09/29/2015 | By Scott Siegal
In the third and final part of our choosing the right social media platform for contractors series, we step into the world of home services contractors. We previously covered social media for B2B and replacement contractors, so if those descriptions better apply to you, you might find those posts helpful.
As a home services contractor, you generally have to solve immediate concerns. Homeowners spend less time researching their service purchases, and are simply looking for a quick solution to a problem within their home.
Depending on your exact field of work, homeowners might have some more time to perform research on you, but you still work in a faster-paced environment than most B2B or replacement contractors, do.
So, why should you be on social media? Well, according to CeBIT, 81% of consumers are influenced by friends’ social media posts when making purchasing decisions. If your business is recommended more than once to someone via social media, you’re the person they’re going to go with.
If a homeowner has a problem and their friend mentions your business on social media in the heat of the moment, chances are, they’ll be interested.
Say a homeowner posts “Oh no my faucet is leaking!” or “I have a serious problem with weeds in my garden.” Their friends are going to jump into help, which is where they recommend you. Because that first homeowner is already on Facebook, that’s where they’ll try to find you first.
Needless to say, you need a Facebook page. Even if you’re not posting regularly, homeowners will try to find you on Facebook. According to AdWeek, 80% of Facebook users prefer to contact brands through Facebook, and 69% of followers on Facebook are suggested by friends. To top it all off, 47% of Americans say Facebook is their number one influencer when it comes to making purchase decisions.
Word-of-mouth is already a huge part of your business, and Facebook can readily amplify that just because you’re there. Your posts might not be seen by a ton of people, but you need a Facebook page to engage with and be found by homeowners.
Homeowners can leave reviews on your Facebook page, too, and online reviews are becoming increasingly important for contractors. Facebook is even trying to help small businesses out by letting them embed a call to action (such as ‘call now’) on their Facebook pages.
You can also find customers through answering questions and showing your expertise in private Facebook groups. Look for DIY and home improvement groups.
Video content uploaded directly to Facebook also gets huge engagement. We wrote about that in our last post. As a home services contractor, you have plenty of opportunities for making and sharing well-made educational videos. When they have a problem they can’t fix, homeowners will turn to a contractor that’s helped them in the past— helped them with an informational how-to video.
Google is distancing itself from Google+. They recently removed G+ pages from search results, along with Google+ reviews. But you still need an accurate, up-to-date Google+ profile since local search results still take information from G+ pages.
Google My Business is your new best friend, and so are Google reviews. Google reviews, or at least snippets of them, still appear in search results, especially the local “three pack.”
Unless you’re actively involved in Google+ communities and discussion groups, you can set up your G+ page, make sure it’s accurate, and leave it alone– but you need to have one to begin with.
This section will be fairly short, as we addressed many of the benefits of Houzz for B2C contractors in our last post. There are 25 million Houzz users, and most of them are homeowners. It’s basically a platform designed just for you.
Since you work in home services, though, you might not have as much success with Houzz as a replacement contractor. You likely don’t have as many engaging “before and after” photos as they do, and Houzz is definitely a visual social media platform.
Still, you can post relevant images on Houzz and, if you focus on being useful to homeowners, you might get some response.
You can also directly answer homeowner questions on Houzz, which is extra useful if it’s a homeowner in your area. If you help them, they’ll think of you next time they have a problem they can’t fix on their own.
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Just as homeowners ask friends for help and advice on Facebook, they do so on Twitter, as well. They often ask for recommendations when they need help with plumbing, landscaping, locksmithing, HVAC, and many other home services concerns.
53% of Twitter users recommend products and services to their followers at least once. We don’t have statistics on how those recommendations interact with users asking for service advice, but Twitter users are more than happy to give their two cents when it comes to businesses they endorse (or don’t endorse).
Even if you don’t tweet often, you need a Twitter account. Many Twitter users, including the homeowners in your target audience, use the platform to address questions, comments, and concerns they have with a given business. And approximately 70% of customer service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered.
You can set yourself apart from other home services contractors by addressing those concerns. You can also answer local homeowner questions with Twitter’s robust search features.
When it comes to tweeting, make sure you use relevant hashtags. Hashtagify is a great website to use for this purpose– it shows you which hashtags are actually being used by real people. Do a little research and try some out.
Even if you don’t tweet the recommended three times a day, you need a presence on Twitter to address complaints and answer questions. If a homeowner can recommend you to a friend via Twitter, and tag you in the response, you can start a direct conversation with a homeowner in need of your services, too.
Check your email notification preferences and make sure Twitter notifies you when someone mentions you. That way you’ll be a step ahead of other contractors who never answer their tweets.
You’re an expert in your trade, and YouTube is a perfect way to share that knowledge with homeowners. How-to videos are huge, and if you can prove you’re an expert and add value to a potential customer’s life, you’re another step ahead of other contractors.
YouTube videos can also be embedded on any page or blog post on your website, so the content you create doesn’t have to be confined to YouTube alone. Once you create a video, you can post it almost anywhere.
If you’re feeling skeptical, know that YouTube reaches more US adults between the ages of 18 and 34 than any cable network. On top of that, 80% of your website visitors will watch a video, but only 20% will read through an entire page or blog post.
Social media platforms are perfect for demonstrating your expertise. As a home services contractor, your skill, expertise, and service are what your business depends upon. If you have the time and resources, YouTube is a great social media channel for proving your value and expertise to homeowners.
In 2014, Pew reported 26% of adults use Instagram– but is it right for you?
Instagram comes with a slightly younger audience than most other mainstream social media platforms. Fortunately for you, younger people need home services, too. Instagram is also a mobile platform, and many people use their mobile devices when they’re searching for home services.
For a contractor, though, it can be hard to produce relevant, visual content for Instagram. It’s even harder to find and engage with the right homeowners. If you’re clever and unique enough to stand out, you can certainly give Instagram a try– just don’t bank on it producing any leads. You might spread some brand awareness, or it might be a waste of time. It all depends on your resources and what kind of visual, mobile-targeted content you can produce.
If you’re pressed for time and resources, you should devote your marketing budget and efforts on something other than Instagram. The possibilities are there, but it won’t be easy.
DIY projects are huge on Pinterest. It’s one of the most popular categories on a large social media platform, and it’s an area where you have some expertise.
If you can provide valuable, photo or video-based content relating to DIY projects, you might find some success. On the other hand, using Pinterest for a service-based business requires research, trial and error, and the budget and resources to keep at it. Pinterest magic won’t happen overnight for a home services contractor.
Unless you have the creativity and resources to spare, you can probably skip Pinterest.
LinkedIn is huge for B2B contractors. If you primarily work in home services, but do some work for commercial clients, too, you might consider strengthening your LinkedIn presence. If not, you still need a LinkedIn profile.
Make sure your LinkedIn business page is accurate and up to date, and make sure it’s linked to your personal profile. Beyond that, LinkedIn is a good source for news, and it can be a reliable source for finding prospective employees, especially on the office admin side of your business.
Private LinkedIn groups are also good for learning, networking, and providing value to others. But, as a home services contractor, you’re not going to find too many leads on LinkedIn.
As long as your LinkedIn profile is accurate and up-to-date, you can visit the platform sparingly.
Your Most Valuable Platforms are:
You Need a Presence On:
You Might Find Success With:
You Can Probably Skip:
Building the best,
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