What is social media? It is a collection of online media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, that allows people to engage and network with one another through talking, sharing and collaborating. With the vast majority of business people accessing the Internet every day, you cannot afford to ignore the opportunity social media provides.
The objective of any marketing effort is to improve the bottom line. In the past, media such as a newspaper or television report was a one-way street marketing effort; today social media is a two-way interactive dialogue. The value of social media to the construction industry is simple – to inform, communicate and engage with people to create long-term and loyal relationships with today’s clients and tomorrow’s potential customers. You engage your audience when you convey to them something of value. The selling of your services will come later when your audience sees a need for your expertise. In order to leverage this value, social media must be a part of your marketing strategy and talent recruitment. Every time customers and potential employees in your market conduct a Google search relevant to your industry, you must have a presence they can engage with, or you risk losing them to competitors who do.
There is much noise in social media, which tends to cloud its value and gives rise to legitimate objections and misconceptions. How does a contact updating you on Facebook with vacation pictures provide any potential value for you and your company? How does being a follower on Twitter win you the next job? Many object, “My clients are not using social media in a professional setting, so why should I?” Your target audience is already using at least some aspect of social media with 85% of the U.S. internet population being active on at least one social network. It is your job to look beyond the noise, find out what aspects of social media they are using and leverage this knowledge. For example, mediums such as YouTube can have significant uses for demonstration or training purposes.
Just as the construction industry is comprised of many different industries and players, social media is equally varied and caters to many diverse audiences. You can never have too many ways of maintaining contact with your clients and prospects. By keeping them engaged, you are always in the forefront of their minds. It is one more way to portray you as the expert and able to prove it through discourse and the exchange of ideas. Your company becomes a knowledge resource in the industry.
What social media tool or tools are right for your company? Explore each of them. Monitor new social media that is evolving. Find out where your competition and clients are in the social media landscape. See how they are using it and then decide the most effective avenue for you to pursue as part of your marketing strategy. Do not let your competition pass you by – if you can beat them to the punch, all the better. By keeping your clients socially engaged in a professional setting, you will create long-term relationships with loyal customers and attract many potential clients. Start engaging today.
We would love to hear how how your company is using social media in its marketing strategy.
*Note: these are excerpts from: Social Media: Coming of Age of an Ageless Idea (FMI Quarterly 2011 Issue 1). For a complete copy of the article, go to http://hale.sg-host.com/media/pdf/quarterly/2011_1_dptmt_social_media.pdf