digital tablet onsite

The social scene

HOUSING sat down with Jessica Cawsey, HIA’s Digital Marketing Specialist, to get an A to Z on social media for those who don’t know where to start to use it for their business.

Jess began her marketing career in advertising agencies across Sydney where she says she learned from some of the best minds in the industry. Her career in digital marketing has seen her managing media and advertising accounts, producing content, interpreting data, implementing crisis management strategies and building online communities.

Running social media campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for a range of well-known automotive, consumer goods and tourism brands, Jess has brought a wealth of knowledge to HIA and now she is managing HIA’s social media platforms.
tablet business co-workers

Ask yourself ‘how am I adding value?’

Q: I’ve been operating successfully on referrals for years, why should I bother with social media?
JC: Try to view social media for the possibilities it offers: it is an opportunity to put your best foot forward by proudly sharing the work you have accomplished with your team. It is a doorway for new and potential clients to see your business achievements and reassure them of your capabilities. Sharing testimonials is another way to build credibility and trust in your business and your online presence. You’ll also find that social media is a source to connect with the industry and find out about upcoming HIA events and industry changes. 

Q: Where do I start?
JC: If you’re new to social media the best place to start is on Facebook and Instagram where you can create a page for your business. Building a following doesn’t happen overnight but with consistent effort and considered content your audience will grow.

Q: Then what?
JC: Start uploading! To ensure your content is considered and effective, ask yourself ‘how am I adding value?’ before uploading each post. Think about what sets you apart from your competition and use social media to show it; and remember to be yourself – we call this your ‘unique selling proposition’.
Write your posts with language that you use every day among clients and other trades. This will help convey a tone of voice that your target audience identifies with. 
Follow other builders in the industry and be actively engaged with them on social media. For example, comment on the building projects they’re posting about that are of interest to you. Ask questions about their techniques, challenges, products and outcomes. 

If you’re new to social media the best place to start is on Facebook and Instagram

Q: My page has stagnated and I’m not getting any new followers, what next?
JC: Add relevant hashtags such as #building #HIAmember #renovation when uploading a new Instagram post. Cast your net out to a wider audience and cross promote within your network by tagging subcontractors in your social media posts and encouraging them to share your post and/or tag your business in relevant posts of their own. 
Remember, the HIA Instagram page shares HIA member posts (that’s an online audience of 13,000+ people!) so be sure to tag @hia_au in your Instagram Stories and use the hashtag #HIAmember on Instagram posts to increase your business’ visibility. 

Q: Where else can I go to promote my business online?
JC: Get involved with HIA TRADEPASS, it’s where builders go to find contractors. As a contractor, if you sign up you can become a HIA-preferred contractor and receive a HIA stamp to promote your business. 
Optimise your SEO ranking by verifying your business with Google My Business. This is a free tool that allows you to edit your business listing in Google Search and Maps. 
Advertise your products and displays by tapping into the HIA HousingLocal customer base. 

Q: How much should I be budgeting for online marketing?
JC: The amount you spend can be as little or large as you like. Work with your accounts team to set aside a realistic monthly budget for marketing. Review outcomes at the end of the month and adjust accordingly to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. 
tablet business co-workers video social media

Get involved with HIA TRADEPASS, it’s where builders go to find contractors.

Q: What are the safest online marketing strategies for seeing a return on that investment?
JC: The safest online marketing strategies are those that don’t involve upfront costs, however, it’s important to remember that this linear approach can only get you so far. Consider these as investments to your ROI: 
  • High quality photos: today’s smartphones can take great pictures, but have you considered hiring a professional photographer to capture photos of your finished projects? One photoshoot can produce content that you can stretch out for months and use on your website and other promotional materials.
  • Paid media: promoting your business with a Facebook ad that links people to your website requires little investment to see an ROI. If you’re confident with Facebook ads, go one step further and create a lead generation form that captures the email address and contact number of interested users and reach out to them directly within 24 hours of receiving the lead. 
  • Long form video: producing a professional quality video for your website is a great idea. A video offers a quick and easy way for clients to get to know the business by detailing your services, achievements and expertise in an engaging way. Plus, the video can be shared with associates and featured on social media pages as well as on your website. 
  • HIA webinars: HIA runs online business webinars across a variety of industry-related topics so you can keep updated and learn something new to implement in your marketing strategies. Login with your member details and watch the recordings from home, for free!
Q: I’m onsite and in meetings all day, where am I supposed to find the time for social media?
JC: As a tradesperson, you may often feel pressed for time which is why I suggest keeping social media simple. Upload content as you go and don’t overthink it. Sharing a short video of the worksite you are on via Facebook Live and/or Instagram stories is a quick way to create content. Little planning is needed and the beauty of sharing content in real time is that it doesn’t need to be polished. 
Q: How much time per week should I expect to allocate to online marketing?
JC: There is no hard and fast rule for the time needed to manage your online marketing. If you’re just starting out, start small. Set a realistic goal of one or two posts per week and then review the posts after a month to see what worked well, what fell flat and what could be improved. Take a few minutes to check in on your social media pages during business days. It doesn’t need to take long and will help you to keep on top of questions and maintain a response time of 24 hours or less.
Jessica Cawsey

Jessica Cawsey

HIA Digital Marketing Specialist

HIA members may soon benefit from a digital boost thanks to a new initiative to help small businesses grow and operate more effectively in a ‘digital age’. HIA is one of 15 industry associations who have joined the Australian Government’s Digital Champions Project to provide a trusted digital advisory service, free of charge, and in a way that is relevant to the residential housing industry.

When small businesses are digitally engaged, they are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue and 14 times more likely to be innovating new products or services, according to research from Deloitte’s Connected Small Businesses 2017 report. Interested members will receive advice on technology trends, adoption of hardware, software, digital training, online content development and planning, and coaching and support from HIA to help businesses understand how to get the best out of technology.

If you would like to be involved please go to

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