Can Social Media Benefit the Insulation World?
These days, the talk of web visibility through social media tools and its ever-growing popularity is commonplace in mainstream media. Millions of savvy consumers are already way ahead of the business world and have been using social media tools for years. Certainly retailers, small business owners, and professional service providers can find value in these tools. Yet, many wonder what manufacturers and contractors could possibly accomplish from the high-traffic lanes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media network tools. The answer is simple. People are discussing your products and services with your customers and potential customers—you just don’t know it.
Social media is in general terms defined as “the multitude of activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos, and audio.” In short, social media is changing the way in which the universe communicates. Yes, that includes insulation providers, installers, and consumers too.
Large established companies in this industry are found on LinkedIn and Twitter and use YouTube to teach customers how to properly install their insulation. Meanwhile, other companies use YouTube to introduce people to their companies via video plant tours.
Social media is not a fading trend; it is a fundamental shift in how we communicate. The old communication model was a monologue aimed at customers, but with today’s shift toward transparency, the new communication model is a dialogue. The good news is that 78 percent of people trust the recommendations of other consumers.1 That’s where social media and web visibility come into play.
Many people are talking about your brand and/or service right now. If you are not part of the conversation, you are taking a chance by trusting that the information being provided is accurate and honest. By engaging in social media, you increase the odds that well-informed consumers are the ones telling the story, and by using search engine visibility tools, you are helping spread your message to the right places.
Social networks are not just for family, friends, and direct sells; they are for everyone and every business. You need to be prepared to fully engage with them. Listen to the conversations about your company and the insulation industry. Understand what is being said and get a solid understanding of what you should say; try not to focus solely on an angle to enter the conversation, or selling. The goal is not to control the conversation, but to engage consumers directly so they become enabled, inspired, and influenced by your brand. People buy when they are ready to buy, and when they are ready to buy they ask their social networks. This is when your brand and/or service will be promoted, and the resultant positive exposure will be nearly incalculable.
Social media is a tool, not magic. When used correctly social media marketing can lead to an increase in website traffic, an increase in sales leads, enhanced brand awareness, a widened business network, and stronger relationships with your customers.
The most common question asked by companies interested in pursuing social media web marketing is “Where will we find the time to update all this stuff?” In the coming issues of Insulation Outlook, I will share with you practical tips and shortcuts designed to help you manage your social media activities with little time and effort.
Social media is dramatically changing the way that people access information about you and your business. Take your business to the next level and join the conversation.
University of Connecticut, Department of Economics: IDEAS: www2.aaaa.org/pubs/essentials/Pages/default.aspx.