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.

What is Social Listening and Who Should Be Doing It?

social listeningSocial media gives you an invaluable opportunity to eavesdrop on your target audience and find out what they really think. Whether your ideal clients are homeowners or large commercial property developers, you can learn a lot just by listening.

How Social Listening Works

Social listening is the process of finding, monitoring, and contributing to conversations on social media platforms where your ideal clients gather. The goal is to get a big picture view of what they’re saying both about your company specifically and your construction specialty in general. You can do this by following topics, key terms, competing companies, and related industries. So if you’re a restaurant renovation specialist, you might keep up on what restaurant owners are saying about their facilities by following terms such as “restaurant design trends” and “restaurant expansion.”

This is not to be confused with social monitoring, which is more about staying alert for important incidents involving your brand, such as praise from a major influencer. With social listening, you’re not just replying to questions, comments, and complaints, but also drawing valuable insight you can use to guide your business strategy.

Can Social Listening Benefit You?

Even if your company isn’t very active on social media, there’s a good chance a lot of your past, current, and prospective clients are. If you care what they think, social listening is worth your time.

Watching your prospects interact with each other helps you get on their wavelength, making it easier to create marketing campaigns that truly connect with them. A better understanding of what your prospects want to learn about will spark ideas for blog posts, social media posts, and other content that actually does its job of attracting the leads you want.

By putting common complaints and emerging trends on your radar, social listening can lead you to new opportunities. If you notice local restaurant owners are interested in features that bring the outdoors in, you can appeal to them with your expertise in skylights or sunroom terraces.

 

How to Attract Construction Clients Using Facebook

attract clients through social mediaAs the largest social media platform out there, Facebook is a goldmine of potential construction clients. By sharing valuable information, spending time with your target market, and honing your advertising skills, you can attract more of those clients to your firm.

Become a Valuable Resource

To stand out in your would-be clients’ cluttered Facebook timelines, it helps to offer something that’s both eye-catching and genuinely valuable. Providing useful guidance also establishes you as a knowledgeable professional who can be trusted with high-value construction projects. Create striking before and after photos of your building projects, short tour videos, infographics with surprising data, Q&As, and anything else that helps your ideal clients reach their goals. Showcasing related businesses doing good work for your target audience can also get you some attention.

Put Yourself Out There

Interacting with people in your target audience and the pages where they’re likely to spend time helps put you on the radar of more potential clients. So if you offer medical facilities construction, look for pages run by hospital administrators and pages that offer guidance on hospital management.
Spend some time making thoughtful comments on their posts, answering questions, and asking your own questions. Even if the page owner never acknowledges your input, there’s a good chance some of their followers will.

Invest in Ads

Managed wisely, Facebook ads can give you a better ROI than nearly any other form of online marketing. To pull in interested leads, create a specific, valuable, audience-targeted offer. That could be a free whitepaper, a 15-minute strategy session by phone or even an invitation to a local discussion panel you’re hosting. Take advantage of Facebook’s targeting options to find your audience. If you do home upgrades, you might use the life events targeting option to find people are moving to a new house. Track conversions, such as invitations to bid, not just likes. Split test your ads so you can keep refining them.

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.

4 Ways to Drive Visitor Engagement through LinkedIn

drive engagement

If your ideal clients are business owners, whether real estate investors or retailers, you can find them on LinkedIn. While getting those business owners to engage with you takes some creativity, there are some simple techniques that are proven to evoke a response.

  1. Share links – A status update doesn’t give you much space to add value, but by linking to another resource, you can connect your followers with something that truly benefits them. LinkedIn users are nearly 50 percent more likely to engage with an update that contains a link. Linking to your website isn’t the only way to bring in new prospects. Just by regularly sharing quality links, you become a trusted source of useful information, which encourages your followers to contact you when they’re planning a new project.
  2. Ask questions – Questions give your followers a quick and simple way to interact with you, so they easily garner more comments. To prompt more replies, formulate thoughtful questions on topics your target clients have definite opinions on. As an added benefit, smart questions and polls help you learn what your target clients are looking for.
  3. Post images and video – Images and videos get between 75 to nearly 100 percent more likes, comments, and shares than text-only updates. Photos and videos of your projects tempt your followers to your website to see more. A short video of you answering a common question or alerting your visitors to a new trend can also work well. These give you a chance to pitch your services and invite viewers to get in touch.
  4. Build showcase pages – LinkedIn’s showcase page feature lets you highlight your company’s specialties beyond your main profile, helping you better target separate market segments. If you offer both multifamily housing construction and home renovation services, you can create a showcase page for each client base. Because LinkedIn members can follow these pages individually, you’ll be able to post interest-tailored updates that spark more reactions than the general updates on your main profile.

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. 

Why Search Engines Are Gaining Ground Over Social Media for Driving Traffic (and How You Can Benefit)

search engine marketingSocial media has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, but as the social space becomes increasingly crowded, search engines are regaining their importance. Invest a little time in optimizing your website for search and you might be surprised how quickly you can outmaneuver less savvy construction companies online.

Why Search Engines Still Matter

Far from an outdated marketing channel, search engines are a rich source of hidden opportunities. By over-focusing on social media, many companies have neglected search engine optimization (SEO) and let their rankings slip. That leaves the door open for those willing to go after lucrative search terms.

Search engine optimization also makes it easier to target your ideal construction clients. When someone’s looking for a construction company specializing in urgent care clinics, they won’t browse social media, but instead will go to the search engines to find exactly what they want.

Simple practicality is another factor. The never-ending need for fresh content means social media can be a real time sink for a business. While SEO might take several months to produce results, maintaining those results requires relatively little time and effort.

The Benefits of SEO

To take advantage of the search engines’ recovering popularity, first make sure your website looks good and works correctly on mobile. This is especially important if you target property developers, real estate investors, and other busy professionals who search on the go.

Consider your would-be clients’ most frequently asked questions and create content that provides authoritative, in-depth answers. Content like this attracts backlinks and shares that help you gain higher rankings and has the staying power it takes to hold those rankings for the long term.

To really get your site up to speed on modern trends, optimize your content for voice search. Use questions phrases such as “What is…” or “How does…” and answer the questions concisely. Make your location clear by including the name of your town, neighborhood, street, and popular landmarks.

3 Tips For Finding Leads Online In Unusual Places

online leadsEven if your favorite sources of construction leads are keeping you busy for now, it never hurts to have more tricks up your sleeve for finding leads online. Look in the less obvious places and you might find they give you some of your best clients yet.

  1. Work with strategic partners – Cross-marketing with non-competing businesses and organizations that work with the same market as you puts you in touch with new leads while also strengthening your network. Potential partners include materials suppliers, architects, and tradespeople such as roofers and carpenters. Even non-profits can help bring you leads. If you specialize in eco-friendly home remodeling, you might partner with a non-profit that focuses on health or environmental issues. Cooperating can be as simple as exchanging ads in each other’s email newsletters or social media posts or guest blogging for each other’s blogs.
  2. Offer your guidance – Forums, blogs, and social media accounts where your target market spends their time are all opportunities for finding leads online. People come to these sites for guidance when they’re planning a new project or have a problem with an on-going project. By browsing for questions related to your services and taking a moment to reply, you’ll get your firm’s name on the radar not just of that poster but also of anyone else who happens by looking for answers.
  3. Put it on video – Youtube remains one of the largest search engines in the world, yet it’s easy to overlook as a source of leads. Posting videos of your completed projects might help turn interested prospects into clients, but it won’t necessarily bring in new leads. To reach people who haven’t heard of you yet, focus on providing information that will help your ideal clients get their projects started. For example, if you offer remodeling services, create videos on simple DIY remodeling projects. A DIY-enthusiast homeowner might put in new kitchen cabinets themselves, but hire you to remodel their bathroom.

 

3 Ways To Incorporate Influencer Content Into Your Content Marketing Strategy

influencer marketingWhen you hire a social media influencer to create content for your construction firm, you’re getting a marketing asset that’s made to be re-purposed. Strategically using influencer content in your own content marketing ensures you get as much value as possible out of your investment.

Share it on Social Media

Instead of just sharing your new content as-is, add your own individual touch to further your personal connection with your audience.

If you post influencer-made photos to your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, write unique captions for each post. Later, incorporate the most popular photos into a collage or use them as part of a video. If the influencer has written a blog post or review around your services, pull some quotes and post them with your own comments.

Then pay attention to your audience’s reaction. High-quality content that garners an exceptional amount likes, comments, and shares might be worth promoting though paid social media ads.

Send it to Your Email List

Because your email list readers are some of your most dedicated fans, email is the ideal place to go into more depth on the topics your new influencer content covers. For instance, you might talk about how the content ties into your firm’s current projects or future plans.

Using influencer content to spark discussion can bring you valuable feedback from your list. Ask your readers if they agree or disagree with the influencer’s opinions or if they feel the infuencer missed any important points.

Feature it on Your Website

Photos and quotes from an influencer make easy jumping-off points for blog posts and website pages. You can provide more detail on the services the influencer talks about, expand on their thoughts about your segment of the construction industry or just respond to their opinion of your firm.

For example, if an influencer mentions your kitchen remodeling skills, use that quote as the basis for a post highlighting some of the kitchens in your portfolio.