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.


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. (more…)

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Why Are B-to-B Marketers So Reluctant To Embrace Social Media?

It’s not like social media just came out. The B-to-C space has been using it successfully for the last 3-5 years. So why are B-to-B practitioners slow to adapt?

I think it’s because they don’t know where to start. You should probably start by developing a strategy that is included in your overall marketing plans. If you use social media to help build better relationships with your customers, I think you’ll find that it can help with more than just brand building.

I read a post recently in on why B-to-B was still unsure about social media strategies. Some highlights include:

  • 66% of marketing executives view social media as extremely or very important, but only 7% were leveraging it heavily.
  • 9% of B-to-B marketers weren’t using social at all.

Nearly 50% said that new tools and technology would make their social efforts more effective.

Changes that Need to Be Made for Their Social Media Efforts to Be More Effective According to B2B Marketing Executives in North America, May 2011 (% of respondents)

So if you’re a B-to-B marketer, what’s holding you back? Is it a resource issue?

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Do You Put the Cart Before the Horse in Your Social Media Strategy?

I still am amazed that marketing executives, especially in larger companies (80% 0f companies with 100 plus employees), acknowledge that social media is a legit marketing tool, but yet fail to take the time to develop a strategy for it.

It’s like ready, fire, aim!

Priority of Social Media Business Strategy for Their Company According to US Executives*, by Size of Business, May 2011 (% of respondents)

A recent post in, Executives Fail to Focus on Social Media Marketing Strategy, quotes several sources as to the reasons.

Here are  several disturbing points:

  • No surprise, most of these executives feel tentative about making social strategy a priority.
  • They are not overly optimistic about their current strategy.
  • It looks like small and medium sized firms have the advantage over larger ones.

It’s funny that that the marketing priorities for social – customer retention, customer acquisition and branding – are not foreign words to marketers, but somehow there is a disconnect when putting an integrated plan together that includes both traditional and social in the same plan.

I don’t get it. If they put together a traditional plan they way they do social, they probably wouldn’t have a job.

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Corporate Social Media: Are You Ready?

Your company may see the value in social media, but they may not have yet taken the first step. The real question is, are they ready for it? You don’t want a READY-FIRE-AIM strategy.

I recently read an article from Lee Odden in the Online Marketing Blog titled, 19 Questions to Determine Corporate Social Media Readiness that I thought was appropriate for this audience.

Identifying a company’s current state of social media readiness helps them establish a baseline on which to build. There are a number of either free or low cost tools out there that can help you identify your company or brand’s current social activity level. It’s important to get a handle on the difference between how social the company is and will need to become so you can put together a strategy and plan.

Lee outlines 19 questions you should be asking. I’ve highlighted the top 5 that got my attention:

  1. What goals do you want to achieve with social media as part of your marketing effort?
  2. How will you measure/evaluate social media?
  3. Are you conducting a formal effort at monitoring social media channels?
  4. What are your current social media channels and destination websites/pages?
  5. Is there a particular business unit or product that can serve as a test case?

I’d be curious what questions you’d come with to add to the list.

If you find this post interesting, please pass it on.


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