5 Tips For Contractors: How to Step Up Your Social Media Game
With technology advancing every day, more and more companies are using social media to grow their business and we don't want you to get left behind! Whether you're kickstarting your business's online presence or enhancing your current one, use the tips in this blog to get started.
Used our products in your projects? Take some photos and share them with us on social media (@nuvoiron)! Tagging the products and companies you use and work with can help people find and share your work with their customers. Tagging each other helps you reach a wider audience.
Social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Pinterest are highly beneficial assets to your contracting business. Websites can be time-consuming and expensive to build, but you can make and maintain social media accounts easily and for free with just your email or phone number.
Many contracting businesses are small operations, and you might not have the means to spend time or money building your online presence. We know you need to dedicate all the time you have to build great projects! Think of these platforms as a free way to make a digital, easily accessible portfolio for all of your work. From 2016 data, over 53% of small businesses use social media and 92% of those believe social media marketing is important for their business! (Search Influence)
You can also substitute traditional marketing costs for your business (such as newspaper ads or print media) with social media ads which often is a more sustainable option for your business. The average cost to reach 2000 audience by newspaper ads cost $250 and upwards of $900 by direct mail to households, in comparison, using paid ads on your media pages would only cost $75. (Asset Digital Communications)
Whether you choose to embark on paid advertisements or not, building up social media accounts for your business will at minimum, give you an easy-to-maintain portfolio to share with potential clients, or for past clients to refer you to their family and friends.
Resources for More Info on Paid Advertisements:
If you are interested in paying for advertisements to reach out to more audiences on your social media, here are some great resources! Remember that anybody can make any post into a sponsored ad, it's up to you to decide if you want to advertise your business this way.
One of the easiest ways to start on social media is through Instagram. Here's why:
Instagram posts all your photos in a visually appealing 3 column grid. It's easy for people to scroll through and it showcases all your photos in an aesthetically pleasing, compact way. Instagram is also accessible on both computers and mobile phones, making it easy for you to use at home or on-the-go. The grid shows when it is a video or if a post has multiple photos. It's intuitive for people to scroll through the posts with multiple photos, share with their significant other or family, bookmark for later and more.
You can easily re-post from one app to another if you want your content to be on different platforms without having to post all of them separately every time. (Ex: When you choose to make a post on Instagram, you have the option to post it to Facebook as well) It can be good to post different content on the platforms, but for those busy times of the year, Instagram can be your one-stop-shop!
You can easily convert your Instagram page into a "Business Account", which gives you some more options and functions.
You gain access to insights about your account and its performance: You can look at how many people saw your posts, follower activity and information about your audience demographic - age, gender, location, etc. All of which can help you get a basic understanding of how well your page is doing.
It also gives you access to "Call to Action" buttons like "Call" or "Email" on your page, people can give you a call or a message without going through the trouble of typing in your phone number or email address.
With a business account, you also get options to specify your account type and can put the industry that you are in. This shows up in your page's bio (aka the few lines on top of your profile above the photo content) and also helps the behind the scene "algorithm" of Instagram to help suggest your page and content to people who follow a lot of people in that industry, or like a lot of photos in those sectors.
It is very simple to convert to a Business account from your regular account, just follow Instagram's official steps here!
Use your bio to let people know some general important information about you. Your location or the area you'll service is important. It helps you as you won't want to waste time weeding through messages that are just asking where you're located.
We suggest starting with a new account to keep your feed strictly business and work-related, as opposed to just changing your personal one to a business account. If you want to give your page a personal touch, then look into posting some behind the scenes of your team or project builds, or even an occasional fun weekend BBQ or family post.
You can also use the story feature to post temporary content that would last for 24 hours on your page unless you keep it in a highlight. (Click here for a tutorial) Just remember to be mindful as this is a professional portfolio-based page for clients, and you also want to be consistent with your posts so your followers know what type of content to expect by following you.
What Should I Post?
Projects: The simple and easy one is to be posting all of your projects! No matter what it is, from large double level decks to a small front porch railing refresh. Since every project is unique in some way, it not only shows the variety of services you offer, but it gives your potential customer more options and ideas. One post may show the size of the project they want, while another might have the materials they like. It also means you'll continue to have fresh new content (which a key for social media).
Reviews: Got a good review on Google or Facebook? Re-post a screenshot on your Facebook or Instagram story and save it as a highlight. People always feel more confident when they see that others trust you, and positive reviews help hit home that they can trust you and your work.
Behind the Scenes: You're always in and around people's homes, so this is a great way to connect with people and show yourself and your team. It's also a good place to explain aspects of projects they don't think about or realize are important. If you do extra steps for a certain finish, show your audience! It helps them understand your costs or time in a way that's much easier than trying to explain over a quote or consultation which are already jam-packed with information.
How to Take Great Photos
"But I'm not a photographer"
We hear this all the time, but with high-tech cell phone cameras these days, you don't need to be a "professional" to take nice photos. When it comes to a social media portfolio you just need clear and bright photos - which you can get with any cell phone and decent lighting.
Try and get photos before the sun sets too much unless you're showing off some lighting features you installed. We think golden-hour (when the sun is still out but starting to set) is a great time for dynamic photos as it offers beautiful colour and gives shadows and dimensions to the areas. If you're on-site on a cloudy day, still grab some photos. They may not be the "punchiest" on your timeline, but they still document the project nicely.
We see some contractors visit their customers after completing the project, usually after they add some finishing touches like furniture or plants. If you have a project you're really proud of, you can always ask to go back for photos later on. A lot of homeowners feel a good sense of pride when they are asked to be featured.
Be careful with filters! Some filters can make a photo look unpleasing on someone's timeline and turns people away from your posts. Most filters let you select the amount it is applied, so if you do want to use a filter to add some dimension to a bland photo, use a reasonable amount that's not overpowering - like 30%.
When taking photos of your project, the more the merrier. Note, Instagram currently limits you at adding 10 photos to one post, but you should always keep a few additional pictures for future uses, such as making a Facebook story or a promotional post.
When taking photos of projects, take multiple types of images: Overview shots of the entire space, close up photos of certain areas, and detail shots of finishes or products. You generally want to maintain a straight-on angle and not awkwardly cut off your subjects in each photo.
Photos courtesy of SimplyDecksHFX
The Importance of Captions
When talking about the contracting industry, there are a lot of elements and aspects of a project the average consumer might not think about. Use the post captions to let your customers know the type of materials used, so it can help them learn which materials they want for their own project which makes quoting and consulting for you easier. We also think if a project has had some challenges or unique things you had to overcome, that you can share or explain that in the post too. It helps build their confidence that you can problem-solve if any unknowns do come up, or show your level of skill compared to others.
Available for Anyone, Anytime
When a customer comes to see your portfolio (or social media page), not only does it display your great craftsmanship and quality work, it helps a customer to have more visuals to figure out what they like. We know deck and fence projects have a lot of important aspects a homeowner might miss. Showing the various aspects of a project - materials, colours, etc, help them realize you're there to build a solid outdoor space for them. Having a portfolio on your Instagram also means people can always easily come back on the app to look at your previous work instead of asking for you for pictures every hour.
Before and Afters are a must! Think about all those design shows and how the reveal contrasts the before and after shots. Taking photos of before and after a project can show a homeowner the massive difference that even small projects can make.
When you are taking before and after photos, try to photograph the project from similar angles so it is easier to see the contrast in the changes, and then post them so people can swipe to see the matching before and after angles.
Like We Said, Reviews Are IMPORTANT
With the help of social media, you can establish real customer connections and showcase honest reviews that will help potential customers make the most informed decisions.
It is important to post your customer's feedback. You can do it by either posting a screenshot to your feed or upload it in your stories. It is a good idea to make an Instagram story highlight called "Customer Reviews", which will never disappear and people can always browse through the reviews you have uploaded.
If you still aren't convinced that reviews are important, check out this information below. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017) and 73% of consumers trust a local business more after reading positive reviews (BrightLocal, 2017). It is important for your business to establish a trustworthy presence to your potential customers.
Don't have many customer reviews yet? Ask your past clients, or clients going forward to write one. More people are willing to write reviews than you think, especially if you provide great work and make the process a breeze.
Pro Tip: We all know those sour apple clients exist. If someone does go leave a negative review on your page, you want to know you have more good ones to outshine that. One bad review won't hurt you if it's cushioned by all the great experiences others had, as most consumers know its inevitable for a couple of unhappy clients.
One easy way to grow your following is just by simply posting. As your feed becomes interesting, more people will like and follow. Ask family and friends to support you by following your business account to get your initial set of followers.
As you make posts, one easy way to grow your audience is by including tags of companies you used supplies from or the retailers you buy supplies from. You can often gain followers if a company or store gives you a shoutout and features you on their page. They also have an audience who is interested in all types of home improvement and might be in the market for hiring a contractor. When people go on your page from a shoutout, they can check out the attractive portfolio you built. Even if they don't currently have a project, they might still keep you in mind for when they do decide to renovate.
Check out our Instagram for some great examples of contractors who used Nuvo Iron's products in their projects. See what you can accomplish all by yourself and follow them if you want to connect with other businesses or need more inspiration! We are always reposting from different contractors so we would love to feature your work too!
We hope that you are inspired to make your own page or refresh one that might be stale.
Even if you don't have a lot of followers, it's still an easy and free way for you to share your work to any potential clients. Keep posting, learning, and tagging people, and we're sure you'll have a great social account for your business in no time.
Follow us on social media to get the latest on Nuvo Iron™. For retailers who sell our products and more product info, visit our website: www.nuvoiron.com. If you have any questions or inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us!