Training & Education

Social Media Discussed at ACCA Conference

April 15, 2013

More than 2,500 HVAC professionals traveled to the 2013 Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Conference and Indoor Air Expo in Florida to learn about new technology, business management tips, and industry trends.

Rich Morgan of Magic Touch Mechanical, Mesa, Ariz., was one of the busiest contractors in Orlando. In addition to picking up the ACCA 2013 Residential Contractor of the Year award, Morgan also taught a learning lab titled “Using Social Media & Online Reviews to Catapult Your Company to the Next Level.”

It was a crowded room as this topic is one that many contractors have a hard time getting their arms around. “Hope is not a strategy,” Morgan said. “You can’t just hope that you will continue to do good business and stay away from the way the world shops now. It is not as mysterious as you might think.”

Why Do Social Media?

During the presentation, Morgan warned that if you are not out there watching and managing what is being said about you online, there is more likely to be items about your company on the Internet that you don’t like and are not true.

“Social media is a great way to establish yourself as the expert in the field,” Morgan said. “People might not be looking for the information right now, but you are opening up a stream where they now know where to find that information. You are a trusted resource instead of your competitor.”

Magic Touch does things a bit differently online. While they have a main website that has more than 500 pages, they also make use of a variety of microsites. This is where they keep a plethora of fresh and unique content, which also allows consumers to find information quickly. If a homeowner is searching duct leaks, when they click on the Magic Touch link they are driven to a microsite on duct leaks where they can immediately access the information. Other contractors direct consumers to their main homepage and require them to poke around to try and find the right page.

Magic Touch also goes against the norm by having outgoing links on their sites. One school of thought is to keep people on your website for as long as possible when they visit. However, Magic Touch wants to send consumers to their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages where they can get additional information on the company.

“That is the best strategy for us. When they go to our social media sites that is when we can begin to have a two-way conversation with them, which is what it is all about. It is not just us telling them something,” Morgan said. “We use social media to continually engage in conversation with current and future clients, as well as friends of clients and future customers. Social media is the new water cooler chat.”

Like anything in life, Morgan pursues quality over quantity and this holds true in his company’s social media endeavors. While there are more social media sites than most people recognize, Magic Touch focuses its efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. “It is important to remember that in no way is social media a replacement for traditional marketing. This is a complement to it,” Morgan said. “The most important thing is to be consistent. Not being consistent is a big mistake.”

Facebook

Morgan keeps track of two Facebook pages. One is a friends page that allows people to be friends with company owner Rich Morgan. The second is a business page, where they can “like” Magic Touch. Morgan pointed out that Facebook is the No. 1 social media site in America with around 170 million users. About 74 percent of the online population utilize the site.

Morgan spends only about 15-20 minutes a day posting, answering messages, etc. The Rich Morgan page puts a real person’s face on the company. The posts there are more informal and helps drive fans to the Magic Touch page.

The Magic Touch page is more formal with 95 percent of the posts relating to HVAC or home-performance contracting. Items such as coupons, promotions, and employment opportunities get posted.

“You do not need to be a New York Times bestselling author to pull this off. It is not taking up a huge amount of time,” Morgan said. “While we keep it lighter on social media with family friendly jokes, obviously we never put anything political or religious on there. It is just like any sales conversation. This is attached to your business.”

Another bonus is that Facebook ranks very high on search engines so when people search for your company name, this link will likely show up on page one.

“Via social media we are engaged with 5,550 people for practically next to nothing in cost,” Morgan said.

Twitter and YouTube

Magic Touch has been on Twitter longer than Facebook and uses Twitter as a way to make announcements. “Facebook is what just happened and Twitter is what is happening right now,” Morgan said. “Twitter has 24 billion searches every month. We can track clients directly from Twitter to purchase. It is only 140 characters so it is easy to come up with something on a daily basis to be a part of the conversation.”

The company posts on Twitter a couple of times each day. They also make it a point to inform customers of their Twitter page and a lot of times pleased individuals will tweet sentiments following a successful installation.

Magic Touch has also gotten into the video world. They release a new video every six months, using past video experiences to learn what types of videos garner the most views. The video offerings have been quite successful, as, for example, one posted 90-second air conditioning installation video received 20,000 views.

These videos are accomplished very inexpensively, as the company admittedly aims for the middle ground with their productions. They have found that a lower quality video (one shot from a smartphone) reflects poorly on the company. By the same token, spending too much on a video crew comes off as too extravagant. Morgan said he’s concerned customers will begin to question service prices if the company has money to burn on videos.

“We like professional, but not over the top,” Morgan said. “And, of course, we circulate the videos on all our social media sites. This helps a lot with our SEO [search engine optimization] too. People love video and pictures. I was amazed at the response.”

SIDEBAR: ACCA Installs Board

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) announced the installation of its 2013-14 Board of Directors and officers at its 2013 Conference and Indoor Air Expo. Last year’s chairman, Laura DiFilippo of DiFilippo’s Service Co., Paoli, Pa., handed the leadership role to incoming chairman Bobby Ring, of Meyer & Depew Co. Inc., Kenilworth, N.J. Ring will serve a one-year term.

Serving alongside Ring on the executive committee are directors and officers Dave Kyle, Trademasters Service Corp., Lorton, Va., senior vice chairman; Phil London, Thermal Concepts Inc., Davie, Fla. secretary/treasurer; Ellis Guiles, TAG Mechanical Systems Inc., Syracuse, N.Y., vice chairman; Don Langston, Aire Rite Air Conditioning, Huntington Beach, Calif., vice chairman; and Steve Lauten, Total Air and Heat Co., Plano, Texas, vice chairman. DiFilippo will serve this year as immediate past chairman.

Directors on the board not serving on the executive committee are: Jerry Bosworth, Bosworth Air Conditioning, Galveston, Texas; Dan Foley, Foley Mechanical, Lorton, Va.; Paul Hobaica, Hobaica Services Inc., Phoenix; Rich Imfeld, IC Refrigeration, Ceres, Calif.; Gary Marowske, Flame Furnace, Warren, Mich.; Narissa Rampey, Air Assurance Co., Broken Arrow, Okla.; Steve Schmidt, Frederick Air Inc., Frederick, Md.; Mike Schumacher, Reliable Heating & Cooling Inc., St. Louis; Matt Todd, Entek Corp., Longview, Wash; and Michael Weber, Thomas & Galbraith Heating and Cooling Inc., Cincinnati.

Publication date: 4/15/2013 

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