As LBM dealers continue to search out best practices for utilizing social media to their business’s advantage, many are looking to early adaptors who are experienced and willing to share to help others in the industry. This month, David Westlund of Portland-based Wheelhouse 20/20, a business development company focused on the building supply channel, shares how he manages social media for Idaho-based Franklin Building Supply.
Q: What social media platforms do you use?
A: For Franklin and their specific objectives, which include reaching various groups of both pro and retail customers, we are focusing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. FBS also does an excellent job with creating unique content for their YouTube channel that we can promote and leverage with social media.
Q: Which platform is your favorite and how does it benefit your company?
A: Facebook is still the No. 1 platform in general and best foundation for businesses on social. It has fantastic targeting capabilities and the most opportunity for both a B2C and B2B play combination. Instagram has a younger demographic than other platforms and, along with Pinterest, can be useful for the highly image-driven content that we often use with design showrooms. Twitter is extremely beneficial at times because it provides a better business demographic. Using Twitter and Instagram together can be a powerful combination to fulfill a B2C and also B2B objective.
Q: Who handles social media posts and marketing at Franklin Building Supply?
A: Wheelhouse 20/20 manages the majority of the social posts, interactions and review responses, however, we truly believe that an integrated approach that includes people at the physical location works far better than anything else, so we always work with the store managers and employees to make sure they post their own, store-specific content on a regular basis.
Q: How much time do you spend on social media each month?
A: Too much. Doing social media ‘right’ requires a dedicated focus. Beyond the active tasks like post generation, customer hashtag engagement, review response, etc., we are constantly researching new strategies and attending seminars to make sure we are on top of our game, which is vitally important in an ever-changing industry like building material supply and a constantly evolving field like digital marketing.
Q: What is your monthly social media marketing budget? How does it differ between platforms?
A: We like to employ a dynamic strategy to make sure we spend the bulk of our budget during the main building season, but also reserve dollars for the off months. For example we will focus a lot of advertising for fencing, decking, windows & exterior doors, etc., during the spring and summer and then switch gears in the off months towards interior projects like moulding/millwork, interior doors, bathroom remodels, etc. We also make sure to earmark dollars and adjust our budgets to help boost and promote posts for specific events that we know we will have throughout the year.
Q: Many of our readers are pro dealers selling primarily to contractors. How has social media helped you reach that audience?
A: If done right, social media can be a symbiotic, mutually beneficial marketing interaction where you are promoting your own business while simultaneously helping promote and grow your customers’ businesses. I think one of the pieces that is often overlooked when jumping into any marketing campaign is properly defining and qualifying who your existing and target customers are and what is driving their behavior. With a well-defined customer profile in place we are able to use the targeting capabilities within social media to ensure that marketing dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively.
Q: What other advice do you have for dealers using social media?
A: So often in our industry we treat social media like an extra job for an already overburdened manager to do in their non-existent spare time, or a task tossed to the youngest guy or gal around with the assumption that they innately know what to do (sound familiar?). My advice would be to jump in with both feet. You won’t be disappointed. Similarly, I would also say don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. Social media and the digital world are complex and evolving daily, so trying to keep up can be daunting.
DEALERS: Interested in sharing your Social Media strategies? Let us know at James@LBMJournal.com.