How can social media be used to create value for your construction industry business? Social media is accessible – it’s easy to create an account and start posting updates, to broaden your network and strengthen relationships. But getting it right can be difficult.
It has been said that using social media to put out information solely about your company or business is like walking into a pub, scattering business cards in front of people, and leaving.
A broadcast-only approach to social media won’t be effective – don’t be the person that turns up on social media doing all the wrong things.
Social media is social
In my experience, the best value on social media comes when a discussion develops.
Having genuine conversations with real people on social media is the most useful activity, and is where it will to broaden and strengthen your network.
This takes time and effort. Arguably the really valuable connections are made one person at a time. You can get Twitter followers and Facebook likes, but on their own these are relatively weak relationships. In order to turn these weak connections into strong ones you need to be sociable and take the time to get to know people.
There are so many – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, even Snapchat. It’s best to use a small number of platforms effectively rather than try to be on them all.
Be where your audience is. What social networks are your clients on? If you don’t know, ask them!
Which one you should use should also be determined by your content strategy. What content will you be using to create value for your audience? The platform you use is part of your content strategy.
These are big questions that require research and a well thought-through plan.
How to create value for your audience
If you only push your sales message on social media, you’ll turn people away. You need to share content that is of value to your audience, so they will actively want to follow, click through, download, sign up, or subscribe. The content could be your own or someone else’s.
In a construction industry context, valuable content could be:
- ‘how to design’ or ‘how to specify’ guidance articles
- technical advice on your products (but don’t make it a sales pitch)
- inspirational design examples
- commentary on new architecture, interiors or external schemes
- expert commentary on legislation or standards
- or even something light hearted and entertaining, depending on the platform!
Have clear goals in mind
To ensure your social media efforts are effective, it is wise to have clear objectives in mind.
- Is it simply brand awareness you are after? This can be an indistinct goal and is very hard to measure. But in the beginning, it is the initial result you’ll get.
- To be seen as a technical expert for architects
- To be seen as a company that can solve design challenges
- As a company with beautifully designed products
- To be a first point of call for customer service
- Community outreach and corporate social responsibility.
- Gathering sales leads – only aim for this further down the line
How to grow your network
Start by following people you know – are your existing contacts or customers on the platform? Sending an email to your list asking if you can follow them is likely to garner more reaction than asking them to follow you.
- Your staff may well already be using a social media platform and discussing their work
- If your staff are already enthusiastic on social media, can this give you a leg up?
- Your staff can be your best brand advocates and ambassadors
- They may be leading the way already, or they may need training
- They can share your updates to their networks and be the ‘real person’ face of your company
Social media construction: paid advertising?
Most social media services, like Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, are maturing. As businesses, they need to make money, and if you want to reach your audience, they are increasingly pay-to-play platforms.
If you are thinking of advertising, it is worth getting an experienced consultant to help. To get good value for money a patient approach – be willing to test and re-test your ads until they start to generate the results you want.
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