Think about when you visit a store for the first time. When you first drive up, what is the first thing you notice? Does the storefront look professional, clean and well-branded? Once you walk in, you start to consider questions like “Were the employees friendly?”, “How was the customer service?”, and “Did they have what I was looking for?” These questions are typically answered in just a few minutes, and are so important to a company’s success.
Just like a first impression at a brick-and-mortar storefront, a company’s digital presence is equally, if not more important, in 2020. It takes only eight seconds to build legitimacy with a user online and on social media, so it is now more important than ever before to have a well-planned and executed social media presence and website.
You may be thinking that social media is only for certain businesses though, and not right for lumberyards or specialty dealers. When it comes to dealers in the construction supply and building materials industry, social media is actually a great way to market to reach your target audiences and push out your top content pillars to hit your business objectives. It’s also an economical way to reach your audiences if used properly.
Below are seven reasons why social media matters from a dealer perspective, followed by some tips for getting started.
- Brand Awareness: Social media is a free (yes, free!) way you can spread the news about your company and offerings. Not to mention it is also easy to get started and you have control over everything, meaning you can tailor your business page to present your company in the way you want it to be presented. Use your page as a gateway into your company’s culture, post when supplies are back in stock, or when special deals are on the way. The possibilities are limitless.
- Drive Leads and Sales: If used properly, you can find new leads and drive sales, particularly through targeted social ads. These ads ensure that you are getting in front of the right eyes with very little risk of wasted exposure. You also have access to insights which will give you an idea of what your metrics look like so you can make changes when and where they are needed.
- Reputation Management + PR: If there’s news your company needs to push out or a situation that needs to be addressed, you can immediately publish something to your social channels to inform your audience. For instance, if a recall of a product was needed, a supplier would be able to put out the news on their social media so that clients and others interested could get the information directly from the source.
- Recruitment: Looking to expand? Posting about company culture and giving behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it’s like to work at your company will be appealing to job seekers. An idea of this might be to do an individual post every week to recognize the hardest working warehouse or inside worker based on certain metrics. This shows how hard work is not only important in the company’s culture but also rewarded.
- Customer Service: As you grow, customers and other stakeholders will start to reach out to you on social, and using your account as a customer service tool can be powerful. Dedicating a small portion each day to replying to those with questions or concerns on social can really have an impact on your presence on those platforms as well, as you are seen as a real and reliable company.
- Build Community: How to really thrive on social media? Be authentic, emotional and focus on building a community. As stated before, social media is meant to be a fun way to connect with others and show what your company is all about. Include posts about your values, your people, maybe causes you support, or ways you are helping the community. A strategic content calendar and thoughtful content narratives will help boost your social media presence. If you post regularly and if you remain authentic to your brand, over time, your social community will grow. Building this community will only help boost your reputation, drive potential new leads and will help boost your vanity metrics.
- Competitive Research: Social media is an excellent way to keep track of your competition. You can see news that they put out about their business, get an idea of their own values and company culture, and see what their strategy is for social. You can also discover if their following and presence is growing or not. If they are seeing great growth, it may be smart to look into some of their strategies and think about implementing something similar if it is popular for your industry’s audience.
Now that we’ve listed out why it matters, here are some tips for getting started and where dealers should be on social media.
- Sign up for social media or clean up existing channels. If your business is not on social media, think about where you’d like to be and where your audiences are. Sobeck Studio recommends LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for dealers. Whether your accounts are brand new or you’ve had the accounts for a while, ensure all logos, branding and your about section are properly filled out and contain proper contact information. After you’ve filled this all out, it’s now time to start posting.
- Ideas for posting. Consider your business objectives when posting. Are you wanting to sell more of your product, are you hoping to hire more employees in the coming months, or are you trying to build general brand awareness in a certain area? Whatever your top business objectives are, ensure you’re posting content that is relatable back to those objectives and “content pillars”. A content pillar is a subset of content themes that is related back to your overall content and business strategy. Content pillars keep you posts strategic and on-brand. For example, if you are a window supplier, you could have content pillars to guide your posting like “1) product promotion 2) behind-the-scenes and quality assurance 3) customers and distribution locations 4) company history, employee behind-the-scenes and future growth.” These four pillars will then guide your business as you start to post, and over time, will help you grow your audience effectively while meeting business objectives.
In conclusion, social media is one of the best ways to take your business to the next level by increasing your brand awareness, creating a positive consumer perception of your business, and connecting your business with your audience, clients, stakeholders, or whomever else is interested in your brand.
If interested in learning about growing your business using social media best practices, Sobeck Studio would be happy to discuss next steps with you. In the month of November and December, Sobeck Studio’s CEO and Founder, Jillian Sobeck Whalen, is conducting one hour social media brainstorming sessions for $95 (normally a $125 rate). In this session, you can learn even more best practices for dealers, how to post depending on the platform, how to find ideas for content, how to activate community, and hashtag ideas. Jillian will also provide you with a social media content calendar outline, three to five suggested content pillars, and a one-pager of post ideas as a follow up. Contact Jillian@SobeckStudio.com to get started or to learn more.