Is Your LBM Business A Fan of Social Media?

By Jack Leary

We hear from many LBM dealers that they are struggling with social media, if they are using it at all. Those who are using it are challenged to consistently produce engaging content. When I hear this, I usually ask where social media fits in to their overall marketing plan. In a lot of cases, the response is, “it doesn’t,” it is a standalone initiative. To make matters worse, some think because they have a Facebook page they are doing social media. Many haven’t allocated the appropriate resources and don’t have a way to measure the impact on the business. It is more of a tactic than a strategy.  

So where do you begin?

If you aren’t doing it already, a great place to start with social media is by listening to all of the conversations going on between people and businesses we care about. One of the most valuable aspects of social is what our fans say about us. It is important to understand what type of things matter to different groups, which should help in creating relevant content for those groups.  

At a high level, I suggest there are three different groups you should care about: Influencers, Advocates, and Prospects. 

Influencers have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. Our fan’s recommendations influence their friends’ decisions.

Advocates are so passionate about a business, product, or service that they promote it solely for the sake of helping others, usually without any type of incentive. 

Prospects are targets we have identified (usually through data and analysis) that have specific characteristics that indicate a higher propensity to purchase. 

Once you understand what your different groups care about or are interested in, you will be able to develop compelling content and engage in conversations with them. You may even want to consider giving them an incentive to share it with their friends. One of your social media goals should be to connect your customers with each other and enable them tell their stories to each other. In that way, you are building relationships and cultivating relationships with your current customers that will influence future customers. 

Some things to consider: 
Do you have a marketing plan for your business? 
If so, where does social media fit in to your overall marketing plan? 
Is social media part of an integrated marketing strategy and plan, or is it just a tactic for your business? 
Whom do you want to reach via social media? 
What are the quantifiable goals of your social media program? 
Have you allocated resources to monitor and engage in conversations on a daily basis? 
Are you commenting on relevant blog posts and joining the conversation? 
Do you have the right tools to monitor your business’ social health? 
How will you understand customer perceptions and sentiment toward your business, products, services, marketing campaigns, and competitors to uncover additional themes and information? 
Can you identify social influencers within your customer base to understand the effects of social media on other marketing channels and vice versa? 

Social media takes a commitment throughout the business, so don’t “dabble.” This isn’t something you can do a few times a year and be successful. If you are excited but don’t know where to begin, get some help—there are many good third-party resources out there that can make you a fan of social media!” 

This article was written by Jack Leary, vice president and partner at Impact 180 Consulting Group & Lumber Contacts Inc. Feel free to contact Jack at leary.jack@impact180group.com.