Social media for tradesmen: How to use Facebook to grow your business

You’ve probably got a personal Facebook page. You’ve maybe even set up a business page but, have you actually sat down to plan how you could make the most of your Facebook presence or are you just winging it?

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9 Key benefits of using Facebook to promote your business

Getting started with a Facebook business page

What to post on Facebook

How often should I be posting? 

What could I be doing elsewhere to help the effectiveness of my Facebook page?

Should I use Facebook advertising ? 

How to use Facebook Groups to build awareness

Facebook Business grow your business

It feels like it should just come naturally to you, after all you sit scanning it most lunch breaks. However, using Facebook as an effective marketing tool takes commitment, time and the ability to think bigger than just a transactional sale.

Why would you want to use Facebook as a channel to promote your business? 

Facebook is home to 2 billion active monthly users and its free to get set up on. That is the two reasons most people use however, as you’ll see in my list below there is a lot more that Facebook can do for you business.

1.  Raise awareness of your company

2.  Increase traffic to your website

3.  Develop brand loyalty

4.  Provide you with information on your market segment

5.  Nurture sales leads & relationships

6.  Help improve your SEO ratings

7.  Establish thought leadership

8.  Reduce marketing costs

9. Establish social proof online.

Top tips for starting out

Some might seem fairly obvious, but from the quality of some of the Facebook pages i've seen, I thought they would still be worth sharing! 

Create a facebook business page

Make sure you set up a business page not a personal profile.  With a personal profile you have to approve friend requests, this creates barriers to driving new likes and improving engagement. You also miss out on lots of features, such as insights, paid for posts and scheduling tools.

Choose your categories carefully, being specific as possible so that you can appear on the correct search results.

Location is vital, as it will allow you to appear in local searches, which is typically essential to any local trade whether you are a plumber, electrician or roofer.

Opening hours. Easily-swept over however, your potential clients will want to know when it is appropriate to get in touch. Are you willing to take weekend or out of office hour calls- get it listed!

Get a cracking cover photo- This is potentially your audience’s first impression of your business so make sure its a good reflection of the perception you want to set. A good quality image of your team at work could not only tell people what you do, but also give a quick insight into who is doing the work, something that every customer likes to know

Make sure your contact details are clear. I would hope to see at least a phone number and email address but a website would be a useful addition if you have one.

An example Facebook profile picture

An example Facebook profile picture

Add a recognisable profile picture- If you have an icon associated with your logo this would be a good opportunity to use it. Long logos do not present well in this box due to its size dimensions, the trick is to make it eye-catching and memorable.

Add a click through action (CTA) Call Now, Book Services, Learn More, Watch Video – There are lost of options to consider so it is about considering what your customers are looking for. If you do emergency call outs – it is definitely worth using the Call Now button. You can track the effectiveness of this button in the insights section.  If you have a promotional video showcasing your work, it would be an idea to like to this.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 11.56.27.png

Allow your Facebook fans to message you privately. It’s a small setting, but a worthwhile one if you can give it the attention it needs. People like to communicate in different ways so why put a barrier in the way of some? If you know it is hard for you to reply instantly, it is worthwhile setting up an auto-response to make them feel looked after. 

What should I post about on Facebook?

Knowing what to post on Facebook is what so many people struggle with. On one hand you don’t want to become annoying but on the other hand you want to make sure that you’re being noticed and your target market are wanting to engage with you.

The key here is to not pollute your page with constant sales messages, which will only turn your audience off. Instead post useful and relevant information that your audience will value and want to engage with.

First off make sure it is visually appealing, eye catching imagery is far more likely to stand out than a text only post. Buzzsumo analysed over 800 million posts from 2016 and questions,images and videos were proved to be far more engaging than other content. Videos are most likely to be shared, with Facebook Live being watched 3 x longer and 10 x the rate of regular videos (Mediakix.com)

Canva is a free and effective tool to use

Canva is a free and effective tool to use

Apps & online tools such as Layout, Canva, I-Movie and Camastasia are great way to present your media at its best, incorporating your brand identity at the same time.

Five post suggestions

Before & after posts

These are a great way to showcase your skills, make sure you talk your audience through the transformation so that they understand what visually sits in front of them. What seems obvious to you, may not be to them. The more you can educate your audience on what you do, the more they will trust that you know what you are doing. 

Identify & solve typical customer problems

Help people understand what you can help them with. Relate to them by identifying potential problems they could be experiencing and show them how you could help. Don't just jump to the sales message, guide them through the issue and explain what needs to be done.

DIY disasters

DIY disasters.jpg

A sure winner for most trades. A lot of people like the idea of doing DIY but end up making things worse by cutting corners or not having enough experience to deal with the unexpected. Bring an air of comedy to your posts and show people why it is best to trust an expert!

Teach people useful skills

Earn trust from your audience by giving away tips and advice. If you’re an electrician and your target market is a domestic customer you could teach them how to check their fuse box when the lights blow in their house, re-wire a plug or change a light bulb safely.

Team introductions

People buy from people, and with such a tainted industry tradesmen need to work harder than most to build trust. By using Facebook posts to introduce your team you are giving transparency to your business and helping to break down an obvious sales barrier.

First off consider how much you can commit to doing each week. Don’t set too high a target as it is just as important to be consistent. 

Hootsuite scheduling

I would suggest anywhere between 3 – 5 posts a week is great place to start.  Studies have actually shown than when more than two posts per day are published it results in lower engagement overall. 

Now it may be that you can’t commit to doing one post a day, or you find it hard to find time. This is where scheduling is going to be the key to your success.

You can either do this natively on Facebook itself or use a scheduler such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Meet Edgar. They each have their pro’s and cons but that’s a different article altogether!

Scheduling can help a lot, as you can sit down for an hour or two either once a month or once a week and plan out all your posts ahead of time. It might sound like a lot of time, but you’ll find that your posts are far more effective as you’ve sat down strategically to write them as opposed to publishing something because you felt you needed to.

What you could be doing elsewhere to make your facebook page more effective

Five simple steps!  

Facebook reviews
  • Encourage customers to like your Facebook page.
  • Ask customers to leave a review of your work - Social proof can hugely transform the way people perceive your business before they have started conversations, therefore pluck up the courage and ask your customers if they’d mind writing areview, you’ll so find if you’ve done a good job they’d be more than delighted. 
  • Put a link on your website and email footer
  • Share your page on other social media platforms that you are using, perhaps Twitter or Instagram
  • Engage directly with your key relationships and ask them to share your posts. For example If you are a joiner you probably carry out a lot of work with the same electrician and painter. This is not an occasion to be shy, more awareness of your business will lead to more business for them!  

This is a huge topic in itself, but in a nutshell Facebook got crowded a few years back and therefore it turned down the amount of organic reach you could obtain. In order to increase your reach you can choose to use Facebook advertising as away to amplify your messaging and increase your audience potential.

Facebook is one of the most cost effective marketing tools out there, as it is so effective at market segmentation and providing you with relevant insights.  If you know your ideal customer you can use facebook ad manager to target them, for example if you are a joiner targeting self build projects you could target people who liked Self Build & Design magazine or Allan Corfield Architects #theselfbuildexperts 

Facebook advertising budget

It’s not like buying a newspaper advert either, where you drop lots of £££ and receive very little information on who has seen it or engaged with it.  Facebook allows you to set a budget, which it will not go over unless you tell it to. Insights into return on investment are also great, as you have real-time information on engagement, reach and conversions.  If you are thinking about using Facebook advertising take a look at Gavin Bells Facebook group "Easy Facebook Ads" it has lots of great advice and you can ask questions to the group. 

If you are a local business, and i'm going to guess most of you are. Take the time to research local groups that are relevant to your sector or geography as it is a great way to increase your reach locally before paid for advertising.

Now you will sadly see a lot of sales messages in here. Try not to become a sheep and just follow what other businesses are doing, use this targeted opportunity to engage with your target clients and build trust with them. There will be people present on here purely looking for the cheapest price - these are not (or shouldn't be) your ideal clients!  

Instead of scanning the group scouting for one-off transactional sales, play the longer game and build a reputation for your business that is built on trust and value. It will result in stronger customer loyalty and typically the bigger projects. 

3 ideas to post about in a Facebook Group

  1. Answer questions raised in the group- by being helpful you create a good impression of your customer service
  2. Post helpful tips around your area of expertise, you will raise awareness of your skill set without boring them with sales patter.
  3. Ask for help, use the group to generate customer insights, which can help you create new website or Facebook content that is relevant to your target audienc 

Remember, people don't join a Facebook group to be sold to. They join it to engage with interesting and useful information when they choose to.  

Now over to you…

What is stopping you from using Facebook as a marketing channel?

What posts have you found most effective?

Have you got any great successes that you could share?

 

If you'd like to hear more tips on maximising your marketing opportunities as a tradesmen, pop your details below and i'll let you know when new posts are published.