Social Media for Water Labs: Boosting Your Brand and Engagement
If you've thought about adding social media to your water lab marketing mix but shrugged off the idea, you're in the right place. As a water lab manager, it's important that you realize the benefits of a social platform and how your lab can best use it to support your brand and employees.
BackLinko reports that 3.96 billion people currently use social media worldwide. Some are on LinkedIn, learning about business and technology, while others are on TikTok, learning the latest dance moves. The average person has 8.6 social accounts and logs in at least once a day. That means you can connect with current and prospective customers on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms daily. If you're not making the most of social, you're missing out on a quick, cheap, and effective way to reach half of the world's population.
Better still, it's a two-way exchange. You post, they engage, you reply, and suddenly the conversation flows. Here's how you benefit when you start talking:
- Grab attention for your lab
- Stay top of mind for water testing
- Show how customers use your services
- Generate leads and boost sales
- Get known as the go-to source of info
- Demonstrate your human touch.
If you're ready to reap some of these benefits, you have two primary routes: using your official voice and encouraging employees to serve as brand ambassadors.
Launching Official Accounts
Once you decide to jump into social media, make it count. Here are a few steps to get started:
- Choose a platform. A Facebook Business page, Linkedin Group, or Instagram account will probably fit your water lab better than TikTok or Houseparty. Select platforms where you and your customers already are.
- Build a calendar. Planning and organizing your posts in a social media calendar can help make you as time-efficient as possible. And, you'll produce more compelling content that shows you care about quality and your customers.
- Be relevant. Select content that fits each platform's personality. That webinar about beach water testing? Post it on YouTube. The PCR testing your lab offers? Post on LinkedIn groups, or Twitter if it's hot news.
- Show some personality. Bland content won't win customers. Let people know who you are and what you stand for. Need some examples? Check out some fun approaches water utilities have taken on this Oracle blog.
- Seek inspiration, or imitate. In addition to creating original content, you can riff off others. You can get inspiration right here on IDEXX Currents. Or, use the Minnesota Department of Health toolkit.
Encouraging Employee Ambassadors
You can bump up outreach considerably by encouraging your employees to advocate for your brand. As EveryoneSocial notes, employees have five times more reach than corporate accounts — so take advantage of that. Here are a few tips:
- Provide guidelines. Before you set your employees free, offer some thoughts on engaging. They should know what the brand voice is (presumably warm, approachable, knowledgeable) and what it is not (irreverent, brash, mocking, etc.). Include information about platforms for engagement, days and times to post, and best mixes of content and topics.
- Create a unique branded hashtag. With a hashtag, you can see all posts related to your water lab and make sure they're on target. A hashtag can help identify your lab, as well.
- Let people post about themselves. Personal posts don't always need to be about the latest test your employee ran. For your lab to come across as personal and human, it helps if your employees can share moments during the day that are funny or even silly, including tasteful photos.
- Post photos and videos. People are 80% more likely to read content paired with colorful visuals and 40 times more likely to share it than other types of content, according to Business 2 Community. You can create an inbox to receive fun photos or designate an employee responsible for collecting them.
- Remind employees of the perks. What benefits the brand benefits employees, too. They can drive more revenue, boost awareness of services you offer, improve new employee acquisition efforts — and they have a personal brand to promote, as well.
Supporting Marketing Goals
Whether you're upping your game on brand social channels or through employee advocacy, you need to align with your overall marketing goals. You'll also want to let employees know what those goals are and how they can help you reach them.
For example, to build awareness, you'll want general posts about your water lab. To improve acquisition, you'll want posts from the manager about what your lab offers and from the team about the company culture. For specific products or services, a Nielsen study found 84% of people trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues more than any other form of marketing.
You may want to use a lab leaderboard to show top individuals or departments sharing content and getting engagement, clicks, and shares. Provide incentives such as paid lunch, gift cards, an afternoon off, donations in an employee's name, or guest posts on the official channel.
Be sure to share the results to show how your brand and employee social media efforts are raising your lab's profile, generating leads and sales, and helping you stand out in your community and beyond.