iMarket Solutions Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Social media’

Recognizing the Value of Facebook for Contractors

Monday, August 19th, 2019

“Clicking”, “Liking”, and “Sharing” are all part of what enables Facebook to bring people closer together. But did you also know that you can better market your business with Facebook?

Social media marketing offers businesses the opportunity to go where consumers are already “hanging out”. Through Facebook, you can speak directly to your customers in a low-key, low-pressure way, actively engaging them through your posts while emphasizing your company values. Using Facebook as a marketing platform is a great way to keep your customers informed, develop your brand identity, and broaden your reach with new prospects.           

Setting Up Your Facebook Business Page

When you create a Facebook Business Page, you’ll be able to share and post all sorts of things, such as videos, promotions your company is offering, upcoming events, information about specific brands and products, and information about your services. (And of course, some funny memes!)

Homeowners are always looking for great contractors in their area, and by setting up a Facebook Business Page, they’ll be able to find you much easier. In fact, by setting up and monitoring your page, your customers can actually provide recommendations to their friends through Facebook’s tagging / recommendation feature. 

Implementing Ads

Once your content is compelling enough to engage with your customers, consider advancing your strategy to the next level through Facebook advertising. Of course, advertisements are a great way to make consumers aware of a product or service, but they also have the ability to reach your audience based on your service area and common demographics. Once set up, Facebook will display your company’s advertisement across multiple platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Facebook Messenger. 

In doing so, you’ll be able to market your promotions and compelling content to a wider audience directly in your service area. 

Using Facebook Insights

If you are a numbers person, then Facebook Insights is a great place to look at just how well your business is doing in the online community. With this great tool, you can look at things such as how many likes your business page has, the reach of your posts, the engagement on the page, and how well your posts are performing. It’s kind of like a mini version of getting a detailed SEO report from iMarket Solutions.

Facebook Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website

Through Social Advertising on Facebook, driving website traffic has never been easier. There are so many great ways that you can use Facebook to drive more traffic to your website. First off, you can use ads to direct people to your promotions pages. Additionally, you can post blogs from your site directly onto your Facebook page, with a link directing readers back to the site to read the blog. In fact, blogs are one of the best content sources to serve customers through social advertising to allow for a natural education to drive conversion. 

Consider Hiring a Social Media Expert

If you are truly looking to get the most out of your Facebook page, bring more traffic to your site, and engage with more prospects in your service area, then it is a good idea to consider hiring a social media expert to manage your accounts. Our social media team has a wealth of knowledge and a strategy that works within the home services industry to build a community around your brand. That way, you can focus on all things HVAC, plumbing, and electric while the experts handle the rest.

To learn more about how Facebook can help you, contact iMarket Solutions today. Dedicated to Contractor Success.

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How to Maintain a Quality Social Media Presence

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Social media is an invaluable tool for your business. If you’re a business owner struggling to use social media to its fullest extent, you’re not alone. The term “social media” encapsulates a wide variety of topics—sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. We’re here to help you reach your greatest potential. Social media marketing for contractors doesn’t have to be intimidating.

The Three Tenants of Quality Social Media Presence

If you only walk away from this blog post with one piece of knowledge make sure it’s these three keys to a great social media presence:

  1.      Driving Business Growth
  2.      Creating Genuine Brand Awareness
  3.      Attracting Quality Candidates

Get SMART

If you read everything above and thought, “How can I do this?”

First and foremost, it’s important to create SMART goals. SMART stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-Based

You never want to create a vague goal. Let’s say, for example, that you’re looking to gain more followers. We’ve illustrated the difference between an average goal and a SMART goal below:

  1.      I want to gain followers.
  2.      I want to gain 150 new followers on my Facebook account over the next three months.

Example A is imprecise while example B is SMART. Example B is specific to Facebook, uses “150” as the measurable amount, and has a time-based goal of three months. What makes something attainable or relevant is more personal to your business—gaining 10,000 followers in three months would probably be unattainable in most circumstances. For someone else, focusing on a Twitter account when their Facebook account is the one lacking could be irrelevant.

Understanding your specific business helps you make SMART goals.

Know Your Audience

Once you’ve established a definitive goal it’s time to outline how you’re going to achieve this goal. Do you know who you’re talking to? Answering this question with “customers” isn’t enough! Define your audience by their age, location, needs, challenges, and interests, hobbies, or behaviors.

Most HVAC companies are looking to target 25 to 65-year-old homeowners in their service areas. Their needs are typically different depending on the season (I.e. air conditioning repair in June versus a heater tune-up in December) or your top products and services. When it comes to interests, hobbies, and behaviors, it’s always good to find people who have an interest in home improvement or home repair.

Fine-Tune that Content!

Now you have an understanding of your audiences, they deserve content curated on a personal and authentic level.

First, determine how many posts and categories of content support your goal. How will you balance out the remaining posts to delight and entertain your audience?

The content you post should be captivating and concise. Here are a few ways that you can make the most of what you post.

  • Quality: Make sure your grammar, punctuation, and the overall flow of your posts is up to par. Clarity is key.
  • Structure: Format your posts so they’re easy on the eye by breaking up long paragraphs.
  • Frequency: There is a “sweet spot” when it comes to posting on social media. You don’t want to post too often and bombard your followers, but you also don’t want to post so little that people forget about you. Posting three to four times a week ensures that you’re on the minds of your followers without getting on their nerves.  
  • Linking/CTA: If you’re linking to a website or a contact us form, be sure to state a clear Call-To-Action, such as  “Schedule an appointment with our team today!” make sure that the link leads directly to the scheduling window rather than to the homepage of your website. If you’re adding a link to a social media post, make sure that it’s a shortened link so you can utilize your word count to the fullest extent.
  • Hashtags and Emojis: Hashtags are a great way to attract people to your page. Make sure the tags you’re using are relevant and site appropriate. The sweet spot for Facebook and Twitter is about 2-6 hashtags while Instagram is about 10-15. Additionally, emojis are a great way to add a playful tone and approachable feel to your posts.

Make the Most of Your Interactions

Don’t stop after you post! Make sure that you monitor your content too. Take about 15 minutes out of your day every day to look through your social media accounts and interact with your followers. Reply to comments, use the “reaction” features on Facebook, “like” posts from your followers, and answer questions or address concerns that have come your way. Do anything to keep the conversation going!

Your social media doesn’t always have to be strictly campaigning either. It’s also great to post about weather notifications, business announcements, equipment recalls, or even employee milestones. The more authentic you can be with your content, the more engagement will naturally rise.

Look Back Over Your Work

We’re taking it back to the grade school basics with this one—always check your work! Using analytics is the best way to get to know your social media. Your ongoing analytics help you track the overall health of your social media through metrics like interactions, likes, followers, and shares.

Your campaign focused metrics will vary from campaign to campaign and depend on the SMART goal you’ve set, but they’re also a great way to measure your success. Understanding your analytics is the best way to ensure that you are posting the right content to grow.

Leveraging Social Media for Omnichannel Marketing

So you’ve built a great social media presence… now, what are you doing with it? Sometimes reaching the right audience doesn’t always give you your desired response. Social media is a tool that can help you fine-tune your omnichannel marketing.

Wondering what omnichannel marketing is? You probably understand the practice but might not know the name. Omnichannel marketing is a method of marketing that focuses on delivering a consistent, personalized, experience for customers across all channels and divisions. The name of the game here is “streamlining”—we’re catering to the customer to generate better engagement.

The opposite of omnichannel marketing is multichannel marketing. Multichannel marketing means that every single channel is different from the others—they work in a vacuum with independent strategies and goals. While this might be easier on the business owner, it’s inferior to omnichannel marketing because it creates a confusing and impersonal customer experience.

Social media is a great tool to generate awareness and consideration for your brand to help drive leads for your business and continue the relationship with your loyal customers. A great social media presence falls in line with your preexisting omnichannel marketing practices. We’ll highlight services and products that are true to your brand and give you a confident and consistent voice.

You can rely on our tech-savvy team of Social Media Specialists here at iMarket Solutions to fine-tune your business. Contact our team today to learn more about the best social media practices.

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Enhance Your Facebook Business Page

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Facebook has over 250 million users, 52 percent of which use it daily. And it is no longer just for the youth audience, the 35 and older demographic now represents more than 30 percent of users. That means using Facebook to promote your business is becoming a more and more effective way to reach potential customers. To help you build a stronger presence on Facebook, iMarket is offering an enhanced Facebook business profile.

With this new service, we will design a full banner and a landing page (like the one here) which entices people to “like” your business page. This is a great place to offer incentives, such as a special discount for Facebook fans, which will convince people to want to connect with you on Facebook. After the person has “liked” your business, a special Welcome page will display for them.  From the landing page, your welcome page, and a contact tab under your banner, your visitors will be able to access an integrated contact form so they can email you right from Facebook! All of these features will be designed to match your website and increase brand awareness of your business.

Why get this service? The new landing page is much more effective at converting visitors into “likers.” And the more people that “like” your page, the more people your posts will reach.  Social media is an excellent form of word-of-mouth marketing, which allows new customers to hear about you through their friends. There is the added benefit of allowing these potential customers to get to know your company through your posts and be able to contact you instantly.

Social media marketing can be very powerful, but you need to utilize it effectively.  Since most companies today are embracing social media, an enhanced Facebook presence will put your business ahead of the crowd. Combined with our content management package, in which blogs posts are sent out to your Facebook page three times a week, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource for your customers. For more information, contact us today!

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Facebook Reveals New Changes

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

If you have been on Facebook in the past few days, you might have noticed some significant changes. In order to compete with the new Google+, Facebook has changed its friend lists to allow more privacy, added a subscribe button, and added a real time feed with the latest updates. But this is only the beginning of  the alternations that Facebook has planned. At the F8, its annual conference, Facebook announced that it would be releasing a major overhaul of user profiles, as well as new apps for music, video, and social news.  An example of a feature is timeline, which will display all of your important events of your life (that you shared on Facebook) on a single page.

To learn more about all of the changes that Facebook is planning on roll out, check out this video on Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebook-f8-live-video/#26983Timeline-Mobile

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Twitter Analytics

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Twitter is one of the main social media tools, businesses as well as people are able to share their 140-character tweets to connect with their customers and talk about special deals. But does Twitter actually drive traffic to your website? Or are you only getting to your customers thru Twitter itself? To answer this frequently posed question, Twitter recently announced that it is releasing a web analytics tool to show businesses not only how much their content is being shared on Twitter, but also the amount of traffic that is being driven from Twitter to their main website. While only in beta right now, Twitter plans to roll out the full verison to everyone in a few weeks.

To learn more, check out this article on Mashable.com:  http://mashable.com/2011/09/13/twitter-web-analtyics/

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Easy Ways To Get More Twitter Followers

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Twitter is an excellent way to keep in touch with people and companies in which you have an interest. It is also a great way to promote your own company. Twitter, like all other social media, is a way to connect to your customers and build their loyalty. It lets them get to know you on a more personal level and interact with you more often. This helps create not only loyalty but also top of the mind awareness, so you are the first one they call when they have a problem you can fix.

It takes a little time to learn how to use Twitter, but it is very easy once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is getting started. Here are a few ways to start building your Twitter Following:

  1. Follow other people: an easy way to get more followers is to start following other people and companies. Focus on local companies and organizations. Try to reply to things they post and some of them will begin to follow you.
  2. Tweet about local events: they are more likely to get “retweeted” and thus bring more people to your Twitter profile.
  3. Make it easy for people to follow you: put a link to your Twitter page in a newsletter or email signature.
  4. Tell your customers about it! Offer exclusive deals or contests for your Twitter followers.
  5. Retweet (forwarding another user’s Tweet to all of your followers) things you think are interesting:
    • Find a Tweet you think is interesting
    • Click the arrow in the top right corner of the post
    • Choose the “Retweet” option

If you have done any of these five things you will have increased your number of Twitter followers and hopefully learned a bit about how to use Twitter for business. If you need help with the basics on how to use Twitter, check out their Twitter 101 Guide.

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Five Easy Ways To Get More Facebook Fans

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Facebook is a great way to interact with your customers and help build their loyalty. But if you are new to Facebook, how to use your company page effectively might seems a little confusing. The most important thing you need to know about Facebook is that it is a way for your customers to connect with you and get to know your company better. It is also great way to get involved in your local community. And if you have customers who are already fans of your company in real life, it isn’t too difficult to translate them into facebook fans. Here are five easy ways you can get more fans on Facebook:

1. Invite people to like your page

  • Go to the Get Started option on the left sidebar
  • Import your contacts (Outlook, Constant Contact, .csv file, etc)

2. Get your company involved. Ask your employees to “like” your page and ask them to tell their friends
3. Make it easy for your customers to “like” your page; tell them about it, include a link or call to action in your newsletter, on your business cards,  or in an email signature
4. Offer special Facebook deals, contests, or promotions that are only available to people who “like” your page
5. Create good Facebook content that appeals to your local audience:

  • Talk about local community events (local kid wins spelling bee, ABC HVAC is sponsoring the Toys for Tots program, etc.)
  • Ask questions
  • Give trivia or helpful hints
  • Tell jokes
  • Respond personally to whatever your fans post

Doing any of these things will increase your popularity on Facebook, and the longer you have a Facebook page the more “likes” you will get.  Good luck!

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Bing, Facebook, and Google +1: Who’s Going to Dominate Social Search, and What It All Might Mean for HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical Service Businesses

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

As we discussed in some previous blog posts, Bing is making a bid to challenge Google’s dominance in the search world. We’ve already looked at Bing’s deal with Blackberry, which may give Bing a lot more traction in the mobile search market. Now we’re going to look at Bing’s deal with Facebook, which adds an exciting “social” aspect to Bing’s search results – and Google’s attempt to strike back.

Here’s how it works. Bing search results will now include “Likes” from Facebook. If you’re logged into Facebook when you make a search – say, to find a local plumber – you’ll get a list of plumbers’ websites, and if any of your Facebook Friends have “Liked” any of the websites in the list, you’ll see a little thumbs-up “Like” icon and the name of your friend(s) who “Like” the site.

Of course, when your Facebook Friends make searches in Bing, they in turn will be able to see which websites you have “Liked”. To make it as easy as possible for everyone to contribute their opinion, There’s even a Bing toolbar that lets you “Like” a website right from your browser controls – you don’t have to hunt on the website for the little “Like” icon.

It’s certainly handy to be able to see at a glance if one or more of your Friends “Likes” a website – especially when you’re trying to evaluate something you don’t know much about. Many people rely primarily on word-of-mouth to choose heating, plumbing, and electrical contractors, and “we think consumers searching for service businesses will quickly come to use “Likes” to choose one contractor over another.

But the Bing/Facebook integration goes deeper than that. Bing will actually use your Friends’ “Likes” to help calculate the search engine results it presents to you – that is, the sites that your Friends “Like” will get a higher spot in the listings. And because each person has a different group of Facebook Friends with different “Likes”, Bing will present a different set of search results to each person – a truly personalized search.

For businesses, this means that it will be increasingly important to encourage happy customers to register their satisfaction online. There are some great ways to do this, and we’ll revisit this topic again in future blog posts.

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How to Encourage People to Connect to You on Social Media – a.k.a. Let Me Bribe You to Become My Friend

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Some people, especially satisfied and loyal customers, will become your Facebook Fans simply because you ask them to. But many people are starting to become a little jaded and wary when it comes to online contacts. They have suffered too many spam attacks and received too many urgent fundraising emails, and they want to be sure that it’s worth their while before they give away their online contact information.

A recent Dilbert cartoon showed Dilbert bribing a woman in his office to become his Facebook Friend, making her a “Frienditute”. As long as you do good work and treat your customers well, Frienditution won’t be necessary, but when you ask people to become your Fan or Follower, you will probably need to follow it up with a value proposition of some kind. This basic proposition should be part of your “please become our Fan on Facebook” speech that you’ve trained all your employees to give.

Your Facebook/Twitter value proposition can be simple and doesn’t have to cost more than your usual advertising:

  • You’ll offer tips to help people save money and avoid expensive repairs (this only costs the time it takes to write and post the tips on Facebook or Twitter)
  • You’ll offer Facebook- or Twitter-only specials (you probably offer specials periodically anyway – this is just a different place to publish them)

If you’re finding that your basic value proposition isn’t sufficient to overcome people’s reserve, you can offer people specific rewards for signing up, such as:

  • A coupon that they’ll get immediately when they “Like” your Facebook page or sign up to follow you on Twitter. The better this coupon is, the more Fans/Followers you’re likely to get.
  • A year’s membership in your service plan. (This will not only be a great enticement to “Like” your Facebook page; it will also build repeat business by showing customers the value of your plan.)

Of course, whenever you offer coupons or specials, especially big-ticket ones, you want to offer them for a product or service you want to get people excited about/hooked on anyway.

You can also offer people something that has absolutely nothing to do with HVAC, plumbing, or electrical services. This will be appealing to the many people who hire you because they are not actually interested in the mechanical aspects of their homes – and who may not get that excited about coupons for services.

For example:

  • You can team up with another local business to offer coupons or gift cards. (A great choice is to work with a business that sells products that appeal to women, since women are often the decision-makers when it comes to services for the home. What woman will be able to resist a coupon to a local spa?)
  • You can enter your new Facebook Fans/Twitter Followers into a drawing for something really exciting. For example, one of our clients has a drawing every month to give major league baseball tickets to one of their new Facebook Fans. This is a great choice, even for female customers – a lot of women are sports fans, and those who are not will feel like heroes when they present the tickets to friends or family members.

One caution: you should only offer major coupons or other big-ticket items as incentives if you have a well-developed plan for your Facebook Page – that is, only if you already have an outside provider or have designated someone on your staff to be responsible for updating your Page regularly. Otherwise, you may be wasting your marketing dollars developing a channel you won’t use.

But here’s a Facebook/Twitter development strategy that is always worthwhile, even if you never use Facebook or Twitter again: connect your social media efforts to local charities. For example, a local bank in our area is donating $5 to the local animal shelter for every person who becomes a Fan of their Facebook Page. Another organization in our community is giving a pair of warm winter gloves filled with candy to needy kids for every new Fan. Both campaigns got free front-page mention in our city’s newspaper, including the actual URLs where people could go to sign up.

This is a win on so many levels!

  • You help a charity you care about
  • You build up a Fan and Follower base
  • You’ll attract people who may not know much about you but who care about the charity – and then you’ll be able to use your social media posts to win them over as customers
  • You’ll enhance your reputation in the community
  • You may get free publicity in your local paper (especially if you send out a press release)
  • You’ll get great word-of-mouth publicity – all the people who work for/care about the charity in question will talk it up to their friends and neighbors
  • You’ll do all this for the cost of a donation that you would probably have made anyway

We can’t recommend this strategy enough. Be creative, have fun, and do some good this holiday season!

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How to Incorporate Social Media into Your Selling Strategy

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The only difference between Facebook and your local Chamber of Commerce gathering is that Facebook happens 24/7 and has a much broader reach. (And you can network on Facebook in your pajamas if you want.)

It’s very useful to keep this analogy in mind as you decide how you’re going to use social media as a sales tool.

When you go to a local Chamber of Commerce gathering, do you walk in and start blasting your sales pitch in the face of the first person you see? Of course not. You mix and mingle and expand your business network. You show, rather than tell, people that you are competent and trustworthy and community-minded.

This is exactly how you should use social media for your business.

Your goal on Facebook (and Twitter) should be the same as your goal when you walk into a Chamber gathering: to expand your network and win the trust of the people in it.

The #1 rule: Your Facebook and Twitter posts should not be sales pitches. Your role on Facebook and Twitter is to provide people with useful, meaningful, unobtrusive information that shows that you are invested in your community and care about the people in it. Whatever you post on social media should help someone else besides you.

Of course, you do ultimately want to reap some benefit too – but the benefit is that you build a reputation as a trustworthy local businessperson with local ties, who isn’t fly-by-night, and who isn’t going to screw people because you value your reputation for integrity.

So what do you post on social media to establish your reputation in the online community?

  • Mostly, you should think of your Facebook and Twitter accounts as additional outlets for your blog content. (Because, of course, your blog is chock-full of useful, meaningful information, right? If your blog is just a bunch of bald-faced sales copy, it’s time for an immediate course correction!) There are even software programs that will automatically “push” your blog posts to your Facebook and Twitter pages without your ever having to think about it – ask your web team to set these up for you.
  • Building on this foundation, you should add a few unique posts that are not on your blog. Scared that your posts won’t be “cool” enough for social media? Don’t be. Social media is full of ordinary people who talk about their children, their pets, their health, what they’re cooking for dinner or watching on TV. All you need to do is come up with 140 characters that will be of interest or value to other people just like you.
  • Start with useful information – something you’d tell a neighbor just to be neighborly. Like, “It’s going to freeze tonight, so don’t forget to empty and turn off your outside faucets!” Is it thrilling? No – but how much are people going to love you after you save them an expensive plumbing bill?!
  • You can spice up your social media posts with trivia that is related to your business, like (on the first really nice day of the summer) “Did you know that you can save $80 a year by hanging your clothes outside in the sun?”
  • And, our favorite: you should post often about your community and charity work. This is a win-win: it gives valuable publicity to worthy causes, and it makes your business look like a real team player.

Of course, the best social media content in the world will only help your business if people are reading it…so next week we’ll give you some useful strategies for increasing your “Three Fs”: Friends, Fans, and Followers.

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