How the Construction Industry is Leveraging Social Media and Digital Business

When people think of tech savvy companies, the construction industry is probably not at the top of the list. Yet according to the Construction Marketing assocaition, 97% of construction professionals are active on social media. In the Association’s latest Social Media Summit, LinkedIn and Facebook were considered the most effective platforms. 51% of construction marketers used Instagram in their social media marketing this year.

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According to Hot Potato, Instagram users are more likely to follow the brands they like, while on Snapchat they mainly follow family and friends. Businesses have a hard time gaining visibility on Snapchat for this reason. The introduction of Stories on Instagram has also benefited companies because stories are always listed at the top of a person’s news feed and can be viewed even if the user does not follow that account.  Snapchat stories can only be viewed if the user follows the account. Hot Potato gave the example of Nike using the Instagram stories feature the first day it became available and got 800,000 views in 24 hours; it peaked at 60,000 views on Snapchat. construction_social_4

One of the main uses of Social Media in this industry is for customer engagement. They want to engage with the users and create a community.Caterpillar is a major standout with their use of their live and 360 degree videos on Instagram.  Caterpillar has a very active Twitter account with 97,100 followers.  They have at least one post daily and consist of videos and photos of worksites, as well as education information. One of their recent posts was promoting a webinar they were hosting on renewable microgrids.

Bosch also uses social media to increase their customer engagement. They have Facebook pages dedicated to Do It Yourself (DIY) projects that show how to do household projects using Bosch tools to inspire and encourage users. Below is a chart of what channels the company uses depending on the business unit (https://motorinformationsystems.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/the-social-media-presence-that-bosch-built/):

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One of the goals of Bosch and their social media presence besides customer engagement is to listen to feedback so that they can provide great customer service. For their Facebook and Twitter accounts, the goal is product awareness, reaching customers on a personal level, and make it easy for customers to directly engage with the company, among others. They use YouTube to demonstrate product usage. Similarly to Caterpillar, they provide a mix of lifestyle/industry posts with brand related posts. On Twitter, the company says they use “call to action” posts that link back to their website to drive traffic. The ultimate goal of Bosch and their strategy is to encourage engagement and discussion and drive customers to the website. Bosch also says they use Hootsuite for analytics on their users. They use this info to understand the best time to post and also the audience that they should be targeting. An interesting note that Bosch and Caterpillar make, and that Professor Kane has mentioned in class, is that as a company, you don’t need to be on every social media channel. You end up spreading yourself too thin. Pick a few platforms (especially the ones your target audience uses) and focus on increasing engagement. Bosch focuses on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and Google+.

What both companies seem to be following is the 40-40-20 rule, which states that “40 percent of communication should involve sharing useful industry information, 40 percent should consist of direct interaction with users, and 20 percent should be self-promotion” (socialnomics.net).

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My friend David recently launched an web and app-based platform for construction professionals to get connected contractors, making it easier to find jobs. He is currently working to build his Instagram and Facebook presence (2300 likes on Facebook).  Right now his strategy is a lot of meme postings and tag-a-friend, a proven way to initially gain more followers. He also has posted a few videos on Instagram and his blog to encourage customer engagement.

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Although I focused on the constructon industry with this post, all of these tactics can be used across industries. I plan to take a few of the tips I’ve learned from writing this post and implement it into my social media strategy for my clothing line (www.innerstateonline.com )(See what I did there? :)) I hope that by increasing my customer engagement I can gain better bran recognition and product awareness.

 

http://socialnomics.net/2015/01/29/how-construction-companies-are-leveraging-social-

media/http://www.constructionmarketingassociation.org/blog//social-media-in-construction-2013-

infographic/#.WAPkeegrLD5http://www.hotpotatosocialmedia.com/major-advantage-instagram-stories-snapchat-visibility/

5 comments

  1. emmaharney21 · ·

    This is a very interesting post that features unexpected uses of social media. My father is a carpenter and is one of the most social media challenged individuals. I think that he is likely not alone but there are clearly many individuals who are benefitting from this. I thought your point about the 40-40-20 split was incredibly interesting and accurate. I am wondering how these companies can balance the fact that many of the small business contractors (like my dad) are not used to using social media in their business. I wold imagine this is a significant portion of their consumer base. They could potentially use their physical products and advertising to encourage more individuals to engage with them on social media that would otherwise not engage online as much. Great post!!

  2. vicmoriartybc · ·

    I can echo the first comment in that my dad also works in construction and has no idea about digital marketing or social media. He’s president of a family business that has not modernized in probably 50 years – the company doesn’t even have a website. While I often tell him he needs to hop on the digital bandwagon, like most 50+ year old men, he is stuck in his ways and has no desire to change. I think I might show him this post so he can get some ideas for modernizing his business for the digital era!

  3. Really interesting angle for a post! Think this is a great tool for construction companies and also I think that social media can be a great tool for contractors and smaller construction companies. Often consumers are not using these companies on a fairly regular basis, and social is a great way to engage with users and keep your name top of mind. Also, ratings systems that are popular for restaurants, consumer goods etc. will likely to continue to grow in this industry as an alternative to true word of mouth.

  4. I think this post really did a great job of showing an angle college students (and millenials in general) may not think about. Like you mentioned, companies that use social media to us are young, hip, looking to grow – much like us. Construction companies are not going to be ones that initially come to mind. I believe I was reading somewhere that even retail outlets like Lowe’s – those that have more of a construction/house focus – also does similar things. I do know for a fact that many airlines like Delta and American use their social media outlets for customer service. I think this is an extremely unique strategy – definitely a great way to cut down on costs and it also makes the company itself seem younger and more appealing to younger generations.

  5. Great post! I did talk with someone at Bosch a few years back, and was just out talking to Caterpillar about their digital business strategy.

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