In its simplest form, social media’s greatest benefit is word-of-mouth marketing. Being active in social media can lead to new business, while maintaining good customer relations with existing clients.
Along with talking to current and potential customers in person, social media is another way you connect with business partners. Start by evaluating your customers and the tools that would best connect you with them. Find out which networks your competitors have invested in. Consider your resources—time and personnel—that you can dedicate to these communities.
Time is the most common reason for steering clear of social media, but what’s important to remember is you don’t have to participate everywhere. Each social network is different, with its own nuances, users, and potential for business leads. Make sure whatever space you’re in, you’re in for the right reasons.
Facebook remains the leader in social media, with more than 800 million active users (Social Media Examiner). According to Mashable, 56% of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook—that’s pretty powerful.
If your company is not already on Facebook, creating a brand page is easy—all you need is your company logo to get you started. Once you’ve filled out your company information, start posting updates about projects you’re working on. Photos are a good way to share your company’s projects. Then “Like” your business partners, industry associations, and customers so you can connect better with those you work with most.
Between the ages of 18 and 35, one in five Americans send messages of 140 characters or less, at an average of 30 million tweets per day. Sharing links is one of the most popular uses, and can drive traffic to your site. Craft informative tweets and retweet (RT)—or send someone else’s message to your followers—to increase your network.
Joining Twitter takes a few minutes. To get started, follow leaders in the industry such as PCA @concretethinker, ACI @concreteACI, and CC @ConcreteConst. Connect with concrete industry suppliers such as @CTSrapidset and @CMCConstrctSvcs. And don’t be afraid to follow other contractors such as @SuntecConcrete and @BartonMalow to see how they’re using the service.
Used as a professional networking site, LinkedIn connects like-minded professionals. Not only can you connect through your profile, but you can join groups, where you can discuss a specific topics, share ideas, and connect through similar interests. The more connections you make the bigger your network becomes, which you can tap into for business proposals, resources such as answering jobsite questions, and more.
Last year, Google entered the game with Google+ and Google+ pages, similar to Facebook’s brand pages. Although users on this platform are less active, there’s potential for activity to grow with support from it’s search engine parent.
Pinterest allows users to pin images to pinboards. For companies, the site acts as a curator of content, similar to Google, that generates leads back to your site. National news organizations are using this platform, including The Wall Street Journal and NBC’s Today show, but contractors also have found a place here. Take, for example, King Enterprise Group, McPherson, Kan., which has five Pinterest “boards” showcasing work partners, jobsites, style, favorite things, and a projects portfolio.
YouTube and Flickr are popular video and photo sharing sites, respectively, that allow you to share projects in a unique way.
Doing it right
Whichever network you choose, remember to stay active. Try to post once a day. An inactive account does more harm than good. Remember social media is, at its core, social. So do just that: socialize. Whether it’s the latest construction project or a community initiative, being an active member will help you make connections that can lead to future business. And don’t shy away from negative comments; instead steer the conversation toward the positive.