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Content You Bring to the Market: What CFA Members Write About

The following discussion is an excerpt taken from a CFA Member newsletter. CFA members are becoming

aggressive to their markets and supplying their customers with education and information to better

inform them of the expertise that resides in their service. Marketing your company today needs to be

about a lot more than just building the highest quality concrete element, it must infuse the intentional

development of even higher quality relationships and recognition. Do you have a company newsletter?

Contact Jim Baty,  jbaty@cfawalls.org, to get the CFA plugged in to your product

and maybe you will be featured in this column in the future.

Typical eNewsletter from Herbert Construction Company

Typical eNewsletter from Herbert Construction Company

Social Media for Contractors – Does it Bring In Sales or Just Waste Your Time?

By Doug Herbert

[Featured in Herbert Construction’s Building Insights E-Newsletter, Nov. 12, 2012]

Are you one of those contractors who fears that if you aren’t completely engrossed in social media that you are missing out or doing something wrong? I don’t blame you; social media seems to be all we hear about these days. I believe social media is just one of many marketing tactics that we should be using.

 

 

The Social Media Trap

The social media craze has taken over all industries, whether it makes sense or not. It reminds me of the fallacy of “branding” for small businesses. Years ago, marketing textbooks would tell you to spend your marketing budget on image ads that established your brand. That may work for Coke and Ford, but not you and me. We are small business owners. We operate on a very small profit margin. Every dollar or hour we spend on marketing has to return to us with a prospective customer attached to it.

Image ads didn’t work for small businesses back then, but they were easy. You just paid someone to put an ad in the paper or on a billboard and that was it. That may have been easy, but it didn’t result in new customers.

Just as those image ads were easy, social media is easy, too. The big draw is that it is seemingly free. “Hey,” you say, “It would cost me a couple hundred bucks to send post cards to potential customers. But, social media is free.” It may be free to have a Facebook page, but your time is not free.

“If all of the time you are putting into social media isn’t working, then change what you are doing. It doesn’t matter that everybody else is doing it if it doesn’t help YOUR business.”

Every hour you spend on social media could be better spent on other areas of your business. You could be implementing marketing tactics that work more effectively. Or, you could devote that time to streamlining your operations to squeeze every dollar out of the work that you currently have.

I think many people are hiding behind social media, and are taking the easy way out. Re-tweeting interesting thoughts and articles is easy compared to calling on a prospective customer. Adding another blog post about a recently competed job is a lot more fun than implementing a system for tracking where your leads are coming from.

Sure, you may have friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn, and followers on Twitter. But can you specifically and confidently show me what leads have come from that? Do your social media efforts directly correlate to checks in your mailbox? Let me ask you this: if you cut in half the time you spend on social media, would your work fall off by 25 to 50 percent? Or, if you stopped your social media efforts altogether, would you notice any drop in sales?

Utilize Multiple Marketing Strategies

Let’s be realistic. If all of the time you are putting into social media isn’t working, then change what you are doing. It doesn’t matter that everybody else is doing it if it doesn’t help YOUR business. Put that time and energy into strategies that actually bring in new customers.

Spread your marketing efforts across multiple tactics. Social media can be one tactic in your overall sales/marketing strategy. Measure the effectiveness of every marketing tactic so you know what works for your business. Eliminate the tactics that don’t bring in new customers, and pour the coals to the tactics that work.

Limit Social Media Time

Are you afraid that you’ll miss the boat if you are not involved in social media? If so, then have someone manage it for you, such as your Office Manager. Or, hire a college kid for part-time work (they know more about social media than you do, anyway). Give them guidelines, a little direction and let them handle it.

Can’t bear to have someone else manage your personal image online? Then limit yourself to fifteen minutes a day. Schedule that time at the end of the day. If your important meetings and tasks throughout the day cause you to fall behind schedule, all you’ll do is miss your social media time. Worse things could happen.

Should you have a presence in social media? Sure, have a presence. But, don’t let that be the only marketing that you do. Hold it accountable for adding to the sales of the company just as you would any other marketing tactic. Spend your time on the things that will have the biggest impact on your business in the shortest amount of time.

 

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us