Social media provides small businesses with an excellent tool to market their products and services online and share what they do best. A social media platform can establish your online presence, especially if you don’t have a company website, and help you reach a broader customer base. With a little planning, social media will become free advertising for your company and a great addition to your marketing efforts.

Industry experts Jennifer Allen, communications and content marketing manager, and Heather McIlrath, marketing graphic designer, both from Builders Mutual, offer these social media tips and best practices.

Know Your Options

There are many social media networks that could benefit your business. Each one functions differently and achieves different business goals.

Facebook provides the greatest opportunity to develop a social following because it is the largest social media network. Facebook makes it easy to share posts and to interact with existing and potential customers through mobile applications (Facebook and Facebook Messenger).

Instagram is visually driven and is used to share photos with short messages. You can easily post pictures of completed projects, which is a great tool for contractors and tradesmen. Your account can attract new business and build your brand.

LinkedIn offers your company the opportunity to connect with other members of the construction and related industries. You can link your personal LinkedIn profile to your business account and expand your networking opportunities online. LinkedIn can also be used to connect with potential employees or to review an applicant’s job history and references.

Choose the option that you are most familiar with and that provides the most exposure for your business. We recommend beginning with Facebook.

Getting Started

Choose one platform. Focus your time and energy on creating a valuable account with engaging content. It’s also important that you create a business page instead of using your personal page. Your company should have a distinct page with purely professional content.

Top 5 Social Media Tips

Once you’ve selected a platform and created an account, follow these helpful tips:

1. Create engaging content.

Posts featuring photos and videos are most effective. They appear higher in a news feed, which increases the likelihood your followers will see the post. The best photos will include your projects, interactions with clients, and industry or community events your company is involved in.

2. Start a conversation.

Social networks create communities, which makes them a great way to stay in touch with other businesses and organizations. Interact by tagging them in relevant posts or sharing their posts. Be sure to reply when friends tag your business or post on your page.

3. Ask for reviews, and monitor feedback.

Use social media to promote current and completed projects. Talk to your customers and ask them to provide online reviews of your company. Feedback from customers will offer valuable insight to those who visit your page.

Monitor what’s being said about your company. Respond to all feedback to show that you are paying attention. Offer to continue any negative conversations offline.

4. Consider your audience.

Social media is a marketing tool so keep your audience in mind. Avoid controversial or polarizing topics; instead, focus on business and industry themes. Save personal opinions for your personal page.

5. Plan ahead.

Plan to post once a week. Plan posts ahead of time and work to establish a content calendar. Don’t be afraid to brag about your company. Be sure to spell-check your posts before sharing!

Some potential post ideas include:

  • current job progress
  • completed projects
  • industry news
  • introductions of new team members
  • community or HBA involvement
  • event sponsorships
  • partnerships with other businesses

Once you establish a social media account for your company, share and promote it on business cards and in email signatures. If you create multiple accounts, make sure that the account handles and user names are the same.

If you are new to social media, doing all this might seem daunting at first. However, the benefits of creating a social media presence for your company are unlimited. Be sure to take advantage of the free opportunities it provides.