For those of you out there already using social media to promote your commercial construction business you’re already ahead of the game. For those of you who aren’t you should know that it’s more than just selfie profile pictures, Grumpy Cat, and funny YouTube videos. If used correctly, social media can help your company build brand awareness, engage customers, market your business, network and establish you and your company as thought leaders in your field.
Whether you are just starting out in social media or have been using it for years, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help make sure you are using it effectively to promote your business.
Develop a Social Media Strategy
Before you start setting up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. for your company you need to create a social media strategy. First determine the goals you hope to accomplish by using social media. Maybe you want to find more skilled employees or expand your business into another market or region. Once you’ve determined what you hope to accomplish with social media you then need to determine what social media outlets you intend to use, set a schedule of how often you intend to post on each and then create a calendar with the types of content you intend to post. By developing a strategy and a content calendar you can use a social media management system such as Hootsuite or Wildfire to manage your social media accounts and schedule posts in advance and monitor your accounts from a central site.
In addition to an overall social media strategy you should also develop a separate strategy for each social networking site you intend to use. Consider using your company website as your central hub for all your social media interactions. Prominently post links to your social networking sites together on your website so people know where to find you. Once you have your social media strategy mapped out you might also want to a social media policy outlining who’s allowed to post on your company’s behalf, what type of content they are allowed to post and whether or not they are allowed to do this using company or personal social media accounts. Remember, social media is a great way to promote your business but it can have a negative impact if employees are posting inappropriate content on your company’s behalf.
Select the Right Social Networking Sites
There are literally hundreds of social networking sites out there with some being geared to everyone and others geared to specific demographics or interests. In this instance let’s focus on the major social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest. Blogs are another great way to use social media by establishing your company as a thought leader by sharing the wealth of knowledge and experience that you and your company have with insightful blog articles. The great thing about a blog is you don’t have to post multiple times a day or even multiple time a week to have a successful blog. One good insightful and informative blog post a week is enough to get people talking about your construction company.
Facebook and Google+ are both great sites to show the personal side of your company. Some ideas include posting photos of your employees along with a brief bio or posting photos of company events like holiday parties or philanthropic endeavors. To reach a larger audience, encourage your employees to like your company pages and share updates with their friends and connections.
LinkedIn is the social networking site for professionals. In addition to being a great site to post jobs and find new talent for your company, there are a thousands of groups geared toward the construction industry where you can ask questions, create discussions and network with other professionals in your field.
Twitter is a great site that requires you to choose your words carefully which can help you get your message across better since each tweet is limited to 140 characters. Sometimes brevity is best. Twitter also allows you to post pictures and links to websites. Remember to follow your top clients, competitors, subcontractors and professional organizations such as the AGC or ABC. There are lots of options for how to use Twitter. Perhaps you could send a tweet out to your followers with a photo of a recently completed construction project. Come across a particularly interesting or insightful tweet? Be sure to retweet it and share it with your followers.
Pinterest and YouTube are all about the visuals. Pinterest is a pin-board style photo sharing site. One idea for Pinterest would be to create a board for each industry your construction company serves. For example, let’s say your firm does a lot of work on schools, retail stores and churches. If you create a separate board for each category and post photos of completed construction projects in each one then potential clients can easily see the work you’ve done that best suits their needs. YouTube is a video sharing site. Maybe you could set up a camera at your next construction site to take time lapse images of the progress. Once construction is complete take the images and create a video showing months of work being completed in minutes.
Not every social networking site is right for every company and you don’t have to be on everyone to be successful using social media. Pick and choose the ones that that you think best suits your company’s social media strategy. If you’ve tried a couple of different tactics and a specific networking site and nothing seems to be working then dump it. The important thing is to find what works best and to use your corporate website as your central hub for all social media activity.
The key to gaining a foothold in social media is engaging your fans and followers so they will promote your company and generate word of mouth. The best way to do this is to get your best clients talking about your company. Create a call to action asking them to share their experiences working with your company. You want to create content that your fans are going to want to share with their friends and followers. Remember visuals get more engagement than text so be sure to include photos with your posts. Make sure that what you do post is in some way relevant to your business. You could post a photo of puppies on your Facebook pages and get hundreds of likes and shares but at the end of the it’s probably done nothing to help your business be more successful.
Create Brand Awareness
Competition in the construction industry is fierce. Setting yourself apart from other companies is important. Make sure you emphasis the things that makes your company unique and special. Maybe your company specializes in green construction or LEED certified project, or maybe you’re companies recently received an industry award or perhaps you have a proven track record for delivering projects on time and within budget. Whatever it is that makes your company shine a little brighter than your competitors needs to be highlighted and shared with your fans and followers.
Measure Your Success & Adjust
After you’ve been up and running for a few months it’s time to take a look to see what’s working and what’s not and then make changes as necessary. Most social media networking sites and social media management sites have analytics to measure how well you are doing. Take a look at the type of content and posts that are getting the most engagement as well as the time of day you are posting and adjust your content accordingly. Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t get the results you initially set out to get it’s just a matter of getting the right balance of content and frequency.