The digital age continues to disrupt communication more than any other facet of business. So by now, most everyone understands that social media and digital engagement can be an asset to their business on some level (or a gap if you choose not to be engaged). But understanding your social media voice, who you want to reach and which platforms to leverage is the true challenge a lot of building products companies face today.
Many marketing departments are understaffed and compressed for time. Therefore many need assistance in developing social engagement plans to truly make the most of their time, money and resources. Some marketing leaders also view digital engagement as a cost center, however, those that shift this thinking and treat it as a profit center are the ones that are the most successful in driving true business results.But to understand how social media can drive profit, you must consistently view the potential in a deeper and evolving way.
Consider this, the conversation two years ago was “content is king,” businesses were only concerned with having a presence on a few social sites with some general content. However, the deeper execution of relevant content really drives the thinking today that “conversion is king.” So understanding your audience and what to focus on is critical to defining this roadmap to conversion and success. To help you understand your goals, we’ve compiled a list of 5 Ways Building Materials Companies Can Leverage Social Media for Success.
Step 1: Knowing your customer helps define your approach
The first step should always start with who do you want to communicate with, and understanding what’s important to them. A great way to get started to understand what’s important is by seeing what their interests are; what articles pubs are writing, attending webinars to see what questions are being asked, sending out surveys of your own, looking at what content has the biggest hits on your website.
Also ask yourself, how does your company generate revenue? If your company is focused on a B2B play, investing a lot of time and energy updating your Facebook page is probably not the best approach. Your page may have employee followers, but if you're not actively closing new business from Facebook updates consider more appropriate channels like blogging (ie; Contractor Talk), LinkedIn or Twitter. If your company is consumer facing; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz and YouTube are all natural fits for building brand loyalty and should be your social platforms of choice, for now...
Step 2: Know your competition
What social platforms do your competitors invest in? Not just like competitors, but anyone in the building material space that is interacting with the same or similar customers or end users. Benchmarking is a great way to learn new approaches, differentiate, and score how you are doing relative to others in the space. Having a solid grasp on your competition’s efforts with social media is a good barometer for knowing where you might need to be as well as how you can improve and optimize your company’s “social voice.” Follow your competitors and understand what their social interactions look like and if you think they are converting any of their engagement to definable revenue. Ask yourself, how can you use this knowledge to improve your approach and differentiate?
Step 3: Analytics don’t lie
Social shouldn’t be embarked upon just to say you have a Facebook page. Its role is to deliver new conversations that should lead to conversions. Take a look at your current social interactions and compare that with your site traffic and conversions. For certain businesses, it makes sense to keep a daily chart of interactions via social and web and a trackable way to understand your conversion source. Knowing what works (and what doesn’t) and optimizing the successes is the best way to focus efforts on a positive return on investment.
Step 4: What does your audience want from you?
Just because you are out there on social pages doesn’t mean anyone wants to talk to you. Taking a step back and evaluating what is currently working on your social feeds and optimizing those efforts is critical. While each individual wants something slightly different, there is always a common thread that runs through valuable content. Your job is to find that thread. There are certain companies that are truly excelling at social media engagement and utilizing the concept to stay top of mind with customers and interacting like a trusted friend or resource. Take a look at the following social pages for good ideas on the kind of interaction that people notice:
Kilz Paint is a line of commercial paint offered by Behr Pro. It’s really more of a trade focused product but does have some consumer presence. B2B on Facebook is not as easy to grow as a consumer facing page, however they’ve done a nice job posting content that ranges from contests, photos of product being used in unique ways to tips and tricks and company news.
Interruption: Posts with images and links to unique content usually resonate better with followers. Facebook is interactive so don’t be afraid to ask your community questions too.
The US Green Build Council is primarily focused on reaching building professionals. They have a strong following of over 70k and keep their Twitter following regularly updated with the latest in LEED information, greenbuild news and relevant content that often leads to engaging content like videos, infographics and up to date statistics.
Interruption: Twitter is a burst of information that should ideally push followers somewhere else or provide a quick call to action. Including images also makes your post standout.
Schlage does a great job telling the story of their products through the use of humorous and mainly consumer friendly videos and commercial spots on their YouTube channel. The number one goal of having a YouTube channel should be to create videos that people actually want to watch. Sounds simple, but that’s not always the case and it can be a challenge for building products to convey both a strong brand message and engaging content.
Interruption: Consider test driving a mix of product focused videos, light corporate culture videos and how to videos. See which ones resonate by linking to unique landing pages.
Step 5: From Conversation to Conversion
Relevant conversations lead to conversion of new business. So you need to define what content does this audience react to? Consider this formula as you focus your efforts on utilizing social engagement to drive revenue.
Conversation = Interaction
Interaction = Influence
Influence = Conversion
Understanding what your company considers a conversion is important too. The sale of a product is the ultimate conversion. But realize there may be several different types of conversions along the way to guide the conversation and interactions to a final sale. These are important conversions as well because it keeps momentum in the process. These would include; clicking to the website, providing contact info at an event/show, opening an email newsletter, downloading a white paper, etc. These are “calls to action” and should not necessarily be part of every post, but should be top of mind by your Community Manager in terms of collection and profiling.
You are not “doing social” if you merely have a Facebook and LinkedIn page. You are truly participating in digital engagement when you are providing meaningful information and having a conversation that is relevant to the audiences you are trying to reach. The final goal of all of this is conversion of new revenue and profit. A comprehensive approach to each of these moving parts and knowing how to create content that aligns with these goals will help you refine your brand’s voice, the channels your audience is most apt to be engaged with, and what kind of content helps to drive definable and trackable conversions.
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