Construction Business Management

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Why Building Product Manufacturers and Social Media Are a Marriage Made in Heaven

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The RCD SWOT Team monitors trends in the AEC sector to provide targeted information about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that may impact your business.

Social media is more than a trend - it is an interactive phenomenon that is expanding at an exponential rate. A recent article1 from the Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management  identified social media as “the place where actual customers are interfacing with potential customers and influencing both the conversation and the marketplace.” Referencing a study of 17,000 Internet users from 29 countries, the article highlighted two points:

  • 34% of users posted opinions about products and brands on their blogs and social media channels
  • Traffic to popular blog sites like Blogger and WordPress increased 44% and 50% respectively, while traffic to media heavyweights CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times averaged only a 17% increase

What this tells us is that building product manufacturers (BPMs) can utilize existing customers as a valuable growth resource, particularly in areas of word-of-mouth-advertising and consumer feedback.

A DEI Worldwide research study, Engaging Consumers Online, analyzed the relationship between social media and online consumer behavior. The study concluded that existing customer influence on purchases is substantial. Responses from study participants indicate:

  • 70% have visited social media sites to get information
  • 49% made a purchase decision based upon information attained on social media sites
  • 60% are more likely to use social media to share information
  • 45% who searched for product information via social media channels engaged in word-of-mouth promotion, compared to 36% who located information on company websites

BPMs can drive real value into their brands by implementing a simple strategy of “search, listen and then engage.” In his book Engage!, Brian Solis promoted active listening as a way for firms to create their own paradigm shift to become more intuitive members of the global marketplace.

Draper, Inc., a manufacturer of window shades, audio-visual products and gymnasium equipment, uses these strategies and actively connects to its web community through Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.  Draper Advertising Manager Penny Sitler confirmed, “Social media helps us keep contact with customers, specifiers and the press. We get the word out on events and products, and listen too.”

The evidence is clear: It is time for BPMs to say “I do” to social media. Otherwise, they risk losing market share to more Internet-savvy competitors.

1Fisher, T. (2009). ROI in social media: A look at the arguments. Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management, 16(3), 189-195.

Deborah Reale has twenty years of experience in business management developing strategies that covers the construction, retail, public relations industries. Currently, she serves as the social media strategist at Reed Construction Data. In addition, Deborah is pursuing a doctorate degree in Business Administration with a concentration on Information Systems and Marketing.

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