This blog originally appeared on the PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog.
Why does social media matter for construction companies? What can you do to help improve the digital marketing for your company? Great questions to ask and we’re here to help.
While social media may not feel prevalent within the construction industry, new stats show it is thriving, and industry professionals are hungry for opportunities to connect and engage.
In fact, 97% of construction professionals are active on social media according to The Construction Marketing Association.
Building out your social media channels helps to create credibility for your brand and built trust with your customers. Here’s your chance to step in and step up your social media game–helping to grow awareness for your company, becoming a thought leader for the construction industry and even helping to draw in new leads for your team.
Social platforms are increasing their reach within the construction industry, especially amongst younger generations entering into the field. Social fans respond most when brands join social conversations that already exist and add their expertise instead of in-your-face branding and crushing competitors. This means it’s important to seek out what people want to hear about on social media and be a resource to provide social content that helps give them tips. Your social posts shouldn’t only be about how awesome your company is, while that’s important to relay as well (we’ll get to describing this delicate balance in our cadence section). It’s important to bring your content to life with varied media–studies show that 66% of fans love seeing video content from brands, it’s engaging and can have an emotional and/or informational appeal.
Let’s break it down–what do you need to do to help ramp up social media in construction and engage the community the most? We have six tips for you to start with, below.
If you’re just launching social, you won’t know too much about your audience yet, so choose which social media channels to launch based on your brand’s target demographic. For the construction industry, different roles look at different social channels to gather information, but it’s also important to ask your customers where they go for personal social interactions and meet them there. And make sure your whole team follows your social channels. Start with the basics: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (you don’t want to spread yourself too thin). If you have the resources, creating video content for YouTube and great visual content for Instagram broadens your potential to reach a larger audience.
50% of construction marketerssay LinkedIn and Facebook are the best two channels for effectiveness with social media fans in the industry.
Your audience can view your contact information easily here and reach out, fans can engage with your posts (sharing with their friends or asking your company questions), and you can highlight your customers here, being sure to tag them in your posts. This platform is also a strong place to launch ads and share other content your company may have created (e.g., blogs, ebooks).
The “go-to place for industry conversation,” you can share short tips and exercise thought-leadership as well as easily connect with influencers. At PlanGrid, we recently harnessed the power of this platform for a Twitter Party (a live one-hour Q&A curated through a branded hashtag) and brought together people to talk about the future of construction. It’s also a great platform to engage with people live at events as it’s quick and easy to share content and thoughts.
Join us here, along with @PeerAssist@redteamsoftwarefor a live Q&A June 5. We’ll chat about "How tech can help the global infrastructure demand and labor shortage within the construction industry." Come with Q's - we can't wait to chat with you! #PlanGridSummitpic.twitter.com/C6qdgmkT42
— PlanGrid (@PlanGrid) June 1, 2018
A recent report card on America’s infrastructure scored a D+. How can the general construction industry help the global infrastructure demand? https://t.co/ybZ2bIh98q#PlanGridSummit@PeerAssist@redteamsoftware
— PlanGrid (@PlanGrid) June 5, 2018
A strong platform for your business development group. Here, you can connect with like-minded construction companies, list jobs opportunities within your company, network for new projects and share news updates.
Share videos that speak to your audience in the most visual way. Great if your team has a bigger marketing budget and if not, you can share time-lapse or progress videos from your project sites. We love these videos from our friends at EarthCam:
Our time-lapse for 56 Leonard in #NYC was recognized by the @commawards for #videography& #cinematography! See #constructionprogress for the #residential building from Ma4 2014-Dec 2016 with our award-winning movie! https://t.co/agY6ykxni1@AlexicoGroup@HerzogdeMeuron
— EarthCam (@EarthCam) May 21, 2018
Find a posting schedule that works and stick to it. We recommend posting at least three times per week. Remember to play around with the time of the week and even time of day for maximum engagement. For instance, Wednesday evenings see some of the highest engagement rates.
Select the cadence of content pillars and topics that your channels covers. For example, before and after site pix, tips from your boss, day in the life, partner posts, on-site wins, how-tos or trending topics. We recommend that about half of your content should be about industry news, not just your brand.
Establish your branding–create a clean look and feel that helps your brand stand out from your competitors. Establish a voice and always share content and respond to questions on social media with that voice and point-of-view.
Authenticity is obvious to your followers. Aim to share real content–you can post images of workers and jobsite progress so fans can see real-life examples. Also, don’t always try to sell. Sharing customer stories and highlighting incredible people in the construction industry are great ways to connect with your followers.
Social media is a chance to show off your company’s personality. What type of people work for your company? Who are your customers? Start with what they’re interested in learning and sharing and try experimenting with that type of content.
Engagement is essential for a successful social media strategy. If someone asks a question on social media, go above-and-beyond with your answers to give them as much information as possible. Even share a link or direct message them to where they can find the answer. Remember always to acknowledge people’s comments and thank them if they share your post.
Also, hug your haters. If you receive negative comments or messages, don’t ignore. Respond to queries on social like a real, sympathetic person. You hear their message and want to help them with the correct answer. This may also be an opportunity to share new information with them or help rectify a misunderstanding.
If you’re not getting the kind of engagement you would like, ask for it. Ask your fans their thoughts on trending topics to start a conversation and include questions in your posts. You can also meet fans on social where they’re already discussing topics that are important to them.
Note that social media is a constantly evolving platform. Learn from which posts your audience resonates with–at the end of each month take a look at which post received the most likes, comments, share and try to identify patterns of what content people like so that you can share more of that.
An easy way to amplify your social media efforts is to start is follow industry thought-leaders, like their posts, and engage by asking them questions about the industry to start a social conversation. Share posts you think they might like and if they’re interested in your brand and you’ve caught their eye, they may share your content with their social following which is great exposure for your company.
Have extra marketing budget you can use for social media ads? You can start with a little money to boost posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to reach broader audiences. You’ll want to start with brand awareness campaigns and as your audience grows, you can change your goals to have calculable ROI such as click-through rates to read more information on your website or any other helpful calls to action that you want to focus on.
Be honest with your skill set is and hire this type of work out to someone who knows what they’re doing to avoid frustration, wasted budget and wasted time. They’ll help maximize your opportunities for social growth.
Take a stab at utilizing social media in construction to help bring awareness to your company within the industry and beyond.
Have more questions about social media in construction? Reach out to Aja Viafora, who runs a boutique media strategy agency in the Bay Area and consults for Autodesk. Contact her here on LinkedIn.