This is the first in a series of posts which aims to inspire you (the marketer for your construction company) on how you could use social media platforms and tools such as Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube to connect, engage and educate your audience and enhance your brand to meet business objectives.
Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. Your marketing efforts should always be geared towards business objective(s), goals and targets (K.P.I’s). Why are you doing it? The last thing you want to do is step into the world of public opinions and customer conversations with a blind eye and make a complete hash of things. If you haven’t read Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne then I suggest you do. Jim writes ‘ The big 3 business goals for social media are: 1) Increase revenue 2) Lower costs 3) Improve Customer Satisfaction’. These 3 goals are all that matter in the long run and the goals/objectives which I will relate to for each channel.
The first one I want to look at is Blogging. Firstly, I have heard many people say “my customers don’t read blogs”. Well, that’s because you don’t have one to know and you haven’t really asked them, you just assume they don’t. Secondly, how many people, including your prospects and customers, search the web for information, for content and most importantly you or your competition? All of them? 99% of them? You need to get information and content on the web to increase exposure, raise awareness and increase your reach and blogging is just one of the many ways to getting found on the internet and adding value to your audience.
So, without further a do, let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you should be blogging and which business goal this contributes towards.
1. Show your technical expertise
Does your company literature and adverts claim that you are the ‘technical experts in what you do’? Yes? Prove it. Prove that you have the technical expertise by writing technical content and putting it on the web for your technically minded audience to help them choose you or your products. Support your technical datasheets, installation manuals or your CAD standard details with a series of blog posts on why you should design or install in a particular way adn back it up with specific drawings or datasheets. Get feedback from designers and engineers on new and clever ways of designing for construction and blog about it. Share those ideas. Are your products tested? Write a technical blog post on the testing results and inform specification writers of the performance results of your products.
2. Prove Industry leadership
Do your print ads also state ‘we are the market leaders in….’? Really? Are you? But every company says they are ‘market leaders’. Prove that you are the leaders in what you do? What makes you the leaders? Are you constantly innovating? Write blog posts which show why you are leaders in what you do, this could be in-depth case studies and provide the content or ideas which solves the problems your prospects, customers and sector are having. Collaborate and engage with others to come up with new ideas (crowd-sourcing) for improving your products. Lead the way in innovation, design and guidance for your sector or are of expertise. Include a link at the end of case study which tells readers ‘View our blog post on ‘design guidance’ by going to….’. Keep them engaged. Are you being ‘environmentally friendly’ in any of your business operations? Write about it and publish how you are doing it. Being sustainable and environmentally friendly are big topics so show that you are leading the way or doing your bit.
3. Voice your opinion on upcoming legislations and regulations
What are you doing to educate your audience or sector on upcoming regulations which will have an impact on their day to day jobs? Write informative blog posts on specific regulations and legislations which affect your sector or audience. Drill down and provide your audience with educational content for which they can use and learn from. Keep them coming back to you! Also, the press love this sort of material, those who are willing to stand up and voice their opinions and collaborate with others as part of a bigger message or topic. (This is what makes you leaders too)
4. Provide answers
The sector which you operate in, whether it’s architecture or ground-works, are buzzing full of questions. How can we? How do we? How do I? What is the best way to?. Answer these questions. Provide the supply chain with guidance and advice on solving these issues and problems. Write blog posts that start with ‘Did you know….’ or ‘Here is what you….’ or ‘The importance of…..’. Become the leaders and the knowledge resource for your prospects and customers.
5. Marketing Campaigns
Support your marketing campaigns with blog posts. If your campaigning about a particular topic, issue or product then support your print advertising campaign, microsite and email marketing campaign messages with relevant blog posts. Product manufacturers can also utilise blogs for specific case studies which tackle real problems from a technical point of view or a supply chain partnership point of view. Use your case studies to target relevant people and businesses so that you can further increase your reach. I used to work for a plastics product manufacturer and always pushed the ‘plastics vs concrete’ message through adverts and email, would it not be also useful to also support the ‘advantage of plastics’ message with blog posts showcasing case studies proving one material was better than the other from a cost or installation point of view? Or from an environmental point of view? The point is that you are integrating your marketing messages and providing your audience multiple ways in which they can consume and take in this content.
Which business goals does Blogging contribute towards?
Blogging can actually contribute to all 3 big business goals and that is why it is probably the most valuable marketing medium you can adopt. An increase in the amount of content you produce increases the likelihood of appearing in search engine results page and therefore increasing the number of people who see your messages and visit your website. More visitors equals more traffic, and if your website does a good job at converting these visitors, then it means an increase in lead generation. An increase in leads means more opportunities for your sales team to convert into orders or sales. Increased Revenue.
Blogging also lowers costs. Lowering the cost of you PR expenditure (marketers are now publishers) as well as generating the same if not more awareness of your company. You are also lowering the cost of communication as you are reaching out to a relevant community or audience who you can keep engaged without having to use expensive direct mailings.
If you are providing informative and relevant content online and satisfying the ‘search’ savvy audience you have then you are improving customer satisfaction. Involving your audience in discussions at the end of blog posts can also make you much more responsive to customer or market concerns.
So there it is. Hopefully this is given you some inspiration and some ideas which you can take away and apply to your business. Again, blogging takes time and requires the clever people within your business to contribute and help create success. Pick out the few ambassadors for your company and get them involved in helping you and your department create ideas for writing compelling blog stories or articles.
Next time, we will look at YouTube and making more use of online videos for product demonstrations, installation and how-to’s.