Social Media 101 for Contractors: How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media
With so many social media channels out there, it can be tough to know where to start. We've got you covered—grow your business with these social media ideas and best practices for contractors.
Jan 26, 2021
10 min read
Jan 26, 2021
10 min read
One of the best ways to grow your contracting business in this digital age is through social media. After all, more than 3 billion people—nearly 50% of the world’s population—use social media. In 2019, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers were active social media users.
Social media allows small business owners to reach their target market faster—and at a significantly lower cost than traditional advertising methods. Similar to local search, social media marketing can feel tricky, but it can be an extremely effective marketing tool if you use it right. Here are the four key steps to success if you’re just getting started—or if you want to see better results from your existing social media efforts.
4 Steps to Social Media Success
1. Know Your Audience
Identifying your audience is one of the most important steps in marketing of any kind, and social media is no exception. Knowing your target market’s demographics such as gender and age will help you decide which social media platforms to focus your efforts on, and which types of content to make.
Pro Tip: Using platforms like Thumbtack to see the projects that are in demand for your service can help you better fine-tune your target audience.
2. Know Your Goal
Let’s say your goal is to position yourself as the dream contractor or construction company people want to work with. Social media is both a virtual business card and a portfolio—it can help you spread the word about your business, network, provide easy contact options, showcase your work, and build your reputation.
Think about why you’re using social media, and establish a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Then break your umbrella goal into smaller SMART goals you can incorporate into a specific plan.
3. Make a Plan
Coming up with a plan on how to achieve your goals and promote your business through social media is important. Think back to those goals. Do you want to increase engagement? Convert your social media impressions into sales? Start with your objective and build out a plan.
For inspiration, check out your competitors or other businesses in the same industry to see what their social media strategy is. Look to bigger businesses and see what works for them. Create a content calendar and schedule your posts. Decide how you’ll measure your success. Step-by-step, these micro-plans will get you closer to achieving your overall goal.
4. Invest in Content
In the end, social media marketing is nothing without content. Investing in content doesn’t mean you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money though. If you don’t have the budget, invest some of your time instead. Whether you’re selling services or products, you can take photos with your phone, use a free editing app to give them a boost, and voila! You have low- or no-cost content for your page.
Alternatively, you can also find high-quality, free stock photos on the web for you to use. Outside of social media, other forms of content to consider are videos, blog articles, podcasts, email marketing, or anything you can think of that complements the service or product you’re selling.
Social Media Platforms
Now that you have the basics on how to do social media marketing for your contracting business, here are some platforms that you can use, with some tips and tricks on how to use them.
Out of all the social media platforms, Facebook is still the most widely used by its members. With 2.7 billion monthly active users as of October 2020 and its targeted ad capabilities, there are plenty of opportunities to reach your target customers.
With Facebook Pages and the Business Suite app (formerly Facebook Pages Manager), you can easily promote your business by creating a Facebook Page for it. Optimize your page by entering information such as location, contact details, and a short description of your business. If you have an online shop, you can also link the photos on your Facebook Page to the actual products and services you sell on your website.
Studies show that Facebook posts get more engagement if they include photos or videos, so this is where it’s worth investing in content. Nowadays, people would prefer to look at images instead of reading a long text. If you’re just getting started, one of the best features of Facebook Pages is that you have the option to invite your friends to “Like” the business page—free followers right out of the gates. If you have a few extra bucks to spare, you can also boost your posts to extend your reach and get more followers.
Facebook Ideas for Contractors
Host a Facebook Live “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) where you invite your followers to submit any questions they have on contracting services or hiring a contractor.
Share photos of your contracting projects and your hard-working team. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but don’t forget to give some context in the captions.
While Facebook may have the most logged-in, monthly active users, YouTube takes the cake for most visited website. With 8.564 billion monthly global visitors—1.625 billion of those being monthly US visitors—YouTube is easily the most accessed and accessible of the social media channels.
As YouTube is a video-sharing platform, you increase your following by posting relevant videos and getting your subscribers to like, share, and engage. It’s completely free to use YouTube for your business but keep in mind you have to create quality videos for you to get more viewers. If you want to invest your time in YouTube, it may be worth investing in a decent camera for video recording and a microphone, as well as learning basic video editing skills. Alternatively, you can hire a video editor to edit your content for you, but the cost of that can add up. The more views your videos get, the more people you’ll reach. Once you hit enough views, YouTube allows you to advertise on your videos—meaning extra income on top of what you earn from your contracting business.
YouTube Ideas for Contractors
Share longer-form video content. Give a proper tour of a construction site, compile a highlight reel with your best before-and-after shots, or make a brand video where you introduce yourself, your employees, and show off your business.
Instagram is another popular social media platform for contracting businesses. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram (IG) has grown exponentially and now offers a wide range of content types you can post—photos, videos, IG Stories, Reels, and IGTV. With Instagram, the key is to remember it’s primarily a visual platform and get creative with your posts. The nicer, more “Instagram-worthy” the content is, the more engagement you’ll get. This means that you have to focus a bit more on the aesthetics. Having a cohesive Instagram feed—visually and/or one that tells a story and clearly communicates the purpose of your business—helps draw quality followers to your page. Instagram also allows you to use third-party apps to organize and schedule your posts. For business accounts, Instagram provides free analytics so you can see how your account is performing and optimize it accordingly. Similar to Facebook, you also have the option to promote your post at a cost to reach a bigger audience.
Instagram Ideas for Contractors
Before and after photos. While you’re at it, throw in some “in progress” photos too. Don’t be afraid to show off your awesome work on social media!
Tell a story in your captions. Instagram has flirted with being a “micro-blogging” platform, and many people use it as such. It’s ok to just post a quippy single line, but try adding more and see how it performs— whether that’s a funny anecdote, your favorite aspect of a project, or simply additional context behind a project.
Host an Instagram Live session. Similar to Facebook Live, you can stream yourself live to get in front of your followers and engage with them. Aside from an AMA / Q&A, you could feature one of your employees and interview them, or bring viewers on an jobsite inspection.
LinkedIn is known as the professional social media platform, mainly used by individuals looking for a job and companies looking to hire—the ultimate combination of a job post board and a collection of online resumes. However, LinkedIn can also be used for promoting your contracting business and networking with potential clients, especially if you primarily serve other businesses (B2B). LinkedIn is a great place to scour for potential business clients as you can filter by industry, size, and location.
LinkedIn Ideas for Contractors
Engage with your industry. LinkedIn is the perfect place to follow and share the latest industry news and trends—just make sure they’re from reputable sources. Though it will take time, consistently sharing reliable news and engaging with people in your industry positions yourself among the ranks of contracting thought leaders—helping you attract higher-quality clients who want to work with companies at the top of their game.
While Twitter may be considered a bit old-school to Gen Z-ers, a lot of people and businesses still use it. You can also connect your Twitter to Facebook and Instagram, so content gets automatically shared across the platforms. (Though we would recommend tweaking your content slightly to best fit each platform and posting separately.)
Twitter also serves many other purposes for businesses, including being a social listening and customer service tool. Follow industry hashtags and other accounts to stay up-to-date on the conversations people are having around contracting. Also be aware that your customers can express both praise and grievances to you on social media—be sure to respond in a timely and polite manner either way.
Twitter Ideas for Contractors
Give your take on a trending topic. If you click the search function on Twitter, it will show you the top topics and hashtags trending currently. If you see one of interest, try joining in on the conversation by giving your take on the topic from the perspective of a contractor and/or small business owner.
It’s no secret that TikTok is the talk of the town. But is it right for your business? The thought of creating a TikTok account can be daunting, especially if video creation and sharing is unfamiliar territory for you, but it can be beneficial for your business if you know how to use it.
Social visual content across the board consistently performs the best, and TikTok is tailored to just that. Similar to the content you’d create for Instagram, TikTok is a great home for behind-the-scenes (BTS) content. Shoot a short, fun video (preferably under 15 seconds, but 60 seconds is the max) of you or your employees on the job, add some text and viral music to it within the app, and you’ve got yourself a TikTok video. Don’t worry about it being perfect either—TikTok is meant to have that DIY, home-video feel to it.
Like many other social platforms, you can share these videos across your other channels. And unlike YouTube, you can use popular songs for free as background music, and don’t have to worry about copyright issues.
TikTok Ideas for Contractors
#DIYTok. DIY Tok has taken TikTok by a storm, where users create short videos explaining and showing viewers how to do various tasks and projects. Show off your expertise as a contractor and try your hand at it. Make a video showing an easy fix for a leaky shower, how to change your car oil, fixing a blown fuse, etc. (If you have an idea for a video, but you need longer than 15-60 seconds for it, try using YouTube or Instagram’s IGTV instead.)
If the art of the written word is more your thing, Medium could be a great space for you to exercise your creativity while positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Medium is a free online publishing platform with a social media element. While there are SEO benefits of hosting blog content on your own website, Medium has a significant user base and can be advantageous to your business pursuits as well, helping you reach more people.
Medium Ideas for Contractors
Write an article giving an inside look into the contracting industry and career path (e.g. “5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Starting My Contracting Business” or “Here Are 10 Things You Should Hire a Contractor for—and 3 Things You Shouldn’t”).
Share a round-up of relevant contracting articles with their key takeaways.
Ready to embrace digital and supercharge your business? Check out our guide below on how to digitally transform your contracting business.