Social Media Mavens at the 2012 AIA Convention & Design Exposition

Twitter activity was most definitely a flutter last week at the 2012 AIA Convention & Design Exposition in Washington D.C. Using the social media-monitoring tool, UberVU, we extrapolated some interesting insight from the Twitter activity at the show. For example, a report on activity using the #AIA2012 hash tag showed that:

  • There were 5,528 tweets from May 10-21 — just prior and one day after the show.
  • 36 percent of mentions were re-tweets.
  • Nearly half of all tweets occurred on the first day of the show, May 18.
  • New York-based architect Vanesa Alicea posted the most frequently, with 141 tweets.
  • Of all of the Twitter accounts active during the show, Architectural Record magazine has the largest following, with a whopping 323,335 followers.

All in all, we enjoyed following and participating in the Twitter stream to keep a pulse on the show, however, we were most fortunate to have in-person conversations that spanned well beyond 140 characters!

Get “Social” with Potential Customers

Matt Gibson

Social media provides the contractor of today with highly effective ways to increase name recognition and reach potential customers. Increasingly, consumers look to the internet not to the Yellow Pages to find solutions for their building and remodeling needs. For example, someone looking for a roofer is likely to do a Google or Bing search to find contractors in their area.  Contractors will want to make sure they are easily found by these search engines.  Company websites are still important to establish visibility on the web, but more and more consumers are using social media to share opinions and experiences – including pros and cons about vendors who are working on their homes.

When CertainTeed decided to engage in social media we were not sure if we could be successful but it has enabled us to engage in conversations and respond to the marketplace using vehicles that our customers and potential customers are using.

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow contractors to:

  • Establish an identity, talk about their services, gain fans, and increase name recognition. 
  • Status updates and tweets provide an opportunity to spread messages about recent projects, services, and offers. 
  • Profile pages give contractors a means of explaining what sets their business apart and allows people to endorse the company by becoming “Fans” or indicating that they “Like” the business. 

When someone indicates that they “Like” a certain business on Facebook, for example, it appears on their profile page.  Anyone who has access to that page sees the name of the business.  “Friends” or “Fans” of a business are making a public declaration of support and respect for that business and the services they provide.

Posting videos to You Tube can give the recognition of a television commercial.  Contractors can easily upload their own videos, which can be e-mailed or shared on social media sites.    Video cameras such as Flip give great resolution and high quality sound for an extremely reasonable price.  Videos provide an opportunity to show services, successes, and distinctions in a variety of ways.  A contractor can post satisfied client interviews, before and after shots of jobs, product cleaning and care instructions, minor repair advice, step-by-step guides of what to expect in the remodeling process, how to assess damage caused by hailstorms, and more.

It is easier than ever for a contractor to engage with potential customers in a medium that they prefer. Utilizing social media tools sets a contractor apart from his peers and gives the exposure necessary to compete in today’s business world.

Matt Gibson is Manager, Contractor Programs for CertainTeed Siding Products Group

Knock, Knock – It’s Google – Contractors Need to Answer

Matt Gibson

As I work with contractors across the country, I am continually surprised at how many of them are not actively engaged with online marketing tools. 

As social media gains a foothold with audiences of all ages, building professionals who are not marketing through a website,  or social networking page (such as Facebook), or posting videos of completed projects on YouTube, or posting articles and comments on a blog could be missing out on potential leads. The internet can be a significant, cost-effective lead generator that cannot be ignored by building professionals.

While direct mail and advertisements in local publications still have value, it is now becoming mandatory to have a website.  When a trusted referral is not available, consumers are now embracing the internet for research, and as consumers continue to expand their internet use the need to be accessible to them through multiple online avenues will become increasingly important.

Wayne Hollier from Hollier’s Home Improvement, one of our CertainTeed 5-Star Contractors, recently decided that he needed to have a website but wasn’t sure how to begin.  I connected him to a program called WebCheck™ that we offer to our credentialed contractor. WebCheck provides assistance in setting up a new website and, once completed, is easy for the contractor to take over, maintain and update. Wayne needed to provide specific information to set-up the basic framework but by utilizing this program his website was crafted to include keywords for search engine optimization of his website.  This added visibility has been a positive factor in expanding his lead generation efforts.

There are many tools available that are very user friendly to help you create a simple but effective website.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach a new audience for your services; make an online presence for your business a priority in your marketing plan.

Matt Gibson is Manager, Contractor Programs for CertainTeed Siding Products Group

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.