What’s Social Got To Do With Construction?

It’s not earth shattering news that social media has the potential to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and give greater access to your company’s products and services. If done well, it also will create a relationship with current and potential customers and eventually generate leads and sales.

What is surprising is that with 1.5 million global social media users, that the construction and landscaping industries are lagging behind in social media adoption for strategic use . . . or are they?

We’ll start with a familiar topic that touches all segments of the industry: CONEXPO-CON/AGG. They are heavy in social media, introducing a mobile app for user experience and conducting several educational sessions around the topic.

Professor Neil Rackham points out that, “The average company today can access 20 times as much information about you and your competitors as they could access five years ago. So you’re no longer dealing with a customer where ignorance is a factor.”

At the very least, mere presence is mandatory. If someone can’t find you, you don’t exist. And if you don’t have the basic concept of marketing, you’re not trusted as a valid resource.

General Social Media Stats

  • 80% of online users interact with social networks regularly.
  • 78% of adults using the internet to research purchasing decisions.
  • More consumers use social networks each month than use email accounts.
  • 65% of social media users learn more about brands, products or services.
  • Social media sources of information are used by more than 70% of B2B decision makers.

* HootSuite Enterprise

But in an industry where your office may consist of a jobsite, and not an office sitting half the time, is it still relevant?

In short, the answer is a resounding yes. Despite the misconception that the construction industry isn’t up to speed on social integration and digital capabilities, one factor in particular is changing the game for professionals on the go:  Mobile Access.

According to Nielson’s State of the Media Report, “Time spent on mobile apps and the mobile web accounts for 63 percent of the year-over-year growth in overall time spent using social media. Forty-six percent of social media users say they use their smartphone to access social media; 16 percent say they connect to social media using a tablet.”

I know what most of you are thinking, but stick with me. The word “social” doesn’t mean what it used to. It’s not just family photos and college kids anymore. Specifically applicable to these industries, age groups 45 – 54, 55 – 64, and 65+ reported average mobile and app use at 5:20, 4:06, and 3:42 (hours:minutes per month), respectively.

That same Nielson study found the following monthly social media activity →

  • 70% hear others’ experiences
  • 65% learn more about brands, products, & services
  • 53% compliment brands
  • 50% express concerns, complaints about brands/ services
  • 47% share monetary incentives 

Again, if you’re not at least in the space where these relational and experiencial developments are happening, you’re not even part of the conversation. This doesn’t bode well for the projected growth in social selling.

While the misconception is that contractors and landscapers are late to the social party, Media Bistro says otherwise. The Construction Marketing Association reports 97 percent of construction professionals use social media in their marketing program, with LinkedIn (91%), Twitter (84%) and Facebook (83%) being the leaders.

Although those are the leaders, and everyone should have a presence on those platforms, there are a plethora of other options that can possibly lead to higher impact and lead generation. Success on each of them depends on two major factors:

  1. Where is your audience looking?
  2. What does the nature of your product or service lend itself to?

The Outliers

1. Pinterest

Such a niche space isn’t for everyone but they definitely work for the ones that fit. Why? Because it’s users are more than “happily pinning” recipes and wedding ideas.

They’re scoping and shopping while enjoying the sight of what you have to offer. So, if you have a visually pleasing lifestyle-type brand to share, you can easily capture and keep their attention here.

2. Houzz

(Warning: Shameless Plug Ahead) Randall-Reilly’s Total Landscape Care has found the right fit on Houzz, a network of professional home builders and designers. These types of communities show the importance of audience targeting and relevant interaction as opposed to meaningless “connections” for the masses. The point is to focus your efforts in the right direction where they’ll be heard, almost guaranteeing a decrease in wasted efforts and increase in conversion rates.

3. YouTube

Reiterating the importance of the mobile future is video consumption. YouTube reports that mobile views exceed one billion a day (25% of total watch time). If your company lends itself to any kind of content, storytelling, and entertainment of sorts, YouTube’s your home. Really, YouTube can be anyone’s home. You don’t have to post boring seminars.

Example 1: Who wants to watch a video about blenders?

No? How about the daring to destroy an iPhone, glow sticks, or Silly Putty live? I mean really, who doesn’t like to watch stuff blow up? Blendtec’s “Will It Blend” series proved not just popular, but profitable.

Example 2: Damme Epic

Okay, this isn’t construction equipment either, but there really isn’t a massive amount of great examples in this realm (hint, hint . . . get out there now while it’s not overwhelming to be seen!), and plus, it was just too cool not to share. One week ago, the Epic Split video was uploaded and at the time I type this, it has received 39,926,514 views.

For comic relief, watch Channing Tatum’s poorly attempted version. (Excuse the inappropriate language at the end!)

Remember: Whatever you’re doing, cross-promote it. Tie it into what you’re already doing well. Don’t keep any of these options separate. Mix them up and see what works, but remember that consistency and familiarity has a lot to do with acceptance with any audience. And if you are just starting out and feel overwhelmed with the social options out there, start small and focused and always measure your efforts. Whatever you do, it’s better than being absent.


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