We recently wrote about the great potential for building-product manufacturers to engage with architects via social media. The opportunities for generating leads on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are only set to grow in 2018, given their increasing use by both B2C and B2B companies for marketing purposes.
This is good news for manufacturers — but social media is only beneficial for business if it is used in the right way. There are plenty of pitfalls to avoid if you want to build trust in your brand and regularly connect with new architects. At the very least, a poor social media strategy can be ineffective and waste valuable marketing resources. At its worst, social media faux pas can alienate the target market and damage your brand’s reputation.
Here, we’ve outlined a few of the most common mistakes brands make — avoid falling into these traps and get ahead on social media this year.
1. Treating social media as one long sales pitch
We’ve all seen them: Companies with social media feeds that read as a continuous sales pitch, with every post promoting a new product or service. They are peppered with calls to action, demanding people buy or subscribe, offering little else to their clients in return. Nothing is a greater turn off to architects, who hate being sold to.
Avoid falling into this trap by employing the 80/20 rule: Only 20 percent of your social media posts should be connected to sales. The other 80 percent should be dedicated to educational, informative posts that provide value to your customer base beyond your core business. By positioning yourself as a thought leader for your industry on social media, you will gain your clients’ trust over the long-term.
2. Using negative “newsjacking” tactics
If you are not familiar with the term, “newsjacking” is the process of leveraging trending news to advance your brand’s message. When done at the appropriate moment, this tactic can be fun and highly effective. However, if there is one rule to follow when considering newsjacking, it’s this: Always leave news connected to human suffering alone.
For manufacturers of resilient building materials, it might be tempting to post on social media in the aftermath of a hurricane to highlight the benefits of building with storm-proof materials. However, exploiting a harrowing natural event like this to advance your business is likely to offend potential customers and damage your reputation. There is a time and a place for newsjacking — check out this article for an in-depth guide.
3. Forgetting the importance of high quality images
While social media is often viewed as a less formal marketing channel, the quality of images and videos you post here is no less important than other, more traditional marketing platforms. Nothing is worse to architects than seeing out-of-focus, dark images of building-products cluttering up their newsfeeds. If they can’t see value in your visuals, they will soon unfollow your brand.
It is vital to share striking, informative visuals of building-products in all contexts, whether it is in your brochure, on your company website or on your social media channels. Invest in good camera equipment and get into the habit of capturing your new products in their best light — great images last a lifetime and constitute valuable, evergreen resources for your brand. This is social media gold.
4. Treating all platforms as if they’re the same
It’s one thing to create great content about your brand, but there is an art to sharing the right content on the right platforms. One of the most common errors businesses make is to post the same article — with the same caption and the same image — on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and then hope for high levels of engagement on every one.
The truth is, each platform is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses that require you to adapt your approach. Architects look for beautiful, inspirational content on Facebook, industry news on Twitter and business insights on LinkedIn. You should create content tailored specially for each. Look up best practices for each platform, familiarize yourself with metrics for them and start customizing your posts to great effect.
5. Believing quantity of followers is more important than quality
In the world of social media, there is a temptation to focus on racking up as many followers as possible, no matter who they are. If you have thousands of ‘fans’ signed up to your feed, you are more likely to get a lead from at least a few of them, right? Not necessarily. For building-product manufacturers, the key is to achieve a steady accumulation of followers that closely align with your target market: They should be decision makers within design and architecture firms, design professionals who may be clients-in-waiting.
Ultimately, producing and sharing good content about your products and projects will bring these followers to you organically. If your Facebook page, Twitter feed or LinkedIn group is informative and inspiring, your existing clients may share your page with their peers, raising the chances of new social media followers who are your target audience.
So, there you have it — our top social media mistakes that manufacturers should steer clear of in 2018. For more on how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to engage with your clients, read 5 Ways to Connect With Architects Through Social Media.