For virtually any industry, social media is a powerful tool that when used correctly can greatly enhance a company’s efforts around branding, marketing, and fostering relationships with customers and the communities they serve.
A company’s social media presence is the flag it plants in cyberspace. It not only offers the public a window into its operations, but in many cases allows a company to let its hair down a bit and showcase their unique personality and culture. Social media gives companies a platform to show off their wins, help spotlight customer successes, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry.
“Social Media is all about connecting with your audience, with your customers, reaching new people, prospects, influencers and other thought leaders in the industry,” Carey Larson, Procore’s Manager of Social Marketing said in a recent Procore webinar.
Social media also helps companies to better listen to their customers. These days when a product or service fails to meet customer expectations, they aren’t shy about trumpeting their dissatisfaction online. By hearing that feedback, and even engaging directly with those customers through social, it shows the company is engaged and connected, which really matters to customers, who have come to expect that kind of attention. Sending a support email into an inbox black hole is a totally different experience than directly engaging with a company in real-time, and improving that engagement boosts retention.
One goal of a social media program is to create an audience who regularly engages with your company and its content, the idea being that a vibrant community grows on its own after reaching a certain critical mass. A common way this is accomplished is by publishing original content on a regular basis. Whether it’s blog posts, white papers, case studies or anything in between, producing content on relevant topics shows off a company’s expertise, keeps the audience engaged, and drives web traffic.
Kalyn Lengieza, owner of Grindstone Consultants, a firm that helps C&E companies with their social strategies, says that content piece is an area that too many firms put on the back burner. She advocates that companies produce at least two pieces of content per month to stay fresh and relevant.
“A lot of people I work with tell me ‘I just don’t have the time to create it’ — well, I’m sorry, but make the time,” she said during a recent Procore webinar. “It is definitely helpful to get your brand out there in the market and also for a search engine optimization point to get people on your website viewing your content,” she said.
Lengieza also says companies should research and factor in the optimal posting times across each social network to ensure the content lands with maximum impact and reach. The time of day or even day of the week a piece of content gets published on Facebook versus Twitter for instance can have a big impact on how many people read it.
Lengieza says for a content strategy to be most effective, it should be carefully planned out.
“From industry updates, to new tech uses, to project benefits, you have all these things you have ideas you want to write about or tweet about and put out there and put your best practices or ideas out there but don’t know where to start. Creating a layout of your content and putting it on a schedule is definitely helpful,” she said.
“You want to look at the relevancy of that topic, see what people are looking for in the industry and put your expertise in that area out into social media and into search engines.”
Social media can also be a valuable recruiting tool. Each of your employees has their own social media presence. Leveraging your employees’ individual audiences is a great way to spread the word about your company and what it’s like to work there.
“In a world driven by social media, a company’s employees are really their most valuable asset,” Larson said.
“Having employees share content about winning a big award or a new contract or a new construction project, that’s great stuff for employees to share out. They’re all great types of content that your employees are able to broadcast across their social channels. This not only builds your company’s brand, but also builds their brand online. It really becomes them becoming thought leaders where people trust their opinions and their content online. That helps solidify your brand as well as your employees’,” he said.