Supreme Landscaping Products on LinkedIn

 

I've been on LinkedIn since 2010 when the social media platform for business 'slipped into hyper growth' and it seems to me that it's a platform no business can afford to ignore completely.

However, I've been looking over my LinkedIn activity for 2016 and wondering if it was time well spent or not. I'm 100% certain that a lot of people are more familiar with Supreme Landscaping Products now than they were before I began my LinkedIn marketing and I'm also certain that many more potential customers people are aware of the array of products we offer landscapers, builders and landscaping architects online because I've connected with lots more of them on LinkedIn this year. Let's face it, connectivity and subsequent communication is where all business relationships begin, right? OK, so I've got over 2100 followers now and that's great. but what actual business did I get from all this LinkedIn activity?

When I say activity, I mean blog posts written and published, LinkedIn articles commented upon, liked and shared and time spend looking through the various groups that I'm in.

EASY4Cracks from Supreme Landscaping Products

 

The vast majority of my time on LinkedIn was spent writing articles, my latest LinkedIn article about our new EASY4Cracks Hot Asphalt Concrete Crack and Joint Repair product (above) was quite short and to the point, but it still took over an hour to put together; I had to source and place the photos, write the copy, add the video twice, proof read the article, edit and finally publish and distribute across the various platforms on social media network. (620 Clicks on the link so far in 7 days, not bad!)

Over the course of 2016, I posted 56 individual LinkedIn articles, now if you add up those hours, that's a very good weeks work and that's if each article took over an hour just to write. More realistically, it's probably a week and a half, and that seems like a long time.

Question, so what business did I get from those articles? Let's look at the numbers and determine the time I spent on LinkedIn in more detail.

The LinkedIn articles alone must have taken up around 2 weeks of my time in total during 2016. So, if I spent say 75-80 hours on the 56 articles and another 10-15 minutes a day at various intervals, that equates to about 120 hours and that's around 4 whole weeks. Wow!

OK, I spent a month on LinkedIn last year!

 

Supreme Landscaping Products on LinkedIn

 

Value? That's the question, right? I know the cost, because I know how much I earn, that's simple, but where's the true value from a business perspective? Of course our sales were up last year, they were way up, but how much of that phenomenal increase came about as a result of my LinkedIn activity?

I guess the issue to an extent is not only what benefits were seen in sales, but also what benefits were seen in marketing? The problem is, it's not always simple to see the results in black and white, is it?

I know that Supreme definitely earned some income from Twitter recently, because I responded to one of my 'followers' Tweets, we Tweeted about products and the next day he ordered from us and he'll probably be back for more because he was delighted with the cost and our fast service. His friend has also said he wants to order a pallet of EASYJoint before the end of January too, so Twitter can show immediate results if it's used properly! LinkedIn however, is a tougher platform when it comes to definite sales. Social media platforms will often provide the lead or the prospect, but more often than not you have to go back to traditional methods and pick up the telephone or send an email to confirm an actual purchase.

 

EASYGrid perfect for paddock building 

 

The biggest issue with social media, and that's any platform not just LinkedIn, is the actual ROI, this much we know and it's been a contentious issue ever since the birth of social media marketing. Having said that, social media has proven to be way cheaper than traditional advertising when it comes to reaching out to people and it's often far more effective because it's focused on the right audience, or at least it should be. OK, I appreciate that not all my article readers on LinkedIn are builders, landscapers, gardeners and construction related businesses, but lots are and that's the key point, I'm promoting the Supreme Landscaping Products brand to business people that can benefit from it and might consider buying our products online.

Now the phrase 'brand building' raises its head and if we're looking at social media and ROI for 'brand building' as opposed to actual sales, we also have to consider the cost of the alternatives such as PR experts and once again, the high cost of traditional advertising. How much would an average PR company charge for a modest campaign to get the Supreme Landscaping Products name out into the construction and landscaping community? My research suggests that just a reasonably experienced PR account executive is likely to cost around £125/ hour and a senior account executive is likely to cost between £125-200/ hour. That's a fair bit of money to get your company name out there, right? Plus of course, there's no real guarantees with PR that you'll see any results at all, however big or grand the company you choose.

If we also look at a modest half page advert in a couple of half decent construction or landscaping magazines for a few months (we know from experience that one off adverts are totally ineffective) at say £500 for a 1/2 page, we're looking at potentially £4,000- £6,000 minimum.

So if we then consider the absolute minimum potential cost of a senior account executive from a mid level PR company working for just 2 weeks and 2 half page adverts in 2 average magazines for 4 months, that's about £20,000. I know magazines can be cheaper and I know that PR companies may also be cheaper and I also know they may need more time than just 2 weeks but this is 'ball park' figures we're dealing with here.

 

Supreme Landscaping Products on LinkedIn

 

£20,000 minimum, that's a lot, right? Do I cost £20,000 a month? No, I don't.

What did I achieve in my 12 months activity during 2016 on LinkedIn? Bottom line, was it worth while? I would say it probably was, because it was much, much cheaper than £20,000.

I connected, as mentioned, with a multitude of landscape architects, builders, construction companies, landscapers, gardeners and many of these people have no doubt read at least some of my 56 articles and maybe even recommended them to or shared them with other people in their sector. I also know that at least some of my article readers bought our products last year, particularly those customers that benefited from our 'Customer Recognition' articles and the 'Landscaping Awards 2016', but it's hard to quantify an exact figure. Many of these people could easily become great long term customers throughout 2017 and beyond, and spend £1,000's with us. (Let's hope so)

On the subject of achievement, I had 7791 views of my Supreme Landscaping Products articles in 2016 on LinkedIn alone and that's a good result as far as I can see with regard to 'building a brand', lots of people are certainly aware of us as a company now and as mentioned, they're probably the right kind of audience. Would 2 weeks of a PR experts time and a few half page adverts over the course of 4 months reach that many people? Maybe not. Plus, of course, the articles are still on LinkedIn to gain more potential views throughout 2017 and beyond, so the initial cost of my time spent writing the articles diminishes, whereas the adverts in the expensive glossy magazines would have been in the recycling bin for quite a while now. (I should also add that additional value must come from the 20,630 CLICKS I've had on the posts that I also posted here on the Supreme Landscaping Products blog over the last couple of months)

 

 

Supreme Landscaping Products on LinkedIn

 

Some of the LinkedIn articles have also been published on the Supreme Landscaping Products new blog, this of course adds additional value for a number of reasons and simply takes a little copying and pasting. The articles bring a lot of traffic to our website and people can buy our products as well as read about them, that's a major win win as far as I'm concerned. The recent 'Landscaping Awards 2016' article on the blog had over 500 clicks in the first 4 days and I think there's a pretty good chance that at least a few of the people reading that post were both landscapers and potential buyers.

Plus, during 2016, if we look at the individual articles written, we can see that 21 articles relate to landscapers or builders and their projects and the success they've had during the year and that 9 articles related directly to new products that Supreme Landscaping Products now offer online, now I'm pretty sure that once these have all spent another 12 months on LinkedIn and the better articles have been updated and shared on our blog, the long term benefits will be very significant.

I guess the PR executive and the magazine advertising executive are going to have to wait a while for their £20,000 because using LinkedIn and social media seems to be the most cost effective way to increase sales to an extent and also to promote the Supreme Landscaping Products brand and the full range of hard landscaping products that we offer.

What are your thoughts on this subject? If you're a builder, landscaper or landscaping architect, do read the posts on LinkedIn or on our blog? Are you inspired to buy products from Supreme based on our articles? Share your thoughts here please and share this post too on social media and spread the good word about Supreme Landscaping Products