When it comes to using social media platforms for marketing, Facebook remains king.
It’s not that you should leave out other outlets. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn — all of these remain critical to your solar marketing campaign.
It’s just that Facebook has something extra that none of these have on their own: the perfect storm of visuals, blurbs, interactivity, the possibility for your own distinctive presence, and a huge audience.
With 1.39 billion active users each month, if Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s second largest, just behind China, right ahead of India, and way ahead of the United States.
That’s why your solar marketing campaign should focus first on how you can use Facebook to your best advantage.
Here are three ways.
1. Build a workhorse Facebook page, and then use it!
At this point Facebook is such an expected part of doing business, that too many firms end up treating it like a glorified Yellow Pages entry, rather than employing its powerhouse possibilities. So make yours work for you — on a daily basis!
All the marketing strategies in place since the early days of Facebook still apply:
- Post “thought leadership” content even more than “selling” content.
- Open your page to public comments and allow your audience to say what they want, whether positive or negative.
- Respond to comments, especially the negative ones, which are a chance to connect and/or fix a problem.
- Freshen content — written and visual — regularly.
Adding dynamic content that teaches your audience things, entertains them, and invites them to have a relationship with you is still the best way to get “likes” on Facebook, the very definition of being a “likable authority,” in the solar industry.
2. Solar is photogenic — build on that.
Facebook integrates words with visuals perfectly, making it a ripe medium to explore written posts, visual posts, and both combined.
Short and pithy counts if you’re going to bring up a topic for your Facebook Page fans to engage with, but why waste the interactivity moment by leaving out a photo?
Like it or not, Internet culture is fairly visual. We like to see stuff, and on social media, a picture on average gets many times more clicks than text alone. This gives solar an advantage because the options for engaging graphics, from sleek PV panels to smiling customers, are obvious.
Your business can post photos from your installations, illustrations of how systems work, happy customers, motivated employees, and any other literal depiction of solar projects — residential, commercial, and industrial scale — in action.
You should always favor real shots from your own work over stock photos, which can turn off your Facebook fans. But don’t be too much of a literalist about the shots you use. More opportunities arise if you’re open to striking graphics, even if they’re not yours. So share news from other solar firms and organizations, too. This only increases solar buzz, and the “sharing culture” is what social media is built on.
There’s plenty of room to figuratively and metaphorically suggest solar by showing the sun, sunny stuff, happy sunny people, and whatever else your creative team conceptualizes. You’re trying to communicate:
- Solar is good.
- Solar pays for itself and people like it because they save money and help the earth.
- Don’t you want solar, too?
So make sure your blog has good photos so that when you share, fans get both a text blurb and a visual to hook them in.
Also, fill up those Facebook albums with photos of your arrays, offerings, and stories. Then, share articles from your own blog as well as other sources.
And, if a piece has more than one shot attached to it, don’t just accept the Facebook default shot. Instead, hit the arrows to the thumbnail that you think works best on Facebook for its size, shape, and layout.
3. Create and post your own solar memes.
The Internet loves a meme. And Facebook thrives on them.
If you’re not in the know about what a “meme” is, listen up, and then plan to make meme graphics a regular part of your solar marketing campaign.
Memes are bits of graphic design that can range from the funny to the sublime, with plenty of commercial, business, and political potential, too. I’ve inserted an example at the top of this post.
In a solar marketing campaign, you’d want your memes to feature a clear photo (that could be filtered to make text on it very readable), with a relevant and interesting factoid, statistic, list, news on pending legislation or possible outcome, inspiring saying, recent stellar project, pending stellar project, or whatever.
Or you can do memes without photography, just using great design and typography. Both work well on Facebook.
The point of a meme is to stun, inspire, ignite action, or underscore existing feelings. All this is very shareable content. While that content can and does live anywhere on the Internet, on Facebook it positively thrives. It’s dynamic, you “get it,” at a glance, and excited or engaged fans and others want to spread it around.
If you can’t or don’t want to make these yourself, an online marketing company like the Curren Media Group can help. But the ease of being able to do these in almost any graphic design program means that you’re just as likely to be able to do them yourself, saving money on your solar marketing campaign while also getting plenty of bang for your buck.
It true that you can apply all these strategies to any social media and, if you’ve got the time and personnel, you should.
But start with Facebook first and build out from there. It’s the surefire way to build up an engaged audience and get them to do the work for you — sharing your solar content, and thus your brand, all day.
— Lindsay Curren, Creative Director, Curren Media Group