Everyone starts somewhere in Social Media. Tips and tricks we’ve all learned along the way can be especially helpful to those still navigating uncharted waters.
This interview series features twitter accounts in and around the construction industry, a growing population within the Twittersphere. My only disclaimer is that I do not always agree with the advice.
Stats:Twitter Name: @Sundt Twitter Bio: We are a 100% employee owned construction company with national experience headquartered in Tempe, AZ. We currently have offices in CA, AZ, TX, NV, HI and NC. Company Name: Sundt Construction City/State: Tempe, AZ Main Website: http://www.sundt.com Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/SundtConstruct Admin Name: Wendy LaPlaca (November 2010 thru mid-September 2011) LinkedIN Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=29109492 Klout Score: 50 Followers: 857 Following:Follower Ratio: 1.19
1. When did you start your twitter account?
We sent our very first tweet on December 8, 2010, at 10:55 a.m. It read:
120 Years of Going Beyond the Expected, all morning trying to figure out what to Tweet.
It really did take me all morning to figure out what to tweet. I was very intimidated.
2. What was your biggest obstacle in twitter?
Explaining what Twitter and further social media is and why we should use it to Upper Management. They have actually been very supportive.
3. How often do you tweet? Do you have a schedule?
I use Tweetdeck and monitor Twitter every day, with the usual search columns for Mentions and “Sundt.” I tweet when I can and/or when I have something to share – there’s no set schedule. Some days I tweet a lot, some days hardly at all. It all depends on what’s going on.
4. What is your recommendation to new people on twitter?
I always recommend people go to http://www.momthisishowtwitterworks.com for a simple, funny, easy to understand Twitter “How To.” I didn’t author it, but I’ve linked it dozens of times.
When I first started using Twitter I searched for my peers in our industry (construction) and followed them, then I harvested their followers and who they followed. I followed anyone who looked like a peer, a subcontractor, a supplier, or other good content provider. There are several twitter and marketing people I follow as well – like @Mashable and some news channels (mostly local). I paid close attention on Fridays to find more people to follow that were recommended by those I was already following or who were following me.
I try very hard to provide good feedback to others, engage with them in discussions about our industry, social media, etc. I re-tweet (RT) notable articles, accomplishments, stories and posts. I use Tweetdeck (which is a huge help) to manage searches that are relative to what my company is interested in. It also auto-shortens links, automatically uploads pictures you drag into it, and more. Plus, it’s free.
Most importantly, in my opinion, I give Sundt a “personality.” I follow at least one other construction company that basically tweets the same dozen or so things over and over “we do this,” “we do that” and believe me, it gets old.
My favorite tweet to date:
“Sundt Fun Fact: Did you know that Sundt moved the London Bridge? It was falling down, don’t ya know… http://bit.ly/dJJa7g “
It’s true, it’s relevant, and it’s cute. Getting re-tweeted in Twitter will get you more followers and people will actually be interested in what you post. I know that when I pop into Tweetdeck to check on my “tweeps” I scan through first for people who consistantly provide me with interesting content.
Don’t be afraid to have some fun. I really enjoyed Tweeting with a Giraffe from the Phoenix Zoo on April 1st. So much so that I went home and Photoshopped a picture of a giraffe in front of our office building. That’s a social media win all around I think.
5. What is your favorite hashtag and why.
I guess it would have to be #FBLT because (not to pat myself on the back here) I thought of it. One day I was trying to figure out how to get more “Likes” on our Facebook page and I thought “Gee, #FF had to start somewhere” why not Facebook Liking Tuesdays?” It was probably a Tuesday or I figured Tuesday didn’t already have a weekly thing that I knew of. I can’t take all, or even most, of the credit for its success though. @RigginsConst, @AZDuraWrap and @Therm_All, among others, immediately jumped on the idea and ran with it. They’ve since refined the concept, along with others like @CombotronicsInc and @SanJosePlumbing. It’s really humbling to be part of something that takes off like that. I’m proud to be a part of it.
6. Did you have a twitter mentor? How did that come about?
Yes, actually @TeresaMedeiros was my original twitter mentor. She and @christinadodd are both bestselling authors who I paid very close attention to when I first started toying with Social Media on Sundt’s behalf – both on Facebook and Twitter. Teresa wrote a book called Goodnight Tweetheart that was not only a fun read, but offered very good advice on how to best utilize Twitter.
7. Can you recommend a twitter account that we should be following?
I have “met” so many great people on Twitter. Some of my favorites: @RigginsConst, @AZDuraWrap, @Therm_All, @CombotronicsInc, @SanJosePlumbing, @ToyotaEquipment, @dbsmallgiants, @smallgiants, @htltest, @ABC_Plastics, @Willdobbs, just to name a few.
There are many others who I don’t interact with much, but always enjoy, like @BuildingMoxie and @Bobborson. There are so many more… I know I’m going to be #palmface’ing on this one as soon as I send it.
I keep waiting for someone to come tell me I’m not the right person to manage our Twitter account and take it over. That may happen someday, and that’s fine, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job with it. I’m proud of my efforts. I love my company and I think that shows in how I handle the accounts (Facebook and Twitter). That right there is why I think someone internal in a company should handle social media – sure, outside social media companies might be “experts,” but they’ll never be able to give your company quite the same “personality” as someone who loves it.
More Featured Tweeters
Hi Wendy don’t think I knew your name previously. And that’s where #fblt came from! Thank you for inviting me early to get in on that. And thank you for the mention here. Bottom line tho and esp. In (residential) construction, trust is key. And trust is built thru getting to know peoples’ personalities. You nailed it. and sm allows you to do that like nothing before it. Props and props to Bridge @ Riggins for the series idea. Jb
Thanks JB. You rock!
The thing of it is this: social media is social. Humans are social. We are wired this way. Twitter, Facebook. blogs and the like are just vehicles. It’s great to be able to build a community that is not bound by time zones or geography.
Bridget, this is such a great interview! It’s nice to see who’s behind all those tweets! I agree with Wendy on the fact that some companies constantly post a list of services they provide and it gets very old very fast. We are always trying to start a conversation and we think that’s what gets people interested. We feel so humble to be in your twitter world and I hope you keep this going, it’s a great idea!
Thanks for the comment Jason. I hope to have a post every other Friday.
We (@htltest) have found so much benefit to connecting with others in our industry via social media – both with our customers/potential customers and even beyond anyone we would directly do business with. It has been very neat to find out what others are up to, what challenges they face, how their business is growing, etc. I think, for many in the building and construction industry, social media has provided a unique way for the relevancy of our businesses to go beyond just the customer base.
It is great to connect and interact via social media – we learn something new every day! Plus, #FBLT is awesome!! Wendy, it was wonderful to meet the person behind @sundt_!
Bridget – thanks for sharing – this was a great blog post idea!
I agree. Thanks so much for the comment. Wendy is a neat person and it will be even more enjoyable tweeting with @sundt_ now.
It was a great idea for an article! I’m pretty sure I’ve shown praise for the idea already, but ya know, just in case! 🙂
Its good to get to know a little more about the person we tweet with so often, and how gracious of her to mention us in her twitter-sphere! I have been personally grateful for all of the help with that, Bridget and Wendy! You two are great tweeps to know! 🙂 It’s been interesting to connect with other businesses and the people behind the businesses. You said it best I believe, “social media is social. Humans are social. We are wired this way.” Its been great!
Again, Great article, Bridget!
Thank you so much Roxanne!
Thank you, Wendy, for your engaging, intelligent social media! We love being connected to you and following you. You really make the miles between us disappear and we hope to meet you some day in person, too.
Carol Stephen, for @SanJosePlumbing
Thank you Carol for the gracious comment.
Very cool to meet who’s behind all the great tweets! Funny, I also remember the London Bridge tweet. I checked it out at Lake Havasu in 2007, and remember thinking how crazy it was that someone moved a bridge. Thanks for all you do, especially #FBLT!
Bridget, I’m looking forward to meeting more tweeps in your series!
Thank you so much Paul for the feedback. When I heard the Bread song about the London Bridge I thought that it was some kind of metaphor. I didn’t realize until much later that it really was in Lake Havasu, AZ.
Great interview Wendy! Always nice to see the face behind the curtain. You do a wonderful job and it’s interesting to hear your thoughts about tweeting and how you do it. Thanks for #FBLT. I love participating as well.—Peter (AKA Dover Projects)
Thank you. Yes, Wendy’s responses to the questions set the bar quite high.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Peter.
Wow, thank you so much everyone! Doing the interview was a lot of fun and I was glad for the chance to share some of what I’ve learned during my forays into social media. I was SO intimidated by Twitter at first, now I love it! Thanks again!