So, this advice could be a little late if you have followed our previous blogs on joining FB groups, however it’s never too late to improve on what you are doing, so here goes:
Beware of your Stalkability!
Facebook may not be a real world, however what we are saying is that once your business page is out there and you are joining groups to get more hits on your business page, this doesn’t mean you (the person behind the business) remains invisible. If your name is “John Smith” you may not have to worry too much, but even then, if you are “John Smith” of “Smith and Son’s Plumbing” in Bexley, people can, and will, find you and check out your personal page. If you name is “Jamjar Wentworth Smythe”, you definitely need to worry about this.
- You see, these days people want more than a tradesperson, they want a relationship with a trusted individual who they are prepared to invite onto their property and count on again and again. So, this is an opportunity to put prospective customers at ease and “upsell” yourself a bit. With that said, here are some pointers about your personal Facebook page that you should be following even if you don’t have a business page:
Present-ability: Pictures of your cute dog (or kids) doing something is good. Picture of your new “I hate Jesus” on your left butt check is bad. Be mindful when posting pictures.
Careful of what you share: Although not always possible, remember that prospective clients might be looking at your page. You might think that marriage equality is a bad idea or that Donald Trump is an idiot, but your next customer might be LGBQT or pro Trump, so best to keep it to yourself.
Keep it positive: Sure, you might be having a crap day and feel that life sucks and it’s OK to express that occasionally but don’t get carried away. People respond better to positivity, and posting on the bright sides will have the double bonus of helping you look on the bright side.
Rule of thumb, imagine you are looking for someone to do something for you (understanding of course that you are a tradie and can do most things yourself) and you’ve got a couple of choices. Imagine that you can see their FB pages. Which one do you go for? Well, your FB page should look more like the person you would give money to, to do a service for you.
So, hopefully by now you’ve found some local groups and you’ve joined them and are starting to think about content to post. We’ve mentioned about reading guidelines of each group before posting, however here are some other great hints on what not to do by Search Engine Optimisation guru, Kate Toon.
Our next bit of advice is to go slow and steady! It might be tempting to join 50 groups and start posting the same thing daily across all of them, however that’s a sure way to just annoy people and damage your “brand”. Instead we suggest that you join a couple of groups that you think might have potential customers to your services and post tailored messages and/or adverts for each group. After a few weeks start looking at more groups and more posts however don’t start spamming (IE: posting too much).
In terms of content, think about what’s in it for the person seeing your ad? Have you got an offer? Offering something for free (consultation, quote or even first visit) is a great way to get attention. Make sure you include clear graphics and tag your FB page in posts as customers may not be ready to buy yet, but when they “like” your Facebook page it is easier to re-target them later on.
If this is sounding like hard work, marketing your stuff does take time and effort, however the payoff is in getting more customers. Don’t forget that you can get Us For You to do all of this for you! It’s not expensive and you need to decide if your time is worth more than a little money.
In our first blog we spoke about joining local Facebook groups as a way of advertising your trade business and getting ahead of the rest of the pack, because let’s face it, there is a lot of alternatives to your services out there. The good news though, is that not many tradies are using social media and if they are they are not using it effectively. So, if you have gone ahead, researched and joined some groups, here is our second piece of advice:
Observe the rules and have a clear message.
Most People who run them, will tell you it takes a lot of time & energy to administrate Facebook groups. To keep things running smoothly they will often have guidelines. Guidelines like no post dumping, weekly promo only, and some local buy, swap & sell groups have a strict no advertising rules.
Some Facebook Group you need to be a paid member of a paid service that the person running it owns. Check out how many members they have and if they are a local group it may be worth the fee they are asking for.
Now make sure your message is clear. Don’t try to say too much with each post, just stick to the rule of “keep it short and simple”. Also, we strongly advise that you have someone check your posts before you send them, as we all can miss simple grammatical and spelling errors when we check our own writing. Even professional writers have “proof readers”, so get a friend or family member look over your posts before you post them.
Finally, as we mentioned in our last post, make sure that you personalise your posts for each group. The pitch and tone of your message will be different if it is a local mother’s groups as opposed to a buy, swap and sell group. Us For You can do this for you, or even write your content if you don’t fancy yourself as a writer.
The services of tradies – plumbers, electricians, carpenters, landscapers, etc – have always relied heavily on two primary marketing channels to drive customers (new and repeat) to their businesses:
- Yellow Pages (or other popular, local, offline, directory advertising)
- Word of mouth referrals, or social proof
In the absence of storefronts, tradies depend on these forms of marketing, as well as on-vehicle advertising and of course, their websites, but the chances of people encountering these other channels (when they are in need of your services) is slim.
The Yellow Pages (or other similar trade directories) is still heavily relied upon by the older, more traditional demographic that hasn’t yet fully transitioned to the digital world, but for most of us, we use the Yellow Pages as a way of reaching things in the top cupboard or for getting our computers monitors set to the correct height…
Word of mouth, (or social proof) will always be critical, and it is by far and away the most persuasive and powerful of all marketing channels. It’s also free, although it does require you to a do a good/remarkable job for it to work most effectively.
If a customer has been impressed by your service, professionalism and pricing, they WILL remember you for next time, AND tell their friends.
Good service can go viral.
This kind of activity happens offline every day. People meet, they exchange the news of the day over coffee or around water cooler in the office and problems and resolutions get discussed, and recommendations and referrals are made. It’s also happening every minute of every day online, across Facebook and other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram. It’s also where people go to post requests from friends SEEKING referrals and recommendations.
Services by tradies are sometimes NOT remarkable, or they ARE remarkable but for completely the wrongs reasons. Delays, poor service, quotes not accurately representing final job costs are all very common reasons for you to NOT get repeat business. You’re on your own with these…do the right thing.
Good news travels fast online, but bad news travels much faster still.
Maintain a professional, high quality service that you’re proud of and DELIGHT your customers in the value you provide. Fail to do this and your reputation online can be damaged in a flash.
It’s therefore time (if you’re not doing it already) to be on the social media platforms so you can benefit from this powerful social proof, monitor (and manage) your reputation online and as a way of delivering value to customers BEFORE they become customers, through sharing of interesting and relevant tips and by answering common questions. And if you ARE doing it already, maybe it’s time to take it to the next level by outsourcing the work to the experts.
This is a space you can’t afford NOT to be playing in. Often for a fraction of your Yellow Pages budget you can have your social media managed for you by US, and for YOU.
UsForYou specialises in social media setup and management for tradies. We can get you and your trade business in front of your customers, engage with them and promote you in the place that occupies most of our attention these days – Facebook. Social proof = social media.
Contact Michelle today to discuss your needs and to learn how she can help propel you and your business into the world of social media. Don’t get left behind!