Episode 4: Social Media For HVAC Businesses

Podcast episode 4

0:35 – Facebook
2:16 – Twitter
3:53 – LinkedIn
4:47 – Google+
6:39 – Use social media: Know what people say about your business
8:09 – Use social media: build an audience
8:48 – How many tweets per day?
9:57 – Don’t post crap on Twitter
10:23 – When to expect benefits from Twitter
11:29 – SEO benefits from social media sites
12:02 – How to operate your Twitter account
12:45 – Set up a Twilert account
13:18 – Build an audience through Facebook
15:16 – EdgeRank Algorithm of Facebook
16:21 – Facebook paid advertising
18:30 – Tip of the week

Hello Everybody! Welcome to the HVAC Business Growth Podcast. I’m your host Nick Bielawski.

We’ve got a big episode planned for you today; this is the social media episode. We’re going to go through the big 4 social media sites on the internet. We’re going to go through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. I’m going to give you some steps on each of those; explain how they work. Towards the end of the podcast, we’re going to cover a strategy that’s going to show you how to work with Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s get stuck into the show.

Let’s start with Facebook. Facebook is the brainchild of the famous, Mark Zuckerberg. It’s important to note the Facebook is the number 2 website, behind Google, on terms of traffic on a daily and monthly basis. It actually interchanges from time to time; Facebook sometimes goes to number 1 and in front of Google. So, it’s no surprise that Facebook is a really really massive and important site.

As of October 2012, they have 1 billion active users. That’s billion with a B. The staggering stat that I found though is that 81% of these people actually reside outside of the US and Canada. It really has taken on a global aspect to it which I think is fantastic.

Out of this 1 billion active users, 584 million of these people are actually daily users of Facebook. And I think what’s really important from an advertising perspective, and a way of getting your message out there, we’re going to talk about it a little bit later.

604 of the Facebook users actually use their mobile phones. So that means they’re getting away from their desktop and are actually using their mobile phones; either sitting at home or are actually out on the run and checking their Facebook account. The great thing about Facebook and its mobile usage is that people are consuming every second of every day. So if you can get this message out and in front of these people, you’re going to get quite a lot of spread of your message and you’re going to get a viral aspect to it. So I think that’s fantastic.

Now let’s discuss Twitter.

Twitter is probably the second biggest social media site out there. It currently ranks number 10 on the daily traffic list. So there’s quite a few website in front of it. Let’s just through a few of the statistics of Twitter.

Twitter has 340 million tweets per day and 140 million active users every month. If you’re not familiar with Twitter, I’ll just cover how it actually works. It’s basically a micro-messaging platform or a micro-blogging platform. You can put messages on there and they can be up to the size of 140 characters; it’s only a few sentences. Short and concise messages work very well on Twitter. The great thing about Twitter is it actually works in real time. So you can tweet something and whatever you tweet ca actually come up on the Twitter homepage or on other people’s Twitter accounts on their timelines in real time or almost instantly. And because it does this, news actually frequently breaks on Twitter and then gets distributed to various news channels. Twitter is a great way to start building your audience. I recommend that you do that a little bit later on in the show.

I actually announced on one of our news videos last week that Twitter has recently gave away $1 million in paid advertising credits. So, they’re going down the paid advertising route just like Facebook and I think it’s great. You can get your message out on Twitter rather cheaply and use it to draw people to come to your website.

So, LinkedIn I feel is one of the other big social media sites in the world. It’s actually ranked number 13; it’s slightly behind Twitter.

If you’re not familiar with LinkedIn, it’s basically a business networking type of site. It’s a little bit different than your normal social media sites; it works in the same way but your audience is a lot different. Like I said, it’s more of a business-type of person that’s actually there. So I feel, because you’re in the HVAC market or the HVAC industry, that LinkedIn is only probably relevant for you if you’re doing commercial or industrial work. So if you’re working on those 2 markets, I think that you can make LinkedIn work for you. If you’re really just going into the residential market, then it probably isn’t worth the effort just yet. Although, you can do some pretty cool paid advertising on there.

Google+ is the new kid on the block, so to speak. Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook and Twitter. Google has realized that social media is where it’s at; it’s where a lot of active users actually hangout so that’s how Google+ was born.

Google actually uses Google+ to help improve its search algorithm. What they do is scan Google+ for various stories and help to determine the weight of particular stories on web pages then feed that information back into the search algorithm. They can’t do this with Facebook and Twitter because they don’t have access to all of the data that is there.

So, here are a few statistics for Google+:

They have 400 million total users and 100 million monthly active users. So, I think the main reason why there’s such a discrepancy in the numbers, the 400 million and 100 million, is that people are just not quite sure about Google+ yet. A lot of people were invited to get accounts when it first opened up. If anybody has any Google apps account or Gmail or anything like that or they’re using other Google products, then they would’ve received quite a few invites to join Google+. People are not quite sure about how it’s panning out just yet.

It’s only been recently that I’ve started to advise people that I look after and people in business to actually get on board Google+. Have your own personal account and get a Google+ business page as well. I think it’s worth your while.

What I’ve just done is give you an overview of what I feel are the 4 main social media profiles that are out there that would have some sort of effect on your business. So now, we’re going to discuss how we can actually use these social media platforms.

I feel there are 2 main reasons to be using social media. The first one is probably not the most important, but the first one is: You need to use social media to see what people are actually saying about your business.

They can be saying positive and negative things about your business. If it’s negative, you need to know by using these social media platforms as quickly as possible. If somebody has any grievances or any complaints about your business, you can find out these things in real time and you can make arrangements or you can contact the person who made the complaint on social media and get in contact with them and try and make things better.

The absolute worst thing that can happen is when somebody can have a really bad experience of your business and then it gets tweeted or Facebooked; it’s all over social media and then before you know it, you’ve got an absolute wildfire in your hands. The thing about social media is that it’s incredibly viral. So somebody can create a post, if they have a thousand followers or a hundred people liking their Facebook page or their Twitter account and then those hundred people found out, they can notify other people as well. And not only that, Twitter in particular is a search engine as well. So people are looking for things related to your business or your industry then it’s going to come up in their search results. This is probably one of the most important but also one of the most dangerous aspects of social media.

What I feel is the most important thing with social media is you can actually build an audience with it and we’re going to discuss that right now.

I think Twitter is fantastic for building an audience. So how do you build an audience with Twitter? Let’s go over it.

What you should do is to actually tweet relevant stories about your industry or about your business. You can let your followers know about what’s going on in your business or in your content that you are releasing. You can also tweet about local news in your area.

So if you do any of the things I’ve mentioned above, you will find followers on Twitter this way. How many tweets do I recommend per day? I do recommend 1 to 10 tweets per day and it just depends on your market and how much content you actually have. One tweet per day I feel is the absolute minimum tweet that you can do. Ten could be pushing the envelope a little bit, depending on your market. I like to think of it this way…

If your business is open for trade, say, 8 hours per day then I’d like to have at least 1 tweet going out every hour or every 2 hours just to try and get some coverage across that day. So you’ll find that if you know where the stories are and you can put some news on there, plus some other witty comments that just might be about how the weather is or how your favorite football team is going or something like that, you can get some followers very very quickly. So the secret to this is to actually keep doing this and build an audience. Don’t just try this for a week and then give up on it. It’s something that you gain a lot of momentum with. You do it for a minimum of 90 days then you’ll actually get a good gauge for whether it’s relevant for your business at all.

One thing that I do recommend is that you don’t post crap to your Twitter page. If you don’t stop posting crap to your Twitter page then people will unfollow you. You will lose them and you will lose your audience. You don’t want to get any kind of negative reputation in this. Make sure that the content that you’re linking to, the stories you’re giving out or the news that you are releasing is of good quality.

The benefits from Twitter actually start to come in after your following is of decent quality and of decent size. So, if you want news to get out about your business, you can actually tweet about it and hopefully if your followers are savvy enough or if they like you enough, they will actually re-tweet some of the content that you put out there. If you get enough re-tweets, then your message can go viral very very quickly.

If you think about the math on this situation just quickly….

Say if you have 100 followers and you tweet something and if you get that re-tweeted 5 times by your followers and they each have 100 followers, it multiplies out very quickly. So you’ve gone from being able to reach 100 people, in that example, to now reaching 600 people. Then there are lots and lots of downstream effects that happen from there if other people re-tweet that from other people’s audience. So, once you get some leverage from Twitter, it actually works really really well.

There’s a hidden SEO benefit to this as well. Social media only recently became a ranking factor. If your content is actually getting re-tweeted and shared around on Twitter, Google and the other search engines actually take this into account and actually give the pages on your website or the pages that you’re linking to a little bit more weight. Having a strong Twitter following is fantastic from a social point of view and also from a search engine optimization point of view.

I’d like to give you some more advice about Twitter particularly about how you operate your account. I think you should have 2 accounts. You should have a business account that’s under the business name. You should also have a personal account as well. You need to fill out all of these profiles but nothing screams a spam account or an unused account more than one that actually is not filled out at all. You need to put a nice image either of you or of the business on your Twitter profile image. You also need to fill out all of the details that are actually in your profile.

The final thing I suggest that you do is actually set up an account with Twilert. What Twilert does is it links up to your email account and it basically scans Twitter. You can program Twilert to email you anytime that your name is actually mentioned on the internet or your business account is mentioned on the internet. This is great for spotting wildfires or any customer service complaints before they actually start. I highly recommend that you use Twilert.

The next way that you can build an audience in social media is using Facebook. I recommend that you get a business page for Facebook. Don’t worry about using your own Facebook account. What you want to do is to fill out the profile just like I said before with Twitter. Put a nice image in there; add some nice photos; fill out the details on your Facebook business page.

What you want to do with Facebook is to take a little bit more of a premium type of approach. Unlike Twitter where we’d like to put between 1 to 10 tweets or stories out there per day, what we want to do is put the latest, freshest and best content on Facebook. You can link to other stories as well but Facebook is great for driving high quality traffic to your own website.

Anytime you create a new page on your site, whether it’s a new blog post or you have news about your business or some sort of a sale or a promotion or anything like that, use Facebook to announce it and then drive some traffic back to your website.

It’s important that you engage your audience as best as you can. It’s actually been proven that pictures work really really well on Facebook. For some reason, people are engaged a little bit more and they actually start liking and sharing and actually engaging with the pictures that you put on the site. If you can, where possible, use images or pictures with all of the Facebook post that you push out.

Facebook has actually made a change recently that makes it almost a necessity to go down the paid advertising route. So what they’ve done is introduce what is called the EdgeRank algorithm. What that means is, the stories and the content that you post on Facebook doesn’t stay up just like a regular timeline does, say on Twitter for example.

Facebook actually ranks the weight of the story according to your profile and then also on how many likes it gets and then determines where to put it on people’s timelines. If you’re continually putting poor content on Facebook and people are not liking it, then your stuff is going to fall off people’s timeline very very quickly. This also explains how you see some of these videos and funny images get so many likes and stay on people’s Facebook pages for so long or stay in their timeline for so long; they kept getting liked; they kept getting shared around and they just stay on people’s timeline for a very long time and that’s how they pickup 1 million likes and they get shared around.

Anyway, I’ve digressed a little bit there. I highly recommend that you use Facebook paid advertising to promote your business. You can do it in a couple of ways. You can put a new post up there. You can actually get this page promoted or get the post promoted on Facebook. That helps to push it up people’s timeline and just keep it there for a little bit longer and it’s going to depend really on your market and what type of audience that you’re trying to reach on Facebook. That will determine how much you’re going to pay per like or per engagement with your Facebook page or with your website.

The second thing that you can do is actually just purely promote your business. What you’re doing here is you’re actually promoting your Facebook business page. So, ideally you’ll get some good quality likes to your Facebook page. The reason why I said good quality is you actually don’t want everybody liking your page. It doesn’t actually make it worthwhile for you to be paying for generalized likers and I’ll tell you why.

If you’re operating any kind of local business—meaning that you’re focusing on a particular market, area or city—getting likes from other countries isn’t really going to make a different to you at all because they’re not going to be the people buying your stocks. You want really high quality and targeted Facebook likes to your Facebook page. So it’s important to remember with Facebook that at most times, not all the time, you’re trying to drive traffic back to your website. Remember, Facebook isn’t your platform. So you could get banned or shutoff or Facebook could go down at anytime. So, if you built up an audience on Facebook and you haven’t moved them across to your website then, shame on you because you could lose those people at any moment.

The positive is it is a “list,” although you can’t build a list but it is a list, of people interested in your business or your topic. So, at any stage, if you want to, you can actually gather these people by putting content out there and hopefully driving those people back to your website.

So now it’s time for the HVAC Business Growth Tip of the Week.

The tip of the week is that you cannot ignore social media. Whatever you do, actually take an active interest in social media. Don’t hand off the Facebook page or the Twitter page to the assistant or the person working in the front desk just to have a look at it every now and then. Give it to a specific person or the marketing department and actually have it part of their portfolio where they’re spending time on every single day. It’s really really important that you leverage the social media platform. Remember, Facebook has 604 million monthly mobile users; 584 million daily active users on average. That’s a lot of people and a lot of those people are going to be interested in your products and services. Not only that, if you’re doing any kind of search engine optimization, Google, Yahoo and Bing are all looking at these social media platforms for guidance in terms of who to rank well on their own platforms. So you cannot ignore social media.

So that’s all we’ve got time for today. I’m Nick Bielawski for HVACbusinessgrowth.com

Episode 4: Social Media For HVAC Businesses

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