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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Social media and construction marketing: How effective, really, is it?

In today's email, I received at least three e-letters suggesting ways architects, engineers and contractors could make more effective use of social media in their businesses.  We can be overwhelmed with the amount of advice flowing here.  However, the question we need to ask is: "Does this stuff really work?"

Here, I have some painful challenges.  In researching my social media e-book Social media and marketing for architectural, engineering and construction companies: What you really need to know to achieve profitable results, I have found it difficult to quantify success.  Sure, there are some great examples, such as Tim Klabunde's success in generating upwards of $2 million in business through the Design and Construction Network.  But how replicable is his success -- few of us will be able to be early enough in the game to start 40,000-member LinkedIn groups.  (My Construction Marketing Ideas group is growing at 10 to 15 members a day and should reach 5,000 members within a few days.)
The Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association renovators' council

Today, at the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association (GOHBA) renovators council meeting, I took these observations to a practical level.  The association represents renovators/remodelers who care enough about their work to belong, and some are reasonably large and successful businesses -- who can spend tens of thousands of dollars a week on marketing.  After my presentation, the largest renovator in town invited me to provide some one-on-one (fee-paid) consulting on social media best practices.  He tracks and measures everything and knows (for example) that the printed magazine we publish, Ottawa Renovates, generates useful leads.  He couldn't say the same for the various social media platforms.

It seems the biggest social media successes are consultants selling social media services or extreme early adaptors who combine their first-to-market advantages with some luck and general marketing/business development skills.

With these observations in mind, how would I recommend anyone approach social media?

The answer, it seems, is that you should do this stuff if you enjoy it. If you have "office staff" who would like to connect in the social space, then you could assign your employees to help out.  Set some controls -- obviously you want to make sure your interactions are appropriate -- but social media allows some "non sales" employees to actually help out in marketing and business development.

I have some other ideas in my social media book, which you can purchase through or the IStore, and other channels.  For Amazon, you can link here.  For other services, just key in the words "buckshon" and "social" and you'll find the book soon enough.  It is only $4.95.

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