February 4th, 2013
Does Social Media Really Work?
There have been many articles written about social media for our industry. The majority of discussion has been around how successful social media CAN be. And to provide full disclosure, I have been supporting social media for some time. I compare it to 10-12 years ago when websites were starting to become common practice. Everyone rushed out to create a website and many of those initial sites ended up being ineffective. Through the years, website interaction has evolved and progressed significantly. I believe it is safe to say that almost every company in our industry now has a website and these continue to evolve.
When we discuss social media, what exactly are we talking about? For the purpose of this blog, I am specifically ‘talking about’ the online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram.
I have sat in a handful of industry meetings where many owners have stood up and said, “I have tried social media, and it just doesn’t work.” Many organizations believe their customers do not use social media to contemplate their home improvement decisions. I would partially agree with this. I believe that social media isn’t the main conduit for prospects to check out their perspective home improvement company. However, I would also say this trend is dramatically and quickly changing.
To substantiate this, there is a growing network of home improvement professionals that have successfully figured out the formula for social media. Some of these professionals can be found on the top revenue grossing companies in our industry. I have also seen many ‘medium’ sized companies make the leap to becoming ‘super’ sized through their understanding social media, and they have successfully kept their lead costs down when making the leap.
Social media has so many advantages if we understand how it can assist us. An example is it allows you to capture a ‘newer’ type of customer and/or a different type of demographic. But it also helps some of the ‘mainstream’ customers that have embraced social media. And the latter group keeps on growing.
Social media also helps businesses increase their online presence, drives their lead costs down, and allows prospective customers to grade your work before you even walk in the door with a presentation. Provided you are doing the last part right, it should make getting the sale easier. I used to say that social media will not be where you capture the majority of your leads. But citing one of the fastest growing dealers in Pennsylvania, they are, in fact, starting to get the majority of their leads through social media.
So what should you do about social media? I believe you need to make a commitment to social media one way or the other. My belief is social media is much like putting together a website 10-12 years ago. Those websites did not do much to generate leads or be interactive with prospective customers.
Today, as mentioned, most companies have a website presenting a professional image of the company as well as have a site that stands out to the consumer. I suggest doing your homework with social media and choose the right partners to help you become more successful online.
Also, some social media communities become fads and you need to recognize this. Anyone remember MySpace, which is still around today but a fraction of the size/following?
Our industry has some of the finest marketers in business today. We understand lead generation, where to put our marketing dollars, and what percent of marketing costs will give us ‘X dollars’ of business. Many more of you will become experts in managing social media campaigns and before you know it, you know it; you will become more knowledgeable than the social media partners you first searched out.