Using Instagram Analytics to Improve Your Marketing Strategy

social media analyticsWhile you’re posting photos, thinking up captions, and mingling with your target audience, your Instagram analytics tool is busy gathering valuable data. Used wisely, this information can help you fine-tune your marketing strategy to better connect with your potential clients and even find whole new markets.

Understanding Your Followers

The basic demographic information Instagram analytics tools provide tells you about the kind of audience your posts reach. This usually includes the gender split and most common age group, location, and online times. If you find you get more visitors from Providence than Boston, you might invest more in print ads in the Providence area. If you see most of your visitors are in the 55 to 64 age group, you might decide to go for more offline marketing overall.

Evaluating Your Posts

Knowing which posts get the most attention from your followers gives you valuable insight on the types of services they might be looking for. Instagram analytics tools help you spot patterns by letting you segment performance data on your posts by content type, specific time period, and measurement, such as reach or engagement rate.

Say you notice your older followers are most active on your home remodeling posts. That could be a sign to put more emphasis on offering home upgrades such as aging-in-place features or home offices older adults can use for their post-retirement self-employment plans.

Looking at the Big Picture

In terms of guiding your marketing strategy, the data you get from your Instagram analytics is most useful as a broad overview of your audience. Avoid the temptation to see one or even a series of successful posts as proof of what your audience wants. Instead, look for patterns and trends. If one post about recycled building materials goes viral, that might only be thanks to a recent TV news report. If these kinds of posts are increasingly popular with your followers, though, you’re probably onto something profitable.

A/B Testing is Essential for a Successful Facebook Ads Campaign

a-b testingFacebook ads might be a relatively cheap way to reach your ideal construction clients, but running a campaign is still an investment of time and money. By A/B testing your ads, you’ll get clear data showing you which ads are worth investing more in and which are best deleted.

Running Ads That Meet Your Goals

A/B testing, or split testing, lets you compare the performance of two different versions of an ad. In order to compare, though, you need to decide exactly what kind of performance you’re looking for. What makes an ad the “best” isn’t always the number of click-throughs it gets. Your most-clicked ad might not actually be meeting your business goals.

If you’re running a brand awareness campaign to let your target audience know you’re the most experienced restaurant construction specialist in the area, your goal might be to get as many shares as possible. For an email list building campaign, however, the ad that brings the most sign-ups is the winner, even if it doesn’t get the most clicks overall.

Collecting Valuable Data

A/B testing works best when only one variable of your two Facebook ads is different. This way you’ll know exactly what caused one to outperform the other. You might find the ad with a picture of a finished building gets more clicks than one showing a project in progress. So if you’re comparing two different photos or a photo versus a video, use the same text. If you compare two texts, use the same images.

To collect data on your ads, you’ll need URLs you can tell apart in your reports. Google Analytics UTM tracking parameters allow for advanced tracking, but a link shortener such as bit.ly or tinyurl.com will work for basic tracking.

Testing both ads equally keeps your data accurate. Run one ad for at least three days, then hide it and run the alternate version at the same amount of time on the same days.

Using Twitter Cards the RIGHT Way for Lead Generation

attract leadsTwitter might not be the most popular social media platform, but with more than 300 million users, it still holds a lot of potential for connecting you with new construction clients. By enabling Twitter Cards, you’ll have more space to show your followers you have what they’re looking for.

Make Your Tweets Intriguing

While Twitter Cards let you include a lot more information than the standard 280-character tweet, the default Twitter Card shows only a “View summary” link at the bottom. Because that might be all that shows when your blog readers post or re-tweet your content, your tweets should offer strong motivation to click that link. Just announcing the services you offer won’t cut it.

If your goal is to bring in leads, enabling Twitter Cards on your free lead generation content is a good way to do it. When you share the link, include a compelling comment in the tweet text section.

It might be a clear benefit such as “Save $5000 on your home renovation” or something more curiosity-piquing such as “We were surprised to discover this.” Then use the card’s description section to outline the main benefits your lead magnet offers.

Choose Eye-Catching Images

Images grab attention and express ideas quickly, so they’re great for attracting readers back to your website. The clickable images on Twitter Cards are even more effective.

To get the most out of your images and videos, skip the ordinary pictures of completed buildings and try close-ups of striking architectural elements, quick video tours, highlights compilations, timelapse videos of projects or visually powerful graphics. If you do renovations, use dramatic before and after pictures.

Choose images with a 2:1 ratio and a size of at least 300 to 157 pixels. Use the Twitter Card Validator to make sure your card isn’t grabbing your logo or headshot instead of the image you want. Finally, include a text description both for the search engines and for the visually impaired.

5 Tips for Increasing Your Social Media Presence in a Meaningful Way

social media strategy

If you want to bring in new clients through social media, just showing up isn’t enough. Instead of occasionally posting photos of your finished construction projects, aim to connect with your target clients in a meaningful, personal way.

  1. Use a natural voice – On social media, people want to connect with others on a personal level, not read announcements from faceless corporations. Stay away from formal, business-like writing and write as if you’re talking to a favorite client. Express your personality through appropriate humor, casual observations, and comments on what you’re doing that day.
  2. Share behind-the-scenes images – Candid photos of your staff at work or (with permission) your clients enjoying their new property let your followers get to know the people behind the logo. A photo of your builders taking a break on site shows your company’s human side, but also demonstrates your dedication.
  3. Post consistently – Your potential new clients have little reason to follow or interact with you if they never know when you’ll be around. Find a posting schedule that works for you and stick with it. Create an editorial calendar that lays out all your social media posts for a month or more ahead. This way, you’ll never miss a day because you couldn’t think of anything to post, but you’ll still have space for spontaneity.
  4. Help, don’t just sell – Posting things that truly benefit your audience will keep them coming back as well as build their trust in your expertise. Offer your own tips, advice, and insight. Share news, research, infographics, and other material they might find useful. If someone asks you a question, respond promptly.
  5. Build relationships – Focus on building real relationships with potential clients, not just increasing your follower count. You’ll benefit more from 100 followers who genuinely want to work with you than from 1,000 who just like pretty home renovation pictures. Start by commenting on posts instead of just “liking” them, asking your followers questions, and searching for questions you can answer.

Protect Your Social Media Reputation in 3 Steps

reputation management

When your would-be clients are considering doing business with you, review sites and social media are often the first places they turn to check your reputation. By taking steps to maintain a good social media reputation, you’ll assure your prospects they can trust you with their construction project.

Demonstrate Your Expertise

Populating your social media accounts with helpful, knowledgeable posts does a lot to establish and maintain your reputation as a skilled expert. Fill in your profile completely with your firm’s specialties, how long you’ve been in business, any awards you’ve won, and other signs of reliability. Use a real person’s photo, rather than a company logo.

Then show off your expertise by creating posts that truly benefit your target audience. Share helpful tips, thoughtful insight, trend alerts, news with your own commentary, and valuable resources. Intersperse these with low-key promotional posts such as photos of your finished building projects, thoughts on problems you’ve solved, and quotes from happy clients.

Engage with Your Audience

By interacting with others on social media, you show anyone visiting your profile that you care enough to offer your help and support. You also give potential clients a sense of your personality. Both these factors create a positive first impression and support your good reputation.

Use the search function and hashtags to find posts by people in your target audience and those in complementary businesses, such as building materials suppliers and tradespeople. Then “like,” comment on, and share their posts when you can.

Monitor Your Name

Use Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts or a similar service to keep tabs on your company name and name of the owner or other representative employees.

When someone posts a positive comment about you, show your appreciation. When a complaint arises, respond with a genuine offer to resolve the problem. Even if you can’t please that one unhappy client, you’ll protect your reputation by showing future prospects you made an honest attempt and didn’t ignore the issue.

Should Instagram Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

social mediaIf you don’t spend much time on Instagram, it’s easy to assume people who do are just there for the fitness models and tropical beaches. In reality, Instagram is a place people turn for inspiration on just about anything, including their future home design, remodeling projects, and even real estate investment projects.

Reach Current and Future Home Owners

As with any marketing channel, whether or not Instagram makes sense for you depends on your target market. Instagram’s demographic skews young, so it’s a good bet if you’re targeting first-time home builders or those renovating fixer-upper starter homes. Given the popularity of hashtags such as #homeinspo, it’s clear any type of home improvement service will find an audience.

On the other hand, if your target market is primarily interested in commercial and industrial building projects, such as warehouses, office complexes or retail shopping centers, Instagram probably isn’t the best place to connect with future clients.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not the platform can benefit you requires a little market research. Spend some time on Instagram browsing popular hashtags related to your specialty, such as #homerenovation, #luxuryhomes or #kitchendesign, to see if your potential clients are active there.

Market More Efficiently

Some social media platforms quickly turn into a time sink because they require several posts a day and lots of audience engagement to bring you any results. Instagram, however, is an ideal platform if you’re pressed for time. Just one or two posts a day is enough, and even less often than that can work well, too. Consistency is more important than frequency.

If you’re regularly taking good quality photos of your finished and on-going projects, your workers on the job, and day-to-day happenings at your office, you already have material to post. Write a descriptive caption, add some relevant hashtags, and you’re done. You can then work on getting your name in front of potential clients by liking, commenting, and following in your spare time. 

3 Cool Tools To Manage Your Social Media Presence

social mediaWith everything else you have to do running a construction firm, managing your social media presence can feel like a time-consuming drain on your energy. By using software for content curation, scheduling, and analytics, you can use your time more efficiently and get better results.

  1. Buffer – Buffer is a social media management platform that lets you schedule posts to be sent out automatically. You’ll have the option of setting up a predefined posting schedule so you won’t have to calculate the best day and time every time you schedule a post. The analytics feature tracks links so you can see which of your posts interest your followers the most. Overall, it’s a user-friendly choice for managing a basic social media presence.
  2. Hootsuite – With Hootsuite, you can not only schedule content and analyze your results, but also find good content to post. Considering truly engaging content on building and real estate topics isn’t always easy to find, this can be major time saver. You’ll be able to monitor content streams by hashtag, location or keyword and easily schedule posts as you browse online. Want to get your whole team in on the firm’s accounts? Hootsuite lets you ensure only approved posts go live. If your firm is seriously invested in social media, this software will help you get the most out of your efforts.
  3. Hubspot – As a customer relationship management tool focused on social media, Hubspot lets you schedule, post, and reply to your social accounts from one simple interface. Beyond this, it also helps you with lead management by allowing you to integrate your social media with the rest of your marketing. For instance, if a prospect contacts you through Twitter asking about your design-build services, you can move them into an educational email list right from Hubspot. The platform’s analytics let you track your social media results to see what’s bringing in leads and sales. For an all-in-one tool, this is one of the most popular choices out there.

Finding Leads Online – A Beginners Guide

online lead generationWhether you’re new to the construction industry or an experienced pro, getting back to the basics of finding leads online can pay off fast.

Mining Business Directories

Particularly if you work with property developers and other real estate professionals, business directories are rich sources of potential leads. Start by searching online for “business directory” or “association” along with the title or industry of the people you want to work with. These directories typically list their members’ contact information. Business networking sites, such as LinkedIn and PerfectBusiness, also make it easy to find and get in touch with professionals in your target market.

Searching on Social Media

Popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are full of people sharing plans, asking questions, and looking for input. With a little creative searching, you can spot homeowners getting ready to renovate, commercial real estate investors interested in office buildings, and anyone else you might do business with. You can search by keyword or hashtags such as #homeimprovement as well as define a location.

The information someone posts and the questions they ask tell you something about where they are in the buying cycle so you can respond appropriately. A soft-sell approach is the way to go here, and answering a question or offering tips is enough to bring your firm to a potential client’s attention.

Participating in Forums and Blogs

Like social media, forums and the comments section of active blogs are places people turn for advice and the chance to mingle with those who share their interests. The comments and questions there can lead you straight to your potential clients. Start by making a genuine effort to participate and contribute while staying alert for posts from anyone who might need your services.

Actively tracking down leads, known as outbound marketing, is an effective way to get started finding leads online, but attracting leads to your website through inbound online marketing can also bring valuable, long-term results.

 

Why Your Construction Business Needs To Be On Popular Social Media Sites

social media networkOnce considered the domain of selfie-taking teenagers, a well-maintained social media presence is now critical if you expect your construction firm to be taken seriously and stay ahead of the competition.

Connecting with Your Target Market

Beyond the search engines, social media is the place many turn when they need information, advice, and ideas. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Houzz let anyone quickly find and connect with building industry professionals. When someone’s looking for guidance on their construction project, you want to be the professional they connect with. If your would-be client can’t find you, they will find your competitor.

A solid social media presence lets you take an active role in bringing in leads. You can follow the accounts of potential clients, search for questions you can answer, and network with possible cross-marketing partners. “Liking” and commenting on posts also helps get your name in front of potential clients. As an added benefit, your social media activity helps boost your rankings in the search engines.

Demonstrating Your Expertise

A developed social media presence confirms that you’re an established and reliable business. It also gives you space to show your potential clients what you can do for them.

Fill out your profile thoroughly, including your specialties and company vision. Post photos and videos of your projects, offer tips and guidance, and share news your target clients will find useful. Include the occasional candid photo of your team to humanize your firm and build rapport. On social media, where people tend to browse, this kind of content will catch the attention of those in the earliest stages of planning a project, but who haven’t yet started actively searching for a construction firm.

Avoid the temptation to create a profile on every social media site that looks interesting. Half-finished, inactive profiles reflect poorly on your business. You’ll get better results by identifying the two to four platforms your target clients use most and focusing your effort on those.

 

3 Secrets To Boost Social Media Click-through Rates

social mediaSocial media moves fast and if your posts aren’t up to par, chances are they’ll do little to bring potential clients to your site. With a few simple changes to the way to create your posts, you can greatly improve your social media click-through rates.

Give Them a Reason to Click

For high social media click-through rates, keep your social media content closely connected to your website. Publish informative blog posts, videos and other content on your site, then draw on these for your social media posts. You might write up a blog post offering 10 tips for meeting green building standards affordably, then choose one tip to post on social media. If you have professional architectural photos taken of a project, create an online tour and choose one of the photos for your social media.

Get Visual

It’s not just Instagram and Pinterest where images are essential. No matter what platform you’re on, photos and graphics grab attention and often do more to pique interest than a short post can. Your would-be clients are more likely to click through when they see something in an image that intrigues them.

Try photos of completed projects, work in progress, before-and-after shots, and photos of your team working or just hanging out. Your pictures don’t always have to look like the work of a pro photographer, but they should be clear and sized correctly for the platform. Infographics and data visualization also help guide your followers to the content on your site.

Invite Interaction

Social media sites are so easy to scan through quickly that sometimes only a specific call to action can pull readers out of their browsing trance and onto your website. When you want readers to click through, tell them. If you post a fact from your whitepaper on residential modular construction, follow up with “Drop by our site to download the full whitepaper.” For a photo of your work in progress, try a simple “Come see more of our latest project.”