The Real Reason You Need Social Media (Hint: It’s Not Marketing)
When you’re running a small-medium sized remodeling company, you likely have a limited budget for advertising and marketing. It’s understandable—even advisable—to direct the bulk of your limited budget to programs you believe will generate a rapid and measurable return on investment.
Considering that even marketers are skeptical about social media’s short-term lead/sales generation potential, it’s tempting to omit it from your digital marketing strategy. But the problem is, the value of social media goes WAy beyond marketing.
The Right Way to Think About and Use Social Media Sites
To view social media sites like Facebook, Glassdoor, Houzz, Pinterest, etc. as ways to promote and market your business represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what these sites are—the most powerful, interactive media platforms the world has ever seen.
You want to think of your company’s Facebook page as:
- one part TV channel
- one part messaging platform
- one part customer service help desk
Sharing mostly promotional posts on your company’s Facebook page is like running commercials all day long on your TV station. Viewership is going to drop dramatically.
And commercials with no viewers equal no value.
Like a successful TV station, you’ve got to blend informative content—content you produce as well as content syndicated from others and in a variety of formats—text, images, audio, and videos—with important messages and alerts, and you’ve got to staff your station with people willing to listen and respond when your viewers have feedback.
Adapt Your Company’s Communication Style to Your Audience
The typical consumer today is tech-savvy and always connected to the web. This is particularly true if you’re dealing in the high-end of the market. Young executives and professionals are about as tech-savvy as it gets.
The affluent crowd has come to prefer their smartphone or tablet to their desktop PC; texts and email to talking on the phone, and they rarely leave voicemail.
They’ve even started to use sites like Facebook and Twitter to give feedback—bad or good. But most importantly, they expect you to adapt your business to their evolving communication preferences.
Savvy remodelers understand that rapidly adapting their business to the preferences of their prospects and customers offers a serious competitive advantage (and the cost is peanuts when compared to developing a presence on traditional media channels).
Think about that the next time a customer text messages you about the kitchen remodeling project you’re currently doing with them.
A Transparent New World Where Everyone Has a Megaphone
Smart business owners understand that everyone who interacts with their business—from vendors and partners to prospects and clients to job seekers and employees—has access to a variety of social media websites, each of which is like a 100,000 Watt megaphone. Will that megaphone be used to promote your business or destroy it?
That’s largely up to you.
Remember when what happened within your company’s walls stayed (mostly) within your company’s walls? If a slighted employee left, at worst, they might share their story with their family and a handful of drinking buddies. Today, via sites like Glassdoor.com, their story may reverberate all over the world.
Remember that it’s not just prospective employees that stumble upon sites like Glassdoor.com!
I’ve spoken with consumers who inadvertently find these sites when searching a remodeling company’s name and use the comments from their employees as another method of vetting the quality of the company.
The Strategy You Need to Adopt Moving Forward
To only evaluate social media sites from a short-term, marketing and lead generation perspective is a big mistake. Instead, you need to think about each social media site as if it were one part TV station, one part messaging platform, and one part customer service help desk.
Always remember that social media sites give everyone—prospects, clients, vendors, partners, and even your employees—a megaphone. While you don’t have complete control over the messages they choose to share, don’t minimize your ability to influence them.
When you’re thinking about your various social media profiles as if they were TV stations, make sure your programming includes a mix of content—audio, articles, images, and videos—that educates your target audiences in an entertaining way. You can include company-centric messages (promotions, announcements, etc.), but you must do so sparingly. Sharing company announcement after announcement and promotion after promotion is what most businesses do on sites like Facebook, and it is a disaster.
Today’s consumers increasingly expect a rapid, near-instant response to their inquiries—whether those happen via email, Facebook, Twitter or text message. You need to be there—listening and ready to respond accordingly. As frustrating and annoying as these trends may be—especially if you’re no longer a spring chicken—they’re not going away anytime soon. If you don’t change, one of your competitors will and they’ll be the ones reaping all the rewards.
Finally, you need to operate as if everything you and your company do will be shared on the front page of your local newspaper. Remind yourself that everyone that interacts with your company has a powerful megaphone in their pocket. It doesn’t take much to get people sharing positive notes about your company with everyone they know, but, in the same way, a small situation handled poorly can leave a lasting scar. For better or worse, the web doesn’t quickly forget.
Now is the time to get serious about social media. Remember, not every online investment needs to generate leads and sales to deliver a true return on investment.