Are installers using social media professionally?

The rise of social media has had a huge impact on life. Every day, billions of people are using a variety of social media platforms to connect, network, be inspired and be informed. The most used social media platforms, Facebook and Youtube, claim around 2 billion users that are active every month.

Given the potential these platforms offer to reach out to consumers, they are often included in marketing strategies of manufacturers and brands who are increasingly present on social media platforms. As a result, a variety of ways involving social media are now applied for B2C communication, and new ways of using social media for B2B communication are devised and implemented in increasing amounts.

In light of these trends, it is interesting to see how the usage of social media develops in more conservative markets, like the construction and installation markets. That is why USP Marketing Consultancy asked electrical installers from seven European countries about their usage of social media for the Q1 2019 report of the European Electrical Installation Monitor, which focuses on media orientation and consumption in general. We found that, overall, social media is still the least used type of media among installers, which indeed reflects a conservative market. Be that as it may, vast differences between countries can be seen, especially in the type of platforms used and the purposes for which installers use social media professionally.

When it comes to usage, Polish and Dutch installers report to use social media most often. In France, installers use social media platforms the least. Focusing on the most popular social media platforms, more differences between countries become apparent. In the Netherlands and the UK, installers use Linkedin the most. Installers from Germany, Belgium and Spain mainly use Whatsapp for professional purposes. In Poland and France, the two countries where installers use social media the most and least respectively, Facebook seems to be most popular for professional purposes. 

The picture of social media usage among installers becomes even more interesting, and more useful, when the reasons for using social media are taken into account. Whatsapp, for instance, which is the most popular social media platform in Germany, Belgium and Spain, can be used in various ways. It is used for communication between colleagues, for networking and, to a lesser extent, for communication with customers. It is remarkable that in only one of the countries where Whatsapp is used most, communication with suppliers is mentioned as a purpose for using social media. This shows that in those countries, opportunities to reach installers are not yet fully grasped by suppliers and manufacturers.

Aside from that, some clear correlations occur, like in the Netherlands and the UK where installers mention to use social media mainly for the purpose of networking, promoting the company, referencing to projects and recruiting personnel. In those two countries, the most used social media platform is Linkedin, a platform meant for exactly those professional purposes. Just like with Whatsapp, a creative use of Linkedin can benefit suppliers to reach out to installers in these countries.

Overall, the use of social media is rising, also in the conservative construction and installation markets. That means that it will become more and more lucrative for manufacturers and suppliers to have a presence on social media as well, and to incorporate its usage in their marketing strategies. To do this effectively, information on the usage of social media and the social media behaviour of installers is needed, which is why the Q1 2019 report of the European Electrical Installation Monitor focuses on media orientation and consumption of European installers from seven countries.