If you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get more customers and increase your revenue. A whopping 78% of customers are influenced to buy — or not buy — from a company based on that company’s social media’s presence. If your social presence is lacking, you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table.
Read on to discover how to use social media to generate exposure, build trust, attract leads, and make money.
If you run a brick and mortar store, or you have a healthy customer base, you may not feel like getting on social media is totally necessary.
But this attitude is leaving money on the table.
Well, for one, there are an estimated 3.7 billion people actively on social media, which means that you have the opportunity to communicate with over 25% of the world’s population on social platforms. Pretty major.
What’s more, the average internet user spends over 2 hours on social media a day — and they expect to see you there. In fact:
Social media has become the best place to reach your customers and understand what they’re looking for today.
So if you’re not on social media, you’re falling behind.
For contractors, social media can provide a myriad of benefits, helping you to expand your reach, connect with customers, land new clients, and more.
As a contractor you might think Facebook and Instagram are only useful for posting the odd picture, but here’s what your social profiles are really capable of…
Expanding your reach
If you’re only reaching people through marketing lists or via your showroom, you’ll be limiting your reach. You’ll also only be reaching people who have already shown some interest in your business. Social media, on the other hand, can help you reach people from different areas, along with people who may not be familiar with your business or your services.
Getting to know your customers
It’s difficult to see what a person is about just by glancing at them — and, on a broader scale, it can be difficult for contractor businesses to fully understand their customer demographics. On social media, you can get a screenshot of your customers’ lives, along with key demographic information like their age, gender, location, and hobbies. This can help you understand them and tailor personalized messages for them.
Social media is a proven tool for you to build trust with your audience. Which makes sense if you think about it: how many times have you looked up pictures of the food before you went to a restaurant? Or checked Yelp reviews before you chose a provider? In short, a great online presence can instantly boost credibility without requiring a ton of extra legwork or cost.
In the same vein, social media is a great place to strengthen your relationship with current customers. By sharing behind-the-scenes images, responding to customer comments, or offering deals, you can remain top of mind and develop more meaningful relationships that help you stand out from other businesses.
Showcasing your work
This one may seem obvious, but social media is the perfect place to show your customers what you can do rather than tell them. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all.
Social media can also help with networking, product promotion, and lead generation. These are crucial aspects of modern marketing, particularly in the largely virtual world we live in today. They’re also much lower cost than other marketing strategies.
Looking for more ways to advertise your contracting business? Check step-by-step guide to running successful (and profitable) ad campaigns
Now that we’ve established social media’s importance — along with key benefits that a strong social media presence can deliver — let’s dive into how you can start marketing your contracting company through social channels.
Here are eight simple steps you can start taking today to establish your presence on social media.
There’s nothing worse than a bad name on social media or different names across multiple social media platforms.
This makes it difficult for your customers to find you, and it can hurt your long-term brand recognition. That’s why your first step will be to reserve your business name on all major social media channels, including:
And if your brick and mortar name is common or already taken, don’t stress!
You can always add your city or a significant number to the end of your social media name. Just try to keep it consistent across platforms so your customers can always find you.
TRADIE DIGITAL TIP: Consider claiming social media handles even if you don’t want to use the platform today. Claiming an Instagram handle or Twitter username is free, and if you choose to expand your social media marketing down the line, it’s nice to know you’ve got full ownership of your brand name on each major platform.
Unless you have many dedicated full-time social media employees, you can’t have an effective presence on all social media platforms.
What’s more, there are certain platforms that aren’t going to be as effective for your industry or your audience. Twitter, for example, is great for comedians or journalists, but it might not be effective for a home renovation company that relies on before and after photos to tell their story.
That’s why it’s best that you start with one or two social media platforms that will work well with your audience (more on that later) and to focus on building your audience through regular posts and interactions.
#3 – Post regular updates to build consistency
Confused about what to post?
You can’t go wrong with updates about your finished projects. This not only keeps your feed fresh, but also helps you easily show:
- The range of budgets that you can work with
- The range of skills that your team might have
- Inspiration for potential customers
- Your customer service skills
- Any standout skills or services that you offer
As far as frequency goes, the number one rule is to be consistent. In other words, you can’t post once a week when you’re busy and then slam your audience’s social media feed with 5 posts in one day — it’ll confuse your audience and likely lead to unfollows.
Instead, find a frequency that works for you — it should be at least three to five posts a week — and stick to it. You can also use a scheduling tool like Buffer to schedule your posts ahead of time. . That way, you won’t have to be glued to your social media profile every day.
#4 – Develop a content calendar
To keep your social media content fresh, it can be helpful to develop a weekly or monthly content calendar.
This helps keep you on track, but also helps you plan out a variety of different posts and get your ducks in a row if any other activities are involved like:
- Taking pictures
- Interviewing customers
- Following up on a project
Don’t know where to get started? You can find a range of FREE content calendar templates here.
If you do decide to work on more than one social media platform, you’re going to have to decide how to communicate on each one — and stay consistent.
Nothing is as jarring as a social media post from a company that seems confusing or off-brand, so it’s important to establish your identity and your tone from the start.
Are you going to be funny? Helpful? Straightforward? Heartwarming?
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind the tone of the platform that you’re working on and to work within that framework.
LinkedIn, for example, is a professional platform, so any posts on that site should be more buttoned-up in nature. Instagram, on the other hand, can be more fun, pithy, and personal. We’ll touch more on each platform later, but this can largely be about trial and error.
Try a few different approaches and see what resonates with your customers. Once you’ve seen what kind of post gets the most engagement, you can focus on that type of messaging.
#6 – Get involved in bigger conversations
It’s important that you don’t keep your social media presence laser focused on your own business.
In 2021, people are drawn to social media profiles that are part of bigger conversations like inclusion and justice — and 88% of consumers would rather align themselves with a brand that cares about a social issue.
So become part of the conversation and touch on big-picture topics like the environment, regulations, or climate change – ONLY if they suit your brand and are authentic views.
Remember – you don’t have to be controversial, you just need to show your audience that you have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on.
#7 – Track your results
Deciding on a static social media strategy and sticking to it is a sure-fire way to ensure that your social media profile won’t perform.
That’s because social media isn’t a static entity.
It’s always changing, and you never know what today’s customers will want to see from your business. For this reason, it’s important to consistently track your results and pivot your strategies accordingly. More specifically, you should:
- Check how different categories of posts are performing. Are behind the scenes posts creating a lot more engagement? Did you lose followers after posting about a certain topic? Understanding these details is absolutely necessary if you want to grow your social media following and keep your customers engaged long-term.
- Create social media goals — for example, how many likes or impressions you want each post to receive — and check how your posts measure up to those goals.
- Change your social media strategy accordingly.
#8 – Monitor your reviews (and attract more of them)
Similarly, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to your online reviews and testimonials.
80% of customers read online reviews to find a business today, and 97% of those customers say that reviews impact their ultimate purchasing decision — so you want to check your reviews at least every other day and make sure that:
- Those reviews are positive.
- You’re responding quickly to any negative feedback you might receive.
- You answer any questions that customers might have.
Now, let’s talk about which social media platform might work best for your business and how to curate your presence on the platform that you choose.
Facebook is the leading social media platform because, well…everyone uses it.
Unfortunately, posting to your followers, known as organic posts, are no longer effective in 2021. Facebook runs a ‘pay to play’ model so if you want to reach a wider audience, you’ll need to sponsor your posts or run Facebook Ads.
Here’s a couple of simple ways to get more from your Facebook profile.
Optimize your Facebook Business Page
If you’re a home builder, you can find a great home for your business on Facebook.
A Facebook business page works a lot like a website, and it’s a great place to foster community, talk to your customers, share photos, and clearly explain your offerings and services.
To get started on Facebook, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Start your page as a “Local Business”
- Use your logo as the profile image
- Use an image from your most stunning project or a new home for your cover photo
- Be sure your correct contact information is included in your profile
- To start a conversation, use a simple call-to-action on your profile such as “Learn More” or “Call Now”
- If you have a company website, include a link in your profile
- Set up “Service” page with all your offerings
Additionally, if you want to boost your traffic and use paid advertising, you can (read on to find out how).
Boost posts on Facebook to increase your reach
When you “boost” a post on Facebook, you’re essentially turning that organic, or “free”, post into an advertisement that is seen by more people, including people who don’t already follow you or know about your business.
Thankfully, this is an easy process, too.
Simply go to the post that you want to boost and click “Boost Post.” From there, you set your audience, budget, duration, and payment method.
The audience filtering, in particular, can be really great. Say, for example, that you run a landscaping business in Florida. Well, you can set your audience to include people from Florida who have recently searched for certain landscaping tools, or people who have visited your competitors site. Setting these filters can help you find an audience that is interested in your services even if they’ve never heard of you before.
Develop and implement a Facebook Ads Strategy
More broadly, you can develop and implement a Facebook Ads strategy to grow your presence on the platform. This can include:
- Retargeting ads
- Lead ads
- Strategies to improve reach
- Strategies to increase video views
Keen to generate leads through Facebook? You can learn more about our Facebook Advertising campaigns here.
Instagram is a visual platform – it’s all about compelling images or videos supported by informative captions and user comments. It’s great, then, for a business that focuses a lot on visual transformations and before-and-after photos.
And that suits contractors perfectly.
To get started on Instagram, here are six tips and tricks you can apply today.
#1 – Create your Instagram profile
Again, your profile photo should be your company logo and your name should allow viewers to clearly associate the profile with your business.
#2 – Share Instagram Stories
Yes, you should be posting on your main feed regularly, but you should also be sharing content to your Instagram stories.
Stories are videos or photos that you can post that only last for 24 hours. They’re a great way to share more informal, unpolished content with your followers to increase engagement and show off your brand personality.
They’re also a great testing ground to see what kind of content resonates with your audience: since stories only live for 24 hours, they’re very low commitment. What’s more, they’re a great gateway for direct replies, or one-on-one interactions with your audience.
#3 – Reply to comments
Instagram has the best interaction rates of all social media platforms, which means that your audience is much more likely to like and comment on your posts on Instagram.
If you want that interaction to be positive, you have to reply – and fast. Why?
40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours. And if you don’t meet those expectations, they’re much more likely to ditch you altogether and switch to one of your competitors.
Even better? Not many businesses are taking advantage of these facts — in fact, only 23% of businesses in consumer goods respond at all. That means that simply responding to comments is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
#4 – Add Your Website Link In Bio
90% of people now follow a business on Instagram, and many of these people use the platform as a starting point to begin their interaction with a company.
You want that audience to be able to easily move from Instagram to your website – and that means linking to your website in your Instagram bio.
#5 – Promote Your Posts
There’s a ton of competition on Instagram, and you may not reach a super wide audience even if you optimize your content by:
- Posting at the right time – usually in the early afternoon
- Writing great captions with relevant hashtags
- Putting your website link in your bio
If you notice that your engagement is dipping, you should consider supplementing your organic content with promoted posts.
Like boosted Facebook posts, promoted Instagram posts are paid posts that you can boost to appear on your audience’s feed. This can increase engagement and introduce your business to a wider audience. The key, though, is to make sure that you’re showing it to the right people at the right time – and we can help with that.
#6 – Check your analytics
If you go to the “Insights” tab of your business Instagram’s page, you can see key information about your engagement like:
- The number of accounts you’ve reached
- The percentage of content interactions
- Your audience, including demographic insights after you have over 100 followers
- Content insight
Stay on top of this information to remain up-to-date about your audience and what posts are resonating most with your viewers. Specifically, we recommend that you check this Insights tab at least once a week and modify your content accordingly.
How to use Houzz marketing as a contractor
A hub for contractors, interior designers, remodelers, and homeowners, Houzz is an excellent platform for tradesmen and home improvement professionals. It allows these users to:
- Market their business
- Showcase work and services
- Connect directly with homeowners looking for particular products and services
In other words, it’s like a LinkedIn for home improvement professionals.
To create a standout profile on Houzz, follow these five steps:
#1 – Create a Houzz profile
Houzz is essentially like a search engine for home improvement professionals, so you want to make sure that your Houzz profile is complete and appealing. Take some time on your profile and make sure that you include the right keywords and tags on your images.
What does that mean?
Well, people are searching for certain terms when they’re looking for your services. If you remodel kitchens, for example, they might search “modern kitchen designer” or “kitchen design near me.” You have to make sure, then, that your profile contains those words and locations. That way, it’ll come up as one of their top results.
#2 – Showcase your projects
People love ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos to show them what you’re capable of.
It’s important, then, that you include relevant, high-resolution, gorgeous photos on your Houzz profile to attract and convert customers.
You can also use the platform to create ideabooks, or picture books, that you can share with your clients. If they want a bathroom remodel, for example, you can share an ideabook with all the bathrooms you’ve done — and various different styles — to inspire them and share your creativity.
#3 – Respond to messages and questions
Engagement is important on any platform, so make sure that you’re responding to all messages and questions on Houzz within 48 hours.
The sooner you connect with potential customers, the better your chance of securing a new project, contract or client.
#4 – Develop a system to earn reviews
As we mentioned, reviews are important on any social media platform.
On Houzz, you can add reviews to your page — you can even ask other professionals to leave reviews on your page to help you move up in the search results.
Even Houzz explains that these are important if you want to appear in their directory. They explain that the order of professionals in their directory is, “based on an algorithm that takes into account several factors, including the number and quality of photos in your profile, the number of questions you’ve answered, whether you sport a Houzz badge on your own website, and whether you have reviews from past clients or other professionals with whom you have worked.”
So make sure that you have a system in place that reminds you to consistently gather reviews and upload them to your page.
#5 – Consider a Pro+ Account
If you want to take your account up a notch, consider Houzz Pro. A pro plan includes various “extra” professional services, including:
- Marketing services, including website analytics and targeted local advertising.
- A pre-sale workflow that can help you turn your leads into customers.
- Project management tools to help you organize projects, change orders, and more.
- Customer experience tools, including collaboration tools and daily logs that help you update your customers on site progress.
- Financial tools that facilitate invoicing and expense tracking.
- Visualization tools, including a 3D floor planner and mood boards.
We’ve spoken briefly about what to post online. That said, it can be helpful to establish a varied, interesting, and consistent content mix to test things out and keep your audience engaged. This can include:
- Project albums showing progress, before-and-after photos and more. This not only provides inspiration but also increases customer trust by showing that you can get the job done.
- Work events to show your company culture and give a behind-the-scenes look at your team. This can help humanize your company which, in turn, can help you stand out from the competition.
- Family photos, such as your children on-site. This is particularly relevant if you run a family-owned business, as it will help you stand out from more “corporate” competition.
- Open house events to foster community.
- Blog content to share insight and your expertise.
- Behind the scenes photos to show your audience how things really work in your business.
A great rule of thumb? Choose your mix and stick to it. For example, you could post:
- Project photos on Monday, Wednesday, Friday
- Share blog content on Thursdays
- Post behind the scenes photos on Tuesdays
Deciding on your content mix and sticking to it in this way can not only keep your viewers interested, but also help you with your social media planning process.
This brings us to our last point: should you take all this on in-house or hire a marketing agency to lend you a hand?
Well, it depends how big your business is and what your goals are with social media. If you have a small, family-run business and you’re looking for a moderate following or to simply stay in contact with your customers, you could do it yourself.
However, if you’re interested in more advanced targeting strategies or you want to reach a broader audience that you’re not currently engaged with, things can get complicated. In this case — or if you simply don’t want to worry about it — you might consider hiring an agency.
An agency might also be helpful simply to get your feet off the ground and get you acquainted with social media tips, tricks, and strategies.
We’ve thrown a lot of information at you, so here’s the simple takeaway – you don’t need to become as popular as a Kardashian or earn 1,000,000 followers. Social media success comes down to being authentic, providing value for your audience, and being consistent with your posts.
Focus on your social presence to raise visibility, reach new prospects and show off your experience and skills.
Finally, think about if you want to take your social media in-house or if you’d like to employ an agency to help you with your efforts. There’s no wrong answer, the key is simply to get started. And if you do want to take it to the next level, we’re here to help! At Tradie Digital, we’ve perfected the craft of creating effective social media strategy for trade businesses like yours, and we know:
- What social media channel you should be using
- How to maximize your social media leads by $300 or more
- How to use Facebook Ads effectively
- How to maximize your reviews on social media and help your business
And that’s just the beginning. The future of your Social Media marketing is here. Get on board.