Like manythings in life, we could always be doing more. More roofs, more sales, more time with family, and yes … more social media activity.

But as with many of our “mores,” some are easier than others. Social media is one of the easy ones! And it can act as a powerful tool to expand your reach in communicating with customers and prospects, as well as staying better connected to the industry. Here are some principles to start thinking about as you begin.


What Can Social Media Do for You?

Social Media has many applications that can help your business, including:

• Building your brand.

• Increasing awareness.

• Creating excitement about products or services.

• Creating a community.

• Engaging customers and prospects for insight

• Providing access to a low-cost marketing tactic to send messages through.

• Search engine optimization.

But at the end of the day leads and sales are what you’re after, and social media can help.


Where to Begin

There are so many tools to choose from — Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube. The question quickly becomes, “Where do I start?” Many people ask “Do I really need a Twitter account?” or “What can Facebook do for me?” To answer those questions, it’s very important to understand how each of these tools is used. That will help you decide where to put your emphasis. Take a look at the graphic in Figure 1. I have used this example quite a few times to describe the type of communication each social media venue is really tuned to and explain why you would use each of these tools.

Learn From Others

Each of these tools can work as communications vehicles to your customers and prospects, but also a method for you to pick up great ideas by watching what others are doing. Here are a couple of company names that you may recognize that are doing it right. Check out Mastercraft Exteriors on Facebook — they post relevant interesting information, have engagement from their followers and keep their page updated on a regular basis. They’ve built a community of followers that they can have a dialogue with in a dedicated way. Another excellent example is GAF. That’s right, don’t forget your suppliers and vendors — following and engaging is a two way street. Many companies in the industry offer special promotions, or provide insightful information over their social media channels, so don’t miss out. GAF does a great job extending promotions and news out to their community of Twitter followers.

As you “like” or “follow” businesses, they many times will, in turn, do the same back to you. This is where you can really benefit from social media’s compounding effect. When you post to your followers, they can “like” or comment and then that message will get posted for their followers to read. So don’t think of your posts as only being read by the number of followers you have directly. As your readers engage, your message is spread. “So, how do I post information that is engaging and encourages interaction?” you ask. That’s the mystery that is being tested every day by the biggest brands in the world. Social media is evolving and morphing each day, and only the users can impact the next wave of success. Companies ranging from the biggest in the world to the individual small business owner are learning how to apply social media to build their business. So, don’t just follow companies that are in the roofing industry, but also follow brands that are of interest to you and that you feel that you’ll benefit from the information being shared.

As you’re following these companies, try to apply it back to communicating with your customers and prospects. Why do you feel the need to comment on, or share a company’s post? Why do you seek out the posts or news from that particular company? What do they do that keeps you tuned in? These are the questions that you must ask yourself and then apply these concepts to your business.


Your Mission: Start Collecting Content

Getting up and running on social media can feel overwhelming, when in fact the process of setting up your accounts in each of these tools is quite simple. The difficult part of social media is keeping the content fresh and relevant. So content should be your focus.

Over the next few months we will take you through some quick and easy tips to get your business engaged and active in social media. Between now and then, your mission is to start collecting content:

• Did you just finish an interesting roof project, or show up on the scene of a badly damaged roof that you’re about to restore to perfection? Take a picture of it!

• Did a customer compliment you on a job well done? Write down what they said.

• Get your crew together in their company shirts for a team photo.

• Think of a special promotion you’d like to try to generate new business.

• Start following your peers and vendors and take note of their posts.

 In general, think of anything you’d like share that will begin to build your community of followers. In a future article, we’ll share how to “Raise the Roof” on Facebook with this great content that you’ve compiled.