Editorial: Less is more when it comes to social media
I’m bucking the advice of the social media gurus.
By Patrick Flannery
I imagine there are a number of reasons why use of social media has been lower in this industry than in some others. (I am omitting our architect audience in these comments – the design community has always been on the bleeding edge when it comes to digital everything.)
As a media channel aimed mostly at company owners, we tend to be speaking to an older demographic. Two things are changing there. The first is that the glass industry is slowly getting younger as baby boomers start to retire or step back from day-to-day operations. The second is that social media use – especially Facebook – is seeing a sharp increase among the 60ish set. Come to think of it, those things are probably connected.
Young or old, the fact is this industry is almost entirely comprised of small, family-owned businesses with fewer than 50 employees. No one has people sitting around with little to do except watch a Twitter feed. And the nature of the business means there’s little sitting, period. Therein lies another reason why participation is increasing. Following social media used to be a matter of sitting in front of a desktop computer. The rise of mobile devices means social feeds can be watched and updated on the fly, on the road and at the job site.
I think there’s great potential for social media as a way for people in this industry to communicate informally and I recently ran across a great example of that in a Facebook group called Canada’s Glazing Community. A Calgary glazier named Corey Bollivar has created an excellent forum where glass contractors and installers from all over the country are posting notes and photos of their work, often with a lot of great humour thrown in. It is a private group, so you’ll have to message Corey to look in, but since you are in the glazing industry, he’ll likely approve you.
The new power of social media was on obvious display in 2016. Donald Trump was able to shock the world and win the election in part because he was able to put unfiltered messages (very, very unfiltered messages) out in public and essentially force the mainstream media to follow his lead rather than act as a gatekeeper. By doing this, he was able to get a lot of free publicity and also to reach a lot of people who probably never pick up a newspaper. What’s the lesson for us? By using social media you can achieve frequent, unfiltered communication with your target market, delivering a wide variety of messages designed to provoke the reaction you want.
My use of the Glass Canada social channels is a bit different than the social media marketing gurus recommend. I think the strength of social media is the ability to filter what you want to see and cut through the torrent of messages that people put out online. But even a carefully tended social media feed can quickly become overwhelmed with posts. So I use @GlassCanadaMag and our Facebook page to only post content of interest to this market, curated by me. My hope is that by posting less rather than more, you’ll be able to check in on Glass Canada when it is convenient and see the important information in the industry without having to wade through 1,000 posts on multiple feeds every day. All part of the service here at your trade magazine.