Gary Michel, President of Trane Residential Systems
Originally published: 04.01.10 by Terry Tanker
Over the past year, we’ve consistently covered the issue of social media — the opportunities, the strategies, and the tactics. We’ve provided step-by-step instructions on setting up social media accounts as well as how to analyze your data. Done properly, social media can help to grow your business now and well into the future.
Social media provides contractors the ability to speak directly with customers and prospects in unique ways we’ve never had before. And yet, almost all (and I mean that) hvacr contractors we interview are still sitting on the sidelines. We often hear:
“I just don’t get it.”
“This is all just a fad.”
“We don’t have the resources.”
“Our customers don’t use social media.”
“We’ve tried…it doesn’t work.”
Maybe you feel the same way. I completely understand.
Before we set up our social media accounts and programs, I struggled with how it would all work. But more importantly, I had to understand how we would attract new readers and gain more advertisers. Once I had the answers to those questions, it was an easy decision to move forward.
According to a recent study from Nielsen, more than two-thirds of all consumers are using social networks as part of their daily activities
Success in social media for hvacr contractors depends upon one thing — consistent, valuable, and helpful information for your customers. Start with a helpful Web site that has been search engine optimized, so customers and prospects can find you easily when they search the Internet. You should also have some type of newsletter that goes to customers at least quarterly. To be successful in social media, you need to publish ongoing content. This content makes you interesting to your customers, sets you apart, and positions you as a true thought leader in your region. Some of you have good Web sites and e-newsletters; most don’t because creating the content requires a skill set not commonly available within an hvacr-contracting firm. As a result, most contractors (and most small businesses for that matter) that dabble in social networking push out sales messaging through blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. A social media no-no.
For all of these reasons, HVACR Business has partnered with leaders in the HVAC and social media industries to develop SocialTract, a new service specifically designed for hvacr contractors.
Social media doesn’t work without the creation and distribution of compelling content that positions you as a trusted adviser to your customers and prospects. The largest problems standing in your way — you don’t have the time to develop this type of program, and you don’t have the knowledge base within your organization to sustain a social-networking plan.
We’ve designed SocialTract to do all of this for you. Here is a breakdown of what it can do:
• Hosting and maintenance of an individual blog.
• Ongoing content creation and management.
• Relevant home-comfort content targeted to your customers.
Social Network Development Maintenance
• Creation of social identities for your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
• Development and publishing of content for your social identities.
• Monitoring of your social network activity for problematic or sensitive issues (red-flag monitoring).
• 10 unique pieces of localized, home comfort-oriented content posted to your blog, Facebook page, and Twitter accounts monthly.
• A Home Comfort Solutions e-book, specifically designed for your blog to attract and retain customers.
Internet Tool Development and SE O
• Periodic enhancement and upgrade of social media tools, such as blog platforms, interactive widgets, etc.
• Analysis and refinement of search engine optimization (SEO) performance of your blog in search engines.
Monthly Analytics Reports
• Social media engagement measurement.
• Report on traffic and leads.
• Measure referral activity.
I encourage all hvacr contractors who are interested in learning to apply these important new marketing tools in their selling strategies to check out the www.socialtract.com Web site for more information, costs, and details. It’s the new future of marketing.