Social media is everywhere. You can no longer escape it—and neither should you want to! Social networking is expected to displace email as the main platform for up to 20% of interpersonal business communications by 2014, according to tech gurus Gartner, Inc. Within a few years, it could be as much as 80%. But, given that the percentage of companies winning new customers through social media increased from 33% in 2010 to 48% in 2012, it’s clear that you can generate remodeling leads from social media that convert into sales. Here’s how:
Publicity is the Point
Too many companies still think social networking sites are free places to advertise their products. They couldn’t be more wrong! The point is not to sell your products—not at the beginning, anyway—but to “showcase” what you do, how you do it and whether you do it well enough for people to be able to buy from you. It’s (mostly free) publicity with a captive audience—people who are actually interested in your industry. So if selling isn’t the point, I hear you ask, then how do you generate remodeling leads from social media?
Put Yourself Out There
First impressions count significantly. Homebuilders and remodelers have had a bad rap over the years, with unscrupulous con artists fleecing homeowners out of their savings with poor quality work, sub-standard materials and general nastiness. After used car salesmen, construction contractors in general are the least trusted occupation out there. So don’t expect anyone to trust a social media profile that presents a company face without a personal touch:
- Build legitimacy by posting a real photo of the business owner, the contractor or the director on your profile;
- Provide your real name and contact info
- Develop your personal brand with regular posts and by responding directly to comments and questions
- Occasionally publish posts that are more personal and have nothing to do with business
Remember, you’re talking directly to your customers in their personal capacity, not their business role. You need to develop a personal relationship before they’ll trust you with their money and you can generate remodeling leads from social media.
It’s about the conversation, not conversions. You aren’t going to sell a home remodeling contract on Facebook, so forget about trying. Ditch the sales talk and focus on getting people involved in building a community. How do you think Houzz started? The whole concept of Houzz.com is like Facebook for home owners! To generate remodeling leads from social media, you want to boost engagement by giving your readers something to talk about:
- Post photos of celebrity homes with unique features. Ask readers to comment on what they like/don’t like about them.
- Invite your followers to submit photos of areas they want to remodel and get other readers to comment and provide suggestions.
- Join related groups—especially on LinkedIn. It’s like a party. What more can you ask for than having access to a bunch of homeowners all in one place? You might / might not get a chance to talk about what you do, but either way you’ll make new contacts. Comment regularly and post answers to questions in your field. Sooner or later someone will ask about your line of work and by then you will have gained their trust.
Present your company’s services in a subtle, non-marketing way. Offer special discounts and promotions for anyone who requests a free consultation via social media. Again, like a party—the trick is to get them to invite you over. Your sales people will do the rest.