Mastering social media can be like trying to defeat Medusa. It seems like as soon as HVAC contractors get one social platform conquered, another rises to take its place. The continued battle can be frustrating, especially if contractors do not have a solid grasp on what to do and what not to do with social media accounts. After consulting multiple experts, here are four social media do’s and don’ts that every HVAC contractor should consider as they make social media a part of their business mix.
As with other business endeavors, companies that don’t set goals for their social media platforms are doomed to never knowing whether they have been successful.
“A lot of companies are simply on social media because they feel it’s expected of them," said Carly Hanson, social media marketer, RYNO Strategic Solutions, Phoenix. "While there could be a solid argument for that, they need to figure out why they have a presence and what they’re going to do with it. Do they simply want more brand awareness? Do they want leads driven directly from social? You can’t be successful if you don’t know what your goal is, so establish one or multiple, and then carry out a plan to reach it.”
Setting goals and making a plan does not negate the importance of social media, but instead uses it as a well-managed tool that can yield measurable results.
To go along with the social media goals and plans of an HVAC business, contractors should also be focusing their content in message and audience.
Brooke Jenkins, another social media marketer at RYNO, agrees that realistic goals are important and reminds contractors to post content that is not only timely but also relevant to a specific business.
CONNECT TO CUSTOMERS: If customers don’t feel an ongoing connection to a company or hear from it in more ways than just solicitations, those companies will lose repeat business. Social media is one of the quickest way to build brand recognition of who a company really is.
"When creating content for our home services clients, we keep a mixture of company-specific content (values, history, careers), tips and tricks, and internal celebrations (birthdays, work anniversaries," she said. "Keep track of the amount of content you are posting. Every company and community is different, but our expert advice is to keep posts between two to four times a week. This gives enough frequency, without being too much."
Jenkins describes a company’s social media platforms as a place to communicate what the company is while establishing direct relationships with current and future customers.
She advises clients to use their social media to humanize a business by celebrating employee work anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, and certifications.
“This will allow your customers to get to know your employees on a personal level, which will build trust and in return make them more likely to book with you when they need a service,” said Jenkins. “Consistency is key. Show up, and show up often. If you aren’t posting, then engage with your followers by answering comments, direct messages, and liking their posts.”
Have a Presence
Goals and authenticity are fine and good, but without a social media presence, there are no platforms for a business to broadcast.
“The majority of owners in our space skew a little older, and many did business for years without tools like social media pages,” said Justin Jacobs, marketing coach, Hudson Ink, Montgomery, Alabama. “Some are reluctant to see the need now and think it’s ‘just for the kids’ or ‘I don’t know how to work that stuff’ so they ignore it. What they don’t realize is that social media platforms have taken on much of the word-of-mouth referral system their company relies on.”
He is seeing that the younger generations are not having breakfast together at local diners or running into each other at the hardware store to share recommendations. This in essence has allowed social media to replace traditional word-of-mouth primary marketing avenues.
Establishing connection with potential customer is a possibility with social media and giving away the interaction and clicks that contractors fight for can be disheartening. With that in mind, Jenkins explained that any content created or referenced on a company’s social media accounts should not be armed with a link to whisk away the hard-earned dollars staring at the screen.
“I’ve seen contractors share articles and tips from Bob Villa, HGTV, This Old House, etc. on their pages, and it’s good information, but as soon as their audience clicks that link and it takes them to Bob Villa-Land over on his Facebook page or website, they’ve forgotten all about the contractor,” said Jacobs. “I’ve even seen contractors who’ve shared articles linking homeowners to content on Lowes.com or Home Depot. They don’t realize it, but they’re sending their prospect off to someone who’s trying to show them how to fix their issues themselves.”
The consistency mentioned previously applies to more than authenticity. It also applies to the marketing message being sent from an HVAC company. According to Ben Landers, CEO of Blue Corona in Gaithersburg, Maryland, marketing consistency differentiates a company from fly-by-night contractors.
STAY ON TARGET: “Don’t have inconsistent social media handles and profile pages,” said Ben Landers, CEO of Blue Corona in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “From Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, each of your HVAC company’s social media handles (e.g., @bluecorona) and profile pages should be consistent and on-brand.
“Don’t have inconsistent social media handles and profile pages,” he said. “From Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, each of your HVAC company’s social media handles (e.g., @bluecorona) and profile pages should be consistent and on-brand. On-brand means conforming to the image and identity of your HVAC company.”
Once a consistent handle is chosen for the company, contractors should make someone at the company responsible for posting.
“Have them create a social media content calendar and define a repeatable quality reassurance process,” said Landers. “If there isn’t a person in the company to handle this, consider hiring a company that specializes in digital marketing. These companies have the benefit of infrastructure, existing systems, and aggregate data about what works and what doesn’t.”
Jacobs reminds contractors that social media is worth their time.
“Many contractors are reluctant to invest in social media platforms simply because it seems overwhelming or they don’t see immediate leads and dollars coming in from it,” he said. “But retention statistics prove that if your customers don’t feel an ongoing connection to you or hear from you in more ways than just solicitations, you’ll lose repeat business. Social media is one of the quickest way to build brand recognition of who you really are.”