September 4, 2010

Why You Need Social Media – Cause It Ain’t a Party If You Are The Only One There!

After my week-long series on social media marketing for contractors I received an email from a painter out on the west coast who basically said that social media is bullshit. His business was built on referrals and he is making a good living from that.

To that I say good for you George. But for those of you out there who haven’t found the goose that lays the golden eggs you need to consider social media as another way to spread the word. And I mean spread the word because the days of “build it and they will come” have passed you by.

As someone who has meetings in boardrooms as well as over the hoods of work trucks, one of the most frequent questions I get is how to build a following online. There really is no one answer to that question except for this – no matter where you decide to plant your flag; Twitter, Facebook or YouTube,  you need to remember that the days of set it and forget it are gone. In other words, throwing up a website and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it anymore. The best way for you to grow your audience and build a brand is by making yourself a valuable member of existing communities.

You need to find out where the conversations are taking place around your area of expertise and be there fielding questions and supporting that community any way you can for as much time as you possibly can. Because in 2010, the community doesn’t come to you, you have to go to them!

  • How to promote your event with social media (dontdrinkthekoolaidblog.com)
  • How to Reward Yourself Using Social Media (socialmediatoday.com)
  • Friday Fun: Calling bullshit on social media [Confessions of a Science Librarian] (scienceblogs.com)

August 12, 2010

10 Tips to Developing a Social Media Presence For Contractors

The early adopters of social media gained a first-mover advantage that many contractors are finding difficult to overcome today. That doesn’t mean you don’t start, it just means that most of you are going to have to work your asses off to make a difference.

How can you gain a foothold in social media today?

The days of casting wide nets to gain traction in social media circles are over. To win you need to focus like a laser on your target. To do that you need to take some specific steps that will help you navigate the social media pool and keep you and your contracting company from wading too far into the deep end too early.

Becoming an engaged advertiser online

1. Make sure any advertising you do offline has an online component built into it.

2. To stick with the swimming analogies, dip your toe in the water first and see what your competition is doing online, steal their strengths and capitalize on their weaknesses.

3. Make sure your campaign is “social media focused”- In other words, make sure your offline ads direct people to follow you on Twitter or fan you up on Facebook.

4. Be careful here, but you can promote your offline campaigns through social circles online, just don’t come off as a spammer or you’re screwed.

5. Get a Twitter account and a Facebook page…that is all.

6. Since social media typically doesn’t have a solid ROI attached to it, set goals that reflect your presence in the market; how many twitter followers you develop, fans on Facebook, etc. Many people will tell you the number of friends or subscribers don’t matter. Well they do, because each Twitter follower or Facebook fan has the potential to be one of the following 3 things; an advocate for your brand, a client, or a critic, but they will never be all 3 at the same time!

7. Track – Make sure you know how people are finding you online; Google places, Twitter, wherever people are coming from you want to make sure to spend more time there.

8. Reach out to the people who can influence your brand in your space. But be careful, this one too can hurt your brand both online and off.

9. Keep going-making a difference online means working hard, just like you do during the day. Just because the leads are not falling through the door doesn’t mean you are not making an impact.

10. In complete contradiction to number 6, numbers don’t matter. Even if you only have one follower, you have an audience that deserves your attention, or just get out of the way and let your competition take care of them!