An online presence can give you an edge over the competition.
Want to give your construction company an edge over the competition this year? Build your social media presence.
Thoughtful use of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, such as Instagram, can help your business develop a reputation as an industry thought leader, attract new talent, engage your current staff and increase your business prospects.
If you’re not a social media expert, using social media to build your brand can be intimidating and confusing. This overview of best practices will give you a head start.
Don’t talk about yourself…too much
Tweeting about your business’s triumphs helps get the word out, but be careful how much you toot your own horn. “You wouldn’t want to do more than 10 to 15 percent of posts about how great you are,” said Roxanne Alaniz, founder of California-based Alaniz Marketing, which manages the social media strategies of some construction firms.
Keep it interesting
Attention spans are short on social media. Before you post anything, ask yourself, “Is this something the audience would be interested in? Would I want to read it if I didn’t work for this company?” To keep followers engaged, limit your promotional posts to what’s truly exciting. The more interesting your content, the more your followers will be moved to share it.
Focus on frequency
Simply setting up social media accounts isn’t enough. For a social media campaign to work, you’ll need to maintain an active presence on each platform you choose. Not only will frequent posting engage followers and help build your brand, it should also help your company’s website rank higher in Google search results.
Recommendations on posting frequency vary, and they change over time as platforms tweak their algorithms. (Facebook recently announced that it’s altering its news feed algorithm to show less content from brands.) But a good general rule of thumb to date has been to post on Facebook once or twice a day, post on LinkedIn every business day and post on Twitter at least five times a day. Some of the Twitter posts can be retweets of the most interesting posts from companies and organizations you’re following or monitoring. Note that Twitter posts that contain images get far more views than posts without images, so include an image whenever you can.
If you decide to post more frequently, it can help you build a following, as long as your posts are interesting to your followers.
Staying active on all these platforms sounds like a lot of work, which is why some businesses hire a social media manager. But if you don’t have one you can use digital tools like Hootsuite to plan your content and schedule it in advance so you don’t have to interrupt your work day to post.
“You need a strategy up front and you need to plan it out, but you can do all your posts for the week in just a few hours up front,” noted Alaniz.
Posting in real time on occasion (vs. relying only on scheduled posts) lets you have a voice at opportune moments. “Breaking news happens, and if you want to talk about it, you should,” Alaniz said. Just make sure your posts add value to the conversation and reflect your brand.
Use Facebook to attract new employees
Your company is competing with countless others for top talent. Alaniz recommends using Facebook posts to promote what makes your company a great one to work for.
“People think of Facebook as a very social platform — that’s where they share pictures of their kids. The beauty of that is that it’s a great way to connect with people who aren’t in the job market today but are very career-oriented and will eventually be looking,” she said.
Why do your employees like working for you? Whether it’s top-notch benefits, competitive salaries, opportunities for career advancement, a great apprenticeship program, a culture of volunteering or an emphasis on diversity, let people know about it on your Facebook page.
Share news and insights about your industry
Want to become a thought leader in the industry? Use your social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, to share news and insights.
“It’s not just about sharing projects you’re working on but also other projects, studies and business news you think is important,” said Alaniz.
She added that most construction companies haven’t exploited the full value of social media, which it leaves a lot of potential for a driven business to make a name for itself online. Try to make your pages the go-to spots on social media for people to learn about construction.
“Everyone needs a filter of news. If you do a good job promoting news in your industry, you’ll be amazed at how many people will go through your platform to find what they need. It will feel relevant because it’s coming from people in the industry.”
As you gain followers, you can also feed them your own news. “Share an interview with the CEO talking about their thoughts and ideas as it relates to industry news,” said Alaniz. “If you do it correctly, it gains the right attention and elevates you above the competitors.”
Engage your staff
If you really want your staff to engage with your business on social media, get them involved in creating the posts, Alaniz advised. Ask who would be interested in participating, then assign volunteers to take photos or write or contribute to an article. You can get staff to share the projects they’re working on, the safety precautions they take and how they approach their jobs, for example. Have them send the content to a designated person for review and posting.
“There are always people in a company that want to champion it and feel good about it. When staff work on social media, it’s great for community building and it helps build morale,” she said.
Exactly how you tackle your social media strategy depends on your business goals, but as long as you are diligent with posting thoughtful, relevant content, your company will benefit.
“Most construction companies are so far behind on social media, it doesn’t take much to excel above your competition,” said Alaniz.
Joni Sweet is a journalist with interests that range from workers’ rights and business success to travel, health and lifestyle. You can read more of her work at www.jonimsweet.com.