Using the Web and Social Media to Promote Your Business

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Using the Web & Social Media to Promote Your Business

It’s highly likely that you use the internet and social media. In fact, many of us use it a lot.

About 90% of adults in the U.S. use the internet. 76% shop online. 72% used at least one social media site in 2019.

Those statistics are probably not surprising. But here are two statistics that should catch your attention. According to the Small Business Administration, only 64% of small businesses in the U.S. have a website.

In 2018, SCORE reported that 77% of U.S. small businesses use social media to support their sales, marketing and customer service.

If yours is one of nearly 7 out of every 10 small businesses that have a website, and one of almost 8 of every 10 that uses social media for your business, you have two great means to put your professionalism on display, promote your business, retain current customers, gain new customers and grow your business — 24 hours a day.

Now, keep the momentum going.

Your Website: An Update is Needed

At JohnTalk, we continually remind you of the absolute necessity of having a website. It is the single most important aspect of the internet as it concerns your portable sanitation business. Your website is quite possibly the most cost-effective investment you will make for marketing and advertising.

While social media is becoming more and more important, your website is the foundation of your online presence. You could say that social media is like spending time with friends, while your website is the home you always come back to.

For your social media efforts and website to work best together, your website has to be up to the task. That means you must occasionally update it.

If you don’t create or manage your own website, your Chamber of Commerce can connect you with pros to help you.

There are several critical reasons to update:

To Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

A mobile-optimized website is a site that reformats itself for phones or tablets. Studies have shown that a large percentage of mobile users will simply leave a site that isn’t optimized. And for several years, Google has ranked mobile-friendly sites higher in its search results. If your website is “unfriendly,” it makes your business seem outdated and out-of-touch. Try Google’s mobile-friendly test page at https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

To Improve SEO

Adding fresh content is also important for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes. Google bases its search results in part on new, relevant content that is added to a website. Consider doing keyword research and adding high-ranking search terms for better visibility in search results.

To Help Pages Load Faster

Do your website pages load at a crawl? There are many technical reasons why, over time, your website may become slow, and a slow-loading page is another major reason why internet users will quickly leave a site. There are continual improvements in web creation technology that help sites run faster, so take advantage of them with an update.

To Remove Dead Links

Links that don’t connect, whether outbound to other sites or internal to link to another location on your website, are frustrating for the user and can result in lower SEO rankings.

To Update Content

This is probably the most common reason to update. It’s also extremely important. Your service offerings usually change over time. This is especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many PROs pivoted to emphasizing sanitation and cleanliness. Reasons to update include:

  • Adding a new product line, such as luxury units
  • Expanding your current line
  • Changing the emphasis of your services, such as getting into public events
  • Adding staff
  • Expanding your service area
  • Being involved in a newsworthy event (donating services to a not-for-profit event, making a presentation at a Chamber of Commerce event, receiving a business award, etc.)

Content includes photos. New photos immediately freshen your website. If you have recently purchased luxury units, showcase them inside and out with photos. Customers appreciate seeing what a unit looks like, especially if renting for a wedding or other high-end event.

To Modernize Your Image

Does your website look old? Users notice, and it could be a subtle sign implying that you don’t pay attention to the details of running a business. To create a visually appealing website:

  • List essential information at the top, including contact information
  • Provide relevant information, such as product options and services, and map
  • Make the website user-friendly and easy to navigate
  • Optimize your website for search engines

For more information, read our article The Importance of Having an Updated Website and check out our infographic Tips for a Great Website.

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Google: Put It to Work for Your Small Business

Google is all about finding and using useful information. It not only provides lots of information, Google allows you to fine-tune that data with great precision to help your portable sanitation business. Two features of the search engine stand out.

Google Maps

Having your business “pinned” on Google Maps is an immediate visual benefit for potential customers. Maps is far and away the most used map app, and it’s worth noting that 46% of Google searches are local – i.e., people searching for something in their vicinity. Listing your business on Maps is simple, free, takes just a few minutes and doesn’t require any maintenance. For step-by-step instructions, see our infographic How to Get Your Business to Show Up on Google Maps and article The Importance of Having Your Business Show Up on Google Maps.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is software that allows you to analyze in-depth info about the visitors to your website, such as which pages your visitors are clicking on, what search terms they use, where they are based, and much more. It’s a free service.

One of its many benefits is the capability to measure which social media platforms drive traffic to your website and how social media users interact with your site. 

To take advantage of Analytics, you must first create an account. Go to https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/ and click on “Start for Free.”

For more free tools and resources, go to Google for Small Business at https://smallbusiness.withgoogle.com/help/#!/. You can also review our article An Introduction to Google Analytics.

Social Media is BIG

Even if you’re currently using social media only for your own enjoyment, you’re very close to using it for your business. For example, if you took a selfie with your units at an event and posted it to Facebook, you’ve just marketed your business to a small degree. The transition isn’t that difficult.

All the prominent social media platforms have powerful features and resources created specifically for B2C (business to consumer) businesses such as portable sanitation.

The SBA lists several reasons why you should use social media for your business:

  • Boosts your business reach
  • Fosters instant and direct communication with your customers and the public
  • Provides a platform to offer promotions
  • Is fairly simple to set up and manage
  • Signals that your business is modern and up-to-date
  • Allows you to publicize hiring opportunities
  • Enables you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing
  • Can be inexpensive and sometimes free

Social Media Basics

Social media are websites and apps that allow users to create and share content with the public.

The content consists of images, videos, infographics, blogs, etc. Content includes user-generated content, which is content someone else creates. For example, a bride and groom posting video they shot in front of your luxury units.

Social media all have their own characteristics. Twitter, for example, specializes in written messages. Instagram and TikTok are built to share photos and videos. However, you use all of them for the same reason: to create a social connection with your audience. This connection helps your business by increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, strengthening ties to your current customers, and generating new customers.

Be Unified

Present a unified social media presence, which is creating the same message across all social media platforms (as well as all your marketing). Cleanliness and sanitation, great service and a wide selection of products are typical underlying themes you want to maintain in your messaging.

Be Active

Social media that are not updated frequently are a turnoff for users, and it’s a main reason why visitors quickly leave sites, or “bounce.” The bottom line with any update is quality over quantity. Don’t just simply post a picture of a new unit without a quality caption or engaging text.

Be Engaged

Ask questions that are conversation starters, such as “Do you like this new portable toilet design?” or “Which do you prefer at a sporting event, luxury units or standard units?” Seeking advice is another engagement option.

Also, give your social media followers deals and promotions first, and run contests, promotions and giveaways via social media.

Be Fun

Social media is meant to be lighthearted and fun. It’s often not about business at all. There should be many opportunities to present fun, enjoyment and happiness that you and your crew are involved in through portable sanitation because you play an important role in wedding parties, art festivals, beer fests, foodie events, athletics, graduations, street fairs, etc. You can even have an upbeat attitude when showing the less appealing aspects of the work.

However, a dramatic post on occasion can be impactful. Setting up units to help during an emergency or reminders about proper sanitation during the pandemic demonstrate the importance of your work.

Resources

It’s critical to become familiar with two important tech features of social media:

  • Hashtag (#) – On social media platforms, you want to consistently add “hashtags” to your posts. These are represented by the hashtag (#) followed by a word that describes the content (#portapotty, #portablesanitation, etc.). Hashtags act as a search function and help make your content reach a wider audience.
  • Analytics – Like Google, most social media platforms offer analytics about the performance of your social media presence. Analytics makes it easier to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts by collecting data such as impressions, engagement and followers. Much of the information is free, so it’s a valuable resource.

You can find specific information on using hashtags and analytics on each social media platform.

For more information, read our article 5 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Business.

Now, we will briefly review the major social media platforms. There are many others you may wish to explore.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/business/pages

Facebook users create a profile with information about themselves. They can post text, photos and multimedia that is shared with other users. Users can also join special-interest groups, such as portable sanitation business owners.

Once you have a Facebook profile, you can create a free business page (“profile” and “page” are two different things). Features and tools include postings, events and appointments, messaging for Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and job postings.

Facebook offers comprehensive advertising opportunities, and ads can be highly effective. If you want to run ads on Facebook, you will need a business page. (Ads must be purchased.)

Instagram

https://business.instagram.com/

Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app. Videos in a regular post can be only 60 seconds long, but you can also live stream videos (broadcast in real-time) up to 60 minutes long.

Instagram is all about visuals, which can be a plus for portable sanitation. Show your units and highlight luxury units, for example, or demonstrate the thoroughness of your cleaning procedures.

You can set up a free Instagram Business account, but you must first have a Facebook Page to create a business profile or run ads. You can also advertise on Instagram through Instagram Ads Manager.

LinkedIn

https://business.linkedin.com/grow

LinkedIn is a social media platform that focuses primarily on networking among business professionals.

Your portable sanitation business could benefit because your services are relevant to LinkedIn members’ interests outside their work. It’s smart to get your brand in front of professionals in your service area who are likely to rent units for private events. You can also reach decision-makers at businesses that have company picnics or outdoor events. 

You can create a free LinkedIn Company Page offering many features, such as the capability to monitor activity with analytics and to post and respond to comments and hashtag feeds.

LinkedIn offers a free feature for small businesses called Open for Business. It allows small business owners to network and connect with LinkedIn members looking for the services they offer.

There are numerous advertising options with reporting and analytics to measure like generating leads and demographics of people who check out your ads.

LinkedIn is also a resource to make contacts in the industry. Through LinkedIn Groups, you can “meet” other PROs to share information and advice.

Pinterest

https://business.pinterest.com/

Pinterest is a social network that is all about lifestyle. It allows users to share new interests and find ideas by posting or bookmarking (“pinning”) images or videos to their own or others’ boards, which keep ideas organized and easy to find. If someone is interested in party ideas or outdoor wedding settings, for example, they might pin photos of your luxury units on their boards.

You can search for Pins by typing in keywords, and by clicking through the Pin, you can visit the website. You can also send Pins directly to a friend or a group in a message.

Business profiles are free, and signing up for one gives you access to Pinterest Analytics and other tools that help grow your professional presence on Pinterest. Every Pin contains an image or video, plus a link to your store or site. Once you create a business account, you can choose to run ads on Pinterest.

TikTok

https://www.tiktok.com/business/en/

TikTok is a free app that lets you watch, create and share videos on your phone. Video clips are no more than 15 seconds (60 seconds when connecting multiple clips). The clips are set to music excerpts or sound clips.

Corporations like Coca-Cola and Google advertise on TikTok, and well-known celebrities such Will Smith, Post Malone and Miranda Lambert post content (some are paid sponsors). You must sign up for a free account in order to post videos. TikTok for Business was launched in 2020.

TikTok video is fun and casual. You’ll need to spend time on the app to get to know how it’s used and why it’s popular. Check out TikTok #Challenges, like the “Wipe It Down” challenge, which are any actions or dances that start trending and get copied by other users. So, if you can create a clever challenge that involves portable sanitation, go for it. You might also create TikToks of your work or sanitation tips.

TikTok is facing some political trouble at this time (the U.S. is threatening to ban TikTok due to its connection to its Chinese parent company). Should things work out, TikTok is likely to continue to grow in popularity. As of this publishing, TikTok is under negotiations to sell the technology to an American company, allowing the platform to go live again.

Twitter

https://business.twitter.com/

Twitter is a social networking site where people communicate in short messages called tweets. You can join in the Twitterverse 280 characters at a time, which is the maximum length of each tweet. You can also post images and video.

A Twitter account is free, and you can send broadcasts (tweets) as often as you want. To read tweets that others (such as celebrities) post, you “follow” them. You can build your own following as well.

Popular tweets can go viral, with many likes and retweets. One of the most well-known examples occurred during the power outage that hit the 2013 Super Bowl. Oreo Cookies tweeted, “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” Despite the millions spent on ads during the game, that tweet became the most “buzzworthy” marketing of the day.

Twitter is an opportunity to have fun with your account because Twitter advertises itself as being “bold” and encourages businesses to “be more human and conversational.” For example, Wendy’s and other fast food accounts have become popular for their sassy posts. When a tweeter asked, “I’m going to In-N-Out. What should I get?” Wendy’s replied, “Out.”

Twitter for Business offers free promotion for your company and the ability to get a read on your brand’s public reputation, reach new audiences, and stay in the know about real-time trends.

Twitter ads are available that allow you to promote your tweets, target your audience and use keywords. There is no minimum to spend.

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/

YouTube is a video-sharing platform that allows users to upload, view, rate, share and comment on videos. It’s owned by Google and is the second-largest social media site after Facebook.

YouTube acts like a giant search engine for videos. Type in “portable sanitation,” for example, and you get pages of listings of available videos. Notice also that you’ll see ads for portable sanitation services as well. That’s one way to reach your target market.

A good way to get a feel for portable sanitation on YouTube is to simply search YouTube and see what other companies have posted. Some basic video topics appropriate for PROs would include:

  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Product videos
  • New product introductions
  • Sanitation tips and information
  • Explaining the rental process for private events
  • Testimonials

If you’re ready to film and upload your videos to YouTube and create your business presence there, you need to sign up for a free account. And to get an account, you must first have a Google account. As you add more videos, you can keep them in one place by creating your own free YouTube business channel.

YouTube Studio can help you with keywords, analytics and other marketing information. When you are logged into YouTube, click on your icon in the upper-righthand corner and then click on YouTube Studio in the menu. 

With ad types, bidding strategies, networks, demographics and many other components, advertising on YouTube is practically a world of its own. For more information on advertising on YouTube, start with https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6052202?hl=en.

Yelp

https://www.yelp.com/

Yelp is a social media platform, but it’s more of an online directory for discovering local businesses. Yelp allows you to create a free business page, upload photos, add a link to your website and establish a business owner account to respond to customer reviews. Listings are sorted by business type and results are filtered by geographical location, price range and other unique features.

Yelp is best known for its user reviews, star ratings, and photos of users’ experiences with the businesses they patronize. Yelp ads (which do have a cost) are a good way to target local customers.

We recommend using Yelp for your portable sanitation business. Always ask your customers to leave a Yelp review.

How to Deal with a Negative Online Reputation

When Pepsi ran an ad with Kendall Jenner about social unrest, it was met with such a negative response – especially on the internet via social media platforms – that the drink manufacturer quickly pulled the ad and apologized. Social media is a powerful influencer. And as Yelp reviews remind us, not all reviews are positive, or fair. One bad review can plague a business. For steps you can take in response to negative reviews, read our article How to Deal with a Negative Online Reputation.

Looking to Take Your Portable Restroom Business to the NEXT LEVEL? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Operating A Portable Restroom Business.”

Thinking About GETTING INTO the Portable Restroom Industry? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Starting A Portable Restroom Business.”

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