Social media is a hot topic these days. In just the past month, there have been multiple articles about social media in ACHR The NEWS, and a quick search for “social media” on Google Trends will give you the epitome of a hockey stick-like graph. But, based on our review of more than 1,000 HVAC company Facebook pages, most contractors are still oblivious as to how they should be using social sites. Most HVAC contractor Facebook pages are, in a word, pathetic.
The typical HVAC company Facebook page is akin to an unpopular high school kid–lonely, poorly dressed, and definitely not getting any action on Friday night.
I think that the reason most HVAC company Facebook pages stink is because the typical HVAC business owner still doesn’t really get social media.They (mistakenly) believe that the point of Facebook is to get leads and sales. It’s not.
The primary purpose of putting your HVAC company on Facebook is to create an emotional connection between your target audiences and your brand.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that the word “brand”–especially combined with the phrase “emotional connection”–makes most home service business owners want to vomit, but get over it. If you’ve got even a modicum of business and social savvy, you know I’m right.
A great Facebook page can create an emotional connection between your company and each of your target audiences in a way that few other media channels can. Notice, I said “audiences.” Ask most owners of HVAC and plumbing companies who their target audience is and they’ll probably say, “homeowners that need heating or cooling work done.” or “homeowners inside my service area that haven’t used my company before.” To think so narrowly about your target audience is to do a terrible disservice for your company.
Every HVAC company has multiple target audiences:
- Prospective customers
- Current and past customers
- Prospective employees
- Local/National News Media
- Other Companies in Your Industry & Industry Colleagues
When done correctly, the content you share on your Facebook page creates a connection with one or multiple audiences mentioned above. To be successful with your efforts, you’ve got to recognize that while there is definitely some overlap, prospective customers need to see something a little bit different than what current and past customers need to see. The same is true for employees and prospective employees, the media, and competitors and industry colleagues.
Each audience has different needs–if only slightly.
Prospective & Past Customers
With prospective customers and past customers that haven’t used you in a while, you need to share content that creates a sense of trust, reliability, honesty and fairness. You’ve got to remind me that you serve my area. You’ve got to show me a truck that I’ve seen near my house. You’ve got to show me that your guys are clean cut–that they’re going to take good care of my house even if I’m not there.
Morris-Jenkins, an HVAC company serving Charlotte, NC, really nails this with their Facebook posts.
Loyal, regular customers can benefit from seeing how your company gives back to the local community and/or how you reward customers and prospects. If you own an HVAC company, sponsor an event in one of the neighborhoods where you do a lot of work. Take pictures and do this:
Contests also tend to generate a lot of engagement on social sites like Facebook:
Employees – Current & Prospective
Employees want public recognition for their efforts and content that creates a sense of pride. They want opportunities to show off to their friends that they work for a great company. Prospective employees want to see if your company is going to be a fun place to work. They’re looking for Facebook posts that allow them to determine the answer to the question, “are you a bunch of heartless bastards or are you a company that cares deeply about its employees?”
Posts like the one below by CroppMetcalfe get HVAC techs working for other companies wondering how come their current employer doesn’t appreciate them as much as CroppMetcalfe appreciates its people.
Media contacts are looking for content that makes you newsworthy and/or remarkable in some way. Atlas Butler in Columbus, Ohio demonstrates that they understand the value of being newsworthy with their Atlas Butler Awards page.
The only reason Atlas Butler’s posts don’t get more shares and engagement is because they post the same ones over and over again.
Competitors & Industry Colleagues
Let’s ignore competitors in the traditional sense. At some point, you might decide to sell your company. When you do, your suitor is going to review all your company assets and try to assign value to them. Consider what you’d be willing to pay for the company that owns this Facebook page…
Vs. the company that owns this one…
Which company do you think is more valuable?
Now, you can say that Horizon Services is the larger of the two companies, but it wouldn’t break the bank for M&M Comfort Control A/C and Heating to build a WAYYY better page than what they have today. One of the coolest things about the web and advances in technology is that it just doesn’t cost as much as it used to for a small company to look as polished as a big one.
Most HVAC company Facebook pages absolutely stink. They stink because the owners of the pages don’t “get” social media. I know you want leads like yesterday, but social media isn’t about what YOU want; it’s about giving others what they want. This is hardly a new concept. I think it was Zig Ziglar that first said–and I’m paraphrasing here–“you can get anything you want in life if you focus on helping others get what they want.”
This comment is just as true on Facebook as it is in “the real world.”