There is a marketing tool in today’s world that has stumped the construction industry. It’s called Twitter. Use the following tips to demystify this social media platform and lay down a foundation for using this powerful tool to build your construction firm’s reputation and generate leads.
WHAT IS TWITTER?
Twitter is defined as a “micro-blog.” Think of it as a way to send out short targeted statements to enforce a message. If Facebook is the sledgehammer that takes out a sheet of drywall with one shot, Twitter is the hammer that requires five hits to drive the nail into hardwood.
DO I NEED TWITTER?
The reality is that a company’s doors will remain open even if it ignores Twitter, but following are some helpful questions to determine if Twitter is a worthwhile investment.
• Do you want to establish a dominant position in your area of expertise?
• Do you have the time and patience to build a following that can produce new business?
• Do you want to differentiate the company from the competition?
• Are you looking to attract talent?
• Do you want to remain relevant in the digital age?
• Are you building a company for the long term that will appeal to the younger generation?
HOW CAN I USE IT?
Of the small percentage of the construction industry represented on Twitter, a portion is either misusing it or not maximizing its presence. Following are some helpful ground rules for those that want to develop a presence on Twitter.
1. Build a strong profile. There must be a brief, hard-hitting description of the firm’s offerings. Use hashtags for important words. For example, a concrete supplier might use #concrete. A link also can be added to the website, which will help generate website traffic. Make it a point to use an image for the profile picture, preferably the company logo. Twitter also requires a banner image, which can be the brand colors if an appropriate, high-quality image isn’t available.
2. Be consistent. Too many firms create a profile and vanish. Commit to posting at least once per day. Folks that visit the profile will deem the profile abandoned and disregard it if not enough content is there.
3. Develop a strategy. What is the goal for using Twitter? Build efforts and content around that question. What content will be posted and how often? Who will you follow and why? How will results be measured?
4. Use hashtags. The term “hashtag” is widely misunderstood in the construction industry. Many recognize the symbol as the number or pound sign. Hashtags are used on Twitter to find and attract people with common interests. Incorporating hashtags into one or two important words in a post or profile can get it noticed by prospective clients. One example, is using #construction or #sandiego or both to promote greater visibility for posts.
5. Post niche content. Stay focused on the company’s expertise. If its expertise is building age-restricted facilities, stay within that niche. Diversify the content to keep it interesting, ranging from articles on the firm, photos, links to outside articles of interest, and even questions for followers. Be creative. Watch for the content that resonates with followers and replicate those posts. The best approach is to be roughly 80 percent helpful and 20 percent (or less) promotional.
6. Post clearly and often. Twitter allows for 140 characters, so make the point succinctly and clearly. Post one to five times per day to maximize engagement.
7. Draw traffic to the website. Directing traffic to the firm’s website should always be a priority. Find creative ways to do that without coming off like a car salesman. For example, direct folks to a blog post, news release or new section.
8. Engage the audience. Improve results by engaging others (aka influencers) with large followings instead of strictly broadcasting content. It is called social media, after all. Retweet, favorite, or even call someone out with the @ symbol (e.g., @necanet or @AGCofSD or @constructdive). Engaging with influencers can help grow your own audience significantly in a relatively short period.
Twitter is a complex tool with many intricacies, but it’s no different than any other tool a construction contractor uses. Continue using it and eventually you will become a master craftsman.