In part one of this series, I discussed how Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest can help your HVAC business grow. Now that you understand a little more about why you should be using these social networks, I want to take the time to share some general best practices for using social media and some platform-specific strategies that I’ve found work well.
Let’s start with best practices. Every social network is a little different, but you should employ the following four techniques no matter what platform you are using to create the most opportunities for your business to grow:
1. Build and Optimize Profiles for Search
The first step toward creating a social media presence is creating your account (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest). Once the account is created, you’ll need to populate your profile with different kinds of information. Don’t skip any steps in the process. It’s important that you create a professional, complete profile page where customers can find all of the information they need to learn more about your business. If you leave information blank or skip profile sections, some customers — especially millennials — may think you do not care enough about your online presence and will avoid following you right off the bat.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important aspect of helping your business grow. Just like your website and blog, social media accounts can be optimized for search to increase your company’s visibility. While building your profiles, focus on adding industry keywords and phrases. These phrases will help your business show up in industry-related business and content searches performed by potential customers.
2. Create Compelling Content
More than anything, an effective social media presence requires creating (and curating) compelling content. As an HVAC business owner, this isn’t always easy to do. But if you take the time to leverage your knowledge, it can pay off in the long term.
Consider how your know-how and experiences can be shared with your community and generate helpful, insightful content. For example, if you’ve been on a few disastrous HVAC repair jobs — and we all have — take the time to write about them. Share your experiences in a genuine way and people will want to interact with your company.
3. Encourage Discussion
Take advantage of social media’s ability to be, well, social. If you create and share compelling content, people will want to engage with you, and that is the goal. When you post on your accounts, use questions to prompt audience engagement. Ask followers to share their experiences with you and be involved in the discussion. Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, engaging with your audience is a key step to growing your online audience and, as a result, your customer base.
4. Leverage Social Media to Drive Traffic
Once you’ve established a social media presence and built a following, use your social media accounts to drive traffic to your website and any other content you want followers to interact with. If you’ve got a great HVAC blog with tips and tricks, tweet out your articles. If your business recently received an award, share a picture of it on Pinterest or Facebook. Social media provides you with a great platform for driving traffic to your website, blog, and other relevant content, so take advantage of it.
Now that you’ve got some general strategies for making social media work for you, I want to share some more specific tips and tricks I’ve learned while using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest in my business:
Aside from sharing content and driving traffic, Facebook offers you the ability to reward your fans for being a part of your community. Whenever your budget dictates (we try once a month), offer your Facebook fans a unique deal to thank them for following your brand. If possible, run a Facebook contest that rewards current fans for sharing your content and rewards new fans with a special coupon or offer. Rewarding your Facebook fans will help keep them interested in your content and build customer loyalty.
Remember part one of this series where we talked about how important Google+ reviews can be for increasing search results? Google+ is the perfect platform to share and solicit customer reviews.
After you serve a customer, send a follow-up email with the link to your Google+ Local page and ask them to review your work on Google+. The more the quality and quantity of your reviews, the better your page authority and search ranking, so use Google+ to encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Twitter can be an effective way to build a customer base. Tweet often, retweet compelling content (with your thoughts about it), and try to share visuals. Twitter audiences love to share compelling visuals and links to good content and deals. Use that to your benefit.
More than any other social network, Twitter thrives on the use of hashtags. As you share your original content, add one or two hashtags (no more) that will make your content show up in Twitter searches. Additionally, you can ask your audience questions and provide a hashtag to use in their replies. This will allow you to track your engagement, and locate and follow your audience answers in real-time.
Pinterest is a visual social media channel, so you have to be prepared to share high-quality visual content. As an HVAC business owner, you know that our industry does not always lend itself to beautiful images. And that’s fine, but that means you have to work to make your boards interesting.
Use Pinterest to share your blog posts, how-tos, and product offerings, taking the time to find great images to combine with your content. You wouldn’t spend five hours installing perfect ductwork inside the house and then slack on installing the outdoor a/c unit that everyone will see, would you? Think of your content as the ductwork and your Pinterest pin as the a/c unit. If you share a visually appealing image that links to insightful, appealing content, you are sure to succeed on Pinterest.
Publication date: 3/9/2015