Staying on Top of the Latest Trends in Social Media

By Asher Raphael
April 9, 2013
THE TALK... | Sales & Marketing

With every tweet, share, like and pin, it becomes more apparent that social media is growing as a major tool for communication in the United States. In fact, recent surveys calculate that time spent on social media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in the U.S. Add to that the fact that social media advertising is projected to increase from $2.1 billion in 2010 to $8.3 billion by 2015 and it is clear that big and small businesses alike see social media as a prime marketing tool. From Facebook and Twitter, to Pinterest and Instagram, the ever-expanding amount of social media platforms represents a growing number of opportunities for businesses to interact with their customers, who are spending more and more time using these outlets.

For home remodelers, social media represents an opportunity to connect with those customers through strong and compelling words and visuals while educating them on everything a business has to offer. These days, so many homeowners turn to the Internet and their social networks to find everything from design inspiration to business reviews before choosing a contractor. With that in mind, many in our industry have learned that establishing a successful social media strategy means much more than creating a Facebook page or Twitter handle and posting the first thing that comes to mind. We’ve also learned that staying current on this ever-evolving medium can feel like an overwhelming task.

From Facebook page format overhauls to the increasing popularity of newer, more visual social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, here are the latest “must-knows” when it comes to succeeding as a marketer in social media.

Pinterest: Since its launch in March 2010, Pinterest has experienced overwhelming growth. The image-based social network that appeals to the more visual user has grown 4,000 percent in the past few months and is now second only to Facebook in the amount of time the average user spends on the site (nearly one and a half hours per month). This virtual pinboard enables users to organize and share anything they find online. From planning weddings and decorating homes to organizing favorite recipes, Pinterest users can create pinboards dedicated to virtually any topic or genre. Brands are catching on to how to make Pinterest work for them, especially as the site continues to grow and proves to be an effective marketing tool. Perhaps most notably, the right Pinterest presence can greatly impact a brand’s website traffic, since every pin links back to its original “home” on the web. However, the key lies in first laying out a successful strategy that takes advantage of both the visual and social nature of the site.

Instagram: Another visually stimulating social network, Instagram is an easy-to-use, mobile photo-taking and photo-sharing application. Users can take pictures with their smartphones, add various camera lens filters, and instantly share to social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, along with their Instagram followers. Acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, Instagram has achieved more than 80 million users in just two years of existence. From a marketing perspective, Instagram can be a valuable tool for brands. Businesses can engage with users by “liking” posted images, submitting images themselves and creating contests that encourage user participation. For example, Levi’s used Instagram for a 2012 model search, and General Electric recently hosted a contest asking users to post images of GE products that inspired them using the tag, “#GEInspiredME.”

Facebook: The average Facebook user spends 15 hours a month on the site. That equates to 900 minutes, or almost 2 full working days — every month! Due in large part to the massive number of people on the site on a daily basis, 70 percent of local businesses use Facebook as part of their marketing strategy. In the past year, those businesses have been introduced to the latest layout, known as the Timeline format, a profile page design that was first introduced for personal profiles in September 2011. The Timeline format is a departure from the original default profile – a list of a user’s most recent updates – in that it is a complete summary of his or her entire life, including photos, videos, status updates, locations visited and other milestones. Luckily for businesses, this new layout provides even more real estate and opportunities to educate and interact with fans, in the form of cover and profile images and content organization tools.

As the number of social media outlets grows, so too will the opportunities for businesses to market themselves to new audiences. Be sure to stay on top of the latest trends in the space to avoid getting left behind.

Asher Raphael is the chief strategy officer of Power Home Remodeling Group, the nation’s sixth largest home remodeling company with more than 1,200 employees and $170 million in annual sales. Power provides energy-saving and environmentally friendly exterior remodeling solutions to homeowners in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Raphael oversees the company’s overall strategic direction, which includes evaluating and directing new business opportunities, partner alliances, government relations and national expansion. He is also instrumental in the critical recruitment and development of prospective and existing talent, overseeing the company’s talent acquisition department. An Inc. 5000 company, Power has served more than 87,000 homeowners and is recognized as a home improvement leader by its "Dealer of the Year" award from Window and Door Magazine and the 2011 "Top Workplace" from The Philadelphia Inquirer.