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, Natalia Dittmer of Tum-A-Lum Lumber in Hood River, OR offers insight into how the Tum-A-Lum team leverages social media.
DEALERS: Interested in sharing your Social Media strategies? Let us know at James@LBMJournal.com.
Q: What social media platforms do you use?
A: Tum-A-Lum Lumber is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Houzz, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Q: Which platform is your favorite and how does it benefit your company?
A: Definitely Instagram. I love the story a single photo can tell and Instagram is a great platform for conveying a company’s brand and culture to the public at large. We not only tell our story through photos of our products, history and employees, but we also post motivational quotes, and share about community events we’re involved in.
We have seen a 500% increase in followers on Instagram over the last year, with new followers almost daily, so it’s a real focus for our company. We get the benefit of local and nationwide recognition, which enhances our branding efforts, and we get the chance to be in a network of influencers in our industry who inspire and motivate contractors, homeowners and fellow LBM companies.
Q: Who handles social media posts and social media marketing at Tum-A-Lum?
A: As Tum-A-Lum’s social media manager, I oversee all of the digital marketing for our company (social media, email and website), but our employees are a strong part of that equation. As the soul of our company, and because they deal with the day-to-day operations, our employees see things that I would never see. While I create the posts for our social media, I can’t be in all of our stores every day, so I rely on our employees to share photos and stories with me that I can then share with our followers.
Q: How much time do you spend on social media each month?
A: More than I probably should! I love to reach out and connect with other LBM companies. There are some great accounts out there and I am always learning from others. I find myself browsing other accounts even in my spare time, and gleaning new ideas for content.
At the LBM Strategies Conference last year, Joel Fleischman said to always C.A.S.E. (Copy And Steal Everything). That made me laugh, because I could totally relate to that. I work hard to be creative and original with our content, but I am not above “stealing” great ideas from others in our industry; and I’m certainly not offended if other companies use some of our ideas for their own. It’s a compliment. This industry has often been slow to jump on the technology bandwagon, so we all win when we are all strong in this field.
Q: What is your monthly social media marketing budget? How does it differ between platforms?
A: We advertise monthly on Facebook and Instagram, but our budget varies based on what we are promoting. We not only use Facebook to promote new products and advertise sales, but we also promote our website, community events we are involved in, and services we offer. I’m still amazed at how inexpensive it is to market on Facebook and Instagram. It’s like a hidden secret that not everyone knows about.
Q: Many of our readers are selling to contractors. How has social media helped you reach that audience?
A: We collaborate with our contractor customers through our social media platforms and our website.
We feature our contractors on our Instagram and repost their projects—from framing to completion—using the hashtags #ColumbiaGorgeInspiration and #PNWModern- Craftsman. Because we share all Instagram posts to our Facebook, we are marketing to two audiences. On our website, our Inspiration Gallery features beauty shots of our contractor customers’ work. We call it “Columbia Gorge Inspiration.” We are promoting our contractors in the best way possible—by visually marketing their craftsmanship.
As part of this successful partnership between Tum-ALum and our contractor customers, we recently hosted a Social Media for Contractors event where we taught our contractors how to get started, how to market themselves, and gave them ideas and tips for posts. They also heard from fellow contractors who are utilizing social media marketing, which gave additional credibility to this topic.
Q: What other advice do you have for dealers using social media?
A: Share all of your Instagram posts onto your Facebook page. You get “two for the price of one” so-to-speak, and it’s an easy way to reach dual audiences with your content. Social media is more about branding and less about selling 2x4s. When you post, share your story and focus on your brand.