If you’re like many HVAC contractors, you’re not fully sold on the concept that Facebook yields measurable results. Many of the contractors we know are still on the fence about whether or not to invest time and resources into cultivating this channel, how to integrate Facebook into the overarching sales funnel, and how to create and deploy content that is interesting and relevant to consumers.
Now, Facebook’s algorithm change complicates this decision even further. Brands who are already on Facebook face a new fork in the road: Do we continue and hope for the best? Or do we make a shift and identify and deploy an entirely new strategy?
Just make sure you are doing due diligence with your planning, your funnel management, your content planning, and your engagement strategy. And be prepared to be agile!
The change in how Facebook will rank and display brand content is significant. If you do not have an active following, a large, vocal, and enthusiastic client base, or a proactive employee base that is prepared to spread the word on your behalf, think twice before jumping in now. In our experience, Facebook is an excellent place for HVAC contractors to demonstrate value, connect with clients, and drive leads, but this cannot be done without a planned, 12-month strategy. If you are on Facebook, it’s extremely likely that you’ll need to change your content ASAP.
Here’s what our team of HVAC industry marketing professionals averaging 25+ years of experience suggests.
- Conduct a full competitor assessment. Who are your top three to five competitors publishing in social media, both before and after the change?
- Create a real profile of your target customer. Push beyond demographics. Start with age and household income, but develop an understanding of your client that goes beyond these numbers. Are you reaching primarily women? Are you seeking price shoppers? (It’s okay if you are.) Are you interested in selling ancillary services such as duct cleaning and water softening and CO detectors? Understand who you want to reach, what you want them to buy, and what they want as it relates to what you are selling.
- Understand that engagement is the key to success with the new algorithm. “Comment here.” “Like us.” “Share this!” These will not create the type of engagement that will yield success. You must create and deploy interesting, useful, customer-demanded information and content in order to receive attention. That means you must set aside what you want to say and think instead about what the client wants to hear. Trust me when I tell you that this is the most difficult thing we’ve seen marketers do over the years. It is natural to think about what you, the brand, want the consumer to know. But to be successful in getting your brand noticed in social media these days, you must develop and deploy consumer-demanded content. Be prepared to realize that what the consumer wants to read may have little to do with what you want to sell. The key is to think about it differently than you have in the past.
- Create a plan and a policy for employee engagement. It goes without saying that your employees should be on the lookout for your company’s social media content and willingly engage with it. But here’s the thing we see over and over again: this is not always the case. There are lots of reasons for this, but the most common reason is that some employees just aren’t on social media. Well, some of them are, and some is all you need. Remember, one of the keys to success is engagement. Create a policy for willing employees to interact with and share your content, and you can make it easy for them to do so if you…
- Create content that your employees are proud to represent. Some employees will share the special offers that you’re promoting, but far more will share useful content related to safety issues, the great work your company does in the community, or DIY strategies that allow them to save money. Give your employees a reason to be proud and shout out about your brand.
- Beef up your organic SEO program. That’s right. Winning at Facebook starts in large part with winning at SEO. We recommend that our clients create more unique, high-value, original content on their websites than ever before. More blogging. More articles. More How To and DIY tips and insights. Create content so good and so useful that your SEO program attracts clients, and they share it on their networks. This is the number one tip we’re sharing with our clients right now.
Don’t abandon Facebook. If you feel as though the shift will make it too hard to be competitive and does not justify your resources, that’s a fair assessment. But if you plan to continue—and for many brands it makes sense to do so—just make sure you are doing due diligence with your planning, your funnel management, your content planning, and your engagement strategy. And be prepared to be agile!