Social Media Summit – Webcast Summary

Social Media Summit Summary

With the rapid growth of social media, no surprise that the Social Media Summit for Construction had record breaking attendance for a Construction Marketing Association (CMA) webcast. Panelists included Brian Stokoe, social media strategist for Caterpillar Inc, and Heather Dolan, Asphalt Commercialization Manager for Meadwestvaco Specialty Chemicals (MWV). CMA Chairman, Neil Brown moderated the panel.

The Social Media Summit was packed with useful content, tips and examples for using social media to build awareness, and drive sales leads. In addition to case studies for small and large social media implementations (MVW and CAT), Brown presented the key benefits of social media, along with an overview of the BIG 5 Networks (Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and now Google+). Panelists identified the Top 10 Tips for Effective Social Media Deployment. Finally, a number of social media resources were provided. 

The Results of a 2012 CMA national social media survey were presented for the first time. Results are provided in a separate blog, link here for Social Media In Construction Survey Results. Following is the summary of the Social Media Summit webcast including: 1) why you should consider social media, 2) Highlights from the WMV/Heather Dolan and CAT/Brian Stokoe presentations, 3) the top 10 tips for social media, and 4) a variety of resource links to get you started.

Why You Should Consider Social Media?

Neil Brown mentioned 7 benefits or reasons to consider social media. While not exhaustive, these reasons are extremely compelling. First, there is a growing body of evidence/examples of success, beyond early adopters to all types and sizes of business and construction brands. Second, social networks typically have convenient analytics and dashboards. Social media is often more measurable than traditional marketing. Third, when integrated properly, social media significantly impacts search authority. Next, social networks are adding business-friendly features, applications, and tools that support marketing and measurement. In addition, social media is a relatively low cost medium in comparison to traditional marketing and offers brands off all sizes a level playing field. Sixth, social media can reach niche targets that are too fragmented or cost-prohibitive to reach. And finally, social media can support the most critical business functions: customer service, recruitment, publicity.

Social Media at Meadwestvaco (WMV)

Heather Dolan shared great insights into how a smaller company (compared to CAT)  can utilize social media. Many people ask why you would even bother with social media. Heather answered that question with the following points:

  • Trade journal editors, research institutes, and agency associations (mostly at state level) are developing their own social media strategies
  • While current decision makers may not be heavy users, the decision makers of tomorrow probably ARE
  • All customers are demanding a rich experience

And where should you start? Heather Dolan suggested starting with Facebook. Below is an example of the Evotherm WMV Facebook page.

Evotherm WMA Facebook


Social Media at Caterpillar Inc.

Brian Stokoe shared insights into social media use from the perspective of a large company. Interestingly, he noted that Caterpillar’s social media presence grew by 300% in 2011. Here are some highlights from his presentation:

  • Social media is all about relationships; to maintain relationships over time, Caterpillar is focusing its social media efforts around four distinct types of social media presence: brands, customer groups, enthusiasts, and dealers
  • CAT operates under 4 social media pillars: social listening, promotion, thought leadership, and customer support (below we included some promotion best practices from Brian Stokoe)


Grab attention with engaging photos! Photos take up more real estate on Facebook than anything else. Also, fans engage more with posts with photos than anything else. Below is an example of a Caterpillar Facebook post. Both posts had the same subject matter. However, the post with the photo had considerably better engagement (1462 Likes vs. 188) . Another best practice is to let customers tell your story with quotes about their positive experiences.

Caterpillar Facebook Post With No Picture


Caterpillar Facebook Post With a Picture

Social Media Summit – Top 10 Tips!

  1. Research social media marketing best practices (CMA, Hubspot, etc.)
  2. Develop a social media plan supported by competitive benchmarking, critical analysis of your own search engine optimization (SEO) and social presence
  3. Establish profiles on the big 5 (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)
  4. If possible, deploy a thought leadership and search-optimized blog; integrate with above profiles (share, bookmark)
  5. Research and develop a content marketing plan and calendar for blog and social media
  6. Train staff and partners on social sharing and engagement
  7. Integrate with email, PR, events, launches, SEO, other/traditional marketing programs
  8. Employ offers, calls-to-action (CTA), landing/registration pages in all social media to maximize lead generation; report and communicate results to management
  9. Continue to build-out profiles, ongoing posts, updating profile designs, evaluate new social media opportunities like Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare
  10. Measure results via analytics, registrations, social measurement tools; report and communicate to management often


Resource Links

Social Media Publications:

The Social Media Marketing Book
Social Media Marketing Magazine

Social Media Resources:

Social Media Examiner
Marketing Profs

Construction Marketing Association

How Construction Companies Can Leverage Social Media
5 Social Media Training Tips
Why Construction Brands Should Consider Pinterest
Leveraging LinkedIn Groups: Build Your Network!
Leveraging LinkedIn: Pages and Applications
Google Plus Business Pages – Do I Need One?
Twitter for Construction Marketing
Facebook Best Practices for Construction


Do you have any social media tips you would like to add? Please share with us in the comment box below and share this post via the social bookmarking tools below!

Don’t miss our next webcast: Breakthrough Marketing Plans November 13, 2012