In another life, I work for a mechanical contractor. We install mechanical systems, like boilers, chillers, heating & air condition equipment, in commercial buildings. a majority of our work comes in through a tendering process, where the customer solicits 3 prices & awards the work to the lowest bidder. Another percentage of our work comes in through referrals & brand recognition; clients know our name & are familiar with other work we have done, and so, they call us. This type of work is often the most rewarding as we are able to work with the customer one-on-one to deliver exactly what they want & not through a competitive bid situation where we are providing what has been specified, regardless of whether or not it is best for the client’s needs.
So the question is, how can my company solicit more of this type of work? The type based on referrals, on previously completed work & on brand recognition? Well social media is a great way, and here is how:
1. Share Recently Completed Projects
This, to me, is one of the best ways to solicit new projects as a contractor. Share photos, case studies or links to your website where you’ve posted information about recent projects you’ve completed. Showcasing what you’ve worked on in the past & your experience with projects that customers may be looking to have completed will help to show your abilities as a contractor.
It may even spark the idea for a project which your customer may not have previously been thinking of. A great example of this is an upcoming summer project we are planning. A local contractor shared a photo on his Facebook page of a garage he had just completed for a customer. Although we had previously not been considering a garage, the unique style & size of this one caught our attention & we contacted the contractor to give us a price on building a similar garage for us. All from just uploading a photo from his phone!
2. Build Brand Recognition & Affiliation
One of the most easiest ways to generate leads is to be affiliated with the goods or services you provide. Think about something simple, like burgers. What is one of the first places that comes to mind when you want a burger? More than likely, one of the big fast-food chains: McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King. Why? Because they have become affiliated with burgers & are among the first places to come to mind when your craving a cheeseburger. This goes for contracting too! Make your brand affiliated with a services you provide so that when your customers need those services, you get that call.
This can be tough to accomplish though. Extensive marketing efforts & ad campaigns have helped the big names in the fast-food industry to establish themselves as the ‘burger providers’. As a small contractor, this is not an option. Social media can help however by not only providing a less expensive alternative to large ad campaigns, but by providing a method of targeting your audience & developing that brand recognition through interaction on their social media platforms. Additionally, some social media efforts help to increase SEO & your visibility to customers using Google or other search engines to find contractors. In other words, it will help you to appear more frequently & at the top of customer’s searching Google to find contractors.
3. Get Referrals & Testimonials
Customer referrals are a beautiful thing, use your social media profiles to garner referrals & solicit other customers. Ask previous customers who are happy with your work to share photos of their projects or statuses on the positive experience they have had with you. Referrals go a long way & will not only reach your audience, but the audience of your customers. Ask your clients to share these on your company pages & broadcast them to your network!
I’ve seen some great examples of contractors using social media to showcase their work. One of my personal favorites is a local store called ‘Onslow Historic Lumber’ a home decor shop which specializes in using reclaimed wood to make new & unique decor pieces. Their stuff is beautiful and they do a great job posting examples of the work they’ve completed (you can check out their Facebook page here: Onslow Historic Lumber ).
What other construction based groups – large or small- have you seen do a good job of posting their projects via social media?
And if your a contractor looking to get started o social media, we can help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org