5 Social Media Tips from a Field Service Pro
After building 2 companies from scratch (IceBound & Tri-Star), increasing the number of followers tenfold on their social channels, releasing a successful podcast, and finding time for interviews, no one would challenge Tersh Blissett’s status as an HVAC pro. So who better to give you 5 social media tips that any HVAC manager (or field service in general) can implement? Without further ado, here is Tersh’s advice:
Click below to skip to what matters most to you:
We make no secret of the fact that scheduling can make or break an HVAC business. But it’s not just about fitting job in a calendar: a manager’s time is a precious commodity and the only way to ensure that you’re giving enough attention to every relevant task is to be rigorous about your schedule. Tersh’s way of singling out full days for specific activities is a great method if you want to make sure you’re focusing all your efforts on a single issue rather than trying to kill any number of birds with one stone. This is how he describes his weekly process:
“I have a very strict schedule. Every Monday and Friday, it’s all about the air conditioning business; every Tuesday and Thursday it’s networking events. I’m the president of the Small Business Chamber in our area also. On Wednesdays, I do podcasting and that’s what I try to do pretty strictly on Wednesdays. So the only way that I can get everything done on Mondays and Fridays and then a little bit of time after hours sprinkled in on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is by keeping a very strict calendar. Then every Sunday afternoon, I sit down for at least an hour, although sometimes it’s more like four hours, where I’m reading articles that I’ll share as blog posts and focus on social media scheduling.”
Overcome all your technician scheduling challenges with these 5 tips!
At its core, social media is about exchanging information and the user with more knowledge of a topic has an advantage, of course. Therefore, staying up to date with the industry is how you become an HVAC pro and a thought leader. HVAC experts can struggle sometimes with social media and the sheer volume of posts they need to publish but news, blogs, YouTube channels, and other online sources can easily inspire original content. Sharing valuable insight with your network can also transform you into a source for your audience.
“I follow the news in general, then HVAC news magazines, and they’re pretty industry specific, but, in general, blog posts and different groups, whether it’s on LinkedIn or on Facebook. Anything that’s to do with the newest and latest technology is definitely something that I follow when it comes to air conditioning specifically.” Tersh went on to add that he’s created an RSS feed which automatically keeps him in the loop with what his favorite sources post. Then it’s:
“people like Jim Bergman and Measure Quick are interesting, too. He’s always coming out with new technology and he’s cutting edge when it comes to the actual engineering side of air conditioning. But when it comes to the business side, I have several coaches that I stay in constant contact with every single day, almost. And these coaches really keep me in tune with the newest, latest, and greatest technology.”
Personas, or avatars, are the guiding light for any HVAC pro looking to improve their social media strategy. Just as with pretty much anything else marketing-related, having a clear picture in your head of who you’re targeting is what will inform you of every decision’s impact. Tersh deftly highlights how he separates the ideal commercial customer from the domestic one and tailors his posts for each:“Once you’ve figured out the avatar [or the persona], then you can narrow it down. So, if we’re going after our commercial avatar, your managers and that type of people, LinkedIn is going to be more appealing because that’s where they’re going to be, most of the time.” So, if you’re looking to sign more commercial contracts, it’s best to focus on LinkedIn and promote content that appeals to facilities managers, building owners, and other decision makers relevant to your HVAC business.
“Whereas casual social media, Facebook and Instagram, that’s going to be a lot more leisurely. So that’s where we’re going to see a lot more residential type of clients. However, that’s where you’ll also find store managers, regional managers of commercial sites so it’s still a good opportunity.”
It’s self-evident that individual homeowners will be on Facebook and Instagram but just because these are not professional networks doesn’t mean you can’t make your brand known here as well. The challenge is to find a middle ground where your content is appealing enough to people who are casually scrolling through friends’ updates but still professional enough that you don’t diminish your HVAC pro brand image.
Why should you invest in HVACR business smarketing?
“You have to approach every channel in a completely different manner. What works on LinkedIn won’t work on Facebook or Instagram. They’re all going to have to be different posts. And we do use a lot of automation tools, like Meet Edgar and Buffer, and even this one program called IFTTT which means If This Then That. This one will share posts from one platform to another.” These three are all software that can help an HVAC pro manager get a handle on social media by selecting a day of the week to create all the posts and schedule them in advance. This is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of posting without sitting down every day to do it. But Tersh warns of a common pitfall:
“Like I said, you have to be careful because when you start cross-promoting, it could dilute your social media message and cause some confusion. But IFTTT can take the same post and change the wording up to five times, then share it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, all those different channels. This way, you can personalize it.”
Tersh’s observation is an incisive one as scheduling posts in advance makes it tempting to simply copy and paste the same text. Luckily, software can make all that less of a hassle. Which takes us to our final HVAC pro tip:
“I have some RSS feeds that automatically come in to me and every week I’ll review these blog posts and consider the blog posts on my website. I’ve set it up so that my blog platform will automatically share a new post five different times with five different wordings on all of the different social media platforms. So if it’s on Instagram, it takes the image from the blog post and then extracts a short excerpt and adds the hashtags I previously selected.” Even with a schedule as strict as his, Tersh insists that the best way to stay on top of social media is to automate as much of it as possible, while still maintaining authenticity. His results speak for themselves:
“We took over a Facebook page in August last year and , until now, we’ve generated about 1300 followers as well as constant engagement. We have almost 200 reviews, in total, and we achieved this thanks to our engagement. Automation was a big part of our success.”
It’s not easy to be an HVAC pro, that much is clear. Between the strict schedule, the sheer amount of preparation, and always having to be on top of the game, it’s no wonder that some managers and owners feel left behind sometimes. The solution is to set your priorities and start small then invest more when you get the hang of it. After all, Tersh’s success is living proof that not only is it possible, but it’s also worth it. Download our infographic below and get started on your marketing journey today!