WHO THEY ARE
Scholl Construction Company is a full service builder and remodeling company located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Karen Scholl, head of Marketing, summarizes the company’s philosophy, “Our job starts with the customers’ idea of what they want their house to be. We help them realize that vision.”
The company approaches each job as an opportunity to partner with the customer and work as a team to get the construction project completed perfectly. Scholl strives to educate, demonstrate credibility, build confidence and establish relationships with prospects and customers. It is with an eye toward this goal that Scholl approaches social media.
THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
We face three major challenges. In today’s economy, customers are more careful about spending and calculating return on their investment while their list of “must have” options is shrinking. Meanwhile, the media is professing gloom over the home building and remodeling market. Lastly, some builders have not geared their business toward customer satisfaction and that attitude has negatively impacted our professionalism.
We used to spend considerable time and money creating PowerPoint presentations and customer recommendation sheets. We found that customers rarely looked at them or followed up with our past customers. Now we refer customers to our Facebook page where we post project photos, videos and customer comments; updating the site one to two times per week.
We attend networking events as part of our marketing strategy. These are often held in the evenings so it extends the workday and takes a lot of time. Although in person contact is an important part of networking, the social media connection, with a minimal time commitment, can increase that initial contact ten-fold. I would have to attend a networking group every day for 10 years to meet the same number of people I do through social media.
A few months ago, I did not even know what “social media” meant. I was skeptical and thought no one looks at the internet. Was I wrong! I attended Cyberlife Tutors’ social media training classes and just loved them. Now Scholl Construction is on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and we are blogging. We have something going on all the time and we are getting positive feedback and results.
Social media has given us a broader audience while expending less energy and time. I keep us with all our social media activities in less than 30 minutes a day. Each social media tool, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Blogging, has a different feeling and a different way to connect, yet each lets me “meet” people in a quick and casual way. I used LinkedIn to post a business question and never expected anyone would respond, yet I got two answers almost immediately. I was really surprised by the results.
SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS
I found social media allowed us to get our name out there; getting well known for what we do. Scholl Construction has gotten some very positive leads through Facebook. People can see the type of work that we do and we get to connect with people we normally would not see.
Initially I thought of Facebook as a “teenage thing”. I am finding that all ages: young adults, baby boomers and retired adults are online.
CYBERLIFE TUTORS BENEFITS
If it were not for Cyberlife Tutors, I would not be able to do what I do now. Cyberlife Tutors has been very supportive, given me a good introduction on how to get started, and made me less fearful of getting online. I was encouraged when Cyberlife Tutors said, “Go ahead and do it, you will be fine”. Cyberlife Tutors connected me with discussion groups where I could share and learn from others and April encouraged me as I got started.
In the beginning, it was confusing. But once I got started and just did it, I knew Cyberlife Tutors was there to support me. I knew that I could call for additional help and I think that is really important. Classes are well organized and got me up and running in a couple of hours. I think that in itself is amazing.
I am using our blogging site to talk to people about what to expect when working with us. I have written about the safety of children and pets at the construction site and other subjects related to the building industry. Blogging helps bridge the gap and build healthy working relationships and I find that it is a powerful tool. The pictures we post are a big help in allaying fears about our level of expertise because people can see what we are producing as they follow our current job up-date photos.
What is Karen’s advice to business owners?
“Take a class. Get some coaching. Learn a little bit. Get in there and just do it. If you are not using social media, I highly recommend you contact April M. Williams for her vast working knowledge of social media. We are finding that our customers are going to the internet to see who we are, what we do, read feedback about our services and see how we communicate. Social networking is the way we keep in contact with a large number of people; many of whom are looking at our services. These days, in the business world, I believe that social media is going to be a vital part of any business success story.“
Follow Scholl Construction on Facebook and Twitter.