Reaching Contractors with Social Media

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter You probably set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account a few years ago when social media was the new shiny object for marketers. But now, your social media is anything but new and exciting … and it doesn't help you reach contractors. You might be wondering if you're wasting your time on these channels or if you're better served by switching to the newest social trend. As a longtime leader in Business-to-Tradesman marketing, we’ve developed 12 helpful tips that will help you use social media to effectively reach contractors. In “12 Tips for Reaching Contractors with Social Media,” you’ll learn how to evaluate the social media you’re already using and pick the right avenues for connecting with contractors. The tip sheet shares best practices for social media in this niche space using content and integrating it into your overall marketing programs. Download 12 Tips for Reaching Contractors with Social Media by signing up here.read more >

Social Media As a Profit Center

Today, we have guest post from Jeff Guritza, a marketing professional in the power tools accessories industry, on the incorporation of social media in a company's business plan. We’ve all heard the term “social media,” and you may have even been afraid to ask, “What the heck is that?!” Regardless of your awareness level, you shouldn’t be asking yourself if your business should be engaged in social media. You should be asking yourself how. Practically overnight, social media has become a cultural phenomenon. Simply stated, social media is defined as people going online to find, read or share content that interests them. Commonly used platforms are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not just a personal platform that millennials use during their free time. Increasingly, people of all ages and nationalities jump online 24/7 for practically everything: researching gift ideas, sharing photos, reviewing products or getting directions Social media is not a fad that will fade in time. Like your morning cup of coffee, it’s here to stay. Social media transcends personal opinions, pastimes and hobbies. Its vast influence is felt in industries both large and small, near and far. Baby Boomers are embracing social media in droves, looking to communicate with grandkids and reconnect with friends. Whether you like it, people right now are vetting your business based upon content they find about you online. To help guide you, here’s three smart steps to follow when looking to jumpstart your company’s social media engagement. 1. Social Media Lite: First, realize in this day and age you absolutely must have a social media presence. At a bare minimum, your company should set up accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. To do so, find your most tech- savvy associate and have him or her get online with…read more >

What’s a #Hashtag? And 5 Ways to Use Them in Marketing

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer, answering one of the questions she’s frequently asked and sharing some tips on how to use hashtags. The basic mechanics of making a hashtag include putting a pound sign (#) in front of a word, phrase, acronym or combination of characters (but not punctuation). But beyond calling attention to the words in a tweet, post or whatever, hashtags allow you to join into a more broad conversation. Hashtags have become a standard part of online conversation and stretch across many social platforms. Hashtags originated on Twitter and very recently Facebook added hashtag capabilities to the platform, but you can also use hashtags on: Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and newcomer Vine. There are many ways to use hashtags, but they all boil down to participating in public conversation. Here are some common ways to use hashtags in marketing communications: Promote engagement during events. Whether your event is online or offline, it will have a presence. When you create your own hashtag (and publically identify it) you can then monitor and interact with the conversation around your event. Most conferences, trade shows, webinars and other events announce the “official” hashtag, put it on publicity materials and have a designated person using it. Mostly this happens on Twitter but permeates into other social media use. Host or take part in a Twitter chat. Twitter chats are a simple way to have a conversation with multiple people on the same topic. Chats are traditionally an hour and have a prescribed hashtag. Most chats happen weekly at the same time and center around a prepared set of questions, due to their growing popularity services have been created to help you participate more easily, for example Tweetchat is a Twitter application to organized the…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 >

Social Media Success Story

I wanted to share a success story with you of a traditional trade association, the PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) and their results from starting a social program a little over a year ago (disclosure: they are a client of ours).These types of associations aren't very sexy and they have plenty of competition out there for members to help them run their business better. read more >

Use Twitter to Talk Up Your Brand to Tradesmen

If you don't talk up your brand on Twitter and other social sites you're missing the boat. This according to a recent post on eMarketer.com from ROI Research.A study in April of 2010 found that at least once a week 33% of active Twitter users shared opinions about companies or products ,while 32% make recommendations and 30% ask for them.read more >

How to Engage the Professional Tradesmen on Twitter

I don't know why people are afraid of Twitter. Most of the world suffers from ADD anyway and wants something short and to the point. Politicians use the 10 second sound bit all the time to grab our attention. Do you know why? Because it works! 10 seconds isn't a lot of time so they give us one idea to think about. Twitter is the ideal platform to state your case and engage your reader.read more >

Awareness of Twitter Has Exploded: Great Way to Reach the Professional Tradesmen

Contractors are busy people, and the 140-character message is just enough to peak their curiosity and have them click through to your message. Twitter is one of the social media tools that can be used as a tool for your company's social media marketing strategy to generate online traffic and a pipeline for new business leads. Over the past year, the leading traffic generator to my blog has been Twitter. read more >

Want to Find Out if Professional Tradesmen are Active with Social Media?

If you're reading this blog, then it would be safe to say that you aren't asking the "why" or "should" we be using social media. What you're looking for are ways to answer the "where" and "how." Companies should follow, not lead their customers in the social media arena. I read a post recently from Jay Baer, one of social media's thought leaders, Four Ways to Find Out if Your Customers are Active with Social Media, and I thought I'd share some of the highlights:read more >

B-to-B Marketers: Tips on How to Optimize Twitter

In our world of B to B and especially the world of manufacturing Twitter of all the social media tools is probably the most misunderstood and therefore the most under utilized.75 million people visited Twitter in January alone, over 23 million were from the US. According to Twitter, over 50 million tweets are sent daily.Twitter is being talked about everywhere. People are drawn to it because of the buzz of its popularity but the majority of people don’t understand its potential.read more >

You Should Know the “Why” Before the “How” If You’re Going to Jump Into Social Media

One of the first things we talk about is the "Why" you want to participate in the social media scene. If you can't answer the Why, then the How doesn't matter. Don't get into social because you think it's cool or that this will be the "silver bullet" that will save your business. You need to treat social like any other marketing program.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 >

Social Media: Who Uses It and Why?

Would it surprise you to learn that the biggest gains in who's using social media are among older users? According to a report in eMarketer, "consumer internet barometer" U.S. internet users who visited a social site in the 2nd quarter of '09 rose 16% over last year. The most popular sites in order were: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.read more >

5 Ways to Find Prospects on Twitter

Finding your best prospective client online audience is not yet an exact science. But for now, you can be in the right ballpark. The same is true regarding Twitter. There are plenty of search applications out there, but all have their limitations. The following five sites have been the most helpful to me in locating prospective client “tweeps” to follow.read more >

What’s Your Grade on Twitter?

Social media is trying to be taken seriously, and in late 2008 came out with several tools to measure the effectiveness of Twitter. Two of the more popular tools are Twitter Grader and Twinfluence. How much credibility do you put into these type tools? I use them as a guide post to make sure I keep on track. read more >

Social Media Survey to Editors of Top Trade Publications is Very Enlightening

Many manufacturers are still skeptical about social media in a B-to-B arena. Since we deal with the professional trades, we know most of the editors very well and recently asked many of them to participate in a survey on social media. The majority of them are responsible for end user books that serve the likes of plumbers, electricians, HVACR contractors and mechanical contractors.read more >

Twitter: 5 Ways to Share Images

Twittering is truly becoming one of the most important ways to share content in the social media arena. Beyond the obvious 140 characters limitation, there was no way to share images (a picture is worth a 1000 words). Since Twitter doesn't have an application for this, third party vendors have come up with options for us that work on Twitter.read more >

Use Twitter as a PR Tool to Help Build Long-Term Relationships

Twitter is certainly the hot topic in the social media scene. Corporate executives, editors, financial analysts and community leaders, to mention a few, are all participating. Think of it as a way to bring up awareness and start the process of building long-term relationships. Used correctly, Twitter can give you an advantage in the marketplace. Here are some tips on how to get involved:read more >

Use Twitter in Customer Service to Take Care of Problems in the Field for Professional Tradesmen

I'm sure we all have stories of customer service experiences, both good and bad. I'd bet you've had more bad than good experiences though. For manufacturers who sell to the professional tradesmen, these are even more challenging. You need to think outside the box. Twitter is an ideal tool to service your customers. Customer service departments are supposed to solve problems, reinforce a positive brand experience and not cost you an arm and leg to support.read more >

Twitter Search Benefits B-to-B Marketers

Twitter Search benefits those of you who are trying to get your arms around Twitter and how to use it for your B-to-B marketing. Here are a few thoughts on how you can engage tradesmen and supply them with useful info. The problem is where are they and what (or who) are they talking about.read more >