The Builder’s Guide to Social Media Marketing – Why You Should Be Using Social to Grow Your Business

Social media is everywhere these days.  With the rise of smartphones and tablets, which we talked about in a post a few weeks ago, people expect to be able to connect with the brands and companies they interact with at a moment’s notice.  In fact, 85% of people expect businesses to be active in social media.

Now, you may be thinking “Well, that’s great, but I’m in the construction industry. I get my customers through word-of-mouth. People aren’t picking a contractor because of social media.”

That’s where you’d be wrong. Word-of-mouth can be defined as ‘potential customers seeking opinions and reviews of a product or service from trusted friends and family members and making a purchase decision as a result of that input.’  Studies of social media usage and buying behavior have found that 81% of customers reach out to friends and family members on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products.  Those people are extending “word-of-mouth” to the digital world.  If you’re not there, not only are you missing out on interactions with potential customers, you could be damaging your brand’s reputation because 36% of social media users trust brands that have a social media presence more than brands that don’t.

NOW, you may be thinking “I don’t have time to mess with that social media stuff.  I’ve got too much on my plate as it is.”

While it is true that for major national brands, social media can be a very time consuming endeavor, for a localized business the time commitment can be as little as a few hours a week. Apart from set up time, planning and posting updates can take as little as a few minutes a day.

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So, I’ve convinced you that you need to be “in” social media. But where do you start? Well, you start where your customers are.  The top five most used social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest - with estimated monthly unique visitors ranging from 800 million for Facebook to over 140 million for Pinterest.

For the purposes of contractor and construction marketing, those giant numbers don’t really mean anything, though.  It’s the locals you care about.  So how do reach them? Well, in those huge numbers, it’s a pretty good bet that people in your area are in at least one (if not all five) of the top networks, so you can’t just ignore them. I’ll tell you more about how to reach them within each of the networks in separate posts.

In addition to The Big Five, there are hundreds of niche social media networks that people visit every month with communities focused around moms, sharing art and poetry and almost anything you can think of – yep, even construction.  Because of its focus on bringing contractors and interior designers together with people planning home improvement projects, Houzz may be one of the most valuable social media sites you can spend your time on.

One of the most important aspects of social media is the social aspect. You’ll not only be able to connect with your customers and potential customers, but also other companies that you do business with.  For example, it benefits your company page if you share posts from Fiberon and other similar companies that you think your audience will find relevant. Whether it’s a beautiful picture that illustrates the potential of a certain product or a blog post on how to remove snow and ice from a composite deck, sharing that content will increase the value of your social presence to your customers.  They know that you are providing information that is useful and not solely about self-promotion – a key strategy to a successful social media presence.

In this series, I will lead you down the path to creating or improving your business’s social media presence.  It will feature posts with tips ranging from things a beginner will find useful to tips and subtleties that a more advanced user will find helpful as well on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Houzz.

Let me know in the comments if you have any question you want answered about any of these social networks and stay tuned for the first post!

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