Being a contractor myself, I didn’t discover the benefits of social media until just a couple of years ago. I move primarily in social circles of other independent contractors. What I’ve realized from these interactions is that the majority of my contacts still shy away from promoting their services through social media. We are reputable professionals after all, right? Clients are supposed to seek us out, not the other way around… right?
Not necessarily. Not if you want to actively grow your business and effortlessly sail through stagnant periods. In fact, you are consciously damaging your business prospects by rejecting social platforms.
Think about how your clients approach finding the right professional for their project. Most likely they:
- Ask for a reference (i.e. through word-of-mouth inquiry that is limited to your existing clients’ network);
- Look through a local directory in the category listing all contractors in the vicinity (where you can’t stand out simply through your name and contact information);
- Google “plumber,” “electrician,” or “construction worker” in their area and head over to the first results that pop up (where you actually stand a chance of shining over the competition).
Now, think about the numbers. Less and less people trust traditional advertising. The highest level of trust is still reserved for brands personally recommended by our network. On the other hand, 90% of people are likely to recommend a brand after interacting with it directly through social media.
Simply appearing as a name on a list of results in a directory or through an online search doesn’t guarantee future business. Putting in the effort to connect with an interested audience does.
Most contractors are at a loss when it comes to turning to social media for prospecting new clients and projects. You’ll hear them saying, “But I’m not a writer, I don’t have time, I can only create magic with my toolbox.” Sure, it can be overwhelming thinking about establishing an online presence through social platforms – what should you post, what platforms should you focus on, how much time should you dedicate to social media.
You certainly don’t need to be a professional storyteller or a marketer to build up your personal brand online . A Facebook business page instantly creates exposure and connects you to hundreds of potential clients. A well-structured LinkedIn profile is a great starting point for networking with other fellow contractors for exchanging know-how and finding help and support. A Pinterest profile syndicating useful materials about your industry congregates interested parties around your profile.
Another advantage of creating social media profiles for your business is that you are setting up a one-stop shop for your prospective clients, instead of making them work to gather the information from different sources. With a well thought-out profile you:
- Provide the contact information people search for in directories;
- Showcase references in the form of testimonials (LinkedIn and Facebook work best for this);
- Establish authority through sharing relevant content and insights into your business subject;
- Shorten the quoting process through pricelists, a quoting system or past project descriptions along with the price you’ve charged;
- Demonstrate expertise through giving advice and insider tips to your audience.
The key takeaway here would be that you are seriously missing out on growing your client base, setting yourself apart from the competition and widening your professional network by being MIA in social media. Regardless of the time you have to dedicate to your online presence, be it a few minutes a week or an hour a day, you will be doing your business a huge favour.