Facebook can be instrumental in building your HVAC business; finding new customers, strengthening relationships with existing customers and enhancing your leadership/authority position in the local community. But simply having a Facebook business page isn't enough. Taking the Facebook experience a step further with your customers will make all the difference.
As an HVAC contractor, you're probably always looking for inexpensive, effective ways to get your message out to potential customers, to remind them when it's time for preventive maintenance or a new furnace or A/C system or a duct-cleaning. Facebook can serve you well for this. It's free. It's easy to set up and manage. It's heavily populated (800 million active users around the world). And it has a powerful little tool that you should know about: the Like button.
When customers find your Facebook page or your website and click the little rectangle that says Like on it, they launch an ongoing connection with you, an occasional reminder of your availability, skills and services. When you post an update, your customers will see it as they scroll through their Facebook feeds. Your customers' Facebook friends will see your Like as a recommendation.
And when those customers and prospects have HVAC needs, that regular reminder may well translate into business for you.
How do you take advantage of this potentially profitable opportunity? Here are some ways HVAC contractors can use regular Facebook posts to build on their connections with customers:
• Keep it on schedule. Many contractors are too busy to create online posts. Assign the job to a savvy employee and create a schedule. Your posts should be fairly frequent -- maybe a few times a week -- but not so frequent that your company becomes an irritant. Your company can be Unliked, too.
• Keep it relevant and timely. This can't be emphasized enough. Even if someone is familiar with your business, will he or she think of it when it's time for service or preventive maintenance? During a cold spell, post a link to your recent blog post about furnace efficiency. If spring is in the air, post your coupon for annual air conditioner tuneups. Tailor your content to match the community's HVAC needs and give them good reason to patronize you.
• Keep it interesting. Vary your posts. Offer an anecdote one day about that technician who pulled a cat out of a customer's ductwork. Post photos of the rescue. The next day, present before and after shots of an especially filthy air filter or duct system. Offer industry-related trivia.
• Keep it worth your readers' time. Give your Facebook connections an incentive to take a closer look. Offer information from a trusted, expert source -- that's you -- such as quick HVAC tips and tricks that homeowners can do themselves. And throw in those discount offers or coupons occasionally.
• Keep it real. Facebook is a social forum, an online hub that your customers use to seek entertainment and information they care about. Your tone should be friendly and conversational and your posts short, understandable and to the point. Make your occasional sales pitches gently.
• Keep your website and blog in mind. Use Facebook to link to the content you already have. Proud of a new page on your website? Updated your blog? Post a link on Facebook.
• Keep the conversation moving. Respond to people who respond to you. As with your website and your blog -- and your business itself -- your Facebook presence is never finished. It is a work in perpetual progress. So don't go silent.
• Keep it light sometimes. Be willing to share a laugh or an uplifting story with your customers. You never know what's going to catch someone's eye.
All of that is easy. The hard part is getting customers to your Facebook page and/or website where they can Like you. So include the Facebook logo and your Facebook page's URL on your marketing and advertising materials and business cards. Remind employees to let people know that they can find you on Facebook.
If you haven't already joined Facebook, click here to create your page. Be sure to add information under the Info tab; you can link to your own website and blog and tell customers more about you.
If you already have a Facebook page, consider improving it. Don't have a Like button on your website? Facebook provides instructions here. If you haven't updated lately, take another look, as Facebook is constantly making changes.
For such a tiny little button, Facebook's Like tool packs a punch. As you become a part of your customers' online interaction, you're more likely to be on their minds when they have HVAC needs. Do it right, and you'll like the way Facebook can drive business to you.
Joe Pulizzi is CEO for SocialTract, the leading blogging/social media service for HVACR Contractors. Joe’s new book, Managing Content Marketing, is now available on Amazon and Kindle. Joe can be reached on Twitter @juntajoe or by email [email protected].