Any manufacturer can log onto Facebook, Instagram or TikTok and start creating posts. But just posting product spotlights or repurposed material from your website isn’t enough to gain the attention of potential customers. Follow these eight steps to create a truly compelling social media strategy that gives your leads exactly what they’re looking for.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Not all building materials manufacturers target the same audiences. A product could be used by professionals like builders and architects, or it could be suited for individual DIYers. Before you start posting on social media, create a buyer persona so you know exactly who you’re targeting. This should include information like job, geographic area and income level. For instance, you should know if you’re targeting people looking for a budget-friendly option or those who want a luxurious upgrade.
2. Be Authentic
Avoid clickbait headlines — instead, be positive and remember to act like a person, not a generic company.
You can focus on establishing your brand without sounding like a used car salesman. They’ll know exactly what kind of company you are with each post. Here’s a great example from Fireclay Tile.
The roundup post of their subway tile design is witty and challenging, and even though it puts their products front and center, it’s still not just about how great they are. They’re focusing on the results they deliver, not just the products they sell.
Your customers need solutions, and social media lets you deliver those solutions in dynamic content just like FireClay Tile.
3. Engage Your Audience
Social media platforms reward accounts that have high user engagement. When your audience likes, shares and comments on posts, your content will be promoted to others who follow you instead of getting pushed to the bottom of their feed. There are tons of ways to encourage people to interact with your posts, like linking to time-sensitive promotions, asking questions and embedding polls.
When people comment, assign someone to respond to each one — including negative remarks. Users can see when you delete posts, and it can cause them to lose trust in your brand.
Bonus Tip: Remember to tag people or accounts you mention in your posts. This increases the reach of your posts and encourages those tagged to interact with your content.
4. Schedule a Content Calendar
As much as you can, write posts well ahead of schedule. This will ensure you don’t drop the ball on any platforms and maintain user engagement.
While you’re at it, automate the posting of your content so you don’t have to physically be at your computer. The underlying reason for this is to become as consistent as possible with your posting so your followers know they can rely on you for new content. Scheduling a month at a time is a good rule of thumb.
When scheduling your content, be strategic about pacing the days between posts. You don’t want to post twice on the same day then not post for five days after that.
Finally, your posts can be auto-scheduled, but your engagement on the platform needs to be real. Watch your posts for comments so you can respond quickly. This increases engagement both because people will be more likely to engage if they think they’ll get a response, and the algorithm will promote content more based on the amount of engagement it receives.
Bonus Tip: The platform you use to schedule your content (like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, etc.) should also include reporting on your posts. Review them monthly (at least) to gauge the content and scheduling times that bring in the most engagement then adjust your calendar and schedule accordingly.
5. Stay Visual
All social media platforms incorporate visual elements. Avoid text-heavy posts — instead, include interesting images and videos. Create a branding guide for your images, including fonts and color schemes. This allows people to recognize your posts in their feed.
Cambria, a quartz surfaces company, shares user-generated content of their products in action. The quartz countertops may not be the sole focus of these photos, but the posts are visually compelling and definitely cause a stop in scrolling.
6. Add Value Through Your Content
A great social media strategy focuses on the user, not the manufacturer. That means creating content that provides real value for your target audience.
It’s not about constantly pushing sales, but finding ways to establish your company as an industry expert. Focus on your audience’s problems and offer solutions — which may or may not involve your product.
Take another look at Fireclay Tile, which offers a continuing education course for architects and designers.
The virtual course solves an explicit problem: required continuing education that certified professionals must complete. It also builds trust and positions your brand as authoritative. Eventually, it could lead to sales when those architects and designers do need to spec tiles for their clients.
7. Customize Content on Each Social Media Platform
If you’re going to have an account with all of the major social media platforms, make sure your content is unique to each of them. Each platform offers a different user experience, and you should take advantage of that.
For example, Facebook audiences will engage with more text-heavy posts than Instagram followers will. Followers on TikTok love visual demonstrations and stories. LinkedIn is more professional, but that doesn't mean you can only sell. Highlight the humanitarian side of your company and spotlight employees to further your brand positioning.
Utilize the strengths of each platform while refraining from blanket posts across all platforms. Segment your content in a way that resonates with the subset of your audience on that account.
8. Join the Conversation
If you’re struggling to generate increased engagement then you may need to examine your own level of interaction with your audience and industry.
Don’t just wait for comments on your own posts. Search hashtags and relevant accounts for conversations you can contribute to. And don’t forget to like, comment, compliment and share content from other accounts to help their promotion and engagement.
Being a partner on social media will bring you results but also help customers see the kind of partner they’ll find in you.
Social media offers an incredible opportunity to connect with your audience in an authentic manner. By engaging users and providing valuable content, you’ll create a high-quality pipeline of leads to continue to nurture in other campaigns.
If you’re still questioning the value of social media in the building materials world, listen to this podcast about How Manufacturers Can Measure Social Media ROI.
About the Contributor: Beth PopNikolov is the CEO of Venveo, a digital marketing agency focused on helping building material manufacturers turn their online presence into a sales engine. Having started her career at a Fortune 500 company, she has a long history of communication experience and knowledge for companies of all sizes. Beth has helped craft digital strategies for multimillion dollar building material companies, and shares her experience on Venveo’s podcast: Smarter Building Materials Marketing.
Editor's Note: This article comes to us courtesy of the Contributor above. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily our own at ManoByte's, nor have we been paid by the Contributor to publish this article. We find the contributor's perspective in the Building Materials Manufacturing space interesting and are happy to share their perspective with you all too.