Seattle Seahawks lost against the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl and posted on Martin Luther King Jr. Day about their loss, using the #MLKDay hashtag — imagine the backlash!
  8. Create a balance between text and images. According to Buffer, visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content — while Mass Planner reported that infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content. Complement your post with images and videos to boost engagement.
  9. Proofread your posts: You’re the thought leader here, so your page should appear professional, informational and typo-free. The last thing you want is to be called out by a customer for the wrong spelling of “cicada” in your post, so be sure to spell check before you tweet, post, pin, publish or share.
  10. Be a social media sponge: The social media space is constantly evolving and most platforms are coming out with features that benefit businesses. There is always room to learn more — stay up to speed with new business-friendly updates and how other companies are utilizing these features, to consider how you can adapt to fit your own needs. A few good outlets to follow for the latest and greatest social media information include: Adweek, Mashable and Social Media Week.

A BUSINESS BOOSTER. Social media can help fuel your business and can drive great leads and engagement, but when and what you share can make all the difference. Come up with a posting schedule chock full of diversified content, keep track of your most engaging posts and determine the time of day that followers are most active. With these best practices in mind, not only will you be a pest control pro, you’ll be a social media pro, too!

Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She can be reached at cmannes@pestworld.org. For more information about PPMA, visit www.NPMApestworld.org/PPMA.