GRASPING THE BASICS OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK TO HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS:
The customer journey has changed significantly over the past decade. More and more buying decisions take place online, and there are plenty of interior design brands out there that have yet to fully explore digital marketing for more than just brand awareness.
Different online channels play different roles in the customer journey today. For example, organic and paid search are often the first to assist your design brand in connecting with your desired audience. Someone is looking for high quality and beautifully designed furniture or lighting, and Google helps them with options – this is where you come in, based on how strong your paid search processes are, and on how detailed your SEO settings are as well for organic search.
These two channels are further supported by referrals, email marketing and display click advertising. You know how Google seems to know what you are or were looking for, right? The system works, and it drives relevant traffic from multiple angles if you’re ready to invest.
More often the last interaction before a purchase, and what we call a “deal sealer”, is social media. People have googled, they’ve found your brand, they’ve probably seen a display ad or opened an email from you, perhaps they’ve even read a review or two, and yet they’re not sure whether they want to visit your showroom and/or order your designs.
Social media is where brands take on a more human form and interact with the people. It’s where meaningful conversations happen, and where people are ultimately convinced that they definitely want to purchase something. This environment also applies to interior design brands – if you’re not on social, you are missing out on an important segment of successful marketing.
A great place to forge meaningful business-to-client and, surprisingly, business-to-business relationships is Facebook. Often considered the place where you post funny memes, read some news and keep in touch with old friends and high school sweethearts, Facebook is also the biggest social network, with over 1.86 billion people active each month in 2016 alone – and over 1.74 billion of them used Facebook on mobile. This isn’t a potential customer pool, it’s an ocean and it needs to be navigated with the right tools and insights.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re taking advantage of all of Facebook’s features. If you don’t have a Facebook Page for your interior design business, make one. If you already have one, have a look at how it’s performing – the platform offers comprehensive analytics for this. If you haven’t paid much attention to it, you won’t be impressed by the numbers. Even organic growth is difficult on Facebook, which is why we often recommend setting aside a monthly budget for marketing on this platform.
When you audit your Facebook Page, these are the items you’ll want to make a note of: posts (publishing frequency, variety, which post gets the most engagement); imagery (are the images you post/display on your profile on-brand?); the About section (is it filled out completely?); CTA button (what do you want people to do on your page – buy, sign up to your newsletter?); fans (how many?); and audience engagement rate.
Integrate your services on your Facebook Page. For example, the Facebook Shop feature allows customers to do their shopping directly on your Page. If you’re using Shopify, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can set it up with a single click. The best part is that once you load in your products, you can tag them in your Facebook posts.
You can also add other social networks to your Facebook page – those active on other platforms will be able to simply click to follow you from your Page rather than manually navigate to other apps like Instagram or Pinterest.
Newsletter signups are an important part of any marketing strategy, so make sure you give Facebook users the opportunity to join your mailing list. It will help potential customers to stay in touch and get your latest updates straight to their inbox. Mailing services like MailChimp offer smart integrations for this, so you might as well take advantage of them.
Figure out your content strategy – you can’t really go to war without a strategy, can you? Analyze your content in order to understand what you’re doing, and what you could do better in order to get the best out of each social media platform – audiences and interests vary from one social network to another. You should definitely work with a specialised marketer or agency for this – we also provide this service.
Whatever you do, just make sure that your online voice matches your brand ethos, in order for you to reach out to your desired audience. A recent Sprout Social report from 2016 showed that 71% of users unfollowed a brand after they were alienated by awkward messages and found the brand embarrassing.
Your voice needs to be consistent throughout your Page – if you have more people on your team in charge of your Facebook Page, you can train them on what your brand is about, and how it should sound. There’s no room for second-guessing oneself when speaking on behalf of an interior design brand.
Image guidelines are equally important, as they help customers identify your interior design business through your photos and videos. An excellent example of image guidelines done right is Tom Dixon Studio.
SO, WHAT TO POST?
Timing is crucial. Find out what the best times to post on Facebook are, for each day of the week, and use them. The important thing to note here is that this will be an ongoing process, as not all general times work the same for all brands – so keep reviewing and testing, as your audience might be more active in the morning than around lunch time, for example. Test, analyze, repeat!
There are eight main Post types that you can publish on Facebook. Each has its perks – looking at the interior design industry, visuals are key. You can also get signups, Facebook advertisements (which we strongly recommend, as the platform’s algorithms can be superbly fine-tuned for optimum results); you can increase direct engagement, create Event pages, Offers and, for the patient readers out there, you can even write Notes. Recent post types include geolocation and live videos.
The Status, more commonly seen from friends rather than Pages, is a simple post in word-format that can be used to announce quick updates or website glitches, for example.
Links are essential. They’re the main traffic drivers from social, so make sure you use them frequently – they’re great for sharing blog posts, news and products. Carousel posts are even cooler, as you can incorporate more links into a single post.
Video posts are gaining tremendous popularity on Facebook. Last year in January, the social network had recorded 100 million hours of video watched every day. The best part? You can put together playlists like you would on YouTube.
Facebook Live is like video on steroids – it connects a brand directly with the audience and it gives impressive engagement boosts. Use it wisely.
Like we mentioned earlier, image posts are key to an interior design brand – you want your audience to look at your designs, to grab their attention and to convey the beauty and style of what you create. It’s pretty self-explanatory and a crucial part of your daily content.
Sharing your Products is a great idea, if you’ve setup your Facebook Store. You can use this little gimmick to subtly draw attention to specific items that you want to showcase.
CTA posts are often used in conjunction with Facebook Advertising – they encourage your audience to take action and sign up to your newsletter. However, use them sparingly as they might be considered too salesy in abundance.
How you respond to questions and comments on your Facebook Page should be as important as your content strategy. How will you address angry posts from a customer? How quick is your general response rate? These are questions that you should have an answer to.
Listening to your audience is a good first step in getting to know them better. Again, this is best reflected in Facebook’s analytics.
Replies are an important way to interact with existing and potential customers – these should come in quick, in order to retain momentum. The same goes for reading and responding to your reviews. Those gold stars pop out and potential customers will read what other people have experienced with your interior design brand.
Customer care can be done on Facebook – Messenger is used by many brands specifically for this purpose. It helps establish a human connection that more and more clients look for. According to Sprout Social, 34.5% of customers select social media in order to communicate with businesses.
This is, perhaps, the part of Facebook that presents the most potential for any interior design brand. Facebook’s Ad Manager is very particular and goal-oriented, and can be pointed in very specific directions. We’ve recorded great successes with Facebook Ads, from traffic growth to an increase in sales leads for our agency and our clients – and it’s a universal fact. Investing in Ads on Facebook is worth it.
The most appealing part about Facebook Ads is that they can be set up with different objectives: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. Incorporating them into your Facebook marketing strategy can yield impressive results.
Here’s a parting tip: save your custom audiences for future Facebook Ads. You don’t even need an ad in order to create a custom audience – so, you can do it sooner rather than later and include demographic and interest targeting.
We understand that social media can also be overwhelming, which is why we’ve started our Advanced Social Media Marketing Crash Course dedicated to interior designers, a comprehensive full day immersion into the world of social – tailored to fit interior design brands and their objectives. It also includes Facebook, and definitely a good place to start if you’re looking to take your design business to the next level.
Coshamie is a London-based boutique digital marketing agency that works exclusively with interior design and contemporary art brands, with a focus on great strategies – individually designed to grow brands and fit budgets. Our #EspressoBlog mirrors our commitment to, knowledge of and passion towards design and art. To find out more, have a look at our services or one of our case studies.