What started as a way to keep in touch with friends and family has turned into the biggest force in online marketing. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become absolute necessities for businesses hoping to compete for attention on the web, and the home improvement industry is no exception.
Plumbers are tweeting about the latest crazy new toilet, electricians are charging their Facebook pages with photos of light installations and roofers are uploading dramatic hail damage videos. Experts across the country are finding new ways to connect with customers, and so are we. This month, eLocal’s creative team is attending the Social Media Success Summit. With information from that seminar and our expert’s advice, we’ve compiled a basic how-to for professionals looking to optimize their own social media campaigns.
Social media isn’t just for professionals connecting with consumers; it’s also for connecting with colleagues in your industry. Just as the Home Expert Network strives to provide a way for home improvement experts to correspond and collaborate, so do online networking sites like LinkedIn.
Plumber Greg Chick writes,
“Linked in has brought me many contacts that have turned into great relationships in my emerging direction of speaking and teaching my trade.”
By forming professional relationships, you can build up your presence and help brand your business.
Deck designer Steve Sparhawk writes,
“Our strength in certain social media outlets such as Facebook and LinkedIn has been to network with other professionals and find ways to collaborate with one another and grow both our businesses simultaneously.”
Using any social media tools should help improve traffic to your website and increase awareness of your business, but the real results come from a multi-pronged attack. Using multiple social media sites in collaboration with each other is the best way to promote your business online.
Architect Kraig Kalashian reports,
“We promote on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, Linked In, Pinterest, Houzz, and Flavors.”
Establish specific uses for each tool and post regularly. With regular content on all sites you increase the chance of catching the attention of potential sites. Furthermore, you provide more outlets for your consumers to connect with you.
Multimedia is a great way to increase interest in your content updates. Consider sites that have exploded, like Pinterest and Houzz. Their pages are filled with images, videos and interactive content that users love to engage with.
Electrical expert Terry Peterman notes,
“As my “how-to” information business is very visual in nature, the Youtube channel probably gives me the largest reach, with over 500,000 views and growing.”
You can post video links on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also add links to your website in the video descriptions, promoting traffic to your site from both ends. Photos are also a great way to add interesting content to your site. Consumers love ‘before and after’ shots or images that accompany a step-by-step guide to fixing a common household problem.
The greatest benefit of social media is forming closer relationships with potential clients, breaking down formalities and creating a more casual environment. In order to cultivate those sorts of relationships, it’s necessary to foster two-way communication. Professionals shouldn’t try to lecture consumers, they should engage with them. Encourage participation by posting polls, asking questions, and reaching out for customer feedback.
Designer Jason Crook adds,
“We’re actively using the platforms to, not just collect information, but also listen to what customers have to say. We now let them weigh in on color-choices or finish options for products we carry at retail, we ask them to respond to before and after picture presentations of our design work, and provide them opportunities to engage with our design experts, free of charge, by pitching questions and ideas for an expert opinion.”
Social media also helps you stay up to date on the latest industry trends and news. Follow organizations that pertain to your business and see what they post on their social media campaigns, giving any relevant information to your customer base.
Ron Martin of Grand View Builders reports,
“We constantly monitor networks on Facebook and Twitter in order to stay in the loop of both the community and industry, relaying information and insights that pertain to our followers.”
You can also stay educated by attending online conferences and webinars dedicated to professionals looking to use social media to promote their business, like the Social Media Success Summit. Similar events are held year-round and can help you get a head start on the latest techniques and trends in social media.
Designer Alan Hilsabeck summarizes,
“At the touch of my fingertips, I have access to the world and all it costs me is my time. Whether it is writing a blog on eLocal or updating my business’ Facebook page, I am reaching out to a much greater market base than I ever did before with ‘traditional advertising’.”