By David Eisenstadt
Today, digital marketing as a key communications tool today, is leading the way.
Social media marketing, or unpaid activity you conduct on social media channels, combined with social media advertising, for which you pay, can make a significant and effective addition to your marketing toolkit. But like all tools, they do the job only if correctly deployed. While there are social media professionals who make their living helping companies pursue this line of marketing, here’s how you can get started on your own, with a few guidelines.
While you may consider social media unimportant, think again. All businesses can benefit from digital exposure.
There are various social media platforms. Here are a few:
- Facebook – this is a good choice for generally spreading the gospel.
- Instagram – visual focus is key here, so it is important to share pictures, such as examples of your work and stories. Instagram is good for growing your brand. Before-and-after images do work well.
- Houzz – if you connect directly with consumers, this is a great place to set yourself apart as an expert by offering advice. Be sure to check out the forum, where people ask questions – then answer some of those questions.
- LinkedIn – this B2B platform is aimed at professionals, so you can drive targeted conversions. Many companies have a LinkedIn presence. Here is where it is important to establish yourself as an expert.
- Pinterest – great for images and short videos – think show, don’t tell. You can also upload a case study or a white paper, pin it and link it to the registration page on your website.
- YouTube – a solid choice for video marketing. Think how-to videos or time-lapse photography of one of your projects. These videos needn’t be expensive. Keep them under five minutes in length.
The reasons for pursuing exposure on social media are many and varied. Exposure is a big one. Today, there are nearly five billion social media users around the world, including your colleagues, employees, family members, ideal buyers, and likely even you. Think brand awareness as another tool along with traditional media.
Practicalities of this approach include gathering questions potential prospects have so you can address them and improve customer service, networking with other industry professionals, promoting special offers, gathering testimonials you can then use in other marketing, interacting with potential customers, even collecting items for an electronic portfolio. Mostly, social media generally offers a better conversion rate than traditional media, meaning that people who visit the platform are more likely to take any action you desire, such as clicking through to your website.
First, think about goals you wish to achieve with social media, and start with one or two platforms. Post consistently, say twice weekly. Be faithful to that schedule to engender trust on the part of the user. Think about posts that will inspire conversations, such as before-and-after pictures of your developments, highlighting a specific team member, videos of construction progress, as examples. If the platform provides tracking possibilities, learn about them and use them. Consider making the most of your marketing efforts. For example, if you have a blog, post it on social media. Weave social media into your existing marketing strategy. And remember that today, an approach that involves informing works better than a hard sell. Share information.
- Before posting anything, make sure certain your post is accurate and from a reliable source.
- Celebrate any awards and/or accolades you receive.
- Stay away from controversial (religious, political) content.
- Share your company history at some point – again to engender confidence.
- Highlight what you do differently that gives you a competitive advantage.
- Highlight testimonials.
- Be sure to use relevant language and key words so when people search them, they find you. Think about what words with which you’d search.
- Respond to comments on your platform. Engage, even if there is negativity in a post. Handle it with dignity and honesty.
- Become involved in industry-specific groups on your platform.
- Start discussions, especially on LinkedIn. Contribute to others’ discussions.
- Get your word out there as much as you can – the people who read your content may share it with their networks. Think rippling effect.
- Think about photo quality – maybe a unique angle to capture attention?
- Brand your imagery when possible.
- Add buttons that connect to social media from your website.
- Have someone proofread your posts. A fresh eye can catch errors.
For a little effort, you may reap great rewards. Brand awareness leads to qualified leads. Use social media with as much care as you do when you use your construction tools.
David Eisenstadt is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com – The Communications Group Inc., a Toronto-based, PR consulting firm. tcgpr.com.