With so much to manage, social media is at once the most entertaining and the most challenging form of marketing. Getting these “three C’s” in place can make your company a hub of valuable activity.
Whether you assign the work internally, hire anew, or work with a marketing firm, having a social media point person is key.
“So many people approach the medium as an afterthought, while we view it as an additional marketing tool,” says Katy Tomasulo, public relations and social media manager for C Squared Advertising, in Seattle. “It’s not something you want to hand off to your summer intern.”
At North Tustin, Calif.–based Burgin Construction, vice president Rhonda Burgin handles all the company’s social media, with occasional help from an assistant. To Burgin, making business social means she needs to be personally involved.
And when it comes to personal involvement, Toby Weiss, marketing coordinator at Mosby Building Arts, in St. Louis, says she loves to see social media interaction among the company’s team as they “re-post, retweet, or re-pin my content on their personal platforms.”
To determine what content to post, Tomasulo creates social media mission statements and strategies with clients, advising them to use the 80/20 rule. “Eighty percent of the content you post should be resources, and 20% should be about your company,” she says. This format positions companies as industry experts without being overpromotional.
Weiss agrees. Social media “generates goodwill for the brand and lends personality to a service people may need one day, and then maybe they’ll call on you,” she says.
Design photos, construction- related news, and home-maintenance tips trump advertising until you’ve gained your audience’s trust.
Many remodelers using social media agree that it can take up a lot of time but that it doesn’t have to.
“Organization and drive will translate to a willingness for a social media manager to watch their time spent online and execute a plan,” says Paul Hamtil, co-owner of Hamtil Construction, in St. Louis. “The big risk is that there’s a threshold where social media changes from a productive tool into a major time drain.”
Hamtil, Burgin, and Weiss all say they spend one to two hours on social media daily, which includes browsing blogs, magazines, and newsletters for articles to share, interacting with followers, and commenting on items they see around the Web.
Introverts need not apply. Hughes and Weiss agree that creative types with a sense of humor fit best in these positions.
Clear communication is essential. Even in informal social media interactions, managers should use proper spelling and grammar.
Whether you’re hiring a dedicated social media manager or giving the tasks to an existing staff member, Tomasulo says to look for someone who plans well.
Weiss and Tomasulo agree that the best social media managers understand the industries they serve, giving them more insight into what will interest the company’s followers.
Just as social media managers can’t be shy in communicating with fans, they must also be willing to investigate new possibilities. New social media platforms are introduced fairly regularly. Experimenting with them could offer fresh communication options for small businesses.