Using Social Media To Sell

Small business social media has leveled the playing field for small companies. Click to learn how you can use social media to grow your contractor business.

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If you're planning out your marketing strategy for the next few months, don't make the mistake of thinking social media is just for teens and Instagram influencers. Businesses all over the world use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms to connect with their customers and make more sales. Small business social media is especially effective for home service professionals, as social networks make it much easier to connect with people in your service area. Keep reading to learn more about how social media can be used to generate leads for contractors.

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Small Business Social Media Benefits

Many contractors wonder why they would spend time developing a social media marketing strategy when they could be giving estimates or completing paid projects. The answer? Social media marketing has many benefits, especially for small companies that don't have the budget for television advertisements and other expensive marketing techniques.

Reduced Marketing Costs

Connecting with potential customers via social media is one of the most affordable ways to market your services as a contractor. It costs nothing to set up an account or post text, images, and videos, making it easier for small businesses to compete with large companies. Even if you decide to spend money on paid ads or premium scheduling tools, using social media is still much less expensive than most other forms of marketing, making it worth the effort.

Direct Contact With Customers

When you use social media, you have a direct way to connect with current and potential customers. If someone asks a question about your services, for example, you can respond to them directly, ensuring they receive the most accurate, up-to-date information. The more you connect with people in your target audience, the more opportunities you have to share your expertise and build trust, making it easier to make sales.

Better Search Engine Rankings

Search engine optimization is the process of making it easier for people in your target audience to find you via Google and other search engines. The purpose of SEO is to make your site's pages show up at the top of the rankings when people in your target audience search for specific keywords.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 25% of search engine users never click past the first page of search results. The higher your pages rank, the more likely you are to drive traffic to your website. Social media helps improve your search engine rankings by making your content more visible, increasing the number of backlinks to your website, and giving you additional opportunities to rank for relevant keywords.

Regular Feedback From Customers

Customer feedback is essential for growing your business, even if the feedback isn't always positive. One of the main benefits of getting feedback is that you learn what customers don't like about your business, giving you a chance to fix problems before they result in a loss of revenue. Feedback also helps you understand what customers do like, which can lead to continuous improvement as the business grows. Social media gives customers a direct line of communication to your business, making it easier for them to provide positive and negative feedback.

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Social Media Content

"How do I attract customers through small business social media?" is one of the most common questions contractors ask when they start developing a marketing strategy. The key to attracting new customers is to post high-quality content on a regular basis. You don't have to post every day, but you do need to post more than once per week to maximize your results.

As a contractor, you can benefit from posting the following types of content on your social media pages.

Educational Content

One of the main purposes of using social media is to position yourself as an expert in the marketplace. If you're a roofer, for example, you want everyone in your service area to know you have extensive experience choosing appropriate roofing materials and installing them correctly. Posting educational content is a great way to communicate your expertise.

Here are just a few examples of educational topics a contractor could post about to attract new customers:

  • Roofers: Choosing the right roofing materials for a specific climate, protecting shingles against weather-related damage, roofing ventilation options, water and ice barriers for residential roofs
  • Landscapers: Ways to reduce water usage, best flowering plants for local growing conditions, xeriscaping tips, natural methods of pest control, tips for working with a landscape designer
  • Cleaning professionals: How to remove stains from upholstery, tips for keeping baseboards clean, weekly or monthly cleaning checklists, using natural cleaning products
  • Electricians: Safe installation of washers and dryers, common causes of wiring problems, tips for handling power outages, when to install a new electrical panel, tips for preventing electrical fires
  • Plumbers: How to prevent frozen pipes, what to do if the toilet is sweating, tips for choosing an energy-efficient water heater, how to replace a leaky shower head
  • Carpenters: Choosing the right height for kitchen counters, inexpensive carpentry projects that add value to a home, tips for choosing window trim

Before-&-After Photos

"Seeing is believing." "A picture is worth a thousand words." You might roll your eyes when you hear these clichés, but they have a kernel of truth to them. Telling a customer about your work is no substitute for showing them what you can do. That's why contractors should post before-and-after photos on their social media pages. With just two photos, you can easily communicate your ability to repair a broken appliance, eliminate dirt and grime, or transform a drab space into something beautiful.

If you decide to post before-and-after photos, follow these tips to make sure your pictures cast your business in the best light:

  • Take photos from multiple angles to make sure potential customers can see all the changes you made.
  • Check your camera lens before you start taking photos. If the lens is dirty or scratched, it could reduce the quality of your images, making them unsuitable for a social media post.
  • If possible, take photos when the space is bathed in natural light. To avoid distracting shadows, the light source should be behind you when you're taking pictures.
  • Use landscape mode instead of portrait mode. Landscape images are more likely to display properly on different platforms.

Project Videos

Project videos are another great way to share your expertise and show potential customers you have the expertise needed to solve their problems. Videos also allow you to show audience members how you approach each stage of a project, which is something that a set of before-and-after photos just doesn't get across.

You don't need to hire a videographer or film crew to create effective marketing videos. All you need is a smartphone camera and a script to ensure you stay on message. Here are a few tips to follow if you decide to incorporate video content into your small business social media strategy:

  • Focus on storytelling. You don't want to be the annoying contractor who begs for sales three or four times in the course of a 45-second video. It's okay to include a call to action at the end, but you should focus on storytelling instead of asking people to buy. If you're a plumber, for example, you could create a video that tells the story of how a customer was struggling to afford their utility costs until you installed energy-efficient appliances. 
  • Get to the point quickly. Many people won't watch more than 10 seconds of a video, so you want to make your point as early as possible. If you're making an educational video, for example, you may want to say something like "Today I'm going to show you how to save $50 per month on your electric bill." Then start giving tips on slashing utility costs with plumbing or HVAC improvements. People who are tired of high energy bills are likely to watch the whole video if you tell them they'll learn how to save money, but they may stop watching if you don't make it clear you have something of value to offer.
  • Be natural. You don't have to be stiff or overly formal to come across as a professional. Just be yourself and let potential customers see your natural personality shine through.

Website Links

Social media platforms are ideal for sharing links to your website. In addition to the SEO benefits addressed previously, sharing external content on social media gives you additional opportunities to connect with customers. It also allows you to send customers to specific pages on your site, making it easier to promote service specials or make potential customers aware of what you offer.

If you decide to share external content, don't just post a link and hope people click on it. Write a sentence or two to explain what the content is and why people should click the link and read it. For example, a landscaper sharing information on pest control might write something like this: "Insects thrive in Florida's humid climate. Our new blog post explains how you can save money by preventing insect damage in your garden."

Social Media Sales Tips

Now that you know why small business social media is so important, it's time to implement your social media marketing plan. Here are a few final tips for using social media to make sales.

Build Relationships

Social media is a two-way street. Instead of posting content and forgetting about it, use each post as an opportunity to build relationships with people in your target audience. Taking time to answer questions and give people more information about your industry shows potential customers that you're a knowledgeable professional who cares about their needs.

Do Your Research

If you want to make sales via social media, you need to do some research before you start publishing content. Take time to define your target customer, identify their wants and needs, and determine how you can meet those needs with your services. When you create new content, focus on delivering value to the people in that group. Remember that you're not marketing to everyone; you're marketing to the people who are most likely to pay you for your expertise.

Be Consistent

Think about what would happen if you went to a restaurant's Facebook page and saw that their last post was published more than six months ago. You'd probably assume the restaurant went out of business or wasn't interested in connecting with customers. To avoid having potential customers think this way about your business, make sure you post new content regularly. Posting daily is ideal, but if your schedule just doesn't allow it, publish new content at least a few times per week. Be sure to set aside time for responding to customer comments, answering questions, and showing your target audience that you value their feedback.