It’s absolutely no surprise that social media plays a huge role in marketing for small businesses nowadays. A powerful tool that’s fairly easy to learn and free of cost for the most part, social media has come from just being recommended to being downright necessary.
But say you’re looking for social media tips for contractors that you can start applying right now. This is what I’m laying out below – whether you’re beginner or intermediate at social media shenanigans, I believe you’ll find these tips useful.
Choose your platforms
It’s very difficult for a social media platform to survive when it’s doing the same thing as a competitor. This is why most of the biggest social media platforms right now all have a “unique” factor to them, making them ideal for certain kinds of work and certain kinds of people.
But since we’re talking contractors, I’d say you have two main players: Facebook and Instagram.
As for the other options,
- Twitter is mostly a text blogging platform, making it ideal for news and short form blog posts.
- LinkedIn is not a bad idea to try, but the thing is that you won’t find customers there – this platform is better for networking and hiring rather than finding work.
So that leaves you with Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook is an obvious choice. It’s the most popular social network in the world with a whopping 2.8 billion registered users right now. It’s mostly a visual platform that prefers images and videos (which is good for contractors), while making it easy to set up a business page that allows potential clients in your area to find and contact you easily.
This business profile is the main selling point: the fact that people in your area can quickly engage with you, leaving reviews, sending requests, or simply finding your business with a quick search is a huge benefit – all of which is free. And if you ever feel the need to promote certain posts or your page for a boost in likes, that’s very doable for small investments (and by small I mean starting at $5 to 15$).
But perhaps the biggest benefit of Facebook is that people will just find you. Once you start getting some likes and using the platform, people will naturally start liking, following, and sending messages. It’s almost like a passive benefit that you can improve by putting more effort into it.
Instagram, also owned by Facebook, is entirely visual. The main focus of Instagram are images and videos, propped up by the Stories feature. Stories are essentially disposable posts that disappear after 24 hours, making it a perfect format for casual posts on a daily basis.
Since the Stories feature forces users to skim through all of them, businesses big or small try to take advantage of this to get the attention of potential clients. In your case, your Instagram page itself should have your usual regular publications, but you can use Stories for more laid-back updates on current projects as well as call-to-actions.
A common example: the feature Stories allows you to ask questions to your followers. You can make yourself available for answering questions on your area of expertise to your followers, such as painting tips, costs, etc. And that’s just one example. Suffice to say, Instagram is a good place to be for a contractor business.
The only main difference when it comes to Facebook is that Instagram requires more dedication to yield results. Because of the 24h publication cycle, this network encourages you to constantly have new updates, which requires a bit more planning and effort.
Both Facebook and Instagram allow for users to send direct messages to you. That should always be an option because many users like to get in touch this way, as it feels a lot more casual and informal, allowing them to feel more comfortable about business inquiries.
Just be sure to always check your inbox for messages and reply to them as quickly as possible, or have someone to do this for you. It’s important to reply promptly as to secure that potential sale, otherwise they might either lose interest or contact someone else.
Plan your posts in advance
One thing you might quickly notice when dabbling into social media is that creating post ideas out of thin air is harder than it looks. This is particularly difficult for contractors who usually have extremely busy days – how do you fit dealing with social media into all that?
Well, you basically separate the task into its own thing.
Instead of doing it on a daily basis, I recommend taking one day of the week to plan all your posts for the week – at least the most important ones. This way, you do it all in one go and save yourself the time and energy during the rest of your likely busy week days.
Instagram Stories is a good way to create content without thinking too hard because of the 24h temporary nature, but even then you can think of post ideas in advance and then execute them when you have the time.
Not everything you post has to be self-advertisement (though a good healthy portion of it should be). If you’re looking for other post ideas that are more evergreen or that promote your business in less obvious ways, here’s what you can do:
- Current project updates
- Before and after comparisons
- Quizzes and Polls (such as for Stories on Instagram)
- Guides (tutorials and how-to’s related to your service)
- Milestones (either for your business or your account – like reaching 1k followers)
- Partnerships (or simply other businesses you support)
- Giveaways and offers
Measure your performance periodically
There’s no way to know if your posts are working unless you measure their performance to some extent. You don’t have to be overly analytical on this, but it’s important to note what kind of posts get the most engagement and which don’t so you know where to focus your efforts.
I recommend measuring your social media results weekly and monthly at least. This should give you a good idea of your engagement, follower gain, etc. And you will know what to focus on for the following weeks and months based on what’s working.
Keep it pro
If you have a personal account on either of these platforms, then I won’t be the one to tell you what you can and can’t post on it. But for your business account, it’s wise to keep it limited to professional posts.
What this translates to is to avoid sharing random stuff other people post, posting personal trivialities unrelated to your business, writing in foul language for any reason, things like that. I’m not suggesting your professional account should be a stoic, unflinching, impersonal corporate hell – absolutely not! But people follow your business account for your business, so keep your posts related to that and bring your personal stuff to your personal account.
Think of it this way: if you follow this blog and suddenly I started posting articles on which movies I watched last week or about my political views, you’d probably lose interest. And with good reason.
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