Members offer advice in the CEDIA Online Community
For those CEDIA members who’ve availed themselves of the CEDIA Online Community (cedia.net/community
), there’s advice within regarding both technical and business challenges. Regarding the latter: A topic of huge interest to business owners of all stripes was posted recently:
Hi, all. I was looking for input on using social media platforms to boost business and create awareness for what we do. We have a website with a blog already. What do you use, how do you use it and how has it helped?
D & J Home Systems LLC
As one might expect, commenters had a pretty broad range of advice — and we’ve summarized some of the tips that were offered.
Ava Pierro of Domotz
gives this terrific overview: The rules of social media actually go against a lot of other forms of marketing. Firstly – social media isn’t about you, it’s about your potential followers. The majority of people use social media in their own private time for speaking with friends or engaging with their interests. They are not in an environment where they are expecting or wanting to be sold to, so a direct BUY THIS approach is usually more damaging than productive. This why your focus should be on building your brand and engaging with your followers, which in turn will lead to increased customer loyalty, more brand awareness and more sales. More Than Facebook
Chris Demeniuk (DemNET Technologies
) weighs in on picking the right platforms:
When we started, we went straight down the Facebook path. Not because we had any research or insight, but because it's what we thought everyone happened to be on (it wasn't). That said, it's worked for us, but with as mainstream as social media has become, look at the statistics on each platform and select yours carefully (We're also on Houzz now, though Facebook is still the most dominant platform for us).
Demeniuk also stresses a really important point: the message you’re sending needs to be tailored to that particular platform, which is tricky. “Nobody wants to see copy-and-pasted messages across platforms, so don't overextend yourself. Start with a subset, then change or grow based on the response you get.”
Beyond Facebook, “We would also recommend Instagram and Pinterest for the home automation industry as you could share some great pictures of the projects your team are working on,” adds Pierro. Again, “Make sure to match your posting style to the platform as well – hashtags work very well on Instagram for example, but go down badly on LinkedIn.”
Once that content catches a bit of fire, engagement’s the next step.
Content and Engagement
Both Pierro and Demeniuk note that using social media to build the brand and give your firm a personal identity (pictures of your neatly comported team, anyone?) can be helpful, but the right content is just as important. “Spark their interest,” says Pierro. “Sharing articles about things your followers are interested in, such as home automation tips, or the latest smart home gadgets, will make you more valuable to follow.”
Once that content catches a bit of fire, engagement’s the next step: “Take the time to create a thoughtful post showcasing some awesome work that you've done, or some neat product that you found (that you can also install), or even give out a little bit of free advice or analysis,” says Demeniuk. “Build credibility, and make people want to engage with you. Want people to realize that you're the expert? Show off a little bit of expertise. Be sure to respond when people comment or ask questions!”
Watch the Clock
And lastly, Pierro notes that Timing Is Everything:
Match their timetable – it’s easy as a company to just post when you are using social media, but you are posting during the working day, when most of your followers are also working. Lunch time and evenings are the most popular times for people checking their social channels, so use a scheduling platform to post around then. We use Buffer – it allows you to schedule posts to go out at different times, but also lets you see which types of posts have been performing well with your followers.
Geoff Meads of Presto Web Design has advice on the thread, too — and has shared his knowledge at previous CEDIA shows with a class called “50 First Dates: Finding Love For Your Brand Online.” (The education schedule for CEDIA 2017 will be available soon.) Additionally, social media expert Jason Falls was a speaker at the most recent CEDIA Business Xchange — you’ll find some more strategic thinking in his post at CEDIA.net called “Six Social Media Strategies for Your Home Tech Business.”