Social Media Basics for Contractors: Reach More Customers and Generate More Leads With the Right Social Media Strategy
The average person spends two hours a day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. If you aren’t marketing your disaster mitigation or restoration business on social media, you are missing out on a huge audience. A common misconception is that you need to use every single social media platform or post every second of the day to be successful. Armed with these social media basics, you can improve your brand awareness and get more jobs with just a few minutes of work each day.
Why You Should Include Social Media in Your Marketing Strategy
You might think social media is just a waste of time or just for teenagers, but the truth is a high percentage of your customers use these sites every day. While it’s often in tiny segments of less than a minute at a time, the average person spends roughly two hours every day on social media sites.
With the exception of search engines, there is no better way for customers to locate and research businesses. Adding social media to your marketing strategy will help you get in front of those customers. Of course, you also need to know what they want to see, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The one benefit social media platforms have over search engines is the added level of social trust. A simple like or interaction from a friend will automatically increase their opinion of your company.
Plus, when customers like, retweet, or interact with your social media posts, they broaden their reach. Friends or followers of your customer will see that interaction, increasing the chances of them following you too. With the right content, you can expand your audience. And audience is a fancy word for potential customers.
One final reason to use social media is that your competitors are using it. Whether it’s a local company across town, a franchise in the next town over, or a nationwide chain, someone is targeting your audience on social media. Customers with smoke damage or a sewage backup need help. If they don’t find you, they will call whoever they do find.
Which Social Media Platforms Are Best for Contractors
There are a huge variety of different social media platforms, with new ones getting created all the time. That said, these are the social media sites most likely to be effective for disaster mitigation and restoration contractors.
With more than 2 billion users, Facebook is the undisputed king of social media. There are more than 200 million Facebook users in the United States, with more than half of that audience between the ages of 25 and 54. If you’re only going to choose one social media platform, Facebook is likely your best bet.
On Facebook, you can share content with your customers, such as links to your SEO content, before and after photos of recent jobs, and quick how-to tips. Customers can then interact with your content, sharing reactions, leaving comments, and asking questions.
Within your business profile, you can include your business hours, contact information, a short description, and a link to your website. Customers can also message you directly through Facebook, offering them a quick and convenient method of contacting you. While technically free for businesses, there is an option to run ads or boost your content for a fee.
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn is an employment-oriented social network where current and former co-workers and business associates can connect. In the United States, there are more than 130 million LinkedIn users. While it may be an effective platform for generating leads, it is more likely to help you find new talent or to connect with other businesses. An effective social media marketing strategy is about finding the right market. If you choose to market your business on LinkedIn, you will need to target your content to your audience accordingly.
With nearly 70 million users in the United States, many consider Twitter a more interactive environment than Facebook or LinkedIn. While those platforms require users to connect to interact with each other, Twitter allows users to interact with each other without connecting. While it can be an effective platform for generating leads, it tends to take more time and effort to build an audience.
Google’s social network Google+ never really took off and many businesses choose not to create an account or post that frequently. With a few exceptions, Google+ works very similarly to Facebook and allows you to post a variety of types of content.
While it might not have the most active audience, Google+ is integrated with other Google services. Using it is likely to help boost your SEO and paid search efforts within the Google universe. While social media is not a set it and forget it medium, you can likely get away with very limited interaction on Google+.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is a network for sharing and interacting with photos and short videos. Extremely popular with the 18 to 30 crowd, it is a great way to showcase your work. Similar to Twitter, users don’t need to be connected to interact with each other. As a visual medium, it can be an effective platform, but it works best in conjunction with other social media sites.
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard for saving photos and articles, often to serve as inspiration for cooking, crafting, and home improvement. It’s likely best for sharing your SEO content, especially instructional how to’s and do it yourself articles. Similar to Instagram, it is likely best used in addition to other social networks.
While one of the smaller social networks, Houzz is specifically focused on architecture, construction, interior design, and landscaping. Users include both homeowners and construction professionals looking to showcase their work. While it can serve as a portfolio, you are likely to find more success answering questions from homeowners in the forums.
Choosing Which Social Media Sites to Use
Since many factors go into what makes a social campaign successful, it’s difficult to predict which will perform best for you. It’s better to start slowly and perfect your strategy, then launch headlong into all of these sites only to fail.
Consider your target audience and the content you have available before choosing one or two sites to test over a few months. When measuring your success, consider how many jobs you generate, how many links and interactions you receive, and how easy it is to create content that performs.
Avoid completely abandoning accounts that don’t perform. While you can delete them, it’s a better option to keep them active and post where customers can find you. If you find that Twitter isn’t effective for you, for example, make a final post that tells customers what social sites you are active on. Check back on that account every couple of weeks to see if there is more interaction.
What Types of Content Should Contractors Share on Social Media
One of the biggest mistakes on social media is to repeatedly post the same sales pitch over and over. Customers want to see variety. Contently posting ads – or worst, the exact same ad – will turn them off quickly.
Mixing up the type of content you post and focusing on providing a benefit to your customers will drive more engagement. Sharing posts about your employees and the community makes you seem more human. Plus, these types of posts make the advertisements you do post less obtrusive.
Examples of Your Work
Some of the easiest content to create is examples of your work. Usually, this is as easy as taking a before picture when you first arrive and an after photo once you’re finished. Make sure to write a short description that explains what happened and what services you provided. There is no need to tack on a sales message here because your contact information is attached to your profile.
Quick Tips and Instructional How-Tos
Not only do instructional how to’s make great SEO content, they can also drive interaction on social media. Try posting both links to your SEO posts as well as short quick tips. Good looking photos are a great way to increase engagement too. While you should include a sales pitch at the end of your SEO articles, avoid including them with these posts and allow them to stand on their own. Customers will be able to find your information if they need it.
Timely and Topical Content
If you are a water damage or fire damage restoration contractor, make sure you share relevant weather alerts from the National Weather Service or local and state officials. Post in advance of the weather with just a general warning, then post after the event about your services. If you are a mold mitigation contractor, post after heavy flooding or significant rainfalls. For plumbers, consider doing a seasonal checklist. Create posts relevant to your business around time changes, prevention or awareness weeks, and in advance of holidays.
Celebrate Your Business and Employees
Post about significant milestones in your business, like your company’s 20th birthday or an employee’s 5th work anniversary. While you should avoid oversharing personal details, these type of posts help customers will see you as both real people instead of a faceless company.
Support the Community
Posting about your community also helps to humanize your business. If you sponsor a softball team, congratulate them on a big win or even a heartbreaking loss. Share a post if the local charity you support is running a donation drive or promoting an upcoming event. If you have a brick and mortar storefront, share a post welcome a new business to the neighborhood.
While you are unlikely to run promotions or offers on your disaster mitigation or restoration services, you can still promote your business directly. It’s best to tie them to a specific event, such as flooding or storms. Keep your eyes on the weather, think local, avoid being pushy and be compassionate. While you can include your phone number here, your primary focus should be the needs of your customers.
How to Get Customers to Follow You on Social Media
The best way to get customers to follow you on social media is to ask them. Once you’ve finished the job and are wrapping up with them, add a pitch for your social media sites. This fits in great with asking them to refer you to friends and leave you a review.
While getting people to follow your social media profiles may seem difficult, it’s also important to think about keeping them engaged. Look at what type of content is getting the most engagement and share more things like that.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in your follower count, remember that not every customer going to follow you. Avoid paying for followers too, because these aren’t real customers. Regardless of the number of followers you have, potential customers will come across your social media posts.
Why is the Reach So Low On My Social Media Posts
Most social networks will offer some sort of data on how your posts perform. Reach is the most common statistic provided, which indicates the number of people to which your content was displayed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they actually saw your content, just that it was displayed to them.
Every social media has their own algorithm on how they determine what gets displayed to a specific person. The network is likely to display more posts from friends and businesses they interact with most frequently.
It’s impossible to predict exactly who will see your posts, but you should expect each post to reach between 3% and 6% of your audience. As a specific social media post gets more engagement, it is usually rewarded by being displayed to more people.
Another factor that may impact reach is both the frequency and diversity of your posts. If you post the exact same thing every week at the same time, your reach will likely decrease. Posting a variety of content, some posts with links and others without, you are likely to see your reach increase.
How Contractors Can Improve Their Social Media Marketing
Think About Your Customers
Every post you make should be targeted at your customers. Whether it is a helpful tutorial on replacing a washer on a leaky faucet, sharing a local severe weather alert, or posting before and after photos of a job, your focus must be on helping your customers. Even posting that the team you sponsor won the local little league championship is about making them think positively about your business.
Create a Calendar for Posting Content
When those calls start coming in, it’s all too easy to forget about your social networks. Creating a calendar of your social media posts will keep you on track. For Facebook, you should be posting between 4 and 6 times per week. You can go less on LinkedIn, with 2 to 3 posts, while you should go more on Twitter, with 1 to 2 posts per day. For Google+, go an average of one post every 4 to 5 days. Your posts will vary on Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz, but you should post no less than once a week. Writing your posts in advance on a slow morning will ensure you have posts ready to go on days you are busy.
Engage Your Customers
Social media is largely about engagement, so make sure your customers can see you’re paying attention to them. If they ask a question, provide the best answer you can in less than four sentences and ask them to call you if they still need more help. Sometimes a customer will just leave a comment. Acknowledge that comment with a like or a quick thank you.
Avoid Arguing With Followers
Remember, all of this engagement is going on in a public space, so all of your customers and potential customers can see what you are saying. While engaging your customers will benefit you in the long run, arguing with them will do the exact opposite much faster. If a customer leaves a negative review, take a deep breath and then try to response as sincerely as possible. Be empathetic to their situation and apologize, even if you don’t think you did something wrong. Then let them know you will follow up with them via phone to resolve the issue.
Know When to Pay to Boost Your Content
The allure of social media is that it is free, but the truth is you will need run a paid campaign now and again to increase visibility and generate more leads. Once you’ve got your social media schedule down, run a campaign to increase followers. As your followers increase, switch to promoting specific pieces of content. Ideally, you’ll want to promote posts about your services after a weather event. Also consider boosting posts around seasonal maintenance, a prevention or awareness week, or other relevant events.
Social Media is Here to Stay
Your customers – and competitors – are on social media. If you aren’t, you’re missing out on an opportunity to generate more leads. Much like SEO, building a following for your social media profiles will take time. You will need to test out several platforms and remain engaged with your customers.
Posts a variety of different types of content, including posts about weather and other relevant events. Remember that not every post needs a sales pitch. Social networks are also constantly evolving just like search engines, so what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow. Keep adjusting your social media strategy to stay ahead of these changes.
If you aren’t ready to dive into the world of social media marketing, consider using our exclusive lead generation system instead. We use social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid search, and several other channels to produce high quality, conversion-ready leads. Our leads are sent exclusively to just one partner and only bill you on valid leads. Learn more about our water damage, fire restoration, mold remediation, plumbing, biohazard cleanup, and carpet cleaning leads or call 1-888-594-8381 for more details.