Even people who want nothing to do with social media are aware of what it is. And many of them would tell you that it appears to have no real use except for giving teenagers another way to avoid doing homework. And anyway, isn't it just a fad that's going to disappear any day now? Surely businesses have better things to do than acquire virtual "friends" and find out how many of them "like" their product.
But while it's easy to see how social media buzz can become exhausting and its business attributes not immediate, social media outlets can be a boon to companies. For construction firms for example, social media can:
- Allow them to hear what others are saying about their firm and their work.
- Allow them to "chat" with current customers.
- Allow them to acquire new clients and learn about potential project opportunities.
But there's nothing wrong with approaching social media as a marketing tool with a healthy dose of reservation. After all, some businesses who have tried this approach to increase company visibility and increase revenue have not been successful. In such cases though, the problem wasn't that they were using social media. The problem was that they were using the wrong social media site. So before hopping onto the social media band wagon, construction firms should make certain that:
- The platform is attracting viewers that they want to attract as clients.
- There is a opportunity on this platform to develop a firm brand and following.
- There are multiple networking opportunities here, such as with suppliers, or for training opportunities.
Once your firm has decided to utilize social media and found an appropriate platform, your work is just starting. Now it's time to come up with a social media campaign. Your campaign needs to be thoughtful, patient, and to be truly effective, slow. While this might seem like an oxymoron (after all, aren't we using this platform to promote our firm?) social media is not advertising. It's a conversation. There may be people out there who, when invited to parties, join a group and immediately say, "Hey! Who needs a roofer?" It's a good guess that these folks don't find many roofing jobs. Or get invited to many parties, either. Instead, the more successful roofers join an appropriate conversation, wait for a chance to offer advice, and hopefully steer the conversation to offering their professional services. And this is much the initial approach a social media campaign should take.
Does this sound confusing? It's definitely different than traditional advertising, which is why industry peers who have tried this recommend a "watch and learn" approach before going all in. If firms already have successful marketing and communicating methods in place, they certainly shouldn't be abandoned.
But for firms willing to try new construction marketing ideas and approaches in attracting and communicating with clients, social media for construction can open up vast new avenues in both. Check out our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Medium here!