Social media can be a great way to communicate with your customers, build your online reputation and attract new business. According to a recent survey, eight out of 10 tradesmen now use social media to reach more customers.
Although social media can be a brilliant tool, you shouldn’t feel like you have to get your business on every social media platform available: Facebook and Twitter are widely used and probably a good place to start, and we’re going to run through the basics to get you up and running.
Facebook for tradesmen
It’s easy to set up a Facebook page for your business. Log in to your personal Facebook account and then follow the steps to add details about your business to create your page.
Once you’re all set up, use your page to share content that’s relevant to your trade as well as updates about your business. You could share news stories about DIY disasters, pictures of projects you’ve completed, and updates about any special deals or new services you’re offering, for example.
Be sure to keep a close eye on your page and engage with your customers and potential customers. This should include responding to questions and comments, getting in touch privately with anyone who wants a quote or further information, and removing any posts that are offensive or inappropriate.
Also, read our tips for promoting your business on Facebook Professional Services. Customers can now search for a local service – a plumber or a carpenter, for example – using Facebook. It’s another good reason for having a Facebook page for your business, but you’ll need to make sure your details are correct and you’ve chosen the right categories to have a chance of appearing in the search results.
These Facebook tactics are all free, but if you’ve got money to spend you could consider paying for Facebook adverts. One of the advantages of using Facebook for advertising is that you can tightly target your adverts according to things like location, interests and behaviours.
Twitter for tradesmen
Setting up a Twitter profile for your business is the same as setting up a personal profile, but you’ll probably want to use your business name (or a variation of it) as the Twitter handle. Make sure you add a profile picture (probably your company logo), a header image and a short description about what you do.
You can then use Twitter to post “tweets” of 140 characters or fewer. You can include images, links and short videos in your tweets. You may want to use Twitter to give short, pithy updates about your business, to share industry-specific news articles, or to showcase pictures of work you’re particularly proud of. Be sure to include hashtags relevant to your tweet and your trade - #plumber for example - so that there’s a chance people searching for this term will come across your account.
Importantly, find and follow relevant people and businesses on Twitter. This may be people in the same industry as you, other local businesses in your area, or news and blog outlets that post content relevant to your trade. One of the best ways of building up a follower base is to follow other people, as they will often follow you back. Searching for particular hashtags is one way to find these accounts, and also looking at the “following” list of other people in your industry.
How to deal with negative social media posts
Although social media can boost your business and result in lots of great engagement and brand building, it’s likely you will have to deal with negative posts at some point.
The key to managing this is to take a deep breath, keep your cool and to remember that anything you post online will always be linked to your business.
Even if someone is being rude, avoid responding rudely back and don’t get drawn into an online argument. Instead, reply to the post briefly and politely and suggest that the person contacts you privately, either by direct message or by phone or email to resolve the situation.
General social media tips for tradesmen
- Use your social media platforms for conversations and content-sharing. Broadcasting non-stop sales messages is a turn-off. Social media can help you to build a reputation as a friendly, helpful expert in your field.
- Set aside a few minutes at the beginning or end of each day to share interesting articles related to your industry, put up some progress shots of your latest projects, post some of your own words of advice, or just thank your new followers.
- Watch what other people are posting: if you spot someone tweeting in search of a skilled workman in your area, or complaining that they’ve got a problem with their property, why not reply with a friendly offer of help?
- Add social icons or links to your website, your business cards and your marketing materials, giving customers and potential customers another way to get hold of you.
- Check your social accounts regularly so that you can reply promptly to any customer service queries that come through. Make sure you’ve got email notifications and/or push notifications turned on and you’re checking your messages every day.
How do you use social media to promote your business? Tell us in the comments.