It’s 2016, and if you’re not onboard with social media yet, it’s time to get involved because it’s here to stay. Social media is a powerful tool you can––and should––use to promote your business, as is blogging, which we discussed in our previous post about advertising your contracting business online.
You might be hesitant to get started with social media for a number reasons. Maybe you don’t believe in it because your competitors haven’t started using social media yet. Or maybe the opposite is true––perhaps a lot of your competitors are active on different platforms and this makes you feel discouraged.
No matter what your hangups are, there’s one simple truth: social media can help you immeasurably, and there are contractors out there who are using it in incredible ways to grow their businesses. Getting started as soon as possible is probably one of the best decisions you can make for yours.
Here are 5 ways to get started with social media today.
- Build a social media strategy – Having a strategy in place will make everything that follows much easier. The first step in your strategy is to determine where your target audience “lives” online––if you work primarily in the residential market, you’ll find that your target customers probably prefer Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz, so you’ll want to make sure that you establish a presence for your brand on at least some of those networks.
However, don’t feel pressured to cover all of the networks out there and to post on each one every single day––you’ll burn yourself out. Determine what would be manageable for you. Maybe that’s spending an hour “Pinning” photos of your work on Pinterest once a week and posting to Facebook once every two days.
In this stage, you should also map out what kind of content you will share on your profiles. If you want to share articles that your customers and potential customers would find useful, where will you find them? If you want to share pictures of your work, do you have enough images and is their quality good enough? Do you want your tone to come across as casual or professional in your social media posts?
Asking yourself these questions, doing a little research, and being realistic with your expectations will set you off on the right foot as you dive into the world of social media.
- Set up a Yelp account – Yelp is often one of the first things to pop up when you search for a restaurant. Believe it or not, you can set up one for your contracting business too. Setting up a Yelp Business account for your company is easy, quick, and free. Once it’s set up, you can populate your page with information about your hours, location, and services, link to your website, and upload some pictures of your work.
Setting up a Yelp account will make it easier for people to find you on the web, and for customers to leave reviews of your services. Customers can even leave pictures of your work, and you can publicly reply to reviews that people leave. Be sure to tell satisfied customers that you have a Yelp page and let them know you’d appreciate an honest review. The more positive reviews you have, the more credible you will seem to people who stumble upon your page.
- Get on Houzz – Houzz provides a platform for home improvement professionals to connect with people looking to get work done on their homes. Creating an account on this website is a great way to advertise to people in your area who are really thinking about remodeling and renovating.
Setting up an account is free, and it gives you the tools to write about your business, upload your logo, and showcase pictures of your work.
Anytime someone searches for a flooring contractor in your area, the hope is that your profile will appear, prompting them click on it, look through your work, check out your website, and give you a call. For this reason, you want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward on Houzz to beat out your competition.
You can read more about setting up a Houzz account in this blog post.
- Try out Facebook Ads – Setting up a Facebook Page for your business is easy and quick, and you can learn more about the value of Facebook in our free ebook about marketing your contracting business online. One important thing to do on your page is to publish content to your page on a regular basis––content that your target audience would find interesting and valuable. Hopefully a lot of it will come from your blog, but you can post links from other websites as well.
If you’re wondering what else you can do, Facebook Ads can be incredibly effective at attracting new customers to your business. Facebook allows you to set a certain budget for each ad you create, and it promotes your ad to very specific, targeted audiences. If you set an ample budget, you’ll often see your ad reach thousands of people, so you’ll probably want to set it up so it links to your website. Anyone who clicks on your ad will then end up on your site and hopefully taken an interest in your services.
- Monitor your progress – What good is having a social media strategy if you don’t measure how successful it is? Hootsuite and Buffer––two social media management platforms that are free to use––give you tools to monitor your performance on the social media networks that you’ve connected them to. If you use Bitly as a link shortener, they’ll provide your metrics on their website as well.
It’s a good idea to check in on the impact of your social media posts pretty often. Look for trends––do your Facebook posts with videos do better than those with pictures? What times of the day are you most likely to get retweets? Doing some digging to discover and take note of any patterns can help you streamline your social media efforts in the future so they can be more effective while taking up less of your time.
These are just five ways to begin taking control of social media and using it to benefit your contracting business today.
Remember that social media is a long-term strategy and should be treated as such, so don’t feel discouraged if things don’t start happening quickly enough! With enough effort, persistence, and time, you should begin to see results.
For more online marketing strategies, download out our free ebook, 11 Ways to Advertise Your Contracting Business Online.