These days, the three top platforms I think are successful at helping designers and builders reach potential customers are Instagram (if you take great photos in the field and can upload them right from your phone, this will hit a younger demographic), Facebook Pages (for the 30+ demographic, which is probably most homeowners) and Houzz (folks who are interested in design, and are already primed to be looking for contractors and ideas). Be strategic—only set up social media if you can commit to maintaining it. A “dead” page can be worse for your brand than nothing at all. Pick the platform(s) that you feel most comfortable with and which matches your target demographic.
Your social media should be the place for frequent updates, process photos, daily musings. Here are a few ways you can generate social media content:
- Share what you’re working on, especially if it is beautifully designed and crafted, or has a unique feature to it;
- Share your expertise by writing about topics you care about—whether it’s the latest in building science or how to install a newel post;
- Talk about your clients (with their permission, of course)—tell a story about how you’re building their dream home, and offer a great testimonial quote with a photo of them in front of their home;
- Share relevant articles or products you think your potential clients would also be interested in;
- Profile members of your team to put a face to your company;
- Give a shout out to a supplier or subcontractor who you want to thank (especially if they have a good social media presence, this can help magnify the reach of your posts if you tag them or use their brand hashtag).
- Share a great review from a past client (and read our tips on how to generate online reviews)
Goal Setting: To keep your social media presence fresh, for platforms like Facebook and Instagram I would recommend setting a goal to post AT MINIMUM once a week. 2-3 posts a week would be great, but not everyone can do that while running a business and having a personal life. Pick a goal that is reasonable, put it on your calendar, and do it.
Scheduling: without getting into advanced social media techniques, I’ll just say that there is a feature on Facebook Pages called “schedule”. You can queue up a whole week or two of posts at the beginning of the week and not have to think about it again, and still add other posts on-the-fly. To schedule posts in Instagram you’ll need to sign up for a third party app like Later (free) or AgoraPulse (monthly fee, but also manages other social media content for you). These won’t actually post for you, but they will send you a notification/reminder and make it easy to just click and post what is in your queue.
Who: is there someone on your team who is already social media savvy who could manage your company’s social media presence for you? If there’s one designated person, and they know it’s part of their role, and you’ve set specific guidelines and goals, this work is much more likely to actually get done. Let the folks on your crew know who is doing social media, and ask them to send in cool photos or ideas to that person. If you’re going to delegate, define expectations and what the key aspects are to your brand (including what is and what is not OK to post, so they have a little guidance).
Grow Your Network: Once you’ve set up your platform(s) let people know about them! Start following your colleagues, competitors, collaborators, friends and clients. They will often follow you back, and your network will grow. If people are seeing what you do on a regular basis, and thinking about your company, they will be more likely to refer a job to you down the road.