Your Building Products Brand and Social Media
Article Date: June 6, 2023
Moving Beyond Follows and Likes
On a daily basis, we find ourselves glued to our cell phones, bouncing between different social media apps. According to a recent report issued by Datareportal, the typical working-age internet user now spends more than 2½ hours per day using social platforms. That often includes your key audiences as a building products manufacturer – designers, architects, specifiers, builders, contractors, installers, and other key construction professionals.
Building materials companies looking to improve their visibility, engage with their core audiences, and position themselves as industry thought leaders can benefit from elevating their social media presence. Whether you are just beginning to develop your brand’s social media program or seek to build on early wins, you can maximize success by following several best practices.
It all begins with an audit – to determine where you are today, and to chart a course for your brand’s future.
Why an Audit?
Social media is constantly evolving. That means it is critical to stay updated on new platforms, features, and trends so you are taking full advantage of what is available.
It can be challenging to determine the gap that exists between the current status of your channels and where you want to be. A properly executed social media audit will provide your organization with visibility into what you are already doing. It will also allow you to cross-compare that data with what is possible or appropriate for a brand such as yours. Assessing performance metrics such as engagement, demographics, reach, audience and more can lead you to key findings on how to set goals.
Here is a step-by-step process to get you started.
Step #1: Platform and Engagement Analysis
Analyze your website and other existing content assets. Are there key messages that live on your website that can be recast on social media? What are the key selling points of your brand that you can bring to your social media presence?
Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. If a customer were to visit your website after visiting your social media page, would the two channels be synonymous in how they portray the brand? In other words, is it easy to identify the brand with the social media channels? Do you have a mission statement or a set of core company values that are important to highlight? These elements should be carefully integrated into company descriptions or profiles on your social media channels to create that all-important connective tissue.
Next, review all the channels your brand is currently using. Track and confirm key metrics for each channel (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and more) that include:
- How often you are posting.
- What kind of content you are posting (pictures, videos, animated graphics).
- What content mix you are maintaining (product features, company news, customer testimonials, people and culture, etc.).
- The reach and engagement levels you are achieving.
- How many followers you have.
- How that compares with industry benchmarks for B2B companies.
Ask yourself critical questions along the way:
- Have you effectively identified your target audience for social media?
- Who is engaging with your content?
- Are the right people interacting with your content?
- Has your following reached a point of critical mass? Is there opportunity for growth?
- What level of quality can you ascribe to the engagement you are seeing? Are people actively sharing your content? Is it limited to just likes? How often do people comment? What are they saying?
You are now armed with a baseline snapshot of your current presence on social media.
You must next achieve a more robust understanding of the differences in who engages on specific social media platforms, why they engage on them, and how that should impact your strategy on social media. The key questions to answer: Where you are, and if that matches up with where you should be:
- According to Forbes, LinkedIn Is the top social media marketing platform for B2B brands, which means establishing and cultivating a following on LinkedIn for a building products manufacturer is critical. LinkedIn delivers a prime opportunity to network with professionals and position your brand as a thought leader with valuable insight and perspective on your industry and your area of expertise. You should be sharing company blog posts, listicles, third-party content, and more.
- Facebook and Instagram are optimal for showcasing your brand personality and company culture. According to Hootsuite, 62% of Instagram users say they use the platform to follow or research brands. How can you integrate more photo and video into your social media plan and share them on a regular basis on your company’s Facebook and Instagram pages? Use this as an opportunity to showcase the latest and greatest products and project innovations.
Tailoring content to each platform’s natural environment and the target audiences they reach can help connect your business with the right audience in the right place and at the right time.
To round out your audit, conduct a review of your competitors on social media. Where are they? How active are they? What are their engagement levels? How many followers do they have, and how does that match up with your progress? Knowing how you stack up against the competition can help paint a more comprehensive picture of what you need to do to take your social media presence to the next level.
Step #2: Setting Goals
With data and key findings on the current state of your social media engagement in hand, it is time to ask critical questions about what you seek to accomplish for the company on social media. Do you hope to build brand awareness? Increase engagement? Both?
Begin this process by creating key foundational elements for the social media program, ones that will need to closely correlate with your PR and content marketing strategy and your overall brand messaging. This ensures that your social media channels are singing off the same sheet of music as your brand:
- Publishing mission: This statement of intent crystallizes what you seek to accomplish with the development and dissemination of content on your social media channels.
- Content pillars: These organizational principles delineate the types of content you plan to create. Separate them into buckets (thought leadership, company culture, innovations, etc.), and confirm how large of a role each will play in your content marketing ecosystem for social media.
With these organizational principles in place, it is time to set social media goals that are platform- and brand-specific. This will help grow your social media presence and deliver a viable result for the brand. Ask yourself what your brand’s engagement rate is over the past year and how that breaks down across the various social media platforms. Where do you want those percentages to sit in a year so that you are optimizing your social media efforts for maximum engagement in the coming year?
Set key performance indicators (KPIs). Certain posts are engineered toward delivering what might be classified as vanity metrics such as followers and post likes. For example, carousel images, stories, and live videos all help to drive vanity metrics. Posts that obtain a higher reach or number of impressions typically include ones that feature photo or video, as they are often shared more often to further the post’s reach. When building your strategy, your KPIs should set specific goals along this front, thereby helping you to determine what kind of content is most critical to develop and share.
If you have firmly established a following on social media and can point to discernible awareness of your brand amongst your target audiences, engagement might be a more important goal for your brand. For instance, if you have a following on your channels but are seeing little to no engagement, increasing engagement may be the next step for you.
Decipher which posts are performing best on your channels and the reactions and actions your followers are taking. How can you build in more of those content pieces in the calendar, the ones driving traffic and engagement? How can you prop up or recast other content pieces so that they pull a similar weight?
Moreover, get a clear picture of how your social media channels are a traffic driver to your website or other digital assets such as a landing page. In many ways, social media is the opening act for your brand, inviting people to engage on your website, learn more about your brand, read about our products and solutions, and perhaps fill out a form to learn even more. Pinpoint the social media channels that serve as drivers for this activity, what needs to be optimized, and where there are gaps.
Step #3: Implementation
With clear goals in place, now it is time to update your strategy. What content will match your brand’s voice and help you achieve the goals you have set ? Remember that photos and videos play an important role when it comes to capturing a follower’s attention. They often are much more successful at stopping someone from scrolling, which is why they generate greater engagement levels than those without them.
After you narrow in on what content assets you have available and the ones you need to develop, decide on a manageable post frequency you can sustain. By building and maintaining a content calendar for your social media channels, you can condition your company to post on a consistent schedule multiple times a week. This will set you on the path toward raising brand awareness and developing a consistent voice.
To flesh out a posting schedule, consider the development of social media series that classify your content, tell specific stories relevant to your brand, and help you maintain posting frequency and variety. Having multiple series that you can integrate on a bi-weekly or monthly basis can help fill your content calendar with impactful content. In addition, take a look at existing content you have that you might be able to repurpose in other ways.
To stay organized, use a social media management tool that can suggest key times for posting and provide engagement insights for how your audience is interacting with content. Check on these metrics on a weekly or monthly basis. Make tweaks to your content and schedule based on what is working best. Pay close attention to what people are commenting on and sharing to help gain even more traction for your content.
With all this in place, make sure to also look for additional opportunities to drive followers and engagement:
- Mentioning partner brands can increase the reach of your posts, exposing your brand to new and valuable audiences and increasing your company’s recognition and visibility.
- Consider an eBlast or call to action in other outreach that prompts people to follow your channels.
- Embed social media icons on your website and in your company email signatures that link directly to your channels.
- Consistently encourage employees of your building materials brand to like and follow your social media channels. Prompt them to repost content shared on the brand’s channels. This maximizes reach.
Social media is an ever-changing environment that requires constant cultivation, monitoring, and adjustment. For your building materials brand to secure and sustain a winning strategy, you need to commit time and resources to it on a perpetual basis.
Whether your goals are to grow your Instagram following, increase engagement on Facebook, or drive higher post frequency on Twitter, you need to follow a methodical plan to get there, one that must be agile.
BLD Marketing has a team of content marketing and social media practitioners that is highly skilled at building, implementing, and growing social media programs for building product manufacturers.
BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.