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Secret #4 of Pool Builder Marketing:

Social Media CAN Help You…
But You’re Probably Doing It Wrong.

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about the first three of The 7 Crucial Marketing Secrets Every Pool Builder should know. Namely:

  1. Buying a Swimming Pool Is a Big Deal.
  2. To the Average Homeowner, You Look Just like Everyone Else.
  3. Your Online Image Is A Lot More Important Than You Think.

Let’s move on now to what always seems to be the MOST CONTESTED and EMOTIONAL marketing advice I can offer to any pool builder:

Marketing Secret #4:
“Yes, there is potential benefit to using Social Media,
But chances are, you’re doing it WRONG.”

The reason this subject tends to be “contested” and “emotional” is because this is where you’re most likely to get conflicting advice from so-called “marketing experts” such as myself.  In fact, I went on a rant about this a couple of years ago, because it was breaking my heart to see so many so-called “experts” giving innocent business owners what I considered to be bad advice.

But with the fresh cool wind of a brand-new 2014 under my wings, I’m going to “take the high road” today, and skip the negative admonitions, and simply lay out my recommendations of what you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT do. NOTE – The recommendations for POOL BUILDERS, RETAILERS and SERVICE COMPANIES in many cases are DIFFERENT.  So pay attention to determine which of these recommendations apply to you.

POOL BUILDERS SHOULD:

  • Create a Facebook page, and post daily updates of all their different your jobs in progress.  And TAG your homeowners in the photos you take of their backyards.  (That will inspire your customers to “like” and “share” YOUR photos with all of THEIR friends.) I explained this in more detail in my blog post here.
  • Do the same thing with Google+.  (Click here for more advice about how you should utilize Google+).
  • Create a HOUZZ account, and post your very best photos. (It’s ALSO perfectly fine to do this with Flickr and Pinterest, but it won’t have near the power of Houzz.)  Click here for more details on how to use HOUZZ.
  • Create and proactively manage an account with AngiesList.  (Note – I didn’t say ADVERTISE with AngiesList; I’m just talking about setting up your free account.)  More detailed advice about what to do with AngiesList here.
  • Update ALL of your online accounts (including the ones mentioned above, plus Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, YP.com, and many more) with accurate and interesting information about your company.  This includes good-looking photos and nice videos, if you have them.
  • Make sure that all of your great videos that you posted on YouTube and elsewhere are ALSO on your website.

POOL BUILDERS should NOT:

  • Try to SELL anything on social media.  In fact, you really shouldn’t even BRAG on social media, because it’s a turnoff in print just as much as it is in person.
  • Encourage people to LEAVE your website to go visit your social media pages.
  • Waste time with Twitter (Unless, of course, you are so incredibly popular in your market that you have at least 100 potential LOCAL POOL BUYERS who are ALREADY signed up to receive your tweets. And let me tell you something – If you’re a pool builder who’s figured out how to get FUTURE pool buyers to sign up for your tweets before they even met you, AND you’ve actually found many interesting things to tweet about, then I’d like to meet you, congratulate you and buy you a beer.)

RETAILERS:

  • Retailers are the one exception where you might actually want to promote items for sale through your social media– especially Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.  That’s because your followers are most likely “loyal/repeat customers” who in fact ARE interested in what you sell. And if you’ve got a unique product coming in, or special sale coming up, then your loyal customers would probably be delighted to hear about it.
  • Retailers should also pay special attention to the point above regarding “Update All of Your Online Accounts.

SERVICE COMPANIES:

  • Truth be told, the smartest “social communication” a SERVICE company can do would be to send regular E-MAILS (yes, good old-fashioned e-mails) to all of your customers and prospects on at least a monthly basis, and share with them your good advice about how to take proper care of their pool.
  • Service companies can also potentially use Twitter to stay in contact with their clients.  But you should recognize that (1) a 260 character tweet isn’t going to be near as effective as a “non-space restricted” e-mail, and (2) in most cases, your tweet is just going to direct them to a webpage or e-mail anyway.   Thus, if you think you need to tweet, then you should FIRST make sure you are sending out salient e-mails, and then SUPPLEMENT those e-mail blasts with Tweets.

Some Social Media Final Tips for EVERYONE:

  • Don’t expect miracles from your social media efforts.
  • Don’t get political.  Unless of course your goal is to disenchant fully one third to two thirds of your target market.
  • If you “subcontract” your social media posts, don’t expect to have very many followers.   (Most people can sniff out the disingenuous nature of “puff posts.”)
  • If you haven’t figured out how to make Twitter work for you, then don’t expect Instagram to work for you either. (Again, the secret is “you have to have followers.” And if you have followers, why not just send them an e-mail?)
  • Remember that – like any other form of advertising – social media is only going to reach ONE segment of your target market. You should ideally use MULTIPLE media and venues to reach the majority of your target market.

Okay, that’s quite a list of “Do’s” and “Do Not’s.” But I hope it puts you on the right track of how to properly manage your efforts in the social media arena.   If you’re still hungry for more social media advice, you’ll find more on one of my previous blog posts here.

One thing I haven’t gotten into yet is how to take advantage of all the OTHER free online directories and websites that can help send new prospects your way.  I will cover those in my NEXT newsletter, next week.

To your success…
Brett

©2014 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin, Inc. May not be used without permission.

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