One of the questions we are most frequently asked relates in some way or another to “What are the best social media platforms for the interior finishes industry?”. It’s a very important question, and the answer we generally give initially is “it depends, really”.
It depends most importantly on what social media platforms your target audience, your potential customers, are on.
The importance of this seemingly obvious consideration cannot be underestimated. You may consider yourself to be the funniest person on Facebook, or to be a master of the latest TikTok dance challenge, but if you’re trying to get your linoleum specified by an architect, these may not be especially helpful skills.
Similarly, if your products are mainly consumer oriented, just posting technical pieces on LinkedIn is probably not the most effective use of your limited resources (and let’s face it, aren’t everybody’s resources limited at the moment? If yours aren’t, by the way, definitely get in touch and we’ll send a chauffeur to bring you in to see us!).
In our experience, the most effective platforms to reach those involved in specification and design have tended to be:
- LinkedIn (large professional audience, ability to post articles, join groups, share expertise, link to your website, targeted advertising capability)
- Twitter (again a large professional audience, ability to communicate directly and build a reputation, ability to share links and images\videos)
- Instagram (tends to have an aesthetically-aware audience, needs a lot of effort, only able to use one link in your bio)
For products which are aimed more at the consumer\end-user, having a strong Facebook presence has proven to be effective for some, whilst Instagram is increasingly becoming a platform of interest, as its user numbers continue to climb. Developing a YouTube presence especially with ‘How To’ videos can be an effective use of resource. These related platforms also have the facility for targeted advertising which can be extremely cost effective if used correctly.
One of the most underutilised platforms is Pinterest, which now regards itself predominantly as a search engine rather than a social media platform. It tends to have an extremely aesthetically-aware audience, and now has shopping capabilities. For those with visually appealing products, and in particular those products which are more consumer-oriented, we would encourage investigation of this platform, which is less ‘crowded’ and may enable some companies to find a successful niche.
Whatever platform you decide to use, there are a number of key considerations you need to evaluate before undertaking your organisation’s social media journey (and it is a journey!).
- Social Media is NOT just a cheap platform for you to push your message out on. It is called Social Media for a reason. It is not called Soapbox or Megaphone. If you’re on social media and you’re not being social you will fail. Guaranteed.
- The world is unlikely to be waiting with bated breath for your arrival on social media. They’re actually doing pretty much ok without you, so why should they care about you or what you have to say? How are you going to get their attention in a world where your audience are already being bombarded with messages all day long?
- Pick your weapons carefully. You are unlikely to have the resources to become a force on every platform, so pick one or two that are best suited to your audience (not just the one you like!). Some people get very, very lucky and have rapid success on social media, but in the vast majority of cases, success on social media takes a lot of hard work. A lot.
- Have a plan, have great creative, and have a tone of voice that is appropriate for your audience. Work at it. Engage with people. Remember, it’s not all about you, it’s not a one-way communication channel. Stick to these basic pointers and you’ll have a better chance of success.
The opportunities which social media presents for manufacturers, distributors and contractors in the interior finishes sector are huge, if you are able to avail of them.
If you feel that you would like to benefit from some of these opportunities, why not pop us an email and let’s chat about how we might be able to help you where you want to go.