For this week's blog, we've been fortunate enough to have one of our customers offer some insight into his company's use of Social Media and outline the benefits of using the various different platforms available.
Guest Blog - By Tom @ West Country Tech
Social Media and a new business
Social media as we all know is a complete mine field and knowing where to start with it, is for a lot of people completely overwhelming. Especially if all we have known is finding business through word of mouth, traditional advertising and flyer dropping etc. In 2 years I have gone from being made redundant, out on my own with a small white van, which my parents bought for me to 2 brand new vehicles on the road, 2 full time members of staff and 2 part time members and in that time social media has been the back bone for where I am today.
I don’t claim to be the next Steve jobs but I was not anticipating being where I am in this space of time. I remember saying to my wife day 2 after losing my job that I would be happy if I could make a living with just me, a van, some ladders and a few small jobs a week, and that is what I did, to start with.
I was very fortunate to be welcomed into some very forward thinking WhatsApp groups filled with business owners who had made it in the industry. These groups would help members stuck out on site with technical issues and would discuss everything that could assist in boosting each other’s business, this mostly involved social media and getting everything you can from it. For me, being new to the business world, it was a game changer.
The group also introduced me to Gary Vaynerchuck who I will discuss later in this blog. Having this kind of support from both the group and Gary ultimately accelerated my progression to where I am now. Roll on 2 years and we are the go to company in the south west of England for rural farm CCTV, faster internet and networking. We have also had the privilege of looking after Henry Slade from Exeter Chiefs and England Rugby’s home network and smart home technology, met Tom Daley and Jack Knowle also from Exeter Chiefs. All whom were met form a single message sent on Instagram.
If you haven’t heard of Gary Vaynerchuck you need to get this guy in your life. His voice will probably irritate you and you may initially think he is a little full of himself but give him a chance. His message is work hard, make the most of social media while it is so incredibly cheap and be completely transparent, the 3 building blocks for my business. I will let you do your own research into Gary but in a nut shell he started a business from nothing, now employs 700 people, invested in Facebook and films his life daily with his daily vlog to show what hard work is. The reason why Gary and the WhatsApp group are significant are because they pushed me into using social media.
Before I had a single customer, I was using Instagram and Facebook. Facebook was the catalyst for me getting into CCTV installs as it enabled me to promote directly to my customer base and Instagram became as I call it, my ‘media centre’ where I would take photos and post stories of every job, which I could then show customers when surveying jobs. I installed a single CCTV system on a farm, posted it to a Facebook page, created an advert (Boost post), which allowed me to push the post in front of demographics like farmers, farm contractors, dairy workers and other people associated with the agriculture industry. Each time I ‘boosted’ a post it would cost me £40 for 5 days and at the time it would get me about 15 enquiries, 10 surveys and about 3-4 jobs, all of which were 2-8 camera systems. That is what Gary means about it being cheap.
Gary says that everyone should be on all platforms. I think this is a good attitude but we are all working in our own niches and need to be in front of the right people. For example, I am not active on Snapchat or the latest craze that is now downloaded more than any other social media platform, TikTok. The reason for this is because my audience are not active on there and won’t be for a long time.
So what is our day to day with social media?
We treat Instagram as our media centre. Instagram has 2 big features, stories and posts. Stories allow you to take a photo or short video and post it to the Instagram story, which people see at the top of their Instagram App for just 24 hours. We will take between 5-15 photos and as many 3 second videos of our day to day tasks as possible. This can be of us in the office loading up for the day ahead, getting to work and getting covered in cow poo, pictures of hardware that we are about to install, up a ladder looking at the view and of cameras installed. We will also take photos of hardware supplied by our supplier Mast Digital to which they will then re-post on their feed. We call ourselves a transparent company. In my opinion, people enjoy using a company that shares the goings on behind the scenes and can follow them as they progress as a company. It shows that the company is run by humans who are trying their best to provide the right service for their customer. Not to mention the huge exposure that is available.
I briefly touched on our supplier Mast Digital re-posting our posts. With Instagram you can @another Instagram account and they have the choice of re-posting it. For us as a company, if we post and then Mast Digital re-post, our single photo has the potential to be seen by 1000’s. You can now start to see how powerful this can be. Talking of powerful, we managed to get in contact with henry Slade by simply following Jack Nowell, direct messaging him and saying ‘Love your page, would you be interested in a free install for some exposure on your Instagram page?’. That simple sentence lead to us meeting Henry and ultimately installing all of his smart home Tech. Not only that, it made our profile go from 200 views a day to 2000 in a single hour. Again, you can see how powerful social media can be.
A great feature is that you can link Instagram to Facebook. What this means is that any story and/or post that you create can be instantly linked to Facebook. We do everything on Instagram and let it link to Facebook automatically. Once the post is in Facebook we will then Boost a post to get further exposure.
We aren’t perfect and 2020 will be the year that we are more prominent on LinkedIn and YouTube. My goal is to post YouTube videos of live installs and general videos on us as a company and what we get up to because there is an audience there also.
This is probably a good place to finish up because the point I have hopefully got across is that some people read adverts in papers, some people view their content on their Instagram feed, some people only use Facebook, some people only rely on word of mouth and some people rely on Google and YouTube. Moral of the story is get yourself on these platforms, even if you don’t immediately see a benefit now. Because when people do start to notice you on there, you will have a back log of content and if you are lucky enough to have customers who will find you today on social media, they can follow you, which will ultimately re-inforce their decision on which company to choose.
Will they choose the company just in a magazine with a basic website or the company with both those things as well as being on social media with all the 100’s of photos of jobs you have completed to date? I know which company we are.
(edit:Stew>Thanks to Tom for spending time to write this informative blog.
If any of our customer's feel that they have any information to share via our blog then please get in touch. Also, be sure to follow Tom (West Country Tech) or ourselves on any of the social Media Platforms above. Remember those #Hashtags and @nametags )