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When I am home during holidays, relatives sometimes introduce me to their friends and say that “Hannah does Facebook and Twitter for her job in Charlotte.” While Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms are mentioned in my job description, they are only one small facet of successful online marketing strategies for home service companies, specializing in the HVAC realm.
As a content marketer for Blue Corona, I write blog posts and landing pages daily for a wide variety of clients, including heating and cooling contractors throughout the country. Once we publish blog posts on our client’s websites, social media platforms represent just another channel where we promote the remarkable content. But let’s take a look closer at what investing in social media can work well for your HVAC company, and how it can drive more business and engagement (scroll down to the bottom read my five specific tips on how you can use Facebook for your HVAC company to drive more sales and revenue).
Social media allows for engagement with a brand’s community—gone are the days of one-way communications from the marketer to the consumer. Social media engagement can lead to a variety of valuable actions including:
- Word of mouth referrals
- Brand loyalty
- Website traffic
- Lead conversions
- Sales conversions
- More business for your company
- And more!
Even though social media has been exponentially growing since the early 2000s, we still see a clear divide between brands that get it and those that think it’s still about just having a page or the most “likes.”
One company that truly seems to grasp the integration of social media with content and online marketing is Four Seasons—the largest HVAC contractor in the world.
While Four Seasons is not Blue Corona’s client, we believe they provide great examples of engaging, purposeful, and strategic social media use—proving that a company in any industry can succeed within the social online world with the right tactics and practices. A simple look at their home page gives links to all of their social media channels and—even better—enticing reasons to follow, like, and engage with them:
Customize Your Platforms for Your HVAC Company
Almost anyone can create an account on one of the many social media platforms, but what is better is customizing the sites for your consumer base and community. As seen below in Four Seasons’ Facebook page, they’ve customized the tabs at the top header to be “Coupons & More!” and “Videos.” Often, the generic brand pages provide a map or events. Four Seasons understands what their consumers may be more interested in and provides a quick link to coupons, a category that is more likely to convert to a lead or sale than an unused events tab.
It is important to understand how your online community will use your page. Generic pages are just that: generic. Customize your profiles to provide the best resources, tools, links, and content to your fans or followers and prove yourself as the industry authority in the area.
Social Media Is Live
In the interactive web era that we currently log onto, it is crucial to prove that your brand is run by real humans—not just automated responses. Four Seasons could not have scheduled their time sensitive Google+ post when they planned their monthly social media content calendar. Instead, it is clear that they continue to monitor social media channels and news outlets in real time to respond rapidly and relevantly within their circles and communities (much like Oreo did during the last Super Bowl’s power outage). Since Four Seasons is located in the Midwest and based out of Chicago, they understood that their customers and circles would appreciate showing a little pride for their home team.
Connect with the Consumer’s Lifestyle
Many brands understand the power of Pinterest, but are unsure how their company fits into the photo-dense platform. On Pinterest, it is important to not just promote your products and services, but rather really connect to the lifestyle of your target consumer. From Four Seasons’ Pinterest profile, it is clear that they have a clear vision of who their target audience on Pinterest is. From the boards on the top of their profile, only two of the 10 are related to the heating and cooling industry! Most are related to customizing your home.
With boards that target the consumer’s lifestyle, Four Seasons integrates their brand and service into that lifestyle—i.e. you can have a perfectly designed and decorated home but you won’t experience the true comfort of your home without an efficient and quality heating and cooling system.
Understand Each Social Platform’s Purpose
At first it might seem odd that a HVAC company has a LinkedIn page—aren’t those normally for Fortune 500 companies looking to recruit middle management? Four Seasons’ LinkedIn page proves that they truly understand each social media channel and what purposes they provide.
In this LinkedIn post, Four Seasons is reaching out to plumbers to expand their workforce. Their call-to-action, “Send resumes to…” matches many of the Fortune 500 companies that also use LinkedIn to tap into the vast number of people looking for employment.
When creating content calendars or schedules to post to social media, understand the purpose of users who are on those platforms. Facebook fans won’t engage as well with a job posting than those connected with your brand on LinkedIn.
Mix up the Types of Content You Post
Four Seasons provides a mix of content to their audiences within social media platforms. Throughout all their channels, they post:
- Blog posts
- Contact forms
- Internal links to their site
- External links to other sources
- HVAC guides
- Relevant references to media/news
- And more!
Mixing up what they post allows Four Season to test the type of content that have the highest level of engagement, conversions, and return on investment (ROI). A glimpse at Four Seasons’ Twitter feed shows that consecutive tweets over the course of three days informed their followers of new content, recent weather, service offerings, and product specifications. Their followers (almost 1,000 of them!) are less likely to un-follow the handle due to boredom from repetitious content.
Mixing up what they post allows Four Season to test the type of content that have the highest level of engagement, conversions, and return on investment (ROI). A glimpse at Four Season’s Twitter feed shows that consecutive tweets over the course of three days informed their followers of new content, recent weather, service offerings, and product specifications. Their followers (almost 1,000 of them!) are less likely to un-follow the handle due to boredom from repetitious content.
If photos speak a thousand words, then videos are priceless. In of Four Seasons’ YouTube uploads, there is a news package that features a company executive shown as an authority on avoiding HVAC scams. If CBS-Chicago views Four Seasons as a credible and professional HVAC expert, wouldn’t you, too? Customers may not have seen the news clip live on TV, but the brand has uploaded it (with over 17,000 views to date!) to their YouTube channel—which they can now share on other social media profiles to spread the word and mix up content types!
5 Ways HVAC Contractors Can Use Social Media to Earn Business
- Be where your target audience is – while we discussed other social media platforms above, Facebook is likely where most of your audience is most active. Meet them there and be most present on Facebook.
- Create compelling content for your target audience – as a business on Facebook, you’re competing against limited space in the news feed to show up and grab your audience-base’s attention. Sharing and curating content directly for them can improve your engagement rates and visibility of your profile on the social network. HVAC companies can speak to their target audiences on social media by providing resourceful, helpful content (like tips for setting your thermostat to save moeny, videos on how to replace your air filters, or reminders of warning signs of a broken furnace). These keep you in the top of mind for previos or potential customers and can help drive business when they do end up needing your service.
- Run paid ads and promoted posts – while we’ve found that most HVAC companies need a paid or promoted posts budget on Facebook to get their content and posts in front of more people (both those who already like their page and those that don’t), one major benefit is how affordable clicks and engagement is. We’ve run successful paid promotions, ads, and boosted content for HVAC companies that have driven then new businesses. Give us a call, and we’ll talk about what that could look like for your business.
- Run paid campaigns to expand your following – as discussed above about paid ads and promoted posts, you can also run paid campaigns to get more “likes” or “follows” on Facebook to grow your following. We’ve found for more HVAC companies, these campaigns are quite cost effective and have high retention rates — truly growing the base of Facebook fans out of homeowners in the company’s exact service area.
- Be authentic when engaging with customers – social media is a great way to build a network of fans for your company in a place they already area. Just as you would in person or ask of your techs in the field, be friendly, nice, and responsive to your active audience on Facebook.
Can Your HVAC Company Match Four Season’s Social Media Presence?
Are you convinced that social media can be done right no matter the industry—from HVAC to plumbing and other contractor services? With a strategic integration of social media channels into your business goals and website content, you can increase your communities and engagement online.
About The Author: Hannah is the Organic Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
View more blogs by Hannah Nelson