Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Social networking sites such as and can be useful -- but are best applied with other marketing intitiatives.

Here is a column I wrote today for our Canadian publications.

About three months ago, I discovered the potential power – and dangerous limitations – of social networking sites like and Fascinated by’s ability to create a seemingly infinite number of connections (my total now exceeds one million!), I tried their help wanted service and posted a $150 ad. works on the principal of connecting the “six degrees of separation” – that everyone could theoretically know everyone in the world through just six connections.
The ad initially seemed to be a dismal failure: We received just two responses, and one didn’t match our criteria in any way. But Daniel Smith, who now works with us as our Ottawa-Eastern Ontario representative – met all the criteria. (Daniel is staying away from Facebook for now, but you can check out the Ottawa Construction News Facebook site here.) We hired him, and he has introduced us to other web-savvy resources that speed up our processes and make it easier for you to communicate with us. He, of course, is young – having recently graduated from Carleton University’s journalism program.
This success motivated me to use my old-style journalism skills. I proposed an article about Social Networking for The Marketer, published by The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) – an association with 6,000 plus marketing professionals for the architectural, engineering and construction industry, mostly in the U.S. Journal editor Randy Pollock accepted my story proposal – and went a step further. He invited me to join the Marketer’s Editorial Committee.
I wrote the (print) story, and submitted it – it has just gone to press.
Little did I know that our Southern/Western Ontario representative, Chase, in St. Catharines, had decided to experiment with Social Networking sites. He set up Facebook pages for our Canadian papers. (This one is for The GTA Construction Report.) I told him about my Marketer article, and we crafted an email campaign to let people know about the new sites. The result: A flurry of activity and new, productive sales leads for our business.
But, if you go to the beginning of this column, you’ll see I wrote “dangerous limitations” about social networking. The senior people I interviewed for The Marketer article said that social networking sites are a useful resource but NOT a replacement for proper, direct, human connections. In other words, your “friends” on Facebook or are unlikely to do business with you unless you know them a little more personally. And you may find yourself spending hours on the computer with unproductive games and time wasters.
I have learned something important from this experience: You can achieve the best results by integrating several media simultaneously. Done properly, you will find you achieve a seemingly exponential increase in effectiveness for relatively little effort. An example: I’ll take this column, originally intended for the print editions of our Canadian publications, and post it as an entry on my Construction Marketing Ideas blog (and you are reading it here, now.)

* * *

As we print this issue, Leslie Greenwood is joining our staff. Based in Sault. Ste. Marie, she will work with us in co-ordinating the launch of our newest publication, Northern Ontario Construction News. NOCN will serve communities including Sudbury, North Bay, Thunder Bay and of course Sault. Ste. Marie, with locally and regionally relevant news. The additional communities will also enhance the value and effective of Ontario Construction Report, making our publication the first truly provincial construction industry title, with more than 10,000 readers.
You can reach Leslie care of the Northern Ontario Construction News Facebook site, or phone 888-432-3555 ext 114 and ask to be connected (at press time we are still setting up her phone extension and email link.

No comments: