Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I have been a member of forums for years, mostly Painttalk and Contractortalk and recently a new one, Remodel Crazy. The sharing of information on these forums is incredible. The range of experience in years and types of businesses is vast!
Where else can you post a question about a difficult procedure or new product at any hour and have several responses and opinions from seasoned professionals across the country almost instantly?
These professionals also give their advice freely to young business owners, helping them to navigate the sometimes confusing maze of Licensing, Insurance, Bookkeeping and Marketing/Advertising.
At Remodel Crazy, homeowners are encouraged to join and ask for help! These forums are like a community and members often end up meeting or doing business together!
Over the past few years I have seen a huge change in the way we do business. It used to be a word of mouth and handshake sealed the deal and a tradesman carried his tools in a satchel. Now he also carries a laptop and Websites, SEO, Keywords, Directory Listings, Targeted Mailers and Branding are part of his daily vocabulary.
The “face of our business” has now become digital!
In addition to hammering nails or wielding paintbrushes, callused fingers are now tapping keyboards!
Part of it was to learn what the hype was about. I am now hooked!
When I first started, it took a while to figure out what I was doing. Then I started making friends and connections, I now spend about 20 minutes a day and “make the rounds”. I set up logins and sharing tools that make it simple to add info at any time.
I am constantly finding new information from all my new online friends.
I can talk to like-minded people about business issues, new products, marketing ideas and more. Because I have a “history” with many of the members, they know enough about me and my business practices to be able to offer sound advice and share ideas.
The online forums I am a member of require more of a time commitment, the other social media I use in different ways are in the next post.
What I am using!
This is for professionals in many industries and trades. Great place to network, you have to request to connect and they need to know you from somewhere else. This lets you control your network. There are many groups you can join and post questions, articles, jobs, etc Great place for a subcontractor to connect with GC’s.
I have a private profile that I use to keep in touch with family and friends. I have also connected with people “I know of”, you can request to be a fan or a friend, and I connected with locals and post painting info occasionally. There are a lot of applications in Facebook; you can play Mafia Wars, send a drink or a rose, a million others. If you are not into that (like me) you can hide them.
I also have a Business Page that is public. I use this to showcase recent jobs and hope to have customers “write on my wall” eventually. It is very easy to add pictures, comments, and videos, think of it as a mini web page!
Creating a YouTube video was much easier than I thought! I just used the software on my computer and some still pictures, created an account and uploaded a video!
I have made a video on New Construction Procedures to give to customers as part of our Proposal Packet. I also made one to show a new product to protect bathtubs during construction and was able to use it to sell the service to a contractor.
Some may think of Twitter as a bunch of teenagers texting about the latest music craze. Not so, I have used Twitter to make connections in my area and share info.
You can choose who you wish to follow, yes, there is twitter spam! The posts in Twitter have to be less than 140 characters, so you get “little bites” or links all day.
With Twitter, I looked for local “Tweeters” and follow them. When you follow someone, they will generally follow you.
I have made some online friends as well, feel free to contact me to network!
By now you are probably asking, “How many leads/customers have you received?”
Well, none that I can directly attribute to these efforts, YET! I hope that by slowly building a presence, along with my website, clean and lettered vehicles, mailers and yard signs will help to brand by company by keeping it visible in the public eye.