If a remodeler Twittered in a forest, would anyone hear him? Moreover, would they hire him to remodel their home?
Not necessarily, but that shouldn’t keep remodelers out of the social networking arena. Here’s why: With economic woes making marketing both critical to survival and dauntingly costly, many remodelers are struggling to justify what can be the high expenses (and, often, dismal returns) associated with print marketing.
By comparison, having an active and engaging presence on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even the likes of YouTube “is an inexpensive way to keep in front of people,” says remodeler Greg Rittler of the Kanon Group, in Towson, Md.
Most such services are free, including (with the exception of a small setup fee) Kanon’s colorful and engaging monthly e-newsletter, which reaches more than 600 people. Close to half of those people “open” the e-letter, by the way, and 30% to 40% of them “click through” all the way to the Kanon Web site.
Friends of Friends
In simplest terms, social networking sites are online communities through which tens of millions of people share interests and activities. Many users are just socializing, but a growing number use the sites for business and professional networking.
Rittler estimates that he spends 30 minutes a day on social networking, and began embracing it “aggressively” for marketing his business in October. His Facebook and LinkedIn profiles link to the Kanon Web site, and he uploads project photos and news for the benefit of his 300 “friends” on Facebook. Some of his staff also have online profiles that link back to Rittler’s profiles, widening the Kanon network continuously.
Kanon’s referral program illustrates the potential of social networking. Rewards — an iPod Nano, a half-day spa package, and a nice lunch for two — appeal to the company’s target demographic of homeowners in their 30s and 40s, who learn of the rewards through Kanon’s entire (pardon the pun) arsenal of social networking venues.
Social marketing is a long-term, low-risk strategy, Rittler summarizes. “If we can do this continuously for a long time, we can become a fairly significant presence” among a connected demographic who may soon be buying houses, if they haven’t already.