Glass Companies Share How Their Tweets,
Fans and Followers Build Business
Whether you’re learning about it from your kids as they
sit gazing before the computer screen, from former classmates looking
to reconnect on Facebook or even the new sitcom based on a Twitter feed,
you know by now that social media is here to stay. The big question, though,
is what value glass retailers receive from creating social media content
on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogspot and others.
“My partner and I go back and forth on that all the time,” admits Danya
Rosales, chief financial officer and director of A Better View Glass &
Mirror, a glass shop in Yorktown, Va.
From Rosales’ point of view, taking part in the social media wave is helping
her to lay a base for future developments. “Google has made it very known
publicly that eventually all of these the social networks—and some of
them already do—are going to have live search. … I can go in and search
for window replacement in Yorktown, Va., and it will be a live feed—eventually,”
Rosales adds, “We already have a fantastic web presence but you can’t
count on that; if you want to be found I think you need to set up a good
base in any social network, because that’s where it’s going.”
In the meantime, many are finding value in the interactive qualities of
“Social media can be instantly interactive. The more you ask people to
get involved, the more feedback you will get,” explains Amber Hedin, marketing
manager of St. Cloud Window Inc. in St. Cloud, Minn. “This helps us define
how we want to approach new ideas and products.”
In essence, social media is a tool for building and strengthening brand
awareness and can be a powerful tool for companies at all levels of the
Saleem Khattak, president of Architectural Fittings in Vancouver, says,
“Social media is used as a casual way to connect with our customers and
give them a sense of the company culture and philosophy behind our business.
This is a great channel for opening dialogue and building brand awareness.”
“When I put something out on Facebook, the people who subscribe to our
Facebook account automatically [see it] come up onto their screen. All
they have to do is log in to Facebook, which a lot of people are doing
at least once a day, and there they see Southern Aluminum Finishing right
in front of them,” points out John McClatchey, Jr., sales manager for
SAF in Atlanta. “Additionally, we have a number of architects who follow
our Twitter account. With mobile communications such as it is now they
can be sitting at their desk, their phone will ding and they’ll look at
it and say ‘oh, SAF has a new panel system and, hey, I just happen to
be working on a new panel system right now.’
“The more in your face that we are—whether we’re promoting ourselves or
just keeping people informed—the better,” McClatchey adds. “People will
hopefully use us as a resource.”
140 Characters or Less
Becoming that resource, however, takes time and a little bit of know-how.
The first step is producing effective content with regular frequency to
create an audience and keep it engaged.
Rosales has built a following by providing information followers can use.
“We’ve managed to diversify very well,” she says. The company sells some
products online and for that market, she says, “We tweet different things
we have for sale online”
But Rosales also works to include the local market. “For installation
we’ll tweet ‘today only 10, 20 percent off on local installation,’ or
we have coupons online so I will often put a link in our tweet right back
to our coupon page website,” she says.
“We like to give variety in our tweets,” Hedin says. “We will include
information on projects that are currently in production, re-tweet industry
news articles that are interesting, trade shows that we are attending,
business projects that we are working on and, because we have employees
that follow us, we like to add a personal element that includes employee
announcements, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.”
That personal element is a key part of social media as followers seek
to be engaged with content providers. Hedin explains that Facebook provides
a valuable platform for building interactive relationships with retail
“We love to get feedback from industry key players because we want to
make sure we are providing the best and most helpful information,” she
Architectural Fittings tweets about relevant news in order to become a
resource to followers. “Topics include exciting building projects, new
progress in production technologies, innovation in the use of glass as
it is a directly related material to our product line, as well as retweeting
interesting news from people we follow,” Khattak says.
McClatchey stresses that whatever is posted, the key is to make sure there’s
lots of it. “What we put on there ranges anywhere from links to articles,
press releases, educational links and just general promotion of new products.
The more information, the more content we get out there, the better.”
New to social media? Get started by connecting with USGlass in the
• Follow USGlass on Twitter at http://twitter.com/USGlass;
• “Friend” USGlass on Facebook at www.facebook.com;
• Connect on LinkedIn with USGlass editor Megan Headley at http://www.linkedin.com/in/meganheadley,
publisher Debra Levy at http://www.linkedin.com/in/debralevy
or search for Key Communications; and
• Read our blogs on www.usgnn.com.
If You Post It, Will They Follow?
@ABVGlass today has more than 1,000 followers on its Twitter account.
When Rosales began a social media marketing campaign nearly two years
ago, she first sought to get a “base.” For her, that meant doing the legwork
to find relevant companies to follow.
“Any company in construction, real estate, glass—anything that had to
do with our field—I went out and searched for those,” Rosales says. She
adds, “It’s kind of like building a website; it takes time and doesn’t
Hedin started growing her base by reaching out to contacts. “We started
by spreading the word internally with our employees, family and friends.
We are also inviting our existing customers/business partners to join
us in social media. In addition, we have added links to our website so
anyone who visits our homepage is invited,” she says.
McClatchey has followed a similar process, growing a base by reaching
out to customers and colleagues as well as by promoting the company’s
online presence whenever possible.
Of course, following others doesn’t necessarily mean your base will be
built up in return, Khattak points out. “[Our] number of followers has
been built up by following key tweeters, if interesting, and posting tweets
that are engaging to the readership. The more tweets that are posted has
been directly proportional to the number of followers we have gained.”
Social Media Myths
• Don’t forget to keep the “social” in social media. Intersperse business
tips and articles with personal comments or reflections. Have conversations
with your followers. Remember, it’s just virtual networking.
• So you consider social media a timewaster? Then don’t get started
without a strategy in place. What do you want to accomplish through
using social media? Without a goal in
place, you could just be talking to yourself.
• Don’t get discouraged by negative comments on your posts. Some people
never learned the “if you can’t say anything nice …” rule. But just
think, because you’re aware of that negative feedback this could be
a great opportunity to reach out to that disgruntled customer and
ask how you can help—now you’re no longer the problem maker, you’re
the problem solver.
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