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Online communities – Why they are a big hit with the trades



 Feb, 22 - 2016   Business

Logic4training’s digital marketing expert Jonny Lawrence, looks at how Facebook groups are used by tradespeople.

 

The way the trades use the internet and social media has changed over the past few years. Having conducted a technology survey last year, it’s clear that the traditional approach is being married with a more modern, technology savvy attitude.

 

Smartphones are an integral part of everyday life both on and off-site. It’s very rare to find someone without an iPhone or an Android device which means installers are now far more connected to their industry than they have ever been before and on a global scale.

 

The “new” forum

 

In the past we’ve had the forums, where people of all walks of life come together, united by a passion or profession.

 

In the case of the Gas Safe or Electrical forums you would prove you are registered to the relevant organisation or prove you know what you are talking about then the world of the forum would open up in front of you.

 

The forums still exist but they have largely been replaced by social media, in particular private groups on facebook.

 

There are loads of these, each one with its own very vocal community of tradespeople. If you haven’t joined one of these groups and are a registered engineer, electrician or in another trade I would recommend doing so for a number of reasons.

 

  1. People ask questions and swap advice – Coming across an unusual appliance, something unexpected or just trouble processing a problem, the groups allow you to post a question and, with the larger groups, usually have it answered quite quickly. It’s advisable to wait for a few answers to come in and usually it’s just to re-inforce something that you suspect, or give advice on what to do ie. In the case of an appliance with a unique fault “I don’t know contact the manufacturer”!

 

  1. People post photos, lots of photos – This can vary from celebrating a great bit of work to showcasing some nightmare DIY. Photos always promote discussion and sometimes result in solutions to problems or just give you a good laugh!

 

 

  1. Naming and Shaming – Proper tradespeople are, rightly, proud of the work they do. It’s an art so when poor quality or dangerous work is found, it’s shared with the community, discussed and the culprit, if found out, shunned and shamed.

 

  1. The groups connect people – These groups really bring the trades together. The tips, answers and banter that occurs means that you feel like you’re part of something beyond just your business. There is a real “underground” community spirit from tradespeople of all ages and levels of experience.

 

All groups are different and have their own set of rules. For example some groups actively post and share jobs while others don’t allow this.

 


A couple of my favourites


 

 

Crap Electrical

Number of members: 12,152

This group is a mixture of, as the name suggests, bad work, funny posts, videos, stories and also electrical related questions. The size of the group means the posts come thick and fast. Ask a question on here and you’ll have a healthy discussion in no time!

 

Gas Chat

Number of members: 2385

Gas Chat is for registered gas engineers and is more technical and less jokey. You’ll find a very regular stream of work related discussion, photos and even the odd exclusive discount.

 

Gas Book UK

Number of members: 1886

Extremely active group that mainly shares images of work. Posting of questions and advice is common with sever prolific posters. Strictly Gas Safe Registered engineers only.

 

The fact that all these groups are private and vetted means that spam, time wasters and trolls either don’t get in or are dealt with swiftly. It’s also nice to know that the various industries have this community spirit behind the scenes.

 

The groups certainly aren’t for everyone (I was never a fan of the forums) but on facebook they seem to provide a friendlier environment in general. Why not check them out if you haven’t already?

 

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