Social media has changed marketing forever and, while the construction industry is generally more averse to this kind of advertising, there could be huge untapped potential for the businesses who do it right. Following the rapid growth of TikTok, a number of builders, both independent and as a business are taking to the app to entertain potential customers in a way that is low-cost and engaging.
Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis, there are many pressing issues construction businesses will have to deal with over the next for months. However, in a period of output decline and economic insecurity, adapting quickly to new forms of publicity and marketing could be an essential survival strategy for small businesses in the construction supply chain and one that is largely untapped.
Emerging trends (Instagram and TikTok marketing)
Tradespeople on TikTok are taking advantage of the trending popularity of ‘satisfying’ work, such as floor pouring and bricklaying to amass engagement in a way that is different from traditional marketing. This kind of tactic goes directly to the consumer and encourages natural interaction to form a closer bond with potential customers. Additionally, unlike other social media platforms, TikTok currently has less personalised ad space, so there is even more of a feeling of closeness between creators and viewers than Instagram, for example.
On the other hand, Instagram is a more established platform with a wider user base so building a following there can bring more value if done correctly. There’s also more opportunities to advertise directly on Instagram, which can be a useful way of increasing leads and establishing a local presence for small businesses. As both platforms are visually focused, emphasising the ‘satisfying’ elements of the job is a useful way of attracting followers and boosting engagement.
The value of social media followers
The value of a TikTok follower is currently around £0.0012 ($0.0016) and on Instagram, followers are worth around £0.32 ($0.42) so it would take a large following to start generating money from the account. However, this is the influencer value of each follower so this doesn’t necessarily translate into advertising value for businesses. It does, however, highlight how cheap social media can be as an online marketing technique. Additionally, prioritising engagement is key to extracting value from social media, so the follower count is less important that getting existing followers to interact with your content.
The hashtag #construction has almost 3bn views on TikTok and 13.2m views on Instagram, showing that users definitely desire this kind of content as part of their scrolling. Design trends are dominated by Instagram and involving yourself as a tradesperson or business can help you establish yourself as a leader in the community.
The industry reluctance towards digital transformation
Digital transformation is growing in construction but it has been a much slower process than in many others. Though it may seem like social media is far away from the daily life of tradespeople, it is a huge part of most people’s daily lives in general. For trade businesses looking to work directly with consumers, it makes sense to go directly to your target consumer to a place you know they will be looking.
For the most part, the main hashtags on both Instagram and TikTok are dominated by independent workers taking pride in their work and looking to share their successes. Therefore, it’s an untapped market that businesses could start to take advantage of. However, instead of taking away from this pride, businesses could work with their staff to showcase their best work, helping to advertise their business while also improving job satisfaction. Given that the next few months will be a difficult recovery for most tradespeople, this could be an effective way of driving business while keeping workers happy.
The world of social media marketing can be complicated and may feel far from the expertise of many in the industry but the essence of social media is genuine connection between content creator and audience. With the market being mostly untapped, there’s also more room for trial and error as you grow your business’ online presence. With so much set to change in construction and other trades in the near future, this could be a trend that’s well worth hopping on.
This article was written by Damon Culbert from BND Abrasives, industrial materials supplier.