How construction & building manufacturers can get the most out of social media
Construction companies are increasingly recognising the value that social media can bring to their businesses. It puts the power in their hands, allowing them to control the messages that their customers and contacts receive and in doing so, social media has helped to bypass many traditional advertising routes. Platforms such as Linkedin, blogging, Facebook and Twitter are the top social media tools that have helped construction companies to generate leads.
Here are our top tips to help construction companies to get the very best out of social media:
Tip 1. Content is still king!
Focus on generating good quality content for use on social media accounts – and if you don’t have the time to do this yourself, Dragonfly PR can help! Whatever social networks you choose, make sure the content is relevant and interesting to your audience. When writing content, think about keywords and phrases that your customers might be searching for online and try to include relevant ones in your content. As many social media platforms index content for search engines, this can help improve your search engine ranking.
Tip 2. Connect with influencers
It’s a good idea for construction companies to use social media to connect with bloggers, publications, associations and other influencers. Make sure you have a Linkedin company page and that your staff, particularly your customer-facing employees, are using the network regularly to communicate. You will soon find that your customers, suppliers, prospects and partners use Linkedin. Remember not to be pushy though, like all the other channels available to construction companies, Linkedin is about conversation, sharing and engagement, not direct sales. And Linkedin is great as it allows you to get past the gatekeeper in a business – usually a PA or secretary who has been given the job of fending you off!
Linkedin is also a great way for construction companies to share their industry news and advice tips, whether it’s about industry regulations, safety, or environmental issues. It is also the place to find potential employees, join groups and start engaging directly with industry influencers. With its Pulse function that was introduced a couple years ago, you can also publicise your own blogs on there for free. This is another great way to generate content online that may be picked up by the search engines.
Tip 3 Make Facebook work for you.
Facebook recently surveyed companies which had acquired new customers through its social media network. The statistics showed that 77% of B2C companies said they had acquired customers via Facebook and 43% of B2B companies said they had too. You may, as a brand, feel that if you don’t deal direct with the public, then Facebook isn’t for you. However, what many business-to-business companies have found is that Facebook humanises their brand and allows them to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Facebook can also work well as a referral tool, as someone who has used your company’s services can refer you to others via the platform – great for people selling products for the home! Facebook is also the place to share albums of project photos too, and also fun things, such as behind the scenes on a project, as well as useful tips and advice that potential customers may be interested in.
Tip 4 Get the best out of Twitter
Twitter is the most popular social media platform with construction companies. It allows you to connect with professionals in the industry, build relationships with other businesses and position yourself as an expert in your field. Many construction companies like Twitter because it drives content and pushes traffic to your website.
However, often clients say to us that they don’t think they have enough to talk about to be Tweeting every day. If you’re feeling like this, you may be approaching it in the wrong way – you’re over-thinking it and forgetting to be sociable. Construction clients often ask us to manage their Twitter accounts, as we keep abreast of industry issues and can always come up with relevant interesting things to tweet about.
Hootsuite (the Twitter scheduling and management tool) recommends a rule of thirds for generating content for Tweets. One third of your social content should be promoting your business and converting followers, therefore generating income. One third of your content should be sharing ideas, information, helpful advice, tips from industry leaders or other businesses; the final third should be about personal interaction, in a more light hearted, fun tone, posting comment and engagement, building your personality into the brand.
Another good way that construction companies can use Twitter is through TweetChat. You can easily follow a conversation using a particular #hashtag. This has proven to be a good way for construction companies to build relationships and engage with potential customers.
Twitter is a great way to maximise engagement and interest into your blog posts too. Don’t be afraid to tweet at least 2-3 times about each blog you add to your website. A good quality article written for the construction industry won’t date very quickly, whereas Twitter moves on much faster. So, the rule of thumb is, the more you post, the more chance you have to engage.
Tip 5 Publish often
Companies often ask us how often should they post on Twitter? Think of it in the same way as having a conversation with a friend or colleague, if you started talking to them regularly and then said nothing for two weeks – it may seem odd. It’s the same with social media. Obviously Twitter currently has a limit on character length, which may, in time change as they recently opened discussions about extending this to a10,000 character limit. However, Facebook posts are unlimited and research has shown that posts with 80+ words get two times the audience engagement than shorter posts.
It’s usually recommended that you post at least once daily, but it is a good idea to engage more than that and regularly do retweets, DMs (direct messages), and also ask other members of your team to contribute too. Make sure you have a social media policy and give informal staff training to anyone who you are inviting to contribute on your company’s social media channels.
Tip 6 Make your social media impact tangible through Google Analytics
Some people think managing social media is a quick and simple job, taking up no more than a couple of minutes per day. In reality, doing the research, writing, engaging and sharing on social media is a time consuming job when done correctly. This is why so many of our construction sector clients let us take care of it! However, if you are making the investment in doing social media properly, then you want to make sure you get a return on that investment.
Google Analytics is free and allows you to monitor the average monthly visits from social media referrals, you can set goals and monitor conversion rates from customers who access your website and its services via social media platforms. For many of our social media clients, we also monitor and report on Google Analytics. This means that by the end of the month we can give them a full report of Twitter Analytics and referrals and conversions via their website as shown on Google Analytics – therefore demonstrating it is working and is generating good ROI.
For more information and advice on social media and content management, contact the Dragonfly PR team on 01709 300130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.