The following is a guest post from Darren Slaughter, a contractor marketing consultant who works with contractors large and small to sell more, advertise better, and market to buyers.
Online communities offer formal and informal networking opportunities to help you expand your contacting business now more than ever. More formal methods involve webinars and online training as well as online networking events.
Informal networking and brand building can be and is done just about everywhere online. Forums, twitter, Facebook, and so on. Sometimes the opportunity to network happens quite coincidentally, but you should always remember to have your game face on when participating online.
If you’re just starting your contracting business or you are a large home improvement contractor with 200 employees who is just dipping the company toe in the water of online marketing, plan on spending some quality time online answering questions for people who have general home improvement issues. This helps build your overall brand, but it might just make you your next client as well.
Social media is network marketing on a shoestring
Think about it, 20 years ago you would be standing around some nondescript hotel conference room networking with some other person who didn’t want to be there just as much as you, while you both stare at your watches wondering when it’s all going to be over.
Enter Social Media for Contractors
Social media has given you the opportunity to be in your office or sitting at home in your pajamas and make new friends. I think I read somewhere that the average number of jobs the average contractor does a year is 50, which leaves you a lot of time to market your business online.
The key to social media is to become an active member in the community whether it nets you clients or not because over time you gain the ability to become an expert in your field through the knowledge you pass on to others.
Here are some tips to help you get started with social media as a contractor:
1. Join home improvement forums and participate in the conversation
2. Stop waiting for something to happen — go make it happen
3. Concentrate on listening more than talking
4. Make time to network on sites like twitter and Facebook
5. Don’t think spending time on social media sites takes you away from the office, over time it expands your reach dramatically
6. Try not to mix business with too much pleasure
7. Don’t be a pushy salesperson through social media marketing
And that’s it. These ideas should help get you started opening up dialogue and starting to have conversations online. Do this long enough and I guarantee you will build a base of people who consider you the go to person in your market. Have you already made social media work for you? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
For more from Darren Slaughter, visit his blog where he writes daily about marketing for contracting businesses.