How Effective is Your Social Media Strategy in Reaching the Professional Tradesman?

By Andrew Poulsen, Content Engineer, Sonnhalter Social media has been an essential cog in every consumer brand’s marketing machine for more than a decade, but manufacturers in the trade industries have been slow to embrace the many marketing advantages that come with social media. I believe this comes from the perception that social media had originally only targeted the younger generations, and with the average age of the professional tradesmen skewing higher and higher, these manufacturers felt more comfortable using more traditional methods with their marketing dollars. However, with Facebook and Twitter both grossing hundreds of millions of users, it quickly became clear that almost any brand had customers and prospective customers on these platforms. While many companies in the trades have adapted and are actively using Facebook and Twitter to connect and engage with its audience, there are plenty of other digital and social platforms whose features can be useful to companies in these industries. And with only so much time, effort and money available, brands should examine all of these platforms and their potential and effectiveness in reaching the professional tradesman. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular social and digital tools out there, how they help reach the professional tradesman and how well they do it. Facebook Despite its well-documented PR hiccups, Facebook still casts a wider net than any other social media network…for now. Facebook has more than two billion users, and there are more than 65 million businesses using Facebook Pages. Because of the sheer volume of users, every company should be on Facebook to regularly promote new products, announce trade show appearances, share positive media coverage and company news, etc. 14843read more >

Blogs and Forums for the Professional Tradesman

There are around 505 million blogs in the world today and not all are created equal. So, how do you identify and communicate with the right blogs and forums to get in front of professional tradesmen? The first question to ask yourself is: are your products or services applicable to your end users using social media? If the answer is “yes,” then your goal should be to do comprehensive research to identify the right communities, monitor them and jump in and get involved in the conversations. As you get involved in these conversations on social media, keep this in mind: Your brand can be affected positively or negatively. You don’t control the message. Your brand depends on the “loyalists” who are passionate about your brand. Key blogs or social media sites are authored by thought leaders from your industry. Social media demands transparency, so be honest in your engagement.   Here are a few sites that may be of interest to brands attempting to reach and interact with the professional tradesman: 14451read more >

Should Your Company Start a Blog?

Join Matt Sonnhalter for a "Marketing Minute" and learn the pros and cons of starting a blog as part of your company's marketing strategy.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhlFipdzA6w To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there's a B2T marketing topic you'd like us to cover.read more >

Online News and the Press Release

I’ve been reading the book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” by Ryan Holiday at the recommendation of a colleague. It’s full of interesting, and damning, tidbits of information about today’s online publishing world.read more >

Social Media, How Can Tradesmen Connect?

Mile Free, Director of Industry Research and Technology for the Precision Machined Products Association, is posting today with advice for connecting on social media. Miles blogs regularly on PMPA's blog, Speaking of Precision. As tradesmen, advertising used to be pretty easy to figure out. A yellow pages ad in the local phone book, small display advertisements in the newspaper and maybe some classified advertisements in the weekly as well. Near a big city? Maybe you would have bit the bullet for a display ad in their yellow pages too. As a customer, in the old days, that’s how I would have found you… So who uses a phone book these days? Who still has a land line phone? How many folks with smartphones walk around carrying a phone book? That’s a trick question. While no one is carrying a phone book, the fact is that when they need to find something, they go search for it. On their smart phone or web device. How easy are you to find on search? For what kind of things are you on Google's page one? I’m not suggesting that you need to pay for advertisements on Google to get to page one, but if you use  social media tools correctly, you can be found on Google for the services that you provide, and that your customers want. While I am a staff director for a trade association of precision machining companies, the lessons I learned about how to increase visibility in online search are just as applicable to tradesmen to build your credibility, and thus your visibility online. Here are 5 steps to increasing your online visibility: Make sure that your website covers the products and services that you provide. Having an up-to-date website with photos is key to engaging your potential customers…read more >

Spring Clean Your Social Media

Since the social media scene developed many years ago, it’s become cluttered. There are accounts on all social platforms that sit, gathering dust for years. Do any of those accounts belong to you or your company? Today Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, is sharing some pointers on how you can spring clean your social media. When I entered into the realm of public relations with a broad social landscape, I was a little surprised that much of my social media consulting and instruction wasn’t about getting social programs started or operating them, it was a lot of clean up. It doesn’t take much time to get your social media back on track if you know what to do. 1. Take a look at what you have. How long ago was your last status, tweet, post or picture? Do you have messages or invitations that are waiting to be read? When you look at an old account, try to see where/when things went stale and identify what may have been the cause. Did you have an intern running your social that has since left? Did you “run out” of content or ideas? Do you need help? 2. Check your branding. If anything in your company’s branding has changed, all of your social accounts should reflect that. Get your logos, profile pictures, covers and banners up to date. Make sure that you have a Twitter cover, a LinkedIn banner and a Facebook cover for your company. Use your own company and product names correctly. 3. Is your profile complete? Fill out the boxes with information about your company. Make sure there isn’t a blank spot where an About section should be and make sure that you have links to your website and contact information on there. Here's what the About Section on…read more >

Google Shuts the Book on Reader

Google announced that it will discontinue Google Reader as of July 1st. Here are some of the details. I’ve asked Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, to share some recommendations for moving on without Reader. If you’re currently using Google Reader to keep your blog and news organized, you’ll need to find another way by July 1st.  There are many RSS reader options out there, but here are some options that we recommend. The built-in Wordpress Reader is a pretty good option if you follow only Wordpress blogs, which is a popular choice for company blogs. But if you follow nonWordpress blogs or don’t blog using Wordpress, this is not a good option. Feedly is our top pick that offers a quick and easy transition of your feeds from Google Reader right to its service. Feedly has an app for both Apple and Android. Their blog has instructions on seamless transitioning here. BlogLovin’ is pretty popular among lifestyle and fashion blogs, but might start growing due to Google shutting down Reader. There is a bloglovin’ app in the Apple App store and they offer a way to import directly from Google Reader before it’s shut down. Since importing your Reader contacts is really easy on both of these services, you can always test them both out and see what works best for you.read more >

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Blog Gets Read

For those of us who do blog, we do it because in the big picture, it's the hub of the marketing wheel and everything else we do should revolve around and integrate with the blog. So here are some quick tips that I've come up with since I started blogging three years ago that will help you gain readership and credibility.read more >

Are you Using Blogs to Reach the Professional Tradesmen?

Blogs are still a very effective way of reaching an audience, especially if you're in a niche market. While it may be true that social networks and microblogs have outpaced the traditional blog, the opportunity for you to build thought leadership and branding is better served by blogs. More than 50% of web users will read blogs this year. According to eMarketer by 2014 150 million American ,or 60% of the population of the US will be reading blogs.Blogging has become an accepted part of the online media landscape and blogging is easy to do. read more >

B-to-B Marketers: Analytics Key To Your Internet Success

With more marketers jumping on the social media bandwagon, they are so focused on the content that they sometime ignore the metrics to see if what they are writing is being read, and more importantly, acted upon. Analytics are a crucial component to successfully generating traffic to your blog, Web site and inbound new business leads. But for many manufacturers, best practices for using analytics isn't understood at all.read more >

Posts Should Be Like Missiles: Powerful and to the Point

I've never been much for beating around the bush. I like to get to the point and move on. Much like a missile, which when programmed, is focused and keeps on track to its target...so should a good post. I guess that's why I like Twitter so much because it makes you choose your words carefully, not only to communicate the message, but to be impactful as well.read more >

How Do You Find Readers For Your Blog?

If you're just starting out with a blog, I know the scariest thing for me was wondering who in the world was going to find my blog, no less take the time to read it. If you're passionate about a subject, market or cause, you may have more people than you think that would be interested in reading and sharing their thoughts. Here are some simple ways to get the ball rolling so you can become the super star blogger you always knew you could be:read more >

Brand Differentiation – 5 Tips on How You Can Stand Out Among the Nearly 1 Million Daily Posts

With all the "noise" around you in the sea of posts, how do you stand out in the crowd? In a crowded marketplace, your "Brand" is what will make you stand apart from the other fish. Your brand involves the look and feel of your blog, the style in which it is written, the emotion and tone all are part of your Brand. Here are 5 tips that might help you differentiate yourself: read more >

Why It’s Important to Monitor Your Blog Stats

One of the great things about social media and blogs in particular is you can almost instantly see how you're doing in the world of blogging. Most programs like Wordpress have monitoring devices built in. You can see what's hot and what's not. You can monitor what sites are sending you traffic and what key words are doing their job. read more >