July 4, 2019

How to use social media to promote my trades business?

Here’s how you can use social media to promote your tradesman business

Why should tradesmen promote their business on social media?

As a consumer, think about how many adverts you see daily. Everywhere you look, whether that be television, YouTube or social media, you are often bombarded with different forms of marketing. These adverts could be in many formats; text, video or images and for many businesses looking to gain sales online, this means marketing can often be seen as complicated or a time-consuming process to ensure that everything is covered adequately. Particularly with tradesmen businesses looking to sell to consumers or domestic customers, how do you effectively get in front of these people without expensive TV and Radio adverts?

With a recent Hootsuite Report highlighting that 45 MILLION people (https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2019-united-kingdom) in the United Kingdom are on social media, social media represents a massive opportunity for businesses looking to reach a large number of people in a cost-effective way.

Forty-five million may seem like an unrealistic number, but of those people, the average daily time spent on social media is 1 hour and 50 minutes. Although a long time, people will never see every advert posted during one day. Think about the other ways you could promote your business for that amount of time, how much would it cost to run just under 2 hours worth of TV or radio advertising? Would it have the same effect?

The rest of this article will cover the different ways to promote your tradesmen business on social media, including popular methods like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and an often under appreciated method Google My Business.

Different Types of Content Tradesmen Can Use on Social Media

Hero Content

There are three types of content your business should be putting out regularly to create an effective inbound marketing strategy that will work for a long time. There are Hero, Hub and Hygiene, and each particular type of content should be put out in the right ratio for a successful campaign.

Brand content can be incredibly expensive to create which often makes it impossible for smaller businesses to create. Look at the following examples of hero content and think about how costly it would be to recreate for your trades business.

Hub Content

Think of hub content as a way of distributing information about your business and how you can deliver for people. It’s a way of keeping them interested, engaged and informed about your products and services. This content could be news about the company, your clients and shared recently announced information relevant to your industry.

The main benefit of this content is to show off how well your company is performing while backing up your bigger picture and strategy. It won’t work well as a stand-alone method of getting enquiries, but it will keep people interested if they are already familiar with your brand.

For more information on hub content, watch the below video from Jon Pankhurst.

What is Hub content? It helps improve your digital marketing and social media marketing.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the main form of content that will help people to find your website online and one of the most powerful ways to drive inbound traffic to your site. Hygiene content is the kind of content related to what people are searching for; they have a problem, they go to a search engine like Google and try and find a solution.

Examples could be:
  • Price - How much does a builder cost?
  • Price - How much does a builder cost?
  • Problems? - How do I fit a new light fixture?
  • Best in Class - What are the best lightbulbs for my car?
  • VS - Laminate flooring vs hardwood flooring
  • Reviews - What is the best boiler repair company in London?
  • How to - How do I change the lightbulbs on my car?

We believe that these forms of content will form a solid basis for your inbound marketing campaign on social media. The vital thing to consider is where to post content relevant to consumers looking for trades?

Facebook Advertising for Tradesmen

In the United Kingdom Facebook gets a staggering  874,000,000 visits per month, this is the most common way people can promote their trades business, but it can be the most competitive. With so many other businesses choosing to advertise on Facebook it can be difficult for your business to stand out.

This is coupled with last years change to Facebook’s algorithm, On January 11th, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its News Feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family and groups.” “As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.

If you haven’t yet created a business page, have a look at the following guide: https://www.facebook.com/help/104002523024878?helpref=about_content

So how do businesses stand out on Facebook?

One of the first things to consider is how your post looks when it is shared on Facebook, does it have an eye-catching headline? Does the description stand out and make you want to read it?

Look at the following two posts and see which one is the most engaging.

Now the first post does contain a video which might mean it is more popular but with something called “Open Graph” we have customised the text and image in the second video. Notice how both of these posts are hygiene content; this is because we have found that is what drives the most results online.

To reach even more people on Facebook you can sponsor or boost your posts to people with similar characteristics to your ideal customers.

This could be people in a particular area, particular age or gender. You could even extend this further and show your adverts to people with specific interests like home improvements or gardening.

YouTube Advertising for Tradesmen

With slightly more monthly visitors at 971,600,000 per month, YouTube is one of the most popular websites for people in the UK.

As a stand-alone method for driving enquiries it might not seem the most obvious, but combined with hygiene content, it can prove useful for posting how to’ videos, Q&A’s and reviews.

If you have a problem with your boiler or need to complete a simple building job, YouTube could be an excellent opportunity to provide supplementary videos. If that person gets stuck, they will then be more likely to call you. In this scenario, you won’t even need to convince them that you are capable of doing the job; they have watched the video and know that you can deliver it effectively.

When posting your videos, make sure that the title and description include things that people will be searching for and then start to add 'tags'. These tags should back up the content of the video and be reflective of what someone will be seeking if they have a problem. Try not to include too many technical terms, though as people are unlikely to use these if they do not have the same amount of industry knowledge.

If you have a YouTube channel and are regularly posting videos, the areas under or in your YouTube videos could provide a further opportunity to push your brand’s message.

After creating your adverts, you can promote them in several ways or to specific groups of people. If you are a builder, you could advertise your trades business to homeowners or people that have recently bought a home. If you are a gardener, you can promote your adverts to people interested in gardening and so on.

Before your video loads (skippable or non-skippable)

For most of these videos, you are only charged if a person watches more than 30 seconds of the video without skipping. If the video is less than 30 seconds long, then you will be charged once someone watches the entire video from start to finish.

During your video or at the end of your video

In-Stream ads are videos that can be placed at the start, middle or end of your video. People typically pay once the video after someone has watched 5 seconds of the video without pressing ‘skip’. If someone skips the video without waiting more than 5 seconds, you will not be charged.

Under your video as an image

For companies that do not want to invest in video marketing, image-based adverts can provide a good option for businesses who want to spend a small amount of money to get their name out there.

You even have the opportunity only to show your adverts under your own videos if you have a minimal budget or want to prevent your adverts from being shown under a broad range of videos.

Next to your video as an image

Using the same principle as before you can run adverts next to videos on YouTube, this works in the same way, but the images are slightly smaller which can make them more suited if you do not have a large amount of text.

The image below shows an example of an advert that YouTube is running on its platform.

Google offers a £75 voucher to new advertisers who want to run advertising online. If you haven’t yet run adverts, this could be an excellent opportunity to run some for a week or two weeks to test the results.

Twitter Advertising for Tradesmen

Twitter may seem like an unpopular social media site, but with 218,200,000 visitors per month, it is still popular to many people. This can work in your favour as many companies will not advertise on Twitter, meaning that your brand has a higher chance of getting seen.

Just like Facebook, you have two main ways of generating awareness, organic and paid.

Organic posts can cover just regularly ‘tweeting’ about your brand and using hashtags to drive awareness. You can use these hashtags to include things relevant to your company and things which your prospective customers will use online.

Twitter recommends two hashtags per tweet, so try not to try and ‘stuff’ extra information into your tweets to try and make them more relevant.

For tradesmen you could post about projects you are working on, common questions people have or reviews related to your products.

Remember earlier in this article we discussed the different types of content, these can form part of the regular posts that you do on Twitter.

Google My Business Advertising for Tradesmen
Google My Business is the Holy Grail of local search for tradespeople. If you are looking for a builder or engineer, you are primarily looking for someone local as they will come to your property. This is where Google Maps is so important; people will be looking for someone local as they know that people would be unlikely to travel from one side of the country to work on your garden, fix your boiler in the middle of the night or plaster your house.

To rank highly on Google Maps, we would recommend the following tips.
The first and most important thing is to make sure that you have a Google My Business listing, this can be done here:

https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?hl=en-GB

Next is to verify your listing, this is usually done at this stage and involves Google sending a letter to your address with a code. You need to put that into your account page in Google My Business.

If you have an existing listing or a Google Maps page which has been around for a long time, you may find that your business is mentioned in different ways across the web. If the address on your website doesn’t match your Google Maps listing, or if there are other websites like directories with slightly different information, Google may penalise you for not having consistent information.

If you go to Google.co.uk now and type in your business name, have a look at the different ways they are mentioned. If there are websites that mention your old business address, contact them and ask them to update their information. Websites are usually happy to do this as they know that if their website has old information, people will not want to use their site.

LinkedIn Advertising for Tradesmen

One place that people may not think to advertise if they are a trade business is on LinkedIn. For B2C companies, who only look to attract people who aren’t businesses, this might not be relevant. But for a cleaner, this could be a good place to get your business in front of Facilities Managers or Office Managers who may need your services.

The main thing to think about on LinkedIn is ‘sharability’ this is because every time someone shares your post, that post will appear on that persons feed. Then every time it is shared after that, it will appear on all of those peoples feeds. This means that similar to Facebook, it is an excellent way to get your business in front of a large number of people.

If you want quicker results and do not want to spend time posting regularly, you can use paid posts. This means that you can take a regular post and boost it, so certain people see it.

Unlike Facebook, on LinkedIn, you can choose to boost your post to certain people within a company. This could mean that you only target your ideal customers, whether that be Facilities Managers in London with a company size of over 50 people. You could even segment that group further and target certain industries if you know that your business has experience in that area.

If you have a website then great! If not, LinkedIn has a tool where you can show your advert to people and then place a form directly in LinkedIn. This means that you won’t need to take them to the website and they can contact you even quicker than before. The form can also be pre-populated with information from their LinkedIn profile.

Summary of Social Media Options for Trades

To summarise, social media can be perfect for any business. But what it does not do is consider a whole marketing strategy. That is why we recommend it be combined with other forms of marketing like Search Engine Optimisation and Paid Advertising. That is because if a business sees you on social media and then goes on to Google you, you want your business to be at the top of Google with a great website that displays all of the reasons why someone should contact your business.

If you need help with social media or marketing online, try some of the tips mentioned in this article or talk to RACER Marketing. We have nearly 4 years helping trades businesses across Kent, London and the UK.