If you had a quid for every time somebody told you that you need to be promoting your trade business on social media, well, you’d probably have enough to close that business down and retire to some island paradise, wouldn’t you?
The truth is that in this day and age, you already know what a powerful marketing tool social media can be, but outside of occasionally liking a hilarious apprentice prank video, you’re really not too clued up on how it all works. Or maybe you like to think of yourself as pretty socially-savvy, yet the only time you got any feedback on that tweet you shared advertising your trade business is the time your wife gave you a pity re-tweet. Whatever the case may be, you don’t actually need anyone to tell you that you should use social media – what you need is someone to help you use it effectively.
That’s where we come in.
This week, we got our best marketing minds together in one room, plied them with tea and biscuits, and got them to share with us their top tips and experts insights on the best way to market your trade business on social media.
Here’s what they told us:
Start with a Facebook page
Did you know that 71% of homeowners use Facebook to find tradesmen online? Of course you did – you read the recent article we shared which revealed that very statistic.
With more people using the platform than review sites like Checkatrade to find local tradesmen, it goes without saying that if you only sign up with one social media site, it needs to be this one.
Rather than using that same personal profile you normally use to post your holiday pics (and like you’re wife’s posts, obviously), take a few minutes to set up a dedicated Facebook business page. Not only does this look more professional than using your personal account, it also gives you access to a whole bunch of tools that can be very helpful for marketing your business, such as post-scheduling and reviews.
As we talked about recently, reviews can make a big difference to the success of your trade business, so it pays to solicit as many as you can on a regular basis.
If you’re just starting out on Facebook, reach out to previous customers you’re on good terms with and ask if they’d be willing to help you out by leaving a quick review on your page. From there, remind new customers how easy it is to leave feedback about your work on Facebook, and how much you’d appreciate them doing so.
If you really want to go all out, you can even invest in paying for Facebook adverts, targetting your services to people within your local area, who have specific interests, or both.
To tweet or not to tweet
Whilst it may not generate the same kind of results as Facebook, Twitter can still be a valuable marketing tool for tradesmen if used correctly. As well as having discussions with other Twitter users, the service allows you to share links and media content in 280 characters or less. Many professionals use this to share articles relating to their industry, showing potential customers that they take their work seriously and really know their stuff.
You can also use Twitter to search for conversations people might be having and get involved. For example, if you’re an electrician, you might want to search for people tweeting about dodgy wiring in their home and send them a tweet offering your services.
Linking up on Linkedin
Often referred to as “social networking for professionals,” Linkedin isn’t likely to land you many jobs fixing someone’s kitchen sink or replastering their spare room, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful.
If you’re up for going after more corporate contracts, Linkedin can be very helpful for connecting with local business people who may be able to send work your way.
Despite being a niche platform, most of Linkedin’s functions, like post sharing and instant messaging, work just like Facebook, so you don’t have to worry about learning a whole new platform.
Show off your work on Pinterest or Instagram
It’s true what they say – a picture really does speak a thousand words. There’s no better way to advertise your services than by showcasing pictures of your past projects, letting customers see for themselves exactly what you can do.
Pinterest and Instagram, both image-focussed social media platforms, are perfect for this. Instagram can be a great tool for taking pictures at the end of a job and showing them off instantly (hence the name).
Using the Instagram app on your phone, take a picture, add a filter to make it look even better (or don’t if you’re part of the #nofilterneeded squad) and a short description along with some relevant hashtags to help people find your posts, and hey presto – an instant, online record of your best projects.
Taking this one step further, Pinterest allows you to organise your images into separate boards and can serve as a great way to create a catalogue of your work for people to browse. We recently created a beginner’s guide to Pinterest that you might want to check out after you’re done here.
Social media dos & don’ts
Do: Schedule posts in advance to save time
Adding content to your social media accounts can take up plenty of time, but you’ll find it easier if you create a bunch of posts all at once and then schedule them to go out on different days.
Facebook has its own post-scheduling tool that you can use to do this. To use it, just go to your page and choose Publishing Tools, then Scheduling.
Don’t: Ignore comments and feedback
You may be using post-scheduling to put your social media accounts on autopilot, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly check on them. Responding to comments can be a great way to build up a relationship with customers that can lead to more work down the line.
Of course, there’s also the chance that a customer will use your social media to ask for a quote, and that’s certainly not something you want to miss out on!
Do: Use Images to Get People’s Attention
Okay, so using images is the whole point of tools like Pinterest and Instagram, but those aren’t the only places you should use them.
Tweets and Facebook posts with images get far more likes, comments, and shares than those that don’t, so if you’re going to stand out from the crowd, visual posts are essential.
As well as pictures of your work, you might also consider other types of content, such as how-to videos, ‘just-for-fun’ pictures or shots of you and your team hard at work.
Don’t: Post non-stop advertisements
You might be using social media to market your trade business, but by no means should you use it to do little more than posting a constant stream of ads and little else.
With advertisements infiltrating every aspect of our lives these days, many of us have become pretty good at simply tuning them out. If we do see them, it usually doesn’t take long before seeing the same ad over and over again starts to annoy us.
Naturally then, if you’re going to invest time and effort in using social media, the last thing you want is for your potential customers to tune out or get annoyed by what you post.
Keep it engaging, interesting, and relevant, and before you know it, you’ll have marketed your business so well that you’ll be able to retire to that paradise island after all.
Alternatively, get in touch in the comments section below and share your top tips for using social media as a tradesman.
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