Jennifer Hennion serves as an account manager for Advantage Marketing with a specialty in the marketing of construction equipment on an international, national and regional level. Advantage Marketing, a division of InQuest, specializes in marketing specific to the construction field with dedicated traditional, interactive and database service departments. For more information, call 908-459-0101 or visit www.advantagead.net.
Are you unsure about how to use social media? Follow these easy steps to join the conversation.
Like many business owners today, construction business owners want to know how social media can help them promote their business to drive leads and increase sales.
Social media may not necessarily be the best marketing tool for every business but should be used regardless. With more than 200 million adult Internet users in the United States, 2 million Google searches a minute and mobile devices projected as the primary Internet connection tool by 2020, you must have a presence on social media. According to eMarketer, more than two-thirds of U.S. Internet users regularly use a social network.
Your customers can now control the messages they receive and how, where and when they receive them. In the past, companies have attempted to reach their customers by pushing a message out through a local newspaper or a radio advertisement. But today, customers look for information online to find the products and services they need.
Social media and other digital technologies provide a great way to deliver relevant content to interested customers. U.S. companies ranked LinkedIn, company blogs, Facebook and Twitter as the top four social media tools that helped them generate leads.
How to Get Started
Put all of your ideas about what you can do online on paper, and develop a plan to meet your objectives.
First, consider the various social tools available and how to use them. Over time, you will be able to determine which tools have the biggest impact for your business—the ones that drive the most inbound leads. Keep these points in mind:
1. Develop Strong Content
Regardless of which social tools you use, the content you generate must be well-written, relevant and of interest to your target customers. Sometimes, it can be informative and professional, and other times, it can be fun and entertaining. You want your viewers to share what you say with others.
When preparing content, think about the terms and phrases your audience might search for on the Web. Try to include critical, relevant keywords and phrases in your content. Many of the social media platforms index content for search engines, which can help you promote your company online without investing in additional paid advertising.
2. Communicate Through Word of Mouth
Social media grew from word-of-mouth. People go to social networks because they share a common passion or interest. For instance, if someone owns a particular brand of equipment and loves it, he might want to keep up with news from that manufacturer—if he “likes” the manufacturer on Facebook or follows them on Twitter, he will get updates from them anytime they post something. These updates will fuel his interest and make it easier for him to keep in touch with the company and product. To develop a following on social media, regularly post relevant news about the projects you have completed or special promotions to keep your name in front of them.
3. Connect with Others
Connect with bloggers, publications, associations and other influential people in the industry to keep your name out there. Start by establishing a LinkedIn account. You will be surprised how quickly you can find your customers, potential customers, suppliers and other complementary businesses in markets that your company serves. Do not be a pushy salesperson. Simply have a presence, and update your information from time to time.
4. Share Your Expertise
One of the most commonly used tools for managing content across social mediums is through a company blog. Blogging can help you establish your company as an expert in the field and as a resource. It gives you a way to keep fresh and relevant information on the Web. Here are few ways to use a blog and other social media sites:
- Announce a new product, service and new hires.
- Express your company’s personality. Blog postings can be fairly informal. Share information that communicates your company culture.
- Communicate your success. Have you won any awards or attended any trade shows? Have you been featured or mentioned in any articles in local or industry business journals?
- Showcase the work you have done. Post testimonials and case studies about projects you have completed or customers you have helped. You can even post project photographs.
- Once you develop content for your blog, link it to your website and other social media sites.
Advertising online, particularly on social media sites, can be extremely cost-effective. It allows you to target specific geographic areas and demographics within those areas to reach only those with a verified need or interest in your products or services. For example, a homebuilder who targets three counties in New York can advertise to a certain age or income demographic in those counties, which eliminates the cost of reaching people who do not fit the customer profile.
Other Social Media Benefits
Your social marketing efforts can have a significant impact on the amount of people visiting your website. For example, if you post a blog with commentary about the recent completion of a bridge construction project, you can link to an article that was written about the bridge construction being completed on time. Your blog might show up the next time a potential customer or journalist conducts a search.
Social media can also produce some tangible metrics that can paint a compelling picture about the results of your online efforts. Likes, follows, retweets and information sharing can all be measured to help you justify your time spent on your online marketing. Your salespeople should follow up on online leads.
If you implement a few of these tactics, you will look much better than your competition when potential customers go online to complete their research and find a great deal of information about your company, products and services.