Facebook can be an effective tool to help contractors attract the clients best matched to their services. By following a few simple steps, you can make your social media strategy more effective and enhance your overall online presence.
1. Give customers what they want
Be specific in your messages, using keywords to attract the best prospects, and produce blog content that focuses on questions your potential customers want answered. Provide your customers with the information they need.
"Only 25 percent of your status updates should be promotional," Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Internet marketing company Surefire Social, told Remodeling Magazine. "The other 25 to 50 percent should be about the community and industry, the rest should be manufacturer updates and new products."
2. Keep it fresh
Make sure your presence on Facebook is up to date. Post at least once, preferably several times, each week and keep track of viewer response. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that companies do the same with their websites and use both platforms to complement one other for a strong online presence.
3. Listen to your customers
"Businesses can gain great insight about their consumers through their Facebook page," said Paula Fleming, the BBB's vice president of communications and marketing. "Looking at their responses and involvement on their page is a great indicator of the depth and to what degree they are reaching their audiences."
Monitoring consumer "likes" on your Facebook page gives you a way to measure how consumers are responding to your company, products, and services, and allows you to adapt your marketing approach to best meet their interests.
4. Establish who you are
The most important message that contractors can put before the public via social media is who they are and what they do. Let your work speak for itself. Posting photos and descriptions of current and completed projects shows potential customers exactly what you can do for them.
Posting industry articles on an improved housing market or the added market value home improvement projects can bring gives consumers the confidence to move forward with their design plans. Add your opinions so viewers know you have experience with specific services and that you're in step with the latest trends in your industry. This has the added benefit of revealing your company’s unique character.
"Don't use 'marketing speak,'" advises mRelevance's Flammer. "It doesn't have to be personal, but it should have personality. People hire people they like."
5. Encourage participation
Give potential customers, as well as current clients, a chance to interact with you. Having interactive tabs on your company's Facebook page allows viewers to take part in polls, vote on favorite projects, or participate in contests, as recommended by Carol Flammer, managing partner at mRelevance in Atlanta. This is a great way to generate interest to attract new clients and build loyalty with existing customers, particularly during slow construction periods.
6. Become a trusted resource
If consumers are trying to learn as much as they can about a particular project, they'll probably want to check out related web or Facebook pages. Why not help them? Providing links to blogs, e-newsletters and videos - yours and those of outside sites - will show that you intend to educate clients, even if it means sending them elsewhere to get the information they need. Helping consumers in this way creates a positive impression of your company and promotes you as an expert in the field.
Linking to manufacturer pages and press releases about new products gives you the opportunity to tell the public about your experience with those products and promote them as components of services you offer. For instance, if your company installs in floor electric heating, links can instruct Facebook visitors about how radiant heat works and its benefits, including energy efficiency and improved air quality in the home.
The BBB recommends becoming a fan of other Facebook pages and liking the pages of your business partners, including vendors, sponsors and subcontractors. It's the online version of company-to-company networking.
7. Offer something extra
Part of the educational process should include surveys or articles from your company and industry, so clients have some basis for comparison. “Not only is it important to be up to date with current events, the latest news, and trending hashtags, but also try posting information that your audience may not be aware of. ‘Did you know?’ facts, DIY tips, and creative, unique ideas that people have never heard of will bring curiosity to the reader, making your post more ‘clickable’,” says Linnay Grosche, social media communication specialist at WarmlyYours Radiant.
8. Show customers you care
Another way to shed light on your services is to promote local events related to such topics as remodeling, landscaping, the housing market and interior design. Take this a step further and go beyond industry-related events, including volunteer efforts by your firm or individual employees. Let people know when your company's workforce is planning to spend a Saturday afternoon volunteering at a food bank. Posting before-and-after information and photos of the event shows that you're invested in your community and puts a human face on your business.
You don’t have to be a social media guru to get the most out of your Facebook presence. Start by implementing a few of these steps at a time, and you will be on your way to engaging consumers and converting them from potential customers to dedicated clients.
Check out the WarmlyYours Facebook page to see how we are incorporating Facebook into our social media strategy.