16 Aug 2009 – Is Twitter for Trades?

August 16, 2009 at 12:13 am | Posted in Twitter | Leave a comment

I have started these posts as journal to plot our experiment of using twitter as part of our sales and marketing activity for our small plastering and plumbing business.

Feedback that I have personally gained so far points to the conclusion that Twitter is perceived as being more suitable for other types of business such as Marketing, Technology, Professional Services (the posh lot!) etc but not really for Trades!  This seems to be true as I can only find two other plastering tradespeople on twitter and only a handful of plumbers, most of whom are in the USA.  The plumber with the most number of followers is a user in the US “Itstheplumber” with a following of 1,500 approx.

Twitter appeals to us for a number of reasons but mostly because is seems like a good opportunity to build relationships and trust with local people which is very important for trades. 

Most of our work comes through word of mouth recommendation and in theory twitter should compliment that and work in the same way.

Trades people are often not trusted inially either through people’s previous bad experiences, stories they have heard or read in the press, or tv programmes they have watched etc. You only have to look at the amount of Trade Directories that attract work to advertise because of consumer distrust and fear of trades.  Similarly there are “rogue customers” and so trust in theory should be built up both ways with twitter. 

The consequences of a bad experience either for the consumer or for us could spread like wildfire on twitter with RT’s along the lines of “Don’t use XX tradesperson as they are rubbish/rip you off/are late again/etc” so we could be being very brave with a high risk strategy here but we are confident that our workmanship and customer service will shine through! If not, we could be posting a link to our insolvency notice in the London Gazette (eek!)

Our Twitter posts are all in the Twitter Category and will be posted with the date as the header so that you can follow our progress which may be interesting if you are social media bod looking to track the progress of a small trader, or if you are a trade company yourself thinking about using Twitter. If you can help us with a few pointers by leaving comments for us that would be great and feel free to use our case study with your clients and in your articles but please mention the author and our web address.

Actions so far since 11 Aug 2009

  • Created a nice smiley background pic of Tim in Van (advice from Ian McKendrick’s blog)
  • Set up twitterfeed from our blog
  • Found and followed local people from www.tweetmondo.com 
  • Found and followed local people from looking at other peoples followers
  • Searched for some of our existing customers (sadly none on twitter yet)
  • Added twitter name to our email signatures, web address, blog, and soon our business cards
  • Using search function for “plastering, uk” and “plumbing, uk”
  • Used  http://wefollow.com/ to see what # tags were relevant to us
  • Searching through other people’s followers
  • Downloaded Tweetdeck
  • Started tweeting with general conversation and chit chat and retweets
  • Launched a twitter exclusive offer for 2 for 1 on smooth ceilings deliberately picked for Sunday twittering
  • Used twitteranalyzer to track stats

Lessons and thoughts so far

Tweetmondo didn’t seem to be that great for us. There was only 10 twitter users found and most of them were in Huntingdon in USA (who we followed by accident… not good for a plumbing callout!)  We managed to find a lot more potential followers in our area by viewing other peoples followers.

So # tags seem a bit difficult for us too. At the moment there are 59 users for the #plumbing tag and only 1 (yes 1!) for #plastering.  There are significantly more for the terms goth, fart, and marjuana!!  Perhaps this approach won’t work just yet so I have changed these on wefollow to reflect the target audience and location ie; professional people in Huntingdon.  Our 3 tags now are #Business (600) #plumbing (4) and #cambridgeshireuk (2) not many people in those groups but more than plastering (1) and huntingdon(1) !!

Stats – 16 Aug 2009

Tweets = 10,  Following = 59, Followers = 10  Blog hits = 6














We have decided at this stage not to block spammers to see how that works with looking as if we have lots of followers later on which is the opposite to what we were originally considering doing but shall probably have a blocking exercise soon.

Next steps in our Twitter plan

  • Add a few more projects onto our blog and generally revise and improve the content that is on there so far so that this can be as up to date as possible and so that recent customers can be encouraged to go onto the blog to post their comment hopefully as a testimonial 🙂
  • See if there are any helpful hints and tips that we can pass on as we go in general conversation
  • Chit chat, retweeting, thanking, and just joining in on a social level
  • Looking at and commenting on other peoples blogs and looking at what other people are doing for a living just to get familiar and to seek out potentially good suppliers

Right that’s it for now, dinner is ready, back later.  Comments on this article and project are very welcome 🙂


Tim and Max


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