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Is Social Media Worth It? Why Social Media Doesn’t Work the Way You Think for Remodeling Businesses

This may be the most controversial post I have written to date and all the marketing gurus out there are going to chastise me for this, but I am going to say it anyway "social media doesn't work for remodeling contractors...at least not the way you think it does!"

"About 61% of small businesses don't see any return on investment on their social-media activities, according to a survey released Tuesday from Manta, a social network for small businesses. Yet, almost 50% say they've increased their time spent on social media, and only 7% have decreased their time." (Source: USA Today)

What? Social Media Doesn't Drive ROI? But That's Not What All the Experts Told Me! 

If anyone told you that social media would be a big driver of new prospects and leads for your remodeling business, they are dead wrong. Yet most small businesses continue to invest more and more time and money into social media. Social media doesn't drive ROI directly and should not be used as a core lead generation strategy. It just doesn't end up working the way you think it does for lead generation. 

And no matter what the experts are telling you, it's really hard to track exactly what you are getting for a return from social media, believe me, I have tried. You need to invest in marketing that can produce a measurable result and social media just isn't that medium (we will talk about Yelp in a minute). 

"Just thinking that Facebook alone will send droves of customers to your doorstep is a mistake a lot of people make," she says Stephanie Schwab, CEO or Crackerjack Marketing. (Source: USA Today)

Social Media IS Necessary But Not the Way You Think It Is

Social media is NOT worth your time or money if you are spending more time or money on this vs. doing any other marketing. That part may be obvious to some but for others, if you are delaying implementing a direct mail campaign, paid search, or SEO strategy because you don't have the time/money, stop your social stuff today and move your money into something that will produce results. 

Everyone has something to sell and I want you to be wary of those who are selling just social media related services as a way to generate new business. Social media is to be used as a compliment to your other marketing. You do need social signals, especially in the post Penguin 2.0 era, and having updated information on your social profiles and some posts from time to time do help ensure your profiles aren't a ghost town. 

Dream of Going Viral? Don't Bet Your Life On It

By now, we have all heard of content going "viral" online. For most remodeling businesses let me be the first to tell you that you are probably never ever going to have something you produce go viral. It just isn't going to happen unless it involves something crazy or controversial and I wouldn't recommend you investing a lot of time into fabricating something like this just for a local remodeling business. If you are seeking national exposure, maybe this is worth considering, but not for the local business. Going viral with a video or post should not be something you should focus on when marketing your remodeling business. It is not something you can count on and build a predictable marketing system around and those types of marketing concepts should have little value to you. 

Where Should Remodeling Businesses Invest in Social, If At All?

Traditional social media marketing efforts like sharing content, writing cleaver posts, connecting with other people in your community (engagement efforts), re-posting content, etc just aren't going to do much for your business. 

Instead, focus on reputation marketing (getting reviews), visual media (images and video) and blogging. 
Reputation marketing is probably going to produce the best return on your investment. While I personally don't consider reputation marketing as the same as social media, others do and I suppose for this discussion we can too. Getting reviews on sites like Yelp, Google +, Citysearch, etc are extremely important. Share those reviews on your social profiles for some easy social signals and to build an awesome web presence. Spend your time and marketing budget making your review profiles perfect vs. anything else you do in social media. 

I am a big fan of visual media for the remodeling industry. Showcasing your work with images and building high quality image galleries on sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Google +, Facebook, Houzz definitely helps give some juice (if optimized correctly) to your online marketing and will help you close more deals. 

Video is also great and getting some client testimonials shot with your smart phone after each project is huge. But keep in mind that people tend to read and scan images and copy online vs. watching a video, especially when it relates to a local business. I still like video and getting videos posted on YouTube and some other video sharing sites can not only drive direct leads, but it does help you look good! (Take a look at this study by Mike Blumenthal).

Blogging is also worth continuing with and is a great way to get new content on your site. Search engines love sites that are updated regularly and having new blog content with an RSS Feed(Really Simple Syndication) is an easy way to accomplish that. Consider mixing in local content and current events in your market with content related to the service you are selling. This is probably going to be the best way for you to get additional social signals on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + by sharing your latest posts. 

Social media is a time consuming and often expensive marketing channel. Be careful how you use it and don't let it consume all your time and marketing budget, especially if you are delaying doing other marketing that can produce a return. Focus on social strategies that will help improve your reputation, showcase your work, and help position you as the clear leader in your market. Investing a ton of time reposting, engaging with fans and followers, and trying to be cleaver won't help you grow. 

Need more help growing your remodeling business? Take advantage of all the FREE resources I have on www.RyanPaulAdams.com and download my "3 Killer Ways to Grow Your Remodeling Business" today. 

Having a Great Reputation Online is Key to Landing More Referral Deals

It's no secret with my clients and anyone that has read anything I have written in the past few years that getting an online reputation is massively important to building a quality remodeling business. It plays such a vital role in several key ways that it can really be the difference between surviving and thriving in your local market. It's not really even an option any longer for local businesses to have no reputation online or a poor web presence. Not having this is risky to your business and those that depend on your success. 

Today we are going to focus on why it's so important to helping you land/capture more offline referral deals and why it's foolish to assume that you are capturing every referral that is generated offline without working on your online reputation. 

How Important Are Having Reviews Online and How Do You Manage Them?

The reality is that local businesses face high stakes when it comes to online reviews, and according to a Bright Local study conducted last year:

  • 72% of consumers surveyed said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business

When businesses look to engage with their clients and prospects online, social media is overwhelmingly the avenue they pursue. While social media is an excellent way to develop a relationship with clients, it is extremely hard to build a big, loyal following for most remodeling businesses.

Also, most people just don't go to Facebook or Twitter to consult with their friends on who they hired for their latest remodeling project. Referrals just aren't happening like that for most remodeling contractors. Social media is still an important part of your overall marketing strategy, but having reviews online is more important.

Generating lots of quality reviews on sites like Yelp, Google + (Places), Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Citysearch, Angies List is much easier to do for a remodeling business than build 1,000 followers on Facebook. Not only are these reviews vital to validating your top prospects decision to hire you, but they are largely considered "social signals" and can play a big role in how you rank in organic and local search. 

Actively managing online reviews and implementing a "reputation marketing" strategy is often overlooked and much more sales-targeted method of prompting engagement. Not only will having lots of quality reviews push your online prospects to contact you vs your top competitor, it will help you close more deals from all your marketing, especially your referrals. 

Who would you do business with if two friends referred you to two different businesses?

The local business with 25 reviews and an overall 4 out 5 rating on a variety of review sites, or the business with ZERO reviews and little information about the quality of the service they deliver from their past clients. It's clear how important this is, so why aren't more remodeling businesses doing this?

Offline Clients and Referral Prospects Go Online!

I have consulted with countless business owners who claim that they don't need a great online presence because 95% of their business comes from offline referrals (past clients, friends, family, community members, associates, etc). The biggest mistake most remodeling businesses make is depending on referrals alone to fuel their business, but that's a story for another day.

The point I want you to realize here is that your offline referrals, those who were referred to you by someone that knows you, 90% of them go online to research your business. If you don't have awesome information on the 1st page of Google, you risk planting a seed of doubt in that prospects mind. Or worse, your competitors are on page 1 and their information/reviews look better than yours. 

You are losing referral business if you don't have a great reputation and online presence. That I can guarantee. If you depend on referrals to survive, one of the smartest decisions you can make this year and into the future is implementing a reputation marketing strategy and getting a quality web presence beyond just your website. If your website is bad. Fix it! If you have no reviews. Get some!  If you have no information about your company on other websites. Get it done! One of the best ways to get more business is by having a business that people can actually learn about online. 

Need more help growing your remodeling business? Take advantage of all the FREE resources I have on www.RyanPaulAdams.com and download my "3 Killer Ways to Grow Your Remodeling Business" today.