Getting your social media plan can take a lot of time in the beginning, but the work will pay off down the line.
Chad Diller worked for Tomlinson Bomberger in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for 14 years as a field worker and salesperson before taking on the role of Marketing Coordinator. Because the 36-year-old already knew the lawn and landscape industry well, it was a natural fit for him to assume the firm’s marketing and social media responsibilities.
Yet it was also a strategic decision that came out of the recommendations of a business consultant that Tomlinson Bomberger hired to help guide the future direction of the firm. Before this year, marketing responsibilities were usually handled by an employee with other responsibilities, and no employee was dedicated to social media and blogging.
“One thing that has really helped is that it’s now a part of someone’s job,” says Diller. “I’ve been able to give it more attention as a full-time employee. It’s unfolding nicely.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Tomlinson Bomberger hasn’t made any missteps. As Diller points out, having dedicated social media staff is so new to so many companies, they’re bound to make mistakes. The key, he says, is to learn from those experiences and use the rich data that can be gleaned from Internet marketing to guide decisions.
“We can quantify our marketing and say, ‘This is how much we spent, this is what we got out of it,’” says Diller. “In the past, it was based on feelings of how it worked out.”
Although coordinating the company’s social media was very time-consuming initially, Diller says that he’s been able to effectively manage his time by planning well in advance and using tools such as Hootsuite.com to streamline postings.
“The number one reason why people spend so much time on it is because they don’t have a plan,” he says. “In the beginning, I might have spent an entire day just getting everything set up. Now, social media probably occupies about five percent of my time.”
Asked what tips he’d provide other companies that are seeking to dive into the world of social media, Diller says that marketing staff should always focus on providing extra value to customers – not simply slamming people with additional sales pitches.
“If you drone on about your own achievements and promotion, it’s easy to lose people,” says Diller. “They’re not coming to your page because they love you so much, but because they need something. Give them what they need and entertain them.”
Diller estimates that he spends about 15-20 percent of his time on Internet marketing. He spends the rest of his time on other marketing tasks like writing copy for print ads.
Regarding the state of social media in the lawn and landscape industry, Diller says that “people are finally starting to realize it’s not a fad and not going away. It’s here to stay.”