Online|July 18, 2012 11:29 am

Trade advice: Should you try to convert immediately via Social Media?

As the primary focus of PGS Online is to provide home owners with property maintenance tips, we don’t focus so much on trade articles. However, as our marketing and social media articles have proven popular in the past, I thought that it was about time for another.

This article tackles the core approach for plumbers, electricians and trades people wanting to use social media – and whether you should look to convert people into customers straight away or use a more of a slow-burner approach.

Using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs are quite vital to building your online web presence outside of you website. You can get great social engagement with customers to help build trust and ultimately, sales.

But how do you get to that final point – the sale? Do you try to get the business straight away by perhaps writing more sales oriented content for your blog or tweeting people who are directly in need of your services? Or do you gradually build trust with visitors to your facebook, blog or twitter account?

The answer: both!

There is the underlying problem that all marketers have with trades companies – in that their customers don’t often have a requirement for them. You’d perhaps call your plumber once or twice a year at most – and the way you’d find them in most cases is by word of mouth recommendation or via a search engine such as Google.

Getting potential customers to regularly engage with you online is hard. However, look at the bigger picture – give them quality content and they’ll be interested.

This is the best way to slowly build your brand awareness online. Create interesting photo slideshows of interesting properties, fun videos or blog content that gives the user something – such as a tip to save them money on their bills that week.

Look at the bigger picture – give them quality content and they’ll be interested.

Creating regular interesting content will make people come back. Just make sure you sustain the frequency of how often you add it to your website. Over time you can start to learn how to tie your services into this content and get people clicking through and checking out the products and services you offer.

You can also look to convert people into customers straight away.

This is more applicable to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter, just use the search – you’ll find plenty of people talking about the services you offer, such as needing an electrician or plumber.

Find the Twitter users and perhaps try tweeting at them. There is the problem that this can be a bit of a minefield as a lot of people don’t like to be spammed – but on the whole it’s ok. Just be very tactful and polite with your approach.

If primary contact was made over Twitter, we’ve seen that customers are much more likely to Tweet praise after the job is completed.

Facebook is a great platform for both sharing content, like the blog articles you’ve written, or offering discounts to customers.

Despite the recent layout change to Facebook Pages, where a new ‘time line’ layout is adopted, you can still incentivise people to like your page by creating a Facebook application.

If you have no previous programming experience, then this will probably be quite a challenge to you. However, if you’re willing to hire a programmer they should be able to program you your own Facebook application. The app needs to do the following:

  • Check whether the user has “liked” your page and if they haven’t encourage them to do so.
  • Once the user has liked the page, reveal a hidden offer – such as £10 off their next plumbing and heating job. This offer will only be available to people who have liked the page.

This will maximise on increasing your Facebook Like count and converting visitors to your facebook page to paying customers.

Above all, sharing great content on Facebook is the key. Encourage people to share your articles to their friends – spread the word and boost your business’ image online.

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