Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are the topic du jour for remodelers. But what's the strategy? How do remodelers execute it?
If you're going to jump into the social media fray, you've got to have a plan in place. Unfortunately, it's a new game for everyone, meaning many companies end up winging it — especially remodelers.
"They believe that a lot of clients are word-of-mouth, and what they're missing is that social media is word of mouth," says Internet marketing specialist Mitch Levinson of mRelevance, which has been working with home builders and now remodelers on their social media strategies.
Because it is new to so many people, it's intimidating but can easily be overcome. Levinson breaks the approach into four sections — "same as Marketing 101" — for his clients: commit to the program; define your strategy; implement it well; and monitor and tweak your company's approach over time.
Here's advice from Levinson and mRelevance's sister-company Flammer Relations using Bowen Family Homes as an example.
Sometimes social media efforts start from executives at the top who want to transition from traditional advertising to Internet marketing and social media. More often than not, however, the plan stems from a marketing department or active salespeople who make the social media pitch to executives, who might be reluctant to have their company dive in. Once Levinson's executive clients have a better understanding of the significance of building the right network, communicating the right way and using the right forums, they are more receptive, he says.
Mike Rieman, senior account manager with Flammer Relations, says Bowen Family Homes is an example of a company that has committed to a solid social media strategy. The move was a bottom-up initiative of sorts. Bowen's marketing director, Kelly Fink, pitched the social media program.
A key step to employing social media tactics is to define what the goals are. Ultimately, Levinson says, the goal is sales and contracts, which occurs through word-of-mouth and branding. You'll need to figure out which social media outlets to use and be prepared to cross-promote them by linking to content. The content that you post shouldn't be decided on the fly; have a strategy in place that is connected with your marketing program and tied directly to your sales team, says Levinson.
You know what you want to accomplish, and you've figured out which social media networks you'll use. The content you create is an extension of your brand, so it's critical to have a detailed plan in place to make sure your company understands who deploys messages, stays on message, promotes itself well on several channels and can interact with audiences cohesively.
Programs today allow account owners to track the number of site visits and click-throughs; who's coming; from where; etc. MRelevance gauges success by tracking the social media account analytically, especially with on-site traffic reports. But Levinson admits measuring success is difficult: "We know the search results, and we know what people are viewing. I wish I could say, for example, they sold 30 houses just based off of Facebook."
A version of this article originally appeared in our sister publication, Professional Builder.