We recently looked at the importance of having your own website to help you grow your business as a tradesperson. This time, we’re looking at how social media can help to win new customers, show off your latest work and stand out above the competition.
While you’re probably used to sharing posts with friends on Facebook or uploading photos to Instagram, many tradesmen underestimate the power that having a standalone business page can have on their enquiries.
Social media isn’t just for keeping in touch with friends and family now. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube can have a huge benefit for your business by showing off your best work, and your human side too, allowing you to connect with previous and future customers directly.
It’s estimated that around 80% of tradesmen will use social media in some way to promote their business. If you’re not part of this trend then you could be missing out on some new sources of enquiries. However, if you are part of this 80% then it’s important that you stand out from the crowd and show off your work in the best light.
What should a social media profile include?
There are slight differences across each social media channel but in general, a good social media profile will include:
- Your company logo
- Your business address
- A link to your website
- A contact number
- An email address
You should also be using the posting features to show off new installations, updates to your services and the latest news. By regularly posting updates and encouraging customers to interact with your posts, you can reach more people quickly and generate more enquiries.
What should you post on social media?
You can share many different bits of content with your social media fans, from images, videos, links to guides or even just simple status updates. Over time, you’ll be able to see which types of content your fans like to see more of by the number of likes, shares and comments so you should share more of this going forward.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Document your day - share status updates of your day out on the road
- Before / after photos - transformation photos of work you’ve carried out
- Safety tips or advice - mythbusting common misconceptions or practical advice
- Product reviews - videos showing the best tools for the job
- Simple DIY jobs - show your fans how to complete easy jobs around the home that will benefit them going forward
How often should you post?
There are no hard and fast rules to how often you should be updating your social media profiles. The only rule you should follow is to be consistent.
It’s much better to post once or twice a week in a regular pattern, rather than post twice in one day followed by radio silence for weeks on end.
Over time you will be able to see which days and times get you more interaction with your audience so you can start to plan out a schedule that works for you and them.
If you don’t want to interrupt your jobs or want to ensure that you can still post regularly when you might be away from your phone or computer, there are tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck that will automatically post for you to a set time and day and most have a free version available.
What social media channel should I use?
There are several different social media channels for tradesmen to use and it can be confusing to decide which one is best. Not only that, but juggling multiple profiles can become time-consuming and unproductive if you’re shouting about your services with no audience.
You shouldn’t feel obliged to appear on every platform, only the ones where you can dedicate time for. To help you out, here’s a quick rundown of how you can generate value from some of the leading social media sites:
The most widely used social media channel with a huge range of features. You can create a business page, invite your friends to ‘like’ it and share updates free of charge or use Facebook Ads to reach new customers in your local area.
You can also use Facebook Messenger to arrange appointments, communicate with customers directly and share quotes and images straight to their phone.
- Already widely used by millions across the country
- Free to set up and can link to your personal Facebook page to manage easily
- Huge range of features including images, videos, Messenger, Groups and appointments
- Can be difficult to reach new audiences without advertising
- Reviews and feedback can be left by unverified customers
What was once a “microblogging” website that allowed users to share updates of up to 140 characters has now become one of the most widely used platforms for celebrities, journalists and even politicians to engage directly with the public.
For most tradespeople, Twitter might not be the best platform to use. There are over 500 million tweets posted per day, so getting started and standing out on this channel is significantly difficult.
- Hashtags allow you to join conversations and get found by similar audiences
- Free to set up and you can link directly to your website
- Tweets can be embedded on your website or share across other channels
- Extremely difficult to build your audience from a standing start
- Despite efforts from Twitter, there is still very much an issue with fake or spam accounts
- Not as frequently used as other channels so you could end up spending time without a noticeable return
Now owned by Facebook, Instagram is hugely popular for sharing images, videos and quick updates known as ‘Stories’.
Hashtags are a major part of using Instagram and you can be found easily by new audiences by using the right tags. You can also collect images of your work on Instagram and sharing galleries on your website - just like our Customer Projects pages.
- Growing fast and well loved by its users for quality visual content
- Owned by Facebook so you can link to your page and use the same advertising account if you like
- Easy to network with other users and gather photos of your work if you use a hashtag
- Can be limiting if you have a smaller audience
- Stories can take a while to create but disappear after 24 hours
- Low quality imagery will not get the same level of interaction
The largest video sharing site and the second largest search engine after Google, many people use YouTube to help them carry out DIY jobs, watch reviews or get inspiration from interior designers.
More recently, YouTube has started to bring in more adverts before and during videos so it will be interesting to see how many people will stick with it if they’re not able to watch videos uninterrupted as they’re used to.
- Huge potential for reaching new audiences as it is the second largest search engine
- You can use your YouTube videos on your website, share on Facebook and other channels easily
- Allows you to share longer videos to show off your work with timelapses, before and after or even reviews
- Video can be expensive to produce
- New advertising features might turn away some users
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to reach audiences in their local area through Google Search and Google Maps, allowing you to share updates and receive customer reviews.
Example scenario: You own a tiling company in Oldham. When a potential customer does a Google search for ‘tilers in Oldham’ you want your business to show up with a link to your website, your contact details, opening hours and show how far away you are from them
- Free to use
- Linked with Google Search and Google Maps
- Free to use reviews
- Post shares receive far less interaction than other channels
- It might take a while to overtake well established competitors
- Reviews do not have to be verified customers
Quick Do’s and Don'ts
DO post quality images and videos of your work
DO be professional and avoid sharing controversial or polarising content
DO reply to comments (even the bad ones)
DO engage with other tradespersons to build a supportive network of complementary skills
DO share reviews to show off your hard work and happy customers
DON’T overdo the hashtags, use between 5 and 10 per post
DON’T like your own posts, let your audience do this for you
DON’T delete negative comments, address them publicly then take the conversation offline to resolve
DON’T get into public spats - it can take a long time to build a good social media audience but only a few minutes to damage your reputation
DON’T include typos in your posts - take a second to proofread as your audience will appreciate the accuracy
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