Understanding Social Media for Flooring Retailers
I find it fascinating to listen to and read what other people have to say about social media, especially when they are trying to tell you why or why not it is something in which a business should invest any of its time and resources.
First, let me make it perfectly clear I’m by no means proclaiming myself as some sort of expert on how to use the growing number of social media platforms out there. I am saying that I do recognize when you truly understand what exactly social media is, you will understand as a businessperson—be it residential or commercial—why your company must be engaged in it.
If you break [social media] down to its most basic level by taking out all the technology and so forth, what you basically have is the modern day version of good old word of mouth—at least in a business sense.
Similar to how everyone is acting like LVT is some sort of wonderfully new product the way laminate truly was in the mid 1990s—when it fact it’s been around for at least 30 years if not longer by some standards—the same is true with social media.
Yes, the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram, et al, have changed the entire landscape and definition of social media, but technically speaking it is something that has been around since man first began forming civilizations.
Just to get it out of the way, Webster’s defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content.”
Now if you break that down to its most basic level by taking out all the technology and so forth, what you basically have is the modern day version of good old word of mouth—at least in a business sense. On the personal side, social media is an entirely different animal.
So if social media really is just taking word-of-mouth marketing and advertising to an entirely different level, why are so many retailers and contractors ignoring it, or not putting the effort into it as they would in asking for a referral or creating a beautiful marketing piece?
Yes, it can be intimidating, especially for those who were not born holding a smartphone. But the reality is that it’s not that difficult to master. And best of all, while there can be some costs involved depending on how involved you want to get, the biggest thing it takes for you to get your business involved in social media is time.
And nowadays, just as you would hire an agency to help with your advertising and marketing efforts, you could hire one to help build your social media presence. Or better yet, if you have mature kids, bring them in and ask them. Chances are they already know about the business.
If you happen to be an aligned dealer—be it a buying group, a mill or distributor—there is virtually no excuse not to be fully engaged in social media. These companies offer turnkey programs that help retailers achieve not only top rankings in the search engines, but more important bring in consumers who are actively engaged with their sites. As a result, when it comes time for them to purchase flooring, they are going to the store which they not only read good things about (from people they often don’t know, by the way) but already have a relationship with.
Social media has always been here; it’s just now in a different form. Life came long before the Internet—it is the successful retailer who embraces both that wins.