09/22/2015 | By Scott Siegal
In our last installment of this series, we covered social media for B2B contractors. This time, we’re focusing on replacement contractors. Most replacement contractors mainly deal with homeowners, so they won’t find the same success with LinkedIn or Twitter as B2B contractors.
Basically, if you’re a replacement contractor, the social media world is vastly different for you than it is for B2B contractors.
You have to find which platforms homeowners spend time on, and you have to figure out how to reach them. Some of these platforms provide a necessary presence or secondary “home base” for your business, some of them are good for engaging in conversation with homeowners, and some of them are good for generating leads.
93% of shoppers who use social media say these social platforms influence their buying decisions. 90% of them trust their peers to make recommendations for products and services, but only 14% of them trust advertisements. Word-of-mouth is king. Sounds familiar, right?
Before a homeowner calls you for an estimate, they often research their home improvement project from a DIY standpoint. A 2013 survey of DIY shoppers by Compete and Google showed 7/10 consumers used the internet as a resource for their home improvement project.
Increasingly, your audience is using the internet to make decisions, and many of them use social media during their research process. Having a responsive and useful website is essential, but you also need an engaging presence on a few, key social media platforms.
Though organic reach for most of your Facebook posts only hovers somewhere around 2%, Facebook is still essential for your business. Facebook has a huge user base and many of them use Facebook as its own search engine. If they’re looking for you on Facebook and you’re not there, they’re going to choose someone else.
Despite its limited organic reach, a survey from Statista suggests 58% of businesses rated Facebook as an effective platform for B2C marketing.
Beyond establishing a presence, sharing your content, engaging with homeowners, and showing the more “human” side of your business, Facebook still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Facebook is now giving businesses much more support, at least on its mobile app. From Forbes:
“Benji Shomair, Facebook’s product marketing director for Pages, demonstrated new features that let merchants create sleek mobile pages with customized maps, customer reviews and neatly segmented business highlights. Facebook also is offering a call-to-action button that visitors can use to send a message, buy tickets or book an appointment.
“Facebook is the mobile solution for your business,” Shomair declared.”
Facebook is competing with Yelp in a big way, and they want your continuing attention.
Facebook reviews also remain valuable for contractors. It’s easy for a homeowner to leave a review on your Facebook page, and those shiny gold stars look attractive to other homeowners when they’re researching your business. Word-of-mouth is important on social media platforms.
Finally, you’ve probably heard that photos are effective for drawing engagement on Facebook. That’s true, but there’s another type of media that blows them right out of the water– native video.
Video posts average 62% more engagement than photos. That is, videos uploaded directly to Facebook, not videos embedded from YouTube.
If you upload a video, say a DIY how-to or a time lapse from one of your latest jobs, directly to Facebook, you could be getting much more engagement than you’re used to. 57% of consumers watch online videos related to their home improvement projects, and 26% further use social networks for inspiration.
If you make high-quality videos related to your jobs, or even educational video, and upload them to Facebook, the returns can be huge. If you pay to boost your post and follow Facebook advertising best practices, those returns could be even bigger.
Still, don’t think your audience uses Facebook at all? Even if you mainly work in retirement communities, know that 31% of senior citizens use Facebook.
Your audience is there, you just need to strategize if you’re going to reach them.
In mid-September of 2015, Google removed all Google+ pages and reviews from its search results, even in direct searches for your business, or “branded searches.”
So why worry about Google+? Look at these search results.
Google’s local business searches reveal top contractors in a “3-pack” near the top of the page. If you ever want to be in those results, your Google+ and Google My Business accounts need to include accurate, up-to-date information.
And which of those businesses look better to you? The one with the reviews, of course. Google reviews, which are made through a homeowner’s Google+ account, are still extremely valuable for your business.
Homeowners love before-and-after photos, photos of stylish homes, and photos of nicely designed rooms. If you’re a replacement contractor, and you know a good photographer, Houzz is an excellent platform for you.
Houzz boasts 25 million users, most of whom are homeowners. They’re looking through photos of home improvement projects, building materials, appliances, furniture, decks, and anything else you can think of. Those photos can have your name on them.
You can also participate in conversations and answer homeowner questions. As a replacement contractor, Houzz was essentially built just for you. Luckily, it’s a popular platform, too.
If you produce aesthetically pleasing work and have the time to spare, Houzz is a great use of your resources. It can help you with brand awareness, but it can also generate actual leads, too.
You’re probably not going to get many direct leads from Twitter, but it’s still a popular platform among homeowners, and they do speak with one another. Word-of-mouth is big on Twitter. 53% of Twitter users recommend products and services in their tweets at some point. If you have a good reputation and provide good service, you might be recommended.
Statista reported 52% of businesses find Twitter an effective B2C marketing platform so, again, you probably won’t be finding leads and closing jobs there, but you should have a Twitter account, though, because many homeowners ask questions on Twitter.
If they can’t tweet a question to you, they might move on somewhere else. Even if you don’t tweet or check Twitter daily, make sure you get an email whenever your business is mentioned on Twitter so you can follow up appropriately.
Now, remember that video content we talked about in the Facebook section!? It might also perform well on YouTube. You can embed YouTube videos anywhere on your site or blog and, according to Digital Marketing 360, 80% of your website visitors will watch a video— while only 20% will read a piece of content in its entirety.
DM360 reports videos increase homeowner’s understanding of your services by 74%. They also say, 75% of users might visit your website after watching a video.
Take those exact numbers with a grain of salt, but video content has real potential. YouTube users love leaving comments and subscribing to business YouTube channels, too. As a replacement contractor, you have plenty of opportunities to show off your projects and produce educational content.
If you go about it the right way, YouTube might even generate some leads.
If you have the time and resources to spare, you could do worse than investigating Pinterest.
DIY and home decor are two of the most popular categories on Pinterest, and 83% of active users prefer following a relevant business over a celebrity.
There is a huge audience of homeowners there, but it won’t be easy to find leads. Still, if you have plenty of stunning photos and videos, Pinterest is a great place to plop them down.
If Pinterest sounds interesting to you, check out this article.
If you have plenty of photos and videos relating to past jobs, you may have already considered Instagram. If you engage in any kind of Instagram marketing, know that it is a mobile app, so your visual content and your website both need to be mobile friendly and responsive.
Instagram is much more popular with young people. And while eConsultancy says engagement rate is 3.31% on Instagram, as compared to Twitter’s .07%, know that you’ll need to work hard at providing amazing photos and find value in marketing to a mostly younger audience.
According to Statista’s survey, only 36% of businesses think LinkedIn is an effective marketing channel. For B2B contractors, it can’t be beat– but for B2C replacement contractors, there might not be much opportunity for finding leads.
22% of B2C marketers have acquired customers through LinkedIn, as opposed to 53% of B2B marketers. 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, compared to the 51% of B2C marketers who use it.
As with Google+, it’s best to accurately fill out your LinkedIn profile and check in every once in awhile. You might not find many leads, but it’s good for networking and keeping up on industry news.
In our next installment, we will review the best social media platforms for home services contractors.
As a recap:
Building the best,
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