Building a following on social media isn’t something that can happen over night, unless you’re an international popstar or the proud owner of a cat who can sing.
The best bit of advice you can get in the days after you click ‘create account’ is to not get too disheartened if the followers, likes and retweets don’t start flooding in straight away. We’re here to play the long game.
Get it right and you’ll be reaching new customers and have a social media following that you can use to get to know your audience.
Pick the Right Channels for Your Company
There are so many social media platforms nowadays that it can be hard to know where to start, let alone know how to get started.
A few years ago, many brands would have an Instagram account as a way of sharing ‘behind the scenes’ photos and videos, without really appreciating its full marketing potential. That’s all changed now.
Instagram has now reached 1 billion active monthly users, with Instagram COO Marne Levine stating that 80% of them voluntarily connect with at least one brand.
When it comes to sharing a post on Instagram, it will always have to include a visual (either an image, video or collection of each). You can still write a caption but the visual is the main focus.
Choose to share images of jobs you’ve completed and you’ll soon have a portfolio of work that your followers will be able to admire.
Instagram Tip: Engage with people in your industry by liking and commenting on their posts – this will help you to earn some trust and reach new people.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social platform, not as ‘micro’ as it used to be though, as Twitter have extended the character limit from 140 to 280. If you’re looking for an online platform to promote your company, reach a new audience and connect to your customers then Twitter is the space for you.
Find your niche by following accounts in the same industry as you, get involved with the conversation by looking at the trending hashtags and ‘listen’ to what’s being said about your industry and company.
Twitter tip: Tweets with an image gain up to 5 times more engagement than posts without a visual.
Facebook seems to be in the news just about every day, for all the wrong reasons. When it comes to starting a page for your company it’s getting tougher to grow a following as it’s become a ‘pay-to-play’ space. This means that it can be very hard to reach people when you share a post and would need to put some budget behind it to help the post get seen by the right people.
However, if you’re looking to increase business in a specific area, Facebook could well be the platform for you. It’s also a great way of directly communicating with customers either publicly or privately through Facebook Messenger, giving people a route to ask any questions they might need answered before committing to hiring your company.
Facebook tip: Add a call-to-action button on your business page to send users through to a page on your website of your choosing.
If you’re going to be creating a lot of long videos (over 10 minutes) then YouTube is the place to create your profile. Popular channels on YouTube are sharing regular content, so make sure you’ve got the time to film, edit and upload your videos.
You’ll really want to make your channel your own, after all it’s your space to sell your brand and encourage people to subscribe. Use the profile picture, cover photo and video thumbnails to reinforce your brand with a logo and consistent colour palette.
YouTube tip: Collaborating with other video creators means that you can get your brand in front of a whole new audience.
Whichever social channels you decide to launch your business on, bear in mind the following:
Remember to reply
If someone has taken the time to engage with your company on social media (good or bad) always reply. This shows how much you value customers and, if someone is unhappy, that you want to make things right.
Timing is everything
When starting out, you should try posting at different times of the day throughout the week. This will help you to learn when your audience is most active so that you can schedule future posts when your audience is most likely to see them.
There are many platforms that allow you to schedule posts such as Hootsuite and Buffer. So if you think of a great tweet or have a video ready to post but know that your audience won’t see it if you share there and then, you can schedule it to be published in a few hours, days or even weeks. Hootsuite and Buffer go beyond allowing to schedule posts to see how well the posts you do share are performing so that you can continue to grow the performance of your social accounts.
Not only is social media a great platform to be heard, you can also listen to what your target audience are saying to learn more about them.
For example, if you’re a heating engineer, you could search ‘heating broken’ and narrow down the search to people near you (you’ll need to set a location for your business to do this) and you might have just found yourself a new customer.
You can also find out what people are saying about your company as they might not always share thoughts about your company directly with you.
Consistency is key
All social channels are a great way to showcase your brand and gain some online visibility. Take advantage by making the profile picture your company’s logo, sell the benefits of your company in the bio description and provide a link to your website too.
Attempt to keep anything visual inline with the branding of your company, remember to include your logo as the more potential customers see it, the more they’ll recognise it and be able to remember it.
Who to Follow
There are some great personalities and creators out there in the social media world that you can take inspiration from, here are some of our favourites:
Peter Booth (PB Plumber) is a real voice of the heating industry. His social channels give an insight into the day-to-day life of a plumber: showing the work he’s taking on, how he does it and sparing time to review tools along the way. If you love pipework, get PB Plumber in your feed.
In November 2018, he launched #NoVANber, a campaign with the ultimate aim of generating 100,000 signatures on a petition so that van tool theft can be debated in parliament. You can still show your support by signing the petition.
Where to follow
Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
Whether you’re in the trade yourself or don’t know the first thing about heating and plumbing, James shares videos to suit anyone. From tutorials and guides to product reviews, all of the Plumberparts social accounts are consistently active. He’ll even critique your handy work and share some plumbing disasters (they’re well worth looking up).
Where to follow
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube