Darren Slaughter builds websites for builders. He has a lot of experience and is worth listening to. Here’s his take on social media:
Pay Attention – If you are NOT going to retire in the next five years, you need to pay attention to this post, because each day you ignore the warning I am about to lay out for you, the further behind your contracting company falls.
Sound like a lot of hot air?
Let me ask you a question, how many fans do you have on Facebook? How many followers do you have on Twitter? How many people have found your YouTube channel? If the answer is not many, you better get moving, and not for the obvious reason, which is potential clients or customers.
There’s a long-term risk to your business
The Web is packed with tips, tricks, ideas and suggestions on how to use social media to grow your client base. May I suggest to you that your future business life depends on you adopting these platforms RIGHT NOW. That’s right, I said your business life, not just to build an email list or to interact with prospects, but ensure your company’s long-term survival.
Your interactions, and thereby the number of people who fan you, follow you, like you or whatever the next new thing calls the act of someone being added to your subscriber base of online relationships is going to become a confidence factor to potential clients or customers.
Let me explain…
If you put an ad in the paper or the YP, your ad sits right there next to the other ads, and the only thing that differentiates your ad is the size, color, offer or copy. There is nothing that distinguishes you from your competition that can be considered a ‘confidence factor.’ Sure, you could list the obvious:
- Family owned and operated
- Serving Philadelphia for 35 years
- Proud members of the XYZ Chamber of Commerce
But do you really know anything about that company? The short answer is no!
Now fast-forward the tape 5 years from today. If the pundits have it right (they most often times do not, so maybe you are in luck) most offline marketing will be dead, and people will be spending more time than ever online with their Smartphones, laptops and other Internet connected devices. And they will have a decision to make – which plumber to call, which remodeler to contact, or which painter to email.
And right about now is when that sick feeling in your stomach kicks in
They will be deciding between you, the contractor who thought social media was for teenagers, and the young gun who has spent the last 5 years building a solid base of followers, fans and friends. You have a handful of people who follow you are Twitter or Facebook, but the other guy has thousands. So let me ask you, all things being equal, who would you call?
Social media as a confidence factor?
If you haven’t caught on yet, what I am suggesting is that social media, and more to the point, the number of people who follow or friend you, has the potential to become a confidence factor people will use in the future to decide who to do business with.
If you think about it, we are already doing it. For example, would I have any credibility to offer advice on social media if I had 100 followers and 50 Tweets, my last one being from 3 months ago? The short answer is hell no!
And notice in the example above I didn’t say hire, I said call. Because you won’t even get a chance to compete for the job if you don’t meet the psychological minimum threshold of followers or friends or fans that people will feel comfortable calling you.
That means you have to start now, because building a list of people who are into what you do is hard work. It takes a long time to climb that mountain, and you won’t be able to just run an ad next to your competition to compete, you are going to be officially classified as obsolete, a relic if you will, of a time long past.
So don’t wait the five years!
Just like most contractors have realized the value of having a website, there is value to using these social media tools. You just have to start by keeping the end in mind.