© bloomicon | Adobestock

Why should social media matter to your pest control company? Having spent 19 years in public relations and 12 years handling social media for multiple companies (and exclusively Truly Nolen the last five years), I can honestly say because doing so helps you reach people you might not otherwise touch. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to showcase your firm’s personality, drive traffic, build trust, create buzz, establish dialogue and a following with fans, communicate company values, mitigate negative public relations, build and enhance reputation, and extend and build brand ambassadors.

As an example, our original Facebook page launched in December 2008 was called “Truly Nolen Mouse Car” and our sole focus was making sure people were familiar with our worldwide company icon, the Mouse Car. We even included a “hometown” of Speedway, Ind., and Cars as a favorite movie. In short, we were adding a new dimension of personality to something that people normally only saw in person or in photos. People responded favorably to this direction and in those early social media days for our company, we staged a #MousecarParade in South Florida using @TrulyNolen Twitter users, who rode along with our team and Tweeted about the places they visited that day.

Although our Facebook page was switched to our actual Truly Nolen brand in 2010, our personality is still a key driver, and we have also added Instagram and LinkedIn social media channels over the last decade.

REAL-WORLD TIPS. Some tips to remember when creating or driving your pest control company’s social media persona:

  1. Be upfront about who you are.
  2. Remember that growth is a two-way street and not a one-way conversation.
  3. Show cleverness and fun within your brand personality.
  4. Ask questions of your followers.
  5. Social media is more a soft sell environment so don’t end every post with pricing or a phone number; demonstrate your value without having to push anything.

One frequently asked question is, “How much time should I spend connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (the three most popular channels to connect with people)?” Ten to 15 minutes a day is perfect. Like anything, over time this will become second nature and not a burden or one additional thing to do. Since you know your pest control company better than anyone, you should always have something valuable to contribute.

HOW TO INTERACT. Some additional tips to remember when you are planning your content to reach people:

  1. Find ways to interact with your fanbase. For example, ask simple questions about their pest issues.
  2. Ask open-ended questions. For example: “What is your least favorite insect and why?”
  3. Be transparent with customers. For example, if someone has a complaint, private message them immediately and get their service address, phone number and an explanation about their complaint so you can route to the proper person on your team to investigate.
  4. Make your fans feel special. One thing we did as a company when we realized families would be home for longer periods of time than normal is we began including videos of our team members discussing helpful do-it-yourself tips for certain pests and other team members showing insect-related crafts that could be built at home as part of family time.

WHAT TO AVOID. Meanwhile, some things you want to avoid doing as a company on social media include:

  1. Don’t antagonize your fanbase. If you have positions on politics or sports teams in your market, remember not everyone is going to have the same views as you.

  2. Don’t market around a tragedy. Reminding people of a tragedy by offering a sale around the event is a sure-fire way for people to permanently unfollow you.

  3. Don’t be flippant about current events. Companies that don’t understand the issues of the day and wade into a discussion about them through an ambiguous post typically end up having to walk it back if they misunderstood why an issue was an issue in the first place.
  4. Don’t be knowingly deceitful. Don’t make false claims about your company or something going on in your market that can be easily disproved, because your audience will absolutely call you out on it.

FINAL THOUGHTS. A video I always cite during my social media presentations to students and business owners is Erik Qualman’s “Social Media Revolution.” It includes some great statistics that also back up why social media is important for your business: https://youtu.be/6k_G_h41ZaQ.

The bottom line: In a world where the current climate makes it more difficult to reach people through traditional marketing ways, social media can be a way to help increase your brand awareness while finding new customers.

Toby Srebnik is Truly Nolen’s manager of public relations and communications. The company was one of his clients while at Tilson Communications from 2006-2010 (where he helped launch Truly Nolen’s Facebook and Twitter accounts in 2008). He has been with Truly Nolen since 2015.