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Five Reasons Contractors Should Consider Using Social Media

By Nancy Marshall, Principal, Nancy Marshall Communications, Augusta, Maine NMarshall head shot_0_0.jpg

Many contractors believe that word of mouth is the best source of new business….and rightly so. People are much more likely to act on a referral from a friend or business contact who they like and trust. Word of mouth marketing is by far the most powerful type of marketing.

Here are five reasons that contractors should use social media to generate word of mouth.

1. Social media is like word of mouth on steroids. People go online to get referrals for everything these days. They are part of online communities where they have ongoing conversations with others who they know, like and trust. Facebook is the largest of these online communities with nearly a billion users who spend countless hours each week sharing stories, photos, videos and opinions, and these numbers are growing by the minute.And it’s not just kids. Actually grandparents are the fastest growing segment of Facebook users because oftentimes it’s the only way they can keep in touch with their grandchildren.

2. Every day, every hour and every minute, people are going online and asking for referrals from social networks. You can be part of the conversation. Using a social monitoring service like Hootsuite or Nutshell Mail, you can get an email every time there’s a conversation about “Maine Home Builders” or “Maine Plumbers” online. Then if someone is having a conversation online about the best Maine home builder or plumber, you can jump into the conversation and offer tips, advice, or even to come look at their property and give a professional opinion. Better yet, establish yourself in a community such as Facebook or Twitter so you can be part of the conversation. Share photos, videos, ideas and advice, and people will be more likely to want to do business with you because they will recognize you as an expert in your field.

3. Social media helps leverage the power of public relations. I’ve been doing public relations in Maine for 30 years. Back in the ‘last century,’ we used to cut newspaper articles out that we had generated for our clients ,and actually mail copies to the people we most wanted to see them. So, for example if we were working for a college or university we would mail the article to the board of trustees. Now, when we get an article published in a newspaper or a story on TV, we just send a link through Facebook or even email to get more eyeballs on the story. You can be sure that more people see a published story about your business by sharing it on social media. And people are more likely to believe what they read in a newspaper or see on TV, so why not share those stories with more people?

4. Younger people do not trust advertisements but they trust what their friends say. Maybe it’s time to rethink the amount of money you are spending on paid advertising and divert some of that money to social media. Generation X and Generation Y are more likely to trust what their friends are saying online than what you tell them in an ad.

5. Photos and videos are worth a thousand words. Did you know that YouTube is the second most used search engine after Google? So why not post videos of your latest projects on YouTube, or post photos on Flickr or Pinterest? People love looking at photos and videos online, then sharing them with others.

There are so many reasons that it’s worth your time and attention to participate in social media. In marketing, you want to “fish where the fish are.” You need to be in the place where people are spending a lot of time. Facebook is the largest online community so if you are skeptical, or if you are going to choose just one, go with Facebook first.

Social networking helps you broaden your sphere of influence and build more relationships. In this day and age, people expect you to be on Facebook as a business and if you’re not there, they are going to be skeptical about doing business with you. I recommend you give it a try….you might even be like me and discover that it’s not only beneficial for your business, but it’s a lot of fun, too!

Nancy Marshall started her agency in 1991 working out of her A-Frame in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. She had previously worked at Maine public broadcasting, Hinckley Yachts and Sugarloaf Mountain Corporation. With a BA from Colby and an MBA from Thomas College, her agency now has 17 employees focusing on developing strategic marketing communications plans. Learn more about Nancy and her business at www.marshallpr.com or on her blog at www.maineprmaven.com.