This is a dangerous subject about which to write. For one thing, I know very little about the subject. Secondly, most of you out there probably either know all about it and consider yourselves experts, or you are like the rest of us who know just enough to be afraid of it.

I’m talking about Facebook. Recently I have sat in on two webinars and a conference call presentation — all focused on Facebook. To tell the truth, I’m more confused than ever. Nevertheless, as contractors I believe it is extremely important that we learn more about Facebook and get involved.

To hear the statistics, a lot of people are using Facebook. And as it applies to our industry, they are using it as their means of communication, including talking about HVAC contractors. Let’s think back just a few years and remember that if someone needed to replace an air conditioning system, they would likely call a friend or two and ask for some ideas of contractors to call. Today, that same person puts a post on Facebook and says they are looking for an air conditioning contractor and then they wait to see what response(s) they receive. Since we are in such a hurried world, where people have to Facebook their friends rather than call them, is it possible that the company referred is the last one that person saw mentioned on Facebook? If so, that information tells me we better be on there and be mentioned.

As an aside, I have to mention a couple of things I don’t understand. First is that as I type this on my computer, my spell checker does not even recognize the word Facebook as a word. It puts a red line under it all of the time. That’s a clue as to how new this phenomenon really is. The second thought is how is it this guy Mark Zuckerberg is worth billions of dollars when I go on Facebook for nothing? These are things to ponder when the HVAC business slows down.

Have a Presence

Back to Facebook and what you need to do to make sure you have a presence. With Facebook, as with your website, you may have a professional handle it for you or choose to do it yourself.

Obviously the first thing is to set up your Facebook page. Remember this may be the first time that someone has ever seen anything about your company. Make it professional, attractive, and friendly. Don’t start off with a sales approach. That will turn viewers off immediately. The more personalized your site can be the better. People want to buy from people they know. Make your Facebook such that they feel that they know you. Show the core benefits which your company provides. Rather than selling on Facebook, make it so attractive that they want to buy from you.

It is important to be consistent with your Facebook posts. That means not too often, but regularly. We feel that about three times a week is right for our business. Facebook is an interactive media. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to engage the viewers. In general, keep your posts relatively short. The attention span of most people using Facebook is very short. The typical Facebook user is extremely busy and while they appear to utilize Facebook a great deal, the amount of time they spend on each post is extremely short. A one or two sentence post is probably the most you will be able to use.

Within your Facebook pages, include some type of discount or coupon. While it should not be on the front page, it needs to be there. Many of the people who utilize Facebook do so to find deals. This means coupons, special savings deals, etc. Because they are personalized, Facebook is a great place to post testimonials about your company. Make them attractive and eye catching so the viewer sees and appreciates them.

I have just scratched on the surface of what can and should be done to get your company involved in Facebook. Remember that our customers out there are different than the customers of the past and we have to use new and different means to reach those customers.

Publication date: 7/16/2012