As a tradesperson – such as a plumber, electrician, carpet fitter, central heating engineer, builder, or carpenter – your most likely audience will be from your local area. So the best social media channel for you is one that customers nearby can find your business easily.
Trust is also important for customers hiring a tradesperson, so you’ll see a theme running through my social media suggestions below: reviews and ratings, a great way to build trust with a customer before meeting them.
Best Social Medial Channels
- Facebook – although the reach of Facebook can be large (a lot of global brands use it) it can also be great for local businesses. The reason for this is that you can use your own profile to promote your business page to your friends and family in your local area, and then encourage those people to promote it to others near you. Your friends and family are much more likely to have a Facebook account than a Twitter account too.This channel is perfect as it leverages your local network of people to help spread the word. Make sure you get customers to post reviews on your Facebook page too, so others can see how good you are.
- Google Plus – Google Plus can have a large impact on SEO and search traffic hits. By creating yourself a profile and filling it out as thoroughly as possible Google Plus can make your brand more visible in general search, maps, and, most importantly local search results (see image on the right). There are also option for customers to leave reviews (which is to be encouraged).
I suggest to start with you avoid channels like Twitter and Instagram as they have such a wide reach, It’s very difficult sometimes for a customer to pinpoint where a business is and it’s incredibly easy to get lost within the sheer volume of posts.
Review sites and directories are also important:
- Checkatrade.com – a good place for customers to find tradespeople as there is a postcode search and a reviews and ratings system. Customers can see you are local, and that you are also trustworthy if you have a lot of good reviews – don’t forget to encourage your customers to leave you a review after you’ve done a piece of work for them.
- Yell.com – a well-respected business directory that also allows reviews and ratings. As Yell is such a widely-known name (and indexed well by search engines) you should make sure you have your business listed on there so that you can be found if a customer searches for your trade in the local area. You should also encourage customers to leave reviews for you on there – a business that has good reviews is much more likely to be picked out of the lineup than those that have no reviews.
Your social media profiles are your shop window, if you miss details out then you could be harming your chances of being hired as the customer isn’t getting the full picture of your business.
What you should include in your profile:
- As much information about your company as possible! It seems like an obvious thing to say, but it’s also something that is often overlooked or people think “I’ll just fill that all in later” and never get round to it. Most social media has fields that you can fill in with your information – for example Google Plus has sections like opening hours, contact details, about us, type of industry, website – make sure you spend the time setting up your profile and fill in the sections as fully as possible. For ‘about us’ sections make sure you include a list of what you do, how you can help, what types of clients you have – e.g. if you only do commercial flooring then mention this as will stop domestic customers contacting you.
- People like visual stimulation, so make sure your profile isn’t just text. Include images/galleries of your work (if appropriate), or perhaps if you fit laminate floor you could put up swatches of the different products you offer. A photograph of you and any team you have working with you is always good too as customers like to see who will be working for them.
What to Post
- Images of current or past projects – or even ‘in progress’ jobs. Show your potential customers what good work you’re doing
- Any testimonials you receive from clients
- Products and product information (including photographs)
- Videos of you demonstrating a product or technique (this will show you are experienced and knowledgeable)
- Fun shots of you in action on the job or at the office – customers like to see who will be working for them, so an occasional photo of you (and your team if you have one) will help put a face to a name
- Any events you (or your team) are involved in, if someone is doing a sponsored swim then include it – people like to see that you’re human
- Qualifications and awards – if you have a City & Guilds certification then post about it, if you’ve just passed the next level of plumbers qualification then let people know. Also, if you’ve been given any awards then make sure you post about them too, so customers can see how well you’re doing
Start simple with your social media, choose a couple of channels and fill them in, then post regular updates using the tips above. You don’t need to post every day, but a couple of times a week will keep you in people’s minds. Every so often ask friends, family or customers to spread the word and share your details with other locals. Make sure you ask for reviews after every successful job you complete – many businesses include a link to the review site in an email to the customer after the job has been completed.
Social media and directory profiles can take a while to get established, but if you keep working at them you’ll see content and reviews build up until you have some superb sales channels for your business.