Social Media – How a Facebook Page Can Bring You Real Business08.28.2014
Previously we discussed structuring your website, and whilst this is an important and valuable part of establishing your online presence, it can be relatively slow to gain momentum and start bringing in business. We are coming into the winter months now, and these can be the hardest for finding new customers - but they needn't be. In the modern world we are spending more and more time interacting on Social Media platforms, and as a tradesman you can use this to your advantage quickly and at minimal effort. Now, with winter looming, might be the best time for you to start.
There are many different options when it comes to Social Media but I am going to focus on using Facebook as a springboard for finding future clients, it is after all the most widely used and therefore should be the perfect place to start.
Having a business page separate from your personal profile is a good idea, as your personal views (no matter what they are) should not get in the way of you finding customers.
Setting up your page
First things first, I am going to give a short overview of how to set up your page, I will not go into too much detail as I want to concentrate more on how to use the page, once set up, to drive customers to your door.
Creating a standalone page is incredibly easy to do, and as I am assuming the majority of people reading this already have a personal profile, you have already completed step one. Anybody who is signed up can scroll down to the bottom of their news feed and click the ‘Create a Page’ button.
From there you can choose the option that best suits your business. As a small local business or sole trader you should probably choose “Local Business or Place”. You will then choose a category such as “Home Improvement” or “Professional Services”; enter your business’ name and address, and then you are ready to get started. The rest is pretty self-explanatory, and Facebook will guide you through setting up your information; they will also ask you to invite your current friends to ‘like’ your page.
Facebook groups are possibly the best, largely untapped resource for finding customers in your area. You may already be a member of some groups on Facebook, and publishing your services in any and every local group can be a great way to find business. If you can establish yourself in a large group as the best of your trade then you will quickly find that people are ready to recommend you. Then, if anybody asks for a ‘reliable roofer in the area’, the best roofer's name will come up pretty quickly. The key to this is maintaining a presence in the group, building confidence with customers, and actually being reliable.
I am a member of several community groups in my town (and nearby areas), mainly ones that focus on the selling or swapping of goods and services. Last summer I was inundated with work every week, with a large proportion of it coming directly through Facebook. This also gave me a hassle-free way to communicate with customers at all hours.
Facebook will give you direct feedback of people’s interaction with your page. You can find out which content people view most, at what times they are looking, and even the age and gender of the people looking. This may be too in-depth for some people but, if you're willing to look at this information, it can provide valuable market research and you can focus the content of your posts to impress the right people.
Updating your page regularly is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself in the minds of others. I mentioned in a previous post that it's worth taking before-and-after pictures of any jobs you do, and post these to your website, and the same goes for Facebook. Customers want to trust the people they hire to work on their homes, and being able to prove that you have successfully completed jobs goes a long way for those thinking of employing you.
Post as positively as possible, don't post argumentative or excessively personal opinions - you might be offending potential customers, and this page is all about creating a positive image for your company or work. You might want to include a joke or two every now and again, or information/news relevant to your field of expertise, but don’t overdo it – people may be put off by you clogging up their news feed and be drawn to click the “unlike” button.
One thing to make sure of is to add good cover and profile pictures. The cover photo is at the top of the page and the first thing anybody will see when they visit your page, so it is a good idea to use your company logo (maybe a photo of your logo) or an image that describes what you do. Your profile picture is what people will see in their news feed whenever you post anything, so you may also want your logo here or, if you work alone, then a friendly mug-shot of yourself could do the trick.
In summary: Set up your page. Once you are happy with it, join and interact with some local groups. Keep your page up-to-date and don’t forget to invite your friends!
Image source: Advo Group