Companies Boost Brand Visibility With Instagram

It’s not only for lifestyle influencers. Whether the objective is customer engagement or employee recruitment, some contractors have found Instagram to be a valuable tool.

Companies Boost Brand Visibility With Instagram

Felix Delgadillo, owner of Drain Guys Chicago

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In an era of workforce shortages among the trades, a young drain cleaning company in Glenview, Illinois, is building out its crew in an unorthodox way: Instagram. 

Felix Delgadillo, owner of Drain Guys Chicago, regularly posts on the social media platform photos of his work. A 16-year-old man saw the pictures awhile back and contacted Delgadillo about a job. Delgadillo met with the man, Colin Sullivan, and agreed to hire him for part-time work.

“That kid is going to do something. I’m teaching him everything I know,” Delgadillo says.

Sullivan works some weekdays after school as well as on weekends. Delgadillo is taking steps to get Sullivan into formal apprenticeship training after high school.

It’s a good example of thinking about the specific demographics certain social media channels reach best, and utilizing them to help your business in some way, whether you’re aiming to attract new customers or potentially find a new employee. Delgadillo isn’t the only contractor who has found success using Instagram in particular.

“I honestly started posting on Instagram to document the company’s story for our sons,” says Kristal Rotundo, whose family owns and operates Torovac Services in Toronto, Ontario. “I never saw it as a marketing tool. But it just blew up from there, which I never expected. Social media has really helped us get the word out about our services. People message me about jobs all the time, which is shocking in this industry.”

Kristal believes social media will become a more accepted form of marketing in the industry as younger company owners slowly replace the preceding generation.

“This trend will grow because that’s all we (young people) know,” she says. “Social media is how we communicate and how we get things done. And it’s not that complicated to learn how to do.” 

There was a time when Chad Porter, the owner of West Coast Hydrovac Services in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, used to make fun of Instagram. But now he’s serious about its capabilities as a marketing tool.

Porter started dabbling with Instagram in May 2020. Now he frequently posts photos and videos about jobs his company performs. And customers notice.

“They email me and say, ‘I didn’t know you could do that, too,’” he says. “Initially, I thought I was wasting my time. But now I have nearly 3,000 followers. Some guys I know make fun of me — they call me an Instagram influencer. Sometimes hundreds of people will look at a video I post. In terms of new business, it has opened up a whole new world for us. And it’s all free.”

In one case, Porter was browsing on his Instagram account late one night when he ran across a photo of a worker digging under a retaining wall with a shovel, preparing to fix a water-main break. He posted a comment about the photo, noting that it looked like a job for a hydroexcavator.

“I got a response from a guy at the company doing the repair, saying that it was too bad hydrovac guys don’t want to work at 1 a.m.,” he recalls. “So I told the guy we work 24/7. He gave me his father’s phone number and we were out there the next morning. They’ve been loyal customers ever since.”

Through Instagram, Porter also has developed contacts with hydroexcavating companies all over the world, including firms in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, China, Russia, Mexico and Italy. They talk about challenging jobs, offer tips on equipment, ask each other business questions and so forth.

To figure out how to use Instagram, Porter says he watched some YouTube videos and also learned just by experimenting.

“After a 16-hour day, I now spend another hour or two posting things. It builds an awareness of all the different things we can do — sometimes things you’d never think of using a hydroexcavator for.”

As an example, West Coast once received a call from someone who lives in a wealthy oceanside community called Crescent Beach, about 15 to 20 miles south of Vancouver. The caller asked if Porter could clean out a large fish pond at a multimillion-dollar mansion.

“It was a bit of overkill, but we ran 180 feet of hose through a gate and out to the pond in the backyard,” he says. “There were people standing next to their Ferraris, wondering what was going on.”



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