To Tweet or not to Tweet – The Brave New World of Social Media

It’s everywhere—on the news, on your favorite websites, on your cell phones—social media platforms that provide instant access to your fans, friends, and favorites.  But, does Social Media have a practical application in business? 

A year ago we began talking about social media at CertainTeed.  Back then we didn’t know a tweet from a twit, Facebook from Digg, or a Wiki from an RSS.  We “dipped our toes” in the water and decided to give it a try. 

What we’ve learned is that there is no rulebook for businesses that want to get involved.  Just sign up and start listening to the conversations.  The key here is that social media are not meant to replace traditional forms of communicating.  They are just new ways; alternative ways—and we as businesses need to understand that our customers, whether they be consumers or the trades, are participating.  How involved they are is still the question, but the fact is, engagement is growing.

People are tired of being blitzed with unsolicited email blasts and spam emails.  Social media allow people to communicate on their own terms in groups and communities of friends that “allow” you to join in.  It is our job to “listen”—to find out who is talking and what they’re talking about.  Then we can engage as long as we are honest as to who we are.  You’ll find that your customers or clients will appreciate your honest interest and engagement.

Today, we write our Building Knowledge blog, then Tweet the blog on Twitter, which then feeds our Facebook wall, which is sent to our fans out in the Social Media world.  Then we monitor it all on Tweetdeck. Sure, there’s a whole new lingo, which makes this fun.   And we approach it that way.  It allows the personality of our company’s employees to come out, engage, and be “real’ with customers and the customers are enjoying it too!

We’re still feeling our way along, and we’re having a blast doing it.  We’re writing the rules as we go. 

I’d love to hear what you’re doing.  How is your company engaging?

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

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  • I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  • We sell CertainTeed products, and I enjoy reading your blog. We are in the process of updating our website and just joined Twitter and Facebook last week, so we have a lot going on. We’ve mainly started by following companies whose products we sell, as well as business colleagues. Today, we shared an energy statistic to let our customers know how important it is to have good home products — and how the investment is worth it!

    • Hey Jacque, thank you so much for your support! Just take it slow and see what happens. The one piece of advice I got when we started this was not to grow too impatient if your numbers don’t grow quickly. The thing is, people are getting used to these new technologies so adoption is going to be slow…..and steady! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on the airwaves! Mike Loughery

  • I think this is a great approach. While many tout that a company must have a social media strategy, for many, just getting started is the first step. Is social media a huge lead generator right now? Not really. . . but it’s becoming more and more important every day. Every remodeling contractor should at least have a Facebook and Linked in Account. One of our Roundtables members avoid the potential time sink hole that social media uncovers by spending 10 minutes each morning, simply exploring and, as you say Mike, just listening.

    • Thank you Victoria. I think the key is this: we all have to come to grips that the world of social media will continue on with or without us. I for one make fun of the kids who are texting like mad and on their social networks all the time. BUT…this is how the next generation is communicating…and they’ll do it whether we’re into it or not! So, we might as well recognize that people…consumers, contractors, kids, parents, grandparents, etc…are using social media as one of their preferred ways of communicating. And, if we want to reach them in the future, we need to participate.

      Will it replace traditional face-to-face selling or print advertising? Probably not. But it will be an additional tool to reach our desired audiences.

      Think of it this way. Ten years ago, a contractor or remodeler could present his/her business with a portfolio, references, etc. to a prosepective customer. And, in many cases, the homeowner would take a recommendation based on the selling presentation.

      A few years later, the salesmen walks into the homeowner’s living room and finds out that the homeowner has used this “new thing” called the internet to research products. The homeowner is now armed with knowledge!

      Today, not only is the homeowner armed with knowledge, he/she has utilzed social networks, like Facebook or chat rooms, to talk with other homeowners who may have used that contractor or those products…and he/she may have already developed an opinion before you even walked in the door!!!

      So, you’re right Victoria…we need to be involved and listening to find out what conversations are going on out there. But, take it slow. We’re all learning

  • You Should really create a Facebook page to Connect with your Contractors, and Customers =)

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