How to use social media to grow your home improvement company.
As any good business owner can tell you, excellent communication and strong long-lasting relationships with customers is what drives repeat jobs and highly valuable referrals to your business.
In the past, maintaining relationships with a large network of past customers was expensive, difficult, and usually reserved for massive brands with the advertising funds to support it.
Today, however, social media provides business of all sizes free access to the most powerful customer relationship and communication tools in the history of mankind.
Businesses can easily communicate their mission statement, share the process of their jobs beginning to end and give a behind-the-scenes look into the ins and outs of what makes their business unique. All while engaging with customers in an organic and relatable way.
This kind of authentic interaction, maintained over time, creates a powerful community of loyal past customers, friends, and family, that advocate and promote a company through personal networks. A massive advantage that yields dividends over time.
Which platforms to use.
Although there is no shortage of social media platforms and it can be a good idea to at least have a complete profile on many of them, we recommend that home improvement companies focus on Facebook and Instagram.
These two platforms have the largest and most active communities.
Additionally, since Instagram and Facebook allow seamless sharing between the platforms, your social media manager will be able to automatically share everything they post to both Instagram to Facebook with a single click.
Minimal effort for maximum social media coverage!
Setting up your profiles.
Getting your business established on Instagram and Facebook is easier than you may think. And yes, with over 2 billion Facebook users, 1 billion Instagramers, and the ability to automatically share content across the platforms, it’s important to create and use both accounts.
In the next two sections, I’ll walk you through setting up professional and authentic business pages on both platforms.
Setting up a Facebook Page:
1. Create a page.
Head on over to facebook.com/business and click on the “Create a Page” button in the upper right-hand corner.
From there, you’ll need to choose the page type for your business.
For home improvement businesses, you’ll want to click on the “Local Business or Place” option. Even if you have aspirations to grow into a nationally known company, customers will be looking for local services online, so choosing this page type give you the best chance of getting them to find you.
Once you click on your page type, another window will appear asking you to provide more information about your business, including: phone number, address and business category (ie roofing services, plumbing, construction services, etc).
Fill this out with as much detail as you can. If you use a home office and don’t want to list your personal address online, be sure to still list the city and state of your office location so customers have a general idea of your service area.
2. Selecting photos.
It’s important to remember that consistency is key and quality is queen. So make sure your logo and cover photo are high-quality image files because you’ll be using them across the board for all online platforms.
It’s best to use a high-quality image, so if you haven’t hired a photographer to capture past projects, now would be a good time to do so. Otherwise, just go with the best looking photo you have.
Upload Profile Picture: Facebook will ask you to upload a profile picture first. This should always be your company logo because it’s the image that will accompany your business name when commenting and posting to the Facebook platform.
If you don’t have a company logo, hire a graphic designer to create one for you or use your business name as your profile pic.
Upload Cover Photo: Facebook cover photos offer businesses the opportunity to visually tell their stories. The cover photo is also a larger image, so it’s important to choose an image that accurately reflects the brand you’re trying to build because it’s going to be the first thing that catches the eye of your page visitors.
Use a high-quality image of a past completed project or your team. If you don’t have any professional photos, now would be a good time to get some taken. After all, a picture says a thousand words, so make sure those words count!
Your cover image will need to be 150 pixels tall and 400 pixels wide.
Pro Tip: Before you begin setting up online accounts, create a folder on your computer with your logo files and a few favorite high-quality photos. This way, it’ll be a breeze to find the same image each time you set up a platform account.
3. Take a tour of your page.
Although your business page is now live, it’s still a few steps away from being ready to share. Take a few seconds to acquaint yourself as Facebook walks you through key features of the business page.
4. Add a short description of your business.
Click on Add a Short Description and give a brief and concise rundown of your business. You’ll have a 155-word limit, but don’t worry, you’ll have another opportunity to go into more detail.
Be sure to mention your location and use a value-building statement like, “Joe Schmoe’s Roofing. Providing top-notch roofing services to the Metro Atlanta area since 2009.” Be sure to click Save once you’re happy with your business description.
This description should be the same description used on your Google My Business profile and on other social media platforms.
5. Create a Username For Your Page.
Your Facebook username is how people will be able to find your business on Facebook. Since you’ll be setting up an Instagram account next, try to make the username the same for both accounts.
An example of a contractor username would be: @joeschmoeroofing. Keep it simple, obvious, and something folks can remember easily.
Once you’re done, click Create Username and a pop-up box will give you available username links you can share with your friends, family, and potential customers.
When you’re ready to continue inputting information into your Facebook page, click OK.
6. About Section.
To get started filling out the About section of your business page, click About in the left-hand menu.
This is your opportunity to give visitors a full picture of not only what your company does, but how you do it differently from other contractors in your area. So don’t be skimpy with the info.
When people search on Google for local businesses, your company has a better chance of popping up in the results if you have good, accurate, and detailed information.
Be sure to also list your operating hours and the best ways to contact you or your team.
If you’ve been in business for longer than 5 years, be sure to add the year you founded the company, as well as any other valuable information that could be beneficial to visitors.
If you were wanting to say more about your company in the Business Description section, then this is also where you’ll want to click on Edit Story on the right side of your page to dive into more detail.
Give visitors a feel for what they can expect when they decide to work with you and your team. Be sure to click Save before moving on to add your business location and hours.
The last thing you’ll need to do is to click Edit Page Info in the top right corner of the page to add your office location as well as official business hours for each day of the week.
Click Save Changes when you’re done.
7. Create a post.
Before you start engaging and following family, friends, and other local respectable businesses, you’ll want to generate some valuable content first. Even just a short post introducing yourself and your business is a great place to start.
Facebook gives you a lot of posting options, so take a moment to look through the menu and then begin posting away! The world, as they say, is your oyster!
8. Begin to engage!
You did it! You completed setting up your business page and shared a couple of valuable and fun things! So go ahead and start turning heads! Friends and family are always there for you.
Capitalize on that by inviting everyone you know to like and follow your business page. Include a link to your Facebook business page on your website. And don’t forget to share the love and follow industry leaders and businesses you’ve come to trust.
Setting Up an Instagram Business Account:
Now that you know you have it in you to be tech-savvy, let’s get to work on setting up your Instagram account. And with only five steps, it may be the easiest social account you’ll ever create!
One of my favorite features of Instagram is that it will automatically share all your posts directly to Facebook for you. The ultimate two birds with one stone!
1. Download the Instagram app.
Although Instagram does have a desktop version available, it’s a mobile-based app so you’ll need to set up an account on your phone or another mobile device. The Instagram app is free to download from your phone’s app store.
Once the app is downloaded, tap the icon to begin.
2. Login via Facebook.
There are two options for setting up an Insta account. If you already have a personal Facebook account other than the business page, you’ll want to tap Login with Facebook to sign up and automatically link your two accounts.
If you don’t have the Facebook app downloaded and logged in on your phone, go ahead and do that first before trying to sign up. Your Facebook username and profile picture will automatically transfer to your Instagram account.
If you only have your Facebook business page and don’t use a personal Facebook account, you’ll want to tap Sign Up With Email. Don’t worry, in a couple short steps you’ll be able to link your Facebook business page to your new Instagram account.
3. Switch to a FREE business account.
Once you’re successfully logged in, tap the human bust icon in the lower right-hand corner of the app. This will take you to your profile page.
In the upper right-hand corner of your profile page, you’ll want to tap on the three horizontal lines. At the bottom of the side-menu that slides out, go ahead and tap the Settings button.
About a quarter of the way down the Settings menu, under the Account heading, you’ll tap on the Switch to Business Profile option. From here, Instagram will walk you through setting up your business profile.
4. Set up your business profile.
Make sure to tap Continue As in order to connect to your Facebook account. You’ll be able to connect your Facebook business page to your Instagram account. Tap Next.
If you’re not seeing your business page, go back to Facebook and make sure you’re listed as an Administrator on your page. You can find that option in your page settings.
Once you’re connected to your Facebook page, Instagram will automatically import your business information into your profile. Tap Done to save your profile and settings.
5. Post and follow.
Now you’re ready to begin posting, following and liking other individuals and businesses on Instagram. And because you’re already connected to your business Facebook page, everything from Instagram will automatically be shared to Facebook.
Why an in-house social media manager is the best way to run social.
Now that you have your Facebook and Instagram accounts setup, it’s time to talk about coming up with a strong plan of action for social media management.
To begin, it’s important that home improvement businesses avoid hiring a third-party social media agency or consultant. These entities don’t really know your business and aren’t able to spend time inside it creating real and authentic content, at least without you paying them an arm and a leg to do it.
In order for your business to “win” on social media, you have to have an authentic presence, giving your online audience a glimpse into the ins and outs of your company and providing them with valuable and useful content.
The best way to do this is by hiring a part-time social media manager in-house.
This manager doesn’t need to be an expert or have massive amounts of past experience. As long as they have a basic understanding of Facebook and Instagram and are eager to participate and help your company grow, then you’re good to go.
Below, I’ve outlined the top three things you’ll need to in order to successfully hire an in-house social media manager that will get the most out of your online social presence without sacrificing time or budget constraints.
1. Hire for work ethic rather than experience.
The person you hire as your social media manager doesn’t need to have any specialized training or even a degree in marketing.
If they have a pleasant personality, good writing and verbal skills, and a solid understanding of how to use a smartphone to post photo and video content to Instagram and Facebook, then they are more than qualified to fill this role.
With the right work ethic, a high school grad or college student looking for on-the-job experience could be a perfect fit for this position.
2. 10 hours for $10/hour.
Your social media manager will need to be at your business, either at your office or at job sites, for at least 10 hours a week.
They will create and post content, interact with followers and other local accounts, and document what’s going on within your company. Ten hours a week is more than enough time to conquer the two biggest platforms, Facebook and Instagram, and is just $400-$600 per month.
A small price to pay for all the benefits social media brings to the table.
3. Get a decent smartphone (or make sure the manager has one they can use).
In order for your social media manager to post quality, authentic content, they will need a smartphone with a decent camera in order to take photos and video.
Any brand smartphone from the past three years will work well enough for this.
While some companies, such as roofers, may benefit from purchasing a small drone, there is otherwise no need for expensive photography or cameras for everyday social media content.
The only exception to this would be your social media cover photo, which should a professional photograph.
How to maintain your Facebook and Instagram presence.
In general, those 10 hours your social media manager spends on Instagram and Facebook can be boiled down to the following five daily tasks:
1. Show your followers what day to day life in your business is like.
Believe it or not past customers, friends, and family want to know what’s happening in your company.
People are by nature curious and they love stories. So give the people what they want!
Just finished a job? Post before and after photos. Just bought a new vehicle. Make a post about how it will help your team do better work. Hired a new employee? Post their photo with a little information about them.
Tell the day to day story of your business and people will start paying attention.
2. Engage with comments on your posts.
Show appreciation for those who take the time to respond to the content you post by replying and engaging with them in conversation.
This is not only a great way to foster and grow these relationships, but the comment activity generally leads to more people seeing the post due to how the algorithms on these platforms work.
3. Share user-generated content.
Don’t hesitate to re-post content created by your customers if it’s relevant to your company (and you have their permission).
Whether it be a photo of one of your jobs, valuable information, or something else, don’t hesitate to repost it so it gets seen by the rest of your followers.
Like it, share it, and join the conversation.
4. Show your appreciation for your customers.
Show your customers you care about them is an important part of managing your company’s social media.
Create holiday posts, provide a Small Business Saturday offer, or just make a post thanking your customers for being great.
Whatever it is, don’t forget to show your customers you appreciate them.
5. Engage with other businesses in your community.
Leave likes and positive comments on content posted by other businesses in your community such trusted real estate agents, insurance agents, or even restaurants or non-competing contractors in your area.
This is a great way to foster your company’s network in your community and start getting referrals from more than just past customers.
That’s it. Done regularly and consistently, your company will soon start seeing the benefits of increased referrals and repeat customers that social media can deliver.
Blackfire Media is here to help.
Here at Blackfire Media, we understand the important role social media plays in the modern day business plan. That’s why, as a part of our marketing packages, we advise our clients on social media.
We help our clients hire an in-house social media manager, and then guide that person on how to best represent and engage with the online community on behalf of your business.
Give us a call today to learn how Blackfire Media can help you dominate your online presence, both on social media and across the rest of the web.