The Role of Facebook (& other social media) for HVAC, Home Performance, and Solar

If you are a business owner, no matter the industry, you’ve likely heard armchair marketing advice akin to “Oh, you’ve got to be active on social media these days.” And while this isn’t entirely false for HVAC, home performance and solar companies (we still strongly recommend it and manage social media campaigns for our clients), it’s time to “put Facebook advertising in its place.”

If you caught our latest Webinar Wednesday series, you may have heard Energy Circle CEO Peter Troast going into the details of Facebook’s role as a digital channel, and how to best use the strengths of this powerful tool for your HVAC, solar or home performance business.

Cambridge Analytica: The Sky Didn’t Fall!

It used to be that FB was a powerful tool for targeting audiences, down to the more granular details of your audience (like actual income or homeownership). But in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, access to third party data is now obsolete. (You can read more about that here).

As we have watched these “post-Cambridge” changes take affect, the conclusion is that the loss of third party data has had a minimal impact. Facebook targeting may not be quite as granular, but it still allows you to target income level by zip code and use other creative tactics to reach your target audience.

The Role of Social Media

Conversions matter—right? It is an easy trap to fall into, looking strictly at the numbers, to dismiss a certain digital channel when it isn’t converting at a high enough rate. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. have a much lower conversion rate when compared to organic and paid search engine traffic, and each channel’s platform is optimized for different types of messaging and content.

Facebook is great for reaching a broad range of demographics and distributing visual content. Instagram is also a very visual medium but caters to a younger audience. Linkedin has become a go-to for more technical messaging and in-depth educational articles, and Twitter is proving most useful as more of an amplification channel for the previously mentioned platforms.

In this statistical example, we used Facebook to compare conversion rates to other, non-social channels:

So what is the takeaway? Forget social media because it isn’t attributing direct sales?

Absolutely not. Social media is still a powerful targeting tool, and with the success we have seen with lookalike audiences and creative targeting, social media channels provide a specific value of creating brand awareness and steering your customers down the sales funnel (even if they eventually convert through another channel.)

Audience Building

The most powerful tool in the Facebook toolbox is their lookalike audience process. You upload a list of emails or phone numbers from your real clients, and Facebook matches their behavior and interests with a lookalike audience. This is a whole new group of potential leads to market towards.

We have also found success in using videos to capture and build your audience. In fact, you can build an audience comprised solely of people who watch one of your videos for more than 3 seconds. This puts even more value on the first 3 to 4 seconds of a video’s content.

Once you’ve built your audience, you can target your content and direct your new potential customers to convert.

You may not see those customers converting directly through the social media, but the more often they see your brand and messaging, the more likely they are to remember you once they are ready to convert via organic searching, directly entering your url at a later time, or even by phone.

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Tags: HVAC, circle, digital, energy, home, marketing, media, performance, social

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Comment by Jacob Corvidae on November 21, 2018 at 9:06am

I completely agree that this is a useful channel, and would like to offer another suggestion on how to use this: it's not just for building your brand relationships and direct ad conversions. Part of the appeal of Facebook is getting your happy clients to advertise for you.  We all know that word-of-mouth is the best lead generator, so make it easy for clients to do this on Facebook. For example, I recommend sending your customers a picture of their home (like them standing smiling in front of it, or an infrared picture of the front of the home so people see the house, not just a wonky corner of a room), and some sample text that you suggest they post on Facebook. You want them to post about your work on Facebook, so make it easy and give them something interesting to post. 

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