Sarah Woodhouse, Director at AMBITIOUS PR, shares her top tips on making the most of social media when it comes to marketing your business …
Whether it’s sharing a funny video clip, your holiday photos (remember those?) or your thoughts on how your favourite football team performed in last night’s game, social media is a great place to connect with friends and family. And these days, it’s also a powerful business tool.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a mixed impact on the trades, with many tradespeople suffering a loss of income, particularly during the initial lockdown when so many projects had to stop.
If your own business has been impacted, ramping up your marketing activity is especially important and social media is a great opportunity to raise your profile.
But how can you turn something you’re used to using in your personal life as a way of promoting your business? And if you’re already using social media to support your business, can you be sure you’re doing it right?
A ‘shopfront’ for your work
People don’t always trust companies without a website (or with a very poor one), so it’s best practice to have both a website and a social media presence. Good, simple websites are fairly cheap to set up as a hub of information for your potential customers, including links through to your social media accounts.
Setting up a business page on Facebook is easy and free to do and works well as a complement to your website, so it’s not hard to see why small businesses are increasingly relying on this platform.
A Facebook page is particularly useful for the amount of information you’re able to include in one place – and the fact more and more potential customers are likely to be relying on local Facebook groups when seeking recommendations for tradespeople.
It sounds obvious, but make sure you’ve included all key contact details for your business, including a link through to your website, plus plenty of photos of your work and reviews from customers. Encourage previous customers to leave a review and it will help build confidence in your ability to do a good job.
What to post
Social media is a great place to show off the quality of your work and there’s no better way of doing that than by using photos – especially if you’re working on home or garden renovations.
Depending on how confident you are in front of a camera, sharing videos is a great way to inject some personality into your profile while showing off your expertise.
You could do a quick video of a particularly tricky piece of work and explain how you overcame any challenges involved, or share something you’re proud of and why you think it works particularly well. You can find more tips on creating videos for social media here.
Remember, always ask permission from your customer before taking photos of work you have completed at their property and try not to include any details that can easily identify where they live (such as door numbers) and licence plates.
In addition to filling your feed with photos of your work, you can share posts about your availability, the areas in which you work, any job opportunities you may have at your business or positive feedback you’ve had from customers.
Choose the right tone
It’s often been said that people do business with people, not companies. So it’s good to show some personality in your posts, but just be aware of keeping things professional.
Photos of you and your mates messing around on-site don’t always go down well with potential customers and are best left for your personal social media accounts.
Update your feed regularly (it doesn’t look good if the last post your potential customer can see is from over a year ago) and it will help to show how in-demand your services are.
Social media is a commitment, so start small by focusing on one platform only and make a point of updating your feed once every week if you can.
Address any criticism
Having a social media presence for your business makes it easier for customers to leave feedback. This is great when it comes to positive customer reviews, but be prepared that, for those who are less than satisfied with your work, this also gives them an outlet to share their disappointment.
Whether or not you feel any criticism is justified, it’s important to respond quickly and reasonably. Politely reply to their post and do your best to take the conversation offline.
Something along the lines of: “I’m sorry you feel that way and I’ll give you a call to talk about how we can address this” usually works.
You’ll see I haven’t suggested a public, direct apology – and, for legal reasons, that’s something you should avoid – but it shows sympathy for your customer and that you’re willing to listen and see what can be done to put things right.
Getting social media right requires time and effort, but once you’re in the practice of regularly updating your news feed, checking and responding to customer feedback and building your reputation with positive reviews, the rewards to your business can be significant.
AMBITIOUS PR is an award-winning agency with expertise in the construction sector. For more information on PR and marketing for the property sector, including case studies, visit www.ambitiouspr.co.uk/property-pr-agency