With the housing market in flux (mortgage rates up, inventory down), homeowners are staying put and what dollars they do spend are going into renovation and refreshing of their current space. This creates an opportunity for building materials suppliers, as well as contractors, to continue to generate leads for sales.
Social media is one of the richest areas for lead generation with this target audience.
“For marketers ready to move beyond brand awareness and engagement, social media lead generation is a good next step,” reports the social media management tool Hootsuite. “When it comes to improving lead quality, most marketers agree that social media marketing is the way to go.”
You’re probably not surprised, but you may be frustrated by your (or your company’s) struggle to expand your social media presence in a meaningful way that brings in new customers or stimulates current customers to engage more. Finding the right cadence for content creation, posting, and following up can be a challenge, but it’s doable and we have a few tips on how building materials suppliers can use social to boost sales.
Establish a Social Media Marketing Strategy
If you don’t already have one, build a social media strategy. Connect it to your other digital marketing or business goals, such as increasing brand awareness, improving brand reputation, improving brand presence, increasing website traffic, building association with quality or thought leadership, boosting conversion rates, multiplying reviews or increasing revenue. (Remember, marketing doesn’t increase revenue on its own, as there are too many other factors at play, so don’t make that your sole social media strategy goal.)
Analyze your competition. What are other building materials companies doing? Look for what’s working in the industry and where the messaging holes might be that you can fill. If your top competitor has a heavy Facebook presence, but nothing on LinkedIn or YouTube, you may have an opportunity to reach an underserved or untapped audience.
While you’re at it, look for impostor accounts, such as accounts using your company or product names. Imposter accounts are like imposter people. They can do real damage in real-time. If the platforms you plan to use have legitimate verification, get your business verified. Here’s a shortcut to the how-tos of verification from Hootsuite:
Optimize your profiles. Plan an editorial calendar. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Know what you’re planning to promote from one week to the next and try to sync your posts across all channels for better cohesiveness. It’s important that you schedule your posts at the most effective times. If your social media strategy is funky, your efforts will be disappointing, so commit to this first step. For more insights, see Sprout Social.
Choose the Right Social Media Platform(s)
The best social media platforms for your building materials business are the ones your potential target audience members use regularly—and where they might look for inspiration and a range of product possibilities. So, determining the best social media platform correlates to your target audience. Focus your efforts there.
You may want to use LinkedIn or Facebook for the professionals who buy from you. But you might want to consider Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and even TikTok to reach those who might influence a purchase. You don’t need to sell directly to these social media users for this to be an effective method.
For example, you could run Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest campaigns to showcase all the ways those who are remodeling or renovating could use your product in their projects. While the people who see the social ad probably won’t buy directly from you, they could purchase from one of your biggest wholesale customers. In the end, this still gets the word out about your brand and positions your company as a trusted industry leader.
Also, in your target audience analysis, consider the overarching trends in social media use.
“As of August 2022, 29 percent of Facebook users in the United States were aged between 50 and 64 years,” according to Statista. “For Instagram, the majority of users belonged to the 18 to 29-year age group, accounting for a third of all users.
Overall, the live streaming service Twitch found popularity with younger users in the U.S., with 80 percent of users being between the ages of 18 and 39.” Twitch? Yes, it has advertising options that reach a highly segmented audience. But, perhaps more realistically, evaluate social trends overall via trusted research.
Knowing what’s trending demographically can help you make better decisions about posting. This means marketers don’t have to automatically use Facebook or rule out other social media sites. Hootsuite says, referencing LinkedIn, that “ 89% of B2B marketers turn to LinkedIn for lead generation. These marketers say LinkedIn generates more than two times as many leads than other social channels.”
Don’t assume that someone on TikTok or Pinterest isn’t a possible lead. It’s about where your audience is, not where you want them to be because you’re used to the platform. The key here is to measure results, so you’re not guessing. You might discover new avenues.
Knowing your audience is important for success, but so is knowing the platforms’ strengths. Consider these quick tips:
This is sort of the standard for all digital marketing. Add posts with information for product end-users, as well as content that contributes to the building and renovation industry overall. You can use video and text easily on Facebook.
Building supply companies can use Instagram as a great way to spread education and product use information, particularly inspirational carousels and before/after reels. If your products create a mood or on-trend look, this may be the place to promote them.
The audience skews a little younger overall (know your demographic use) and users may be enthusiastic about tackling their first renovation or upgrade. Take advantage of where they might be in the lifecycle to build your brand and products.
We know few people who don’t consult a YouTube video for even simple how-tos. Particularly if your products benefit from showing them in action, don’t skip the value of a watch-and-learn video. Demonstration videos and troubleshooting tips are always an effective way to increase brand recognition and position your company—and products—as industry-leading.
This visual search engine is a good way to drive people back to your website or blog with further info about your product catalog. Want to show inspiration for how things can look? Pinterest is an inspiration show ring.
You may want to use LinkedIn to connect to wholesale buyers on a more B2B angle, but, again, consider its users profile.
Create Content People Value
In addition, building products brands need to create and share social media content that potential customers value. How do you find the right topics to post about? Think about your end user’s biggest pain point. Is it delivery times? Delivery transparency? Price transparency? Knowledgeable guidance when your end user has questions?
Use that insight to craft genuine, informative, and engaging social media content that your audience sees the benefit of consuming. For example, blog posts (linked to your social media, of course) about various products or different applications are always a smart idea.
Respond to Customer Service Inquiries
For building material companies, social media is also an ideal place to respond to customer service inquiries. How is this done? Using automation within Facebook Messenger is one example.
Give customers the chance to contact you and ask questions or troubleshoot issues with your product. Automated customer service bots can take care of a lot of the FAQs or transfer the message to your in-house customer service team for follow-up.
Although many customers want to talk with a real person (another demographic trend to check), many customers seamlessly interact with AI bots to get issues addressed. Either way, those customers pleased with your efforts will want to continue to look for your brand the next time they’re starting a project.
Keep the tips we’ve mentioned above in mind and you can use cost-effective social media to achieve better brand recognition and increase both retail and wholesale sales.
If you need additional assistance growing your social media or other digital marketing strategy, we’re open to a conversation. Call or email today and let’s talk social.
FAQs for Using Social Media for Building Material Suppliers
Social media is an effective platform for generating leads and reaching potential customers in the building materials industry.
Establish clear goals aligned with your business objectives, analyze your competition, optimize your profiles, and plan an editorial calendar for consistent content creation and posting.
Choose platforms based on where your target audience is most active and likely to seek inspiration and product possibilities. Consider platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.
Facebook is a popular platform for digital marketing, but the choice of platforms should be based on your target audience and their preferences. LinkedIn is highly effective for B2B lead generation.
Create content that addresses your audience’s pain points and provides value. This can include blog posts, informative videos, product demonstrations, troubleshooting tips, and inspiring visuals.
Utilize automation tools like Facebook Messenger bots to address FAQs and provide customer support. Offer customers the option to contact you for assistance or connect with your in-house customer service team.
Yes, by leveraging social media effectively, you can enhance brand recognition, reach a wider audience, and drive both retail and wholesale sales for your building material business.
If you require additional support or guidance, reach out for a conversation with experts who can provide assistance in growing your social media and digital marketing strategies.