Most HVAC Contractors laugh when I mention Twitter, the microblogging tool that now has nearly 200 million users, records over 65 million Tweets per day and handles over 800,000 search queries. And, according to Quantcast, approximately 60% of Twitter users make at least $60k in household income.
So much for laughable.
Twitter is now a mandatory part of any small business owners’ online marketing strategy. But, simply put, most contractors don’t give it the time or attention. If you are one of the “non-believers”, here are five Twitter tactics and strategies that you can leverage immediately to take your online marketing to the next level.
- Twitter may be most powerful for search. Real-time search is important. For example, Google has started integrated more real-time results, including a special search that pulls results from Twitter and Facebook. What does this mean? As more people use real-time search (with either Google or Twitter Search), they will only find you ONLY if you distribute relevant content over Twitter, or customers share your blog posts, articles, and videos over Twitter. ACTION STEP: Twitter works best when the contractor has lots of educational information to share. If you don’t, you may be missing out on the power of Twitter search. Adding an HVAC-focused blog to your website strategy may be your best bet.
- Track to your target keywords. Twitter search has an advanced search function that allows you to follow a specific search phrase within an X mile radius. Once you set your search (for example, “furnace repair” with a 15 mile radius of zip code 44114 Cleveland), you can click on the RSS button to subscribe to receive updates every time someone from that location mentions those exact keywords.
You should also be tracking specific uses of your company’s name. Consumers today look negatively on a company if they mention them in a Tweet and don’t actively respond. Today, it’s our responsibility to be listening.
- Follow what people are saying about your competitors. You can learn a lot about what your competition is doing by listening with Twitter – both how people talk about them and how they are directly responding. For example, to find out who’s talking about me (@juntajoe), just go to Twitter search and type your competitor (juntajoe) in the “to” field.
4. Follow your customers. Whether you’re commercial, residential or both, you should make it a habit of following your customers. In many cases, they will follow you back. By following you back, they are opting in to receiving your tweets (of your offers, blog posts, videos, etc.). Your social media strategy should be to connect with your customers in as many ways as possible (Twitter, Facebook, Community Sites, etc.). To find out if they have a Twitter account, you can just use Twitter Search or you can also use these other nine ways to find people on Twitter. There is also a service called Flowtown that can take your customer database and tell you what social media accounts they have. Pretty interesting stuff.
- Use a Twitter Management Tool. Keeping updated on Twitter search terms using only Twitter can be difficult at best. Try using a free Twitter management tool like Tweetdeck, HootSuite or Tweetgrid. Basic versions of each are free. Each one has its pros and cons, so try out each when you get a chance. Setting up Twitter searches is easy in these management “dashboards” and anyone in the office can monitor them with a bit of training.
Joe Pulizzi is CEO of SocialTract , a blogging/social media service for HVACR contractors. Joe is also co-author of Get Content Get Customers, which details how companies can publish content to drive revenues. SocialTract is a division of Z Squared Media, LLC . Joe can be reached at [email protected] . For speaking needs - http://joepulizzi.com.