Social media has been a major digital marketing channel for a decade now as the worldwide use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media has been increasing steadily.
In this article we will outline in a simple and informative way the why and how you should be using Facebook to maximize your online reach and find more customers online.
Why choose Facebook over other digital marketing channels?
Facebook has the largest user base (over 2.7 billion monthly users worldwide), of which over 50 million small businesses use it actively. Only in the United States, there are 190 million Facebook users.
If you’re wondering if users are purchasing goods or services, 18.3% of adults in the US made a purchase through Facebook, while the search of local businesses increased by 23% in 2020. So if you are offering solar panel installation locally, Facebook offers a great opportunity to expand your reach.
Moreover, close to half of B2B decision makers use Facebook for research, so finding partners or suppliers is also an option.
Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular social media and over the years it has recognized that more and more people use it to both purchase goods and services as well as to promote their business. To capture that, it constantly expands and improves the variety of tools as well as analytical insight for its users to help them display their businesses and reach a wider audience organically.
Facebook offers a variety of features such as Facebook pages, groups, news feeds, poll and many more, on which we will focus later in the article.
Did you know: Facebook’s biggest group, with 1.8 million members, is The Blackout Coalition, which supports Black-owned businesses.
Time to dig deep and learn how to use these tools, and how you, as a solar panel contractor, can most optimally use this platform to find new clients or simply serve your loyal customers better.
Use Your Facebook Business Page to Its Fullest potential
A business page is a must as it suits as your business listing on Facebook, letting customers find you through the Facebook search bar and get a first impression of your business.
If you haven’t created a business page on Facebook, head over to facebook.com/pages/create, you can use your personal account to create and manage the page, although none of your personal information will appear on your Business page.
Your business page has a button that you can customize, this is your main call to action button, so use it wisely. You can choose to lead potential clients to your website, to your business phone number, to a service booking form or another link of your choosing. Over time, you can test different call-to-action buttons and see what works best for you.
Next, it is time to choose your so-called vanity URL (up to 50 characters), which is the text in your page’s URL, so make sure it is recognizable and memorable. In most cases, that is the name of your business.
Lastly, review your page’s settings, where you can choose who can see the information as well as the posts you publish.
Now that you’ve properly set up your business page, it is good to know what types of content you can offer to your audience. But before we explore that, let’s make sure we know how to correctly target the right audience. As we mentioned above, Facebook’s user base is in the billions, therefore we need to make sure we reach the right people, those interested in solar panel installation.
How to target the right audience in Facebook
As you have surely worked for clients who want solar panels installation, maintenance or consultation, you already have an idea of what their needs are and what type of interests they have.
To make sure you connect with your customers on multiple levels, it is important to touch on the topics in which they are interested. To find out who your audience is and what they need, ask yourself questions such as:
- What is the demographic of your audience, where do they live, what education they have, what is their profession, what salary they receive etc?
- What are the challenges they face and how you can solve them?
- What information do they need to know when it comes to solar panels and solar panel installation?
- What are their interests and how you can connect with them?
For example, if your audience is also greatly interested in electric cars and reducing pollution and CO2 emissions, it might be useful to share content about EVs as well.
The format and types of content on Facebook
Now that you have a better idea of who your audience is, time to ask ourselves how we can engage with them on Facebook. To answer that question, we must know the different formats in which content is published. For example, you cannot post a one-hour-long story, as Facebook’s limit is 20 seconds. Here are a few important stats:
- A Facebook post has a limit of 63,200 thousand characters
- A Facebook comment has a limit of 8,000 characters
- The best Facebook update length should be between 40 and 80 characters
- The ideal Facebook ad link description is 18 words
- The optimal Facebook ad body is 14 words
- A Facebook story’s limit is 20 seconds
Moreover, consider what type of content is your audience most likely to consume on Facebook:
- Facebook post (we will go through the different types of Facebook posts later)
- Facebook story
- Facebook ad
Creating engaging content
The main feature of Facebook is the Facebook wall (feed), which combines posts from all your friends, pages and groups that you’re interested in. Therefore, you have to create a piece of content that can catch the attention of your target audience while they are scrolling through their feed.
Key things to consider when creating a piece of content on Facebook:
- Post title and description, are they clear, engaging and concise?
- Thumbnail image, does it drive attention and is it properly sized?
- Does it answer a question your audience is asking?
- Does it provide interesting or informative content to your audience?
Following the 80-20 rule to decide how much of your content is informative and how much is promotional is a great way to ensure your audience doesn’t see you as only looking to sell your service. That means that for every promotional piece of content you post on Facebook, it is advisable to have five posts which provide relevant and informative content to your audience.
Moreover, establishing yourself as a trustworthy source of useful information in your niche is a great way to ensure you create a steady stream of loyal as well as new customers over the years.
Now that you have a good idea of what content you want to create and share, lets see what types of posts and other content you can publish on Facebook:
What is the best type of Facebook post for your solar installation business?
Posts are the bread and butter of the tools Facebook provides. You might think there are just text and video posts, but you’ll be surprised that there are quire a few options.
Let’s find out which one is best for a solar installation page on Facebook. We will list all types of Facebook posts with some useful tips and tricks for each.
Facebook text post
This is the most simple post, it does not include any videos, photos, links or ‘emotions’. We don’t recommend posting such posts in your Business page as it has lower engagement than video, link and photo posts.
Although, if your Facebook audience is expecting you to do a quick update, for example on the progress of a solar installation project, then a text post is ok.
Facebook photo post
Working in the solar industry, there is lots to share with photos. A new model of panels, a quick how-to or the before and after progress of a completed job. Images are easy to consume and can bring a lot of information without the need of writing and explaining anything.
Quick updates or tips keep your audience engaged and your page active, helping you reach more people with every published post.
Did you know: Photo posts have a higher click rate than video posts, which have higher likes and comments engagement.
Facebook video post
Yes, the big brother of photo posts. It often requires a bit more work to post those, yet the possibilities are endless. Whether you decide to do a how-to series explaining how solar panels work, how efficient they are or what the difference between monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film are, a well-made video shows your knowledge in the field and brings the extra trust and credibility which attracts long term clients.
Remember, video posts have higher engagement than photo posts, and a lot higher engagement than text posts.
Did you know? Engagement in Facebook means the amount of likes, comments and shares you get on your posts. Other engagement signals are checking in at your geo location or simply tagging you in a post.
Link posts (Linking to external website)
This is the easiest post to make, yet it is very important as well. Your link to the content of your choice, which could be a specific service or product you offer on your website. This is your so-called promotional post, where you advertise your skills.
This is the main reason you’ve made your Facebook business page in the first place and have put effort into building a following on Facebook.
When adding text to your link post, you can also use different emojis to elaborate on certain benefits or features of your service. Also, make sure your linked content has an engaging image and title, as Facebook automatically ads the photo, title and short description of the external page.
Facebook poll posts
These are relatively new and are a great way to find out your audience’s opinion. Whether it is about what new service they need or what their opinion is on a hot topic, polls are a great way to do your own research and learn more about your followers.
This type of post is used by the younger users on Facebook and might not be suitable for your target audience, although it doesn’t hurt to try. Posting quick updates live from a panel installation may lead to more likes and followers. If that doesn’t happen, focus on the more standard posts.
Did you know: Facebook stories last only 24 hours, then they will only be visible to you.
This could be any other post. Pinned posts are situated on top of your page and any user visiting it will see it first. Use this feature to pin a piece of content that best represents your brand and your services. Pins are also used to make sure more of your followers read important news or view a video you think will be most valuable to them.
Set your goals
So far, you have learned how to properly set up your business page and what type of posts to choose depending on your needs. All this information might be a bit overwhelming and you might be wondering what types of posts to use and what content to post on your page. To decide that, you need to set the right goals and follow them.
There are a variety of goals you might set up for your Facebook page, such as to increase the number of followers, likes, comments etc. But all those metrics would not mean much if they don’t contribute towards more leads and panel installation bookings. The goals you set must be clear and in synergy with your business goals.
To set up the right goals for your Facebook page, we suggest following a standard goal-setting framework such as S.M.A.R.T. It goes like this:
- Smart – a realistic goal is better than the best possible result.
- Measurable – can you measure your goal? What metric will signal you are on your way to reaching it?
- Attainable – depending on how much effort you want to put in your Facebook page, set up the appropriate goals to match the time and effort invested.
- Relevant – as mentioned above, does your Facebook page goals help reach your business goals.
- Timely – set up deadlines, content and post planning schedule
Remember, at the end of the day, you are the person who knows most about your business and has to decide what your audience needs. We learn by trial and error and slowly improve upon our mistakes.
We hope this article was useful to you and has set up a general outline of how you can use Facebook to organically engage with your audience.
This article was written with the help of Monta, an innovative startup set up to disrupt the EV industry by providing an all-in-one EV charging app to manage your charging experience
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