Let’s get real for a second. Managing social media connections is just plain hard, particularly for small builders, remodelers or trade contractors who are handling job site and office tasks throughout the day. You “get” how important social media can be in your business, but just setting up your accounts isn’t enough. If you let your pages/profiles become a ghost town, guess what? It is going to turn potential customers off.
Worse, if homeowners are torn between your company and your competitors for their bathroom remodel and they visit your competitor’s social media profiles and they see regular posts and interaction, who do you think they are going to call?
How do you successfully manage social media connections and still make sure it doesn’t become a time suck?
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that you can use to keep your social media pages fresh, build your community and provide your audience with great content.
Tool #1 BufferApp
This is the top social media tool I recommend to remodelers and builders because it is free and easy to use (an expanded version available for $10 a month). This app connects to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and depending on your setting, will automatically feed your posts at set times throughout the day. You load it up a few times a week, and let it go. For those who like numbers, it has easy-to-understand analytics that tell you how many (and who) shared your post and whether or not someone clicked onto your link. Additionally, you can add a plugin to the Chrome and Firefox browsers which enables you to share what you are reading with others (without having to login to your Facebook or Twitter accounts). With one click, you can add it to your Buffer.
Tool #2 HootSuite
This is my personal favorite social media tool. Like BufferApp, it is free (the pro version is $9.99/month), and it, too, connects to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+! It allows you to either automate your posts or set a specific time. HootSuite is a great option if you use Twitter, because it also allows you to sort through feeds. The mobile app is good, too, so you can respond to tweets from the job site.
Tool #3 TweetDeck
This tool is also for management Twitter and Facebook accounts. This tool feels and functions very similar to HootSuite, and often it is simply a matter of preference on which method you choose.
Social Media Tool #4 Crowdbooster
This tool connects with your Facebook, Twitter (and yes, even MySpace) accounts, and if you are into analytics, this may be the right tool for you. Their analytics actually make recommendations to show you how you can better reach your audience. What’s pretty groovy about this social media tool is that it looks at all of your tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook to make recommendations, not just the ones you made through their system (like BufferApp). Like all other tools, the limited version is free and you can upgrade to 10 total accounts for $39/month. This would be ideal for builders who have different Facebook pages for each community/neighborhood.
Social Media Tool #5 HyperAlerts
One of the hottest and most effective social media platforms for the construction industry is still Facebook. It’s where the eyeballs are every day – many of whom spend nearly an hour a day on the site! That’s a powerful place to be as a business – especially a home builder or remodeler who can really utilize photos to tell your story.
But how do you know when someone comments on your post – without logging in? Use HyperAlerts. It is easy to set up and free. I use it for my own Facebook page.
There are plenty of social media tools to simplify your life available, and more are being developed all the time. The most important thing to remember is that they should not be used as a substitute for listening to your audience and having real conversations (see 5 Steps to Social Media Success). These tools should be used to manage your day and your time online, but you still need to be online on a regular basis to respond to comments and connect with people. Remember to be human.