Sal Alfano
Sharpe + Harrell Photography Sal Alfano

Social media is gaining momentum so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep up. New forms of online community interaction pop up almost daily. Some fall as fast as they rise; others become huge successes virtually overnight. Take Pinterest, for example. Since the beta version was offered by invitation-only in 2010, it has become the third largest social media site (behind Facebook and Twitter). According to a Tamba infographic posted recently at Media­, half of the Pinterest audience are aged 35 to 54, and 72% of all users are women. Average income is high (21% earn $75,000 or more), and when Pinterest refers them to a site, these users are 10% more likely to buy something and spend 10% more than people referred from other social sites.

Referral network

Direct marketing isn’t the only use for social media. We all know that people like to talk about their remodeling experiences, good or bad, and social media is word-of-mouth on steroids. More and more, people are posting their opinions and reactions on their Facebook pages.

The fact that 90% of consumers trust these kinds of peer recommendations (according to a Nielsen survey quoted at suggests that expanding your post-project survey process to include social media might make sense. In addition to posting on your company Facebook page, ask people to post favorable comments on their Facebook pages, then link back to your site from their testimonial.

Social Service

Social media may also be the answer for customers who want more direct customer service. You may hand out your cell phone number, but for many people reading FAQs or asking a question on your company’s Facebook page is more convenient and less confrontational than a call.

And users of social media customer service are unusually vocal, so great service pays off big time. According to an American Express report cited at Media­, the 17% of customers who used social media for customer service in the last year told an average of 42 people about their positive experiences (versus nine people for non-social media users).

They are also unusually loyal: the same report says that social media users are willing to pay as much as a 21% premium to companies that deliver great service (versus an 11% premium for social media non-users).

Should you jump onboard? Not all social media work equally well. Take Twitter, for example. According to Mediabistro, only 8% of Americans use it, 71% of all tweets get no reaction, and 85% of those that do get just one. Still, the number of consumers using social media for pre-purchase research makes it look like a marketing channel that’s here to stay.

When it comes to jumping onboard, you may not have a choice. —Sal Alfano, editorial director, REMODELING.

Read more REMODELING articles about social media:

Social Media: The Lifecycle of a Post

Networking With Social Media

Catch the Buzz — Word-of-mouth marketing via social media