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Contractors and Social Media: Where should you start?

social-profile-mashup-2Getting your start on social media as a contractor doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming. With a few simple principles in mind, you can make social media fun, easy, and natural to use. But even better than feeling comfortable, when you understand how to use social media for contractors, you can make your social media efforts into a strong lead and revenue generating part of your business.

Toward that end, here are four guiding principles that will help you get started (and stay comfortable) with social media tools:

1.  Make your own footprint first.

A key point to remember about social media is that all social media activity takes place on someone else’s platform. Your business page on Facebook lives  on Facebook. Twitter is the final owner of your tweets. And this brings with it a certain amount of risk … after all, if Facebook were to change the rules about business pages, there’d be very little you could do about it.

You can insure yourself against this risk by being sure you invest in your own footprint first. Get your own personal website up and running before building up your other social media profiles. Then, use your web site as the “home base” or “anchor” for all your other social efforts. Not only does this help your message about your services stay the same across platforms, but it also provides you with a strong insurance policy protecting you from platform and rule changes out in the social media space.

2.  Think of what your customer wants to hear.

As you move onto social media, you’re basically looking to start a conversation with your current and prospective customers. The conversation shouldn’t flow one-way … which means as you master how to use social media for contractors, you need to consider what your customers want to hear.

For most contractors, that means special tips or insider explanations of the nuances of your craft. What makes heirloom seeds different than regular seeds? Why are local businesses (like yours) able to provide better service than big corporations? How can an HVAC specialist who knows the local weather here improve your heating efficiency?

By providing these explanations or tips, you’re positioning yourself as an expert (without just talking about yourself non-stop). This is more interesting to customers. Plus, since it’s often easier to talk about what you know than who you are, it’s a way how to use social media for contractors that keeps it a lot simpler and more fun for you.

3.  Bite-sized is better.

Even as you’re using social media to share great information, you need to remember that bite-sized content works better online.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to dumb things down or leave out important information. It just means that you’ll have more success in social media as a contractor if you keep updates, posts, and Tweets focused on one idea at a time.

When you need to explain more in-depth, or want to share longer, how-to pieces, offer a short update or snippet on your social media profile that links back to your website. The bite-sized “teaser” will be simpler for customers to process in social media, and you’ll be reinforcing for them that your website is the home of a real expert (perhaps even someone they’d like to hire soon!)

4.  Be conversational, approachable, and human.

When you’re first learning how to use social media for contractors, it’s tempting to try to sounds as big and corporate as possible. But that’s actually to your disadvantage …

Many big corporations invest millions trying to be casual, friendly, and approachable – to seem like “real people” in social media. You don’t have to spend those millions … you’re already a real person. Let your humanity and personality shine through. Not only will it help you seem like a more “likeable expert” to your potential clients, but it will also ensure that your time on social media feels natural and fun for years to come.

 

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