- Social media is a powerful and cost-effective way to promote your business and attract new clients.
- You can use social media platforms to showcase your projects, share client testimonials and demonstrate expertise in your industry.
- If you haven't yet tapped into social media marketing, don't worry. Find out what you need to do to get started in this guide, as well as tips on how to get the most out of social media for your business.
Social media is one of the most popular ways for users on both PCs and mobile to spend their time. According to Statista – over 3.6 billion people were using social media platforms worldwide in 2020 with users expected to increase to over 4.41billion in 2025.
Social media is a great way of reaching consumers on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin to help them learn, gain interest and engage with your brand.
Every social media platform has different target audience demographics and is used in a slightly different way. Some users may only use one platform, while others may use several platforms to post, consume content and interact with others.
Advertising on social media platforms means you can target users efficiently with a range of targeting methods including interests, hobbies, region, country, beliefs, gender, age and income to name a few. This helps you increase exposure and generate interest from your defined target market.
Traditional methods of advertising struggle to match the speed, ease and investment required to reach prospects effectively, especially during a pandemic when consumer behaviour may have changed and access to traditional methods of media consumption been restricted.
In this article, we'll walk you through the key steps to get started with social media marketing. We'll also share some content ideas, tips and common mistakes to avoid.
How to Use Social Media Marketing for Your Trade Business
To get started with social media marketing, you first need to:
- Identify your target audience
- Choose your platforms
- Set your goals and objectives
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Due to the number of different platforms and extensive audience reach, you must first identify your target audience. Refine your criteria as much as possible to ensure your messaging is relevant or of interest to your target users. For example, if people are interested in DIY you can post content relevant to home improvement.
It is better to start with tightly defined criteria than be too broad, so look at your existing or previous customers to establish what similarities they have and what their interests may be. If on reflection this is not who you are looking to attract, look into what criteria your ideal customer has.
2. Choose Your Platforms
Next, choose your platform. Start with one platform that you can commit to posting on regularly to reach its full potential. A single post is unlikely to have a large impact, so you need to set aside time to commit to posting content frequently and at a time when your audience is online. This may mean posting or scheduling content when you might be working or undertaking other tasks.
3. Set Your Goals and Objectives
Before a post is created, you must give thought to your intended goal or outcome. What action do you want to happen as a result of your post? Some examples of goals and objectives include:
- Generating interest in your company
- Building brand awareness
- Increasing engagement with your content
- Driving website traffic
- Generating more leads
How to Post on Social Media
Posting can be used as a way to influence people to interact with you. There are six psychological principles of persuasion, defined by Internationally recognized Psychology Professor Robert Cialdini and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, five of which are relevant to social media and can be used to motivate users to interact with your brand:
- Social proof
Giving to receive by imparting knowledge on users and providing free information such as tips, white papers or guides (providing they are of value) are often retained, shared and kept for future use by users.
By getting customers to commit to something small like signing up for a newsletter, guide, whitepaper or receiving a free sample often makes it easier to follow up with a paid product or service.
3. Social Proof
Social proof is when current users validate and recommend your products or services. It can be in the form of before and after pictures or positive customer reviews and testimonials of your work. It helps if your page has a high number of likes, engagement and customers reviews for work undertaken.
Appearing professional and consistent with the role you are undertaking builds trust. Examples include a tradesman in uniform, a sign marked van and celebrity or influencer endorsements. This makes readers and viewers more likely to accept what you say. It establishes authority in a similar way to a businessman wearing a suit as opposed to informal wear, or a doctor dressed in a white coat. Having a membership or accreditation by a third party also helps you build a professional image.
The more that people like you, the higher the likelihood of them engaging with you. Try to be authentic, open, original and vulnerable at times by posting videos of yourself in front of projects or pictures of yourself undertaking work.
Social Media Content Ideas & Tips for Tradies
Once you have decided the goal or action you want to obtain from posting, we can decide on what content to post. It should be used as a way to demonstrate what you can do for people rather than what you sell.
People do not want to be sold a product or service – they want to buy a more comfortable future, an improved house, a place to entertain, comfort or paradise. As a tradie, what you sell is insights, insider knowledge, knowhow, perfection and someone who will deliver the outcome.
Five examples of content to post include:
A picture says a thousand words. Make sure you take lots of photos of your work including before and after photos. You can also post photos to inspire future clients with ideas for home improvements and the latest trends. Retro and nostalgia pics can also take people down memory lane and spark engagement.
People love quick visual overviews with incremental steps in bitesize chunks of how to undertake a project. For example, " Top 10 Ideas on What to Include in Your Kitchen Design" or "5 Garden Designs to Consider this Summer". Infographics can also be used to clearly outline a typical customer journey from quotation to project delivery and may eliminate frequent questions on how to get started.
Top tips, insights, a walkaround a newly completed project, techniques for completing tasks – there are so many different ways to use video. You can also create a company overview video where you talk about how you help customers and why. Other topics of interest include common problems and how to fix them.
Share valuable insights with your audience such as top tips, methods, design trends, product reviews and problems or changes in rules or legislation that they may not have been aware of.
Memes are captioned images or videos that are edited to amuse based on current events, trends or themes. They are lighthearted, fun and can be great for engagement.
How to Choose a Social Media Platform
Deciding which platform to use depends on several factors. Some platforms can only be accessed using a phone making photo editing time consuming and difficult, whereas others are more accessible (e.g. Facebook and Instagram) so you can post content from a PC.
Below is a table outlining the audience size, content type and marketing potential for tradies of popular social media platforms:
|Platform||Audience Size||End-User||Content Type||Access||Tradie Priority|
|B2C||Images, before and after pics, videos, how-to guides.||Mob / PC||1|
|1.1 Billion||B2C||Influencer marketing, hashtags, videos, how to use, before and after pics||Mob / PC* (If connected to Facebook)||1|
|760 Million||B2B||Hashtags, infographic, videos, images, insights||Mob / PC||2|
|416 Million||B2C||Ideas, new ways, information looking to buy||Mob / PC||4|
|Snapchat||433 Million||B2C||Stories or insights into daily operations||Mob||6|
|Tik Tok||689 Million||B2C||Videos, tutorials, tips||Mob||7|
||353 Million||B2B & B2C||Single images, memes, videos||Mob / PC||3|
|YouTube||2 Billion||B2C||Videos, how-to guides, company overview, top tips, common problems, techniques||Mob / PC||5|
8 Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid
Below are some common social media mistakes to avoid:
- Irregular posting frequency
- Zero likes
- Poor quality images
- Not exploring paid advertising
- Taboo subjects
- Irrelevant hashtags
- Not delegating
Death by editing. After a day or two your content is likely to have been forgotten, so don’t spend too long perfecting a post. It's better now than never.
2. Irregular Posting Frequency
Don't give up after a handful of posts, especially if you don't see the results you want immediately. You have to think “long game”. Post regularly, but not every day. Think maybe once or twice a week, with posts scheduled to ensure opportunities are not missed. Posting several times a day is unwarranted unless you have over 50K followers.
3. Zero Likes
Some posts bomb. It can be the content, timing, external events or competitors. Evaluate when your posts by reviewing the analytics tools on your chosen platforms and make small tweaks to learn what works best.
Even if a post bombs, users scrolling through your company page are likely to see your previous work, adverts or events which builds authenticity and trust. Not everyone chooses to like content (think lurkers) so don’t be surprised if people don't always engage with your brand immediately – likes will grow over time.
4. Poor Quality Images
The better your images, the higher the chance of people interacting with your posts. Posts with high engagement rates show up in more user feeds, so try and use original imagery rather than stock images which are all too common.
5. Not Exploring Paid Advertising
Trying to grow organically without paid advertising is difficult. Some platforms will automatically limit your reach without paid advertising, even if you're liked by followers. Some platforms offer a contribution or ad credit to first-time posters to lower the barrier of getting started.
6. Taboo Subjects
Stay clear of topics such as race, religion, politics, gossip, personal grievances and sex.
7. Irrelevant Hashtags
Well researched hashtags that are followed by users can help you reach a whole new audience. Taking the time to define which ones are most applicable to your post can help increase reach.
8. Not Delegating
Posting, research, editing and finding images is time-consuming. If money is tight you can outsource it in some way – maybe your partner or child could be interested in a few hours of work each week or you could outsource to a virtual assistant, digital marketing agency or social media agency if the budget allows – this will pay for itself over time.
We hope this guide has helped you gain a better understanding of how to start promoting your trade business on social media.
If you have any other tips or comments, make sure you share them in the comments below!
Simon Hooton is a Technical Product Manager at North Ridge Pumps Ltd. He has operated in the pump industry for over 10 years. Simon is a specialist in a wide range of process applications from simple transfer or circulation applications to dewatering, chemical injection and energy recovery. He is frequently involved in projects across the industrial and marine industries worldwide.
Writing about technical content in a non-technical way enables us to reach users worldwide who may know the outcome they want to achieve or problem they are looking to solve, but not the solution. They approach us for our expertise and proven project success.
To see project examples of technical applications solved and written in a non-technical way check out the case studies on the North Ridge Pumps website.
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