What’s one of the worst things someone can say about your construction company?
According to Seth Fargher, owner of Construction Video Pros, it’s “I had no idea you did that.”
Today’s average construction company is missing significant opportunities to form new business relationships or gain new employees all because of their perception in the marketplace.
“People are looking for you,” Fargher says. “Whether you do direct-to-consumer or business-to-business, people are vetting you online.”
If one quick Google search is tanking your credibility and legitimacy as a business, it’s time to make a change. And changing customer perception starts by first changing your mindset around marketing.
With advanced cell phones and social media, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to highlight the exceptional work a company does, showcase company culture in a way that celebrates its employees, attracts the right talent and establishes the company as the authority in its space.
Because every company is at a different marketing maturity level, Fargher takes an iterative crawl-walk-run approach with his clients. “Figure out what stage you’re at and start there because doing something is better than doing nothing,” he says.
- Crawls: Get active on social media and create a Google Business Profile.
- Walks: Invest in your image, develop your story, start creating content, build out your website and create a social media strategy.
- run: Build a marketing team, invest in a content creator, join industry associations and empower your employees to advocate for the company.
Seeing is Believing
Fargher says the best way to showcase your authority and manage people’s perceptions is through content, specifically photos and videos.
“Construction means something different to everybody – underground utilities, vertical construction, remodel and new build,” explains Fargher. “You have to manage that perception and tell people what to think about you; content is the way to do it. It quickly and clearly conveys a message and builds authority without having to use a bunch of words.”
You need to have a plan to collect that content, though, warns Fargher. “You’ll see a $100-million-dollar contractor whose social media feeds look like they’re in the business of attending job fairs, having office parties and sponsoring golf tournaments. You need to show what you do, the people who do it, and the culture you’re building.”
Ask your field team to send you photos and videos of projects they’re working on. Use your topography drone to record an excavator loading a truck. Think creatively about how you can regularly collect more content with the resources you have.
Leave Nothing to the Imagination
The second part of the content equation is storytelling – and you can’t leave anything to the imagination.
“I worked with a contractor once whom I thought they did was paving,” he says. “I came to find out they owned 10 asphalt plants scattered around North Carolina; they owned a quarry in Mountain City, Tennessee, where they mine all their own aggregates for their plants; and they own two ready-mixed concrete plants, so the perception just got a whole lot bigger.”
According to Fargher, the elements of a good story include:
- Actions: Impactful imagery that shows what you do and instills confidence.
- History: How and why did you go into business?
- Authorities: Why are you good at what you do?
- Sustainability: Not what you take, but what you give.
- People: Whom have you influenced?
- Testimony: What do others say about you?
Auditing Your Website
Your website is the platform on which you host your content, but Fargher bluntly tells contractors: be very cautious in who you choose to build it.
Fargher frequently sees websites for US-based contractors that feature stock photography of foreign job sites and workers. “If you hire a company to build you a construction website that doesn’t do construction, they don’t understand it,” he says. “Hire somebody who speaks your language that can spot safety concerns, and for goodness’ sake, hire out or take your own content so that it’s your smiling employees, not a cheesy guy you got off Shutterstock.”
And websites aren’t just for prospective customers. “Make sure the application process is super simple. A lot of people don’t have access to a printer to fill it out and a scanner to send it back.”
To ensure your website is easy-to-use and up-to-date, Fargher offers the following checklist:
- Conduct a website audit: Review broken links, and search for outdated content and pixelated photos and videos.
- Refresh content: Any projects highlighted after five years should be moved to a gallery or archive.
- Photograph your own people and projects for authenticity: Take your own photos or hire a photographer. Photos must be approved by the safety team. Use imagery to show culture and diversity. Who will your customers be working with? Humanize your brand by sharing their background. Storytelling forges connections among people and ideas.
- Include social media and blogs only if you are committed to maintaining them.
- Test all contact, submission and quote forms: Ensure the correct recipients receive the confirmation emails. Often, they can get caught in spam or junk folders.
- Highlight your services and products: Be descriptive. What areas do you serve? What markets do you work in? Who is your ideal customer?
- invest in videos: Not everyone wants to read about your company. Video drives traffic to your website.
- Include a careers page: Include positions you regularly hire for, benefits offered, company mission, vision and values and a simple application to apply. Showcase company culture through your support of training, apprenticeships, mentorships and internships.
- SEOs: Consider hiring an SEO expert to assist customers with finding your company online. Add an FAQ page to help with keywords and reach.
- security: Don’t ask for personal details like social security numbers on employment forms. Add a secure sockets layer (SSL) – without one, it could impact your rankings.
Social Media – A Necessary Evil
While many contractors would sooner go back to a flip phone than manage the company’s social media accounts, Fargher reassures them that it doesn’t need to be complicated.
“Don’t drink from a faucet and be everything to everyone,” he says. “The purpose of social media is to stay top of mind and build knowledge, likes and trust.” Make consistent posts, connect with decision-makers, and show them how good you are at what you do. Show them your company culture and why you’d better to deal with, and when they need your services, they will come knocking.
Fargher recommends Facebook for residential contractors and LinkedIn for B2B contractors, while contractors of all types can benefit from the visual storytelling aspects of Instagram and YouTube.
“Even in my own business, I take the crawl, walk, run approach. I don’t have the bandwidth; I’m not going to worry about TikTok right now. LinkedIn is best for me – figure out which works best for you.”
So, what should you share? Post project updates and milestones – and don’t forget to tag your trade partners. Highlight your capabilities, services and people.
And lastly, be relatable, be relevant and be a force for good.
Fargher presented the education session “Crawl, Walk, Run: A Simplified Approach to Marketing for Construction Companies” at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023.