How to Make Facebook Work for You!

By Chris Hunter

Try Facebook with your business they say, it’ll work great! So you try it and it stinks. You post and get three likes. One was you, your mom, and someone who accidentally hit the like button while scrolling.

What are you doing wrong? Why can some have great results and you try it and nothing happens? Facebook has an algorithm that can make or break your page. I put together some best practice tips based on information from Facebook for my team recently and decided to share with you!

Page likes

First, you have to get people to like the page. You can’t have 10 people who are fans of your page and expect to get reach. Facebook has a paid promotion you can do to target people who are in your area and likely to “like” your page. It’s extremely effective. Also, encourage all your team members to go on and like your page and “invite friends”. The invite friends function is something I encourage everyone to do often.

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It’s about engagement

You can have what you think is the best content in the world or the funniest meme ever, but whenever you post content that doesn’t get much social interaction, Facebook essentially lowers your rating. Every time you have something that isn’t interacted with, your algorithm score goes down. You can even get your score so low that it’s very hard to organically crawl back out of it. When this happens, you will have to pay to promote your post to get anyone to see it. If you wouldn’t walk up to someone and say what you post on your page, then it’s not being social! Ask questions and post content that engages with your audience. It’s a two-way conversation between you and your customers. What an opportunity to talk with the people who do business with you every day! In the business manager section, you can see statistics on engagement for your posts, plus who is engaging so you can better craft future posts toward your target audience. For example, I can see that women between the age of 35-44 in Ardmore, Oklahoma are the most engaged with our page. If I was doing a paid ad, I may want to only target women in that age group to get the most return on my advertising investment.

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Be Authentic

The key to earning customer’s trust is being social with them and show the human side of your business. It’s a chance to showcase how hard you work at all hours, all of the nice compliments you receive, your families, your funny faults, specials exclusively for Facebook customers, charity work, your real-life situations that they can relate to, any continuing education and how much, how you keep customer’s comfortable, and how you save them money.  Once trust is earned, they will have you top of mind the next time they are in need. The more they see you going above and beyond, the stronger the bond becomes. People want to do business with people they trust and know! Don’t be afraid to cross your personal posts with your business posts either. People will associate you with your business, so be mindful of what you are posting. Be authentic!

 

VIDEO

Video is where it’s at! Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed with Facebook recently wrote, “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

Use live video and be sure to interact with your audience. Show them what you are working on, what’s going on at the office, ask questions, interact, and make it fun! It is SOCIAL media! How about taking a live video as one of your technicians goes into an attic? It’s something your customers don’t see every day and it will generate interest! I also think you should utilize video to tell your brand’s story. What’s your mission for being in business and what do your customers need to know about you and the company? Tell it on video!

Here is a recent sample showing the types of post that get the most engagement for one of our Hunter Super Techs pages. Video is the clear winner!

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Frequency & Time

How much should you post and when? According to a best practice study by NULOU, posting a minimum of three times a week and no more than ten times per week is acceptable. How often do you post with your personal page? Think about that as well. Just be social without being annoying. The best time to post is when your audience is available. Using the Facebook business manager, it shows me that my audience is most engaged between 7:00 – 9:00 PM. By no surprise, it shows almost all are engaged daily. Very few people take a day off of social media. Try interacting and posting when your customers are available. It will pay off.

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Things to Avoid

Don’t use ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into interacting. Facebook has said they will demote these in Newsfeeds. “Like this page and share it” are sayings you should not do. Don’t post things that could damage the company’s reputation! If it doesn’t line up with the company’s core values, don’t share it with the world! It never goes away.

Don’t use the same text over and over or share content that has been circulated.

Don’t make a lot of text only posts.

Don’t argue with customers on posts or bash a competitor! That actually is engagement so it will start to show up on more newsfeeds. Not what you want.

 

Boosted Posts & Ads

Boosting and targeting ads are extremely effective. This is how you can be in front of your customer day and night. You can even create custom audiences by uploading your customer list. Facebook will find them, plus find people who have the same demographic as your list. It’s very powerful. I do believe you should work with a professional to make sure they are done correctly and targeting the audience you want. Otherwise, you could spend lots of money with little to no return. Promoted posts and ads are not only an awesome way to target your audience, but also target and engage potential people to join your team! If you aren’t spending some of your advertising budget on social media marketing, you need to rethink your strategy. There are numerous tools you can use including promote local business, creating offers, publish job posts, get phone calls, bookings, page likes and website visits, create events, start a survey poll, and much more! Take the time to invest in learning or partner with an expert to help take your local marketing to the next level!  Facebook can work for you!

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Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Profit First: Taming Your Money-Gobbling Monster

By Lynn Wise

Are you familiar with Profit First? It’s something I explored in my previous article, but even if you didn’t read it, you may have heard of this revolutionary approach to cash flow. Based on the best-selling book by Mike Michalowicz, Profit First presents a simple way to rethink your business accounting. While the conventional cash flow formula is revenues minus expenses equals profit, Profit First offers a subtle tweak: Revenues minus profits equals expenses.

In other words, it’s an accounting paradigm in which you set aside profits from each bank deposit you make, and only then do you pay the bills. It forces entrepreneurs to proactively set aside real cash earnings, and it can transform any business from a money-gobbling monster into a profit-generating machine.

In short, it’s all about taming the beast that is your business—but where to start, exactly?

 

Understanding the Problem

It’s probably fair to say that most business owners review their income statements infrequently. Chances are, you simply don’t have the time to review your important financial documents every single day, and that’s okay! But you probably do check your bank account daily—if only to make sure you’ve still got enough in the reserves to cover the day’s operational expenses.

This is human nature: We want to know what’s happening now, at this very moment, and to make our decisions based on that snapshot of information. There’s actually a psychological term for this tendency; it’s called the Recency Effect. This is the human inclination to overemphasize the right now. This practice of making financial decisions based solely on the current account statements is also called Bank Balance Accounting.

Bank Balance Accounting is common, but also problematic. It’s all but impossible to make real long-term plans or to prepare our companies for growth when all we’re looking at is today’s balance. Business owners who rely on Bank Balance Accounting tend to fall into the Survival Trap—not necessarily working toward a vision or a long-term goal, but simply doing whatever’s required to keep their business afloat in the here-and-now.

The other piece of the puzzle is GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Practices. It is the paradigm that most small businesses use, and the one that often goes hand-in-hand with Bank Balance Accounting. GAAP simply refers to that conventional formula discussed earlier—Sales minus expenses equals profits.

GAAP makes logical sense. What it suggests is that we should sell as much as possible, spend as little as possible, then pocket the difference. The math checks out! The problem here is human nature. We’re not logical creatures and GAAP may make numerical sense, but it hardly makes “human sense.” All too often, GAAP manifests as an obsessive desire to sell more and more, to make your company bigger and bigger, improving top-line revenues and hoping that translates into a big increase in profit. Again, it’s not really a visionary approach. It’s all about doing something now to keep the company afloat. But the real problem is that, as we grow our businesses and making them bigger and better, it causes operational expenses to balloon. The more we make, the more we spend. Essentially, there’s nothing left to claim as profit.

 

A New Way to Consider Your Business’s Financial Health

In short, what business owners need is a way to monitor the financial health of their business while also working toward real, long-term growth solutions. Profit First provides exactly that, and it does so in a way that uses our natural human behaviors advantageously. In fact, Profit First actually encourages business owners to continue with their Bank Balance Accounting habits!

Maybe you’re ready to get started with Profit First and learn how you can actually be smart about generating business profits. I can recommend a few action steps: Draw a line in the sand today and commit to taming your money-gobbling monster. No more paycheck-to-paycheck living. No more survival mode. Make real growth your goal!

A Certified Profit First Professional that is knowledgeable about home services businesses can coach you on the best approach—how to tame your beast and turn into a cash generator. Ask your Profit First Professional about taking an Instant Assessment, which can provide you with some specific numbers and calculations as you rethink your business accounting practices.

Your company may seem untamable, but Profit First can work for any business—assuming you pursue it with the right coaching. Take a minute to seek a Certified Profit First Professional today!

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Yes, Your Next Hire Should Be A Woman

By Vicki LaPlant

How exciting is it to write an article on why hiring a woman should be a part of your thinking with that next hire? I, like many people (not just women but men as well), stumbled into this industry. Having taught high school English for four years, I didn’t even know an industry such as ours existed. And if I had any conscious recognition of it, my assumption would have been that it was for engineers or people who wanted to work on the air conditioner or heater. (My Texas upbringing is showing.)

The point being is that 30 years ago upon my entry into HVACR, we were an invisible industry and today we still remain so to most young people – men or women. So for career opportunities, the industry is not on the radar. And this is in spite of the fact that Monster.com states that an HVAC mechanic is one of the top 10 highest paying two-year degree opportunities.

So the first answer to the question of why women should enter this industry is opportunity and money. With the shortage of skilled application and mechanical engineers, technicians and plumbers, our industry will continue to require more people for the foreseeable future and it is an industry recognized to pay well. So the opportunities for women are abundant.

Next, this industry needs women. What we bring is an ability to listen, to translate technical language into consumer language, to recognize needs and provide solutions. When I entered the industry, I didn’t know the difference between a heater, a standard furnace, a condenser, an evaporator coil and an air conditioner. Yet, I was hired to write and edit training materials. I didn’t know the technical jargon, but I did know how to communicate and how to explain technical information in a way that students learning the industry could grasp. This is a skill that many women have based on our willingness to ask questions and or for clarification when we don’t understand. I never encountered anyone who wasn’t willing to help me learn the technical aspects of the industry.

This industry also needs motivators. This is another role women do well. We long ago learned how to motivate siblings, our children, spouses, and employees to reach for more, to accomplish things they didn’t always know they were capable of.  In one of my first major career promotions, I had to create a department that had never existed in the company before.  I had to create goals, hire people to accomplish these goals, and motivate them when we were all tired and somewhat despondent. Women do these activities in their everyday lives so why not apply these same skills in an industry that desperately needs them?

Focus and priorities are often missing elements in many businesses. HVACR businesses have a tendency to run in one direction for a while and then an opportunity – sometimes good, but often not – cause the company to change course and move in another direction without a lot of analysis or forethought on whether the company and the skill sets of the employees are ready for the new course of action.

Yes, change is often necessary, but once again, I think women bring clarity of purpose and focus on priorities as part of our skill sets. We have had a great deal of practice organizing and staying focused on what needs to be accomplished today, this week, and this month both at work and at home. Many times in my career in the industry, I have been tempted or even on occasion altered my focus, only eventually to realize that my skill sets and my personal satisfaction required me to be in the role of educating and helping others realize their potential in their jobs or their businesses. I think women bring that ability to the companies that they work for or the companies that they own.

Some of the most successful women I know own HVACR businesses. They bring their skills of organization, prioritization, motivation, and genuine care and concern for employees and customers to their businesses. No wonder women owners are so successful.

One of the new buzz words in the world of business is gamification. So many young people have grown up playing games on their computers and internet that the concept has carried over into the business world. The younger generation wants to like where she or he works. They want to have fun at work. And who better than a woman to understand how much more effective and efficient people are if work seems like fun? (If you question this logic, just watch the next time a Mom gets toys cleaned up with a timed race.) I always understood the importance of making work fun. At one point, in my career, I had a department of 80 people and once a quarter, we organized a “fun day.” One time, we went bowling at two in the afternoon. Another time, we had a road rally with clues. Work for all of us can sometimes be drudgery so from time to time, do something fun and let women help you with that.

Yes, I stumbled into this industry, but don’t let my mistake become yours. Instead, seek out this industry if you are a woman or if you are looking for an employee, make sure you are including women in that search.

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

It’s Your Busy Season – Train Anyway!

By Steve Mores

I’d like to jump outside of our industry for a moment to mention a few unrelated fields with a common component: Training.

My soon to be daughter-in-law works in the insurance industry, and as you can imagine with the constant changes going on in the insurance world, they have continuing education training all year to keep them up-to-date on current trends and changes. Even during their busy open enrollment season, training continues.

I have several family members that have devoted their life to nursing, and they always have seminars, workshops, and continuing education classes to keep up with the ever evolving medical industry. They never seem to have a slow season. They are busy all year round and training continues.

Years ago, when my accountant was studying to be a CPA, he continued to go to night classes and study for the CPA exam. Now as a CPA, he still attends law and tax update seminars while managing his practice. Even during the busy tax season, training continues.

So, why should our industry be any different? Yes, we have seasons where we are super busy with service and installs, yet not so different than the busy seasons mentioned above. I know your team is exhausted right now. My team and I have been partnering and training with contractors for close to 30 years now. The seasonality hasn’t changed, but our industry keeps moving forward. To stay ahead of the competition, trends, and industry changes, we need to continually look at constant ongoing training for our team. You may have to adjust the times, venue, and frequency, but training should never grind to a halt, even during the busiest of times. You never know when you’re going to pick up that new bit of information, communication technique, or that great new product that will increase revenue and profit throughout the year!

Plus, having training all year round shows that you are committed to your team’s success, which will in turn help grow your company. Great training also contributes to job satisfaction, employee retention, and satisfied customers!

Major League Baseball has their season and playoffs that lead to the World Series. The NFL has playoffs and the Super Bowl. The NHL has playoffs and The Stanley Cup Finals. NASCAR has playoffs and the final race to determine a champion. All of these sports have an off season, a regular season, a grand finale, and the training still continues all year long. Even during the “busy season!”

With all that said, your training needs to be productive, covering new product features and benefits, communication, and customer service skills, while continuing to stress the basics of how to effectively work a call.

“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan

 

Putting training off until there becomes a convenient time or season will get you in the habit of being inconsistent, and your team will get the impression that it is not a company priority.

 “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky

 

Finally, productive, scheduled, and ongoing training will always benefit you, your team, and your customers. Even when it hurts to do so!

“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” – Muhammad Ali

Consistent, ongoing, and productive training will produce consistent, ongoing, and productive results!

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!