Tradesmen: Trade forums can help answer your questions

November 13, 2014

Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer, Sonnhalter

Have you ever had a question that you didn’t have the answer to, and wanted to ask a person in the same occupational trade as you? If you normally read magazines specific to your trade, there is a chance that magazine may offer a forum where you can post a question and have like-minded participants help answer it for you. Or, if you search for a trade-specific forum, you’re very likely to find one out there.

I’ve listed some forums below to give you a head start. Don’t be afraid to ask anything. There are always people out there willing to help you out.

HVAC market – online forum of Contracting Business – forum for the HVAC market

Plumbing market

Plumbing Talk – online forum of Contractor Magazine – for professional plumbers only – a forum of RIDGID users

Electrical market – forum for the Electrical market

Different trade forums for contractors – forums for all kinds of trades

Using Social Media to Market an Event

August 19, 2010

When doing an event, from a press conference to an open house or a new product launch, are you using social media to capitalize on it? Social is an inexpensive and cost-effective way to enhance the buzz around what you’re doing. I’m not suggesting that social replace traditional methods, instead use social to enhance them.

I recently read an article on Social Media by Rich Brooks on 12 Ways to Market Your Event with Social Media. Rich makes some good points and here are some highlights:

  • Before the event – Market your event through Twitter. Even consider your own hashtag in all your tweets. If the event is large enough give it its own Twitter account. Use Facebook Events to attract fans. Use LinkedIn groups you belong to to promote the event. If you have a blog, use it to promote it. Forums, talk up your event and its benefits. Tell them about the agenda, speakers, etc.
  • During the event – Use those hashtags to make your event more findable and searchable. If it’s a local or regional event, use Foursquare and Gowalla to promote it by announcing the event, link to a registration form, give updates. If you belong to Forums, talk up the event and its benefits. Live blogging from the event, let people know what they are missing. Share video and photos – a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • After the event Blog about highlights and possibly interviews with attendees. Post similar comments on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and ask for feedback.

These are some great tips. What are you doing to capitalize on social?

If you like this post, please share it with a friend.


6 Practical Ways to Use Twitter For Your Business

August 19, 2009

A lot of B-to-B marketers still find it hard to understand practical ways to use this marketing tool. Twitter can be used as a marketing tool to build your brand, build credibility by sharing your expertise and grow your network. Twitter is my number-one source for views to my posts. Here are a few ways you can capitalize on this powerful tool:

  • Establish yourself as an expert in your field by authoring your thoughts on an industry topic, sharing tips and links to articles posted elsewhere.
  • Grow your network by joining industry groups or forums
  • Participate in Twit chats as they relate to your industry or expertise
  • Use Twitter search to find out about competitors, trends or what people are saying about you
  • Give -Get referrals
  • Add your Twitter ID to all correspondence whether it’s your e-mail, business cards or even your sales material down near the corporate signature.

These are only a few ways. I recently read a post by Meryl Evans, 62 Ways to Use Twitter for Business, that you might find interesting.

Here are a few other posts you might find interesting:

5 ways to find prospects on Twitter

5 ways to use Twitter as a tool to reach the professional tradesman

use Twitter as a PR tool to help build long term relationships


5 Ways to Get Free Traffic by Participating in Forums

August 11, 2009

forumsA forum is a group of like-minded people who share a common interest in a particular subject. It could be anything from fine wine to travel to the best ways an electrical contractor can make more money. What’s great about the internet is it’s one big database where you can search for virtually anything.

Use Google or any other search engine and type in your area of interest, e.g. fine wine, and add the word “forum” after it (there are 2,170,000 results on Google for this). If you type in electrical contractors forum, you get 2,270,000 results. The point is, there are plenty of people that share the same passions as you do.

Forums do have rules you need to follow them. Some are written and some not. If there are written rules, they are usually posted. Remember, this is a social site, not a sell site. Forums are a great place to listen, learn and grow trust with the audience. So how do you get the most out of forums?

Here are 5 of my favorite ones from tips from Nicky Jameson from a recent post .

  1. Register for a forum – then lurk. Get the feel for the tone, style and interaction of the group you joined.
  2. Slowly start posting – once you get the lay of the land, start by posting an introduction. Then you can move onto answering questions.
  3. Build a reputation – do the basic stuff, that is, make good posts. Seek to establish yourself as an expert.
  4. Answer questions – provide the most complete answer as possible with the appropriate links.
  5. Share your opinion – make sure they know it’s your opinion so folks don’t confuse it with facts. Contrary opinions can be useful in highlighting an alternative option.

You can read her entire post at: 11 Steps For Getting Free Traffic From Forums.


Industrial Marketers Focus on Social Media

July 14, 2009

industrialmarketingI’ve been saying for some time now that B-to-B marketers, and especially those in the industrial section, need to start embracing social media. Recently BtoB magazine hosted a Netmarketing breakfast in New York. Among the panel members were: Paul Dunay – Avaya Inc., Robert DeRobertis – GP DSP division of Analog devices, Rick Short – Indium Corp. and Gary Spangler – Dupont Electronic and Communications Technologies. Here are some nuggets from the meeting for you to ponder on:

  • Paul Dunay said, “You must bring valuable content that adds to the discussion. We’re using Twitter as a teaser channel, Facebook as a hub of information, Forums as a type of help desk and Blogs as our corporate voice.”
  • Robert DeRobertis said, “You have to link your social marketing to financial results, noting that internal transparency helps guide both strategic and budgetary direction.” DeRobertis’ program is driven by an understanding of his customers’ buying process which means staying up on important influencers and offering “test drives” which are special offers to see how their audience reacts.
  • Gary Spangler cautioned the audience to go slow and have a plan for social media. “The social train is coming, but you don’t have to get on all the cars at once.”
  • Rick Short uses real employees in his outbound programs, making his company more human and approachable. “Turn your company inside out. Customers want transparency, they want the real deal.”

They all agreed that your strategy should include listening, supporting customers, embracing product ideas and energizing the communities that you serve.

See videos of the speakers


Social Media: 4 Signs Your Tradesmen Want to Hear From You

May 29, 2009

Construction Worker RelaxedBlogs, Forums, Twitter – are your brands or company being mentioned on any of these? If not, what are you going to do about it? Should you be joining the conversation? What are your competitors doing? Remember, those that start conversations often end up leading them.

I read an interesting post recently from Maria Pergolino, Social media: Signs your prospects want to hear from you, that I thought had some valid points to consider.

  1. People Talking about You. While this is the most obvious, when you do find those opportunities you need to start participating. Tools like Google and Twitter Search are good free tools to use to help identify opportunities.
  2. Friends on Parked Names. Sometimes companies reserve names (park) on social sites so no one else can get them, but aren’t active on the site other than some basic company info. While there, you might be attracting potential customers or editors even without putting content up. If this is the case, you’re missing opportunities.
  3. Someone Speaking for your Brand. Sometimes people (many times they are customers) take over your name and start talking about your brand or product. Often these advocates share tips and tricks on how you can do your job better. Other times they may be complaining about a product, its features or even your customer service. Regardless, the conversations that are taking place indicates interest in your products. In either case, you should know that you’re being talked about, and in the case of the customer who is unhappy, you should try to come to the root of his problem.
  4. Name Squatting. This is where someone else beats you to your name (brand) on a social site. It may be someone who wants to profit from your name like one of your distributors, or it could be a competitor trying to lock you out of that particular market. If it’s someone using your name, you should monitor it (use a service) to make sure they aren’t saying anything negative about you. Whatever the reason, it should indicate to you that someone thinks it’s important enough to capture your name.

In Social media, they’re going to talk about you whether you’re listening or not. Don’t stick your head in the sand and ignore them.


3 Ways to Maintain Better Relationships with Tradesmen

April 6, 2009

tradesmen-300x167The cost of acquiring a new customer can be up to five times greater than keeping an existing one.

Unless you have a unique product that no one else has, you have to compete with someone for the business and part of that process is building  good customer relationships.

Contractors, for the most part, are loyal folks as long as your product delivers on its promises and you don’t treat them like dirt. Bottom line is, if you treat them right, they’ll be customers for life.

Not only will they continue to be a customer, but they will become an advocate for your brand. These guys talk to each other and believe me, if your product doesn’t deliver on its promises, word will spread fast.

Here are three ways to keep relationships with professional tradesmen strong:

1. Stay in touch. E-mail is probably the best and most cost-effective way to this. Make them feel important, even a quick e-mail to say thanks for the business or a follow-up note from customer service after they have helped out with a problem will pay off long term.

  • A call from their local sales rep to say hi with no particular sales pitch may lead to opportunities if they (your sales guys) just listen.
  • Make them feel like they’re special by giving them a first look at new products as they are being developed.
  • They also could be the ideal source for field testing prior to launch. Also think about doing a webinar for customers only on a new product or application.

2. Solicit feedback. You have the perfect audience of people who know and use your product. I haven’t met a contractor yet that doesn’t have an opinion he wants to share. There are several low-cost survey and poll services  that you should check out:

What better venue to ask for feedback on a new product or product enhancements. Make them feel like they’re part of the team.

3. Provide valuable resources. These contractors are up to their eyeballs, so if you’re going to give them something, make sure there’s some meat on the bone. Good vehicles to use would be to have pertinent information on your web site like case studies and white papers.

If you feel really bold, set up industry forums on your site and let the contractors come and talk to each other. You’ll find that there will be strong advocates that arise out of such forums that will be your best advertising to the group.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 857 other followers