Departments - Editor's Insight

Our cover package this month focuses on social media, and how you can best use it to promote and grow your business.

July 19, 2012

Chuck Bowen

Our cover package this month focuses on social media, and how you can best use it to promote and grow your business. I get a lot of questions from contractors and suppliers about what they should do with social media.

And, here on this page, is what I tell a lot of them: Don’t do it.

This may seem hypocritical, especially coming from someone with a half-dozen Twitter accounts, several blogs and what is likely an unhealthy amount of time logged onto Tumblr.

It may also seem odd since we’ve encouraged you to adopt these platforms as the latest and greatest tools for connecting with customers.

But my advice to you is this: Don’t do it. Stay off Facebook. Delete your Twitter account. Unsubscribe from your LinkedIn groups.

Wait. Let me expand that: Don’t do it unless you have the time.

According to our latest research, the majority of landscape contractors – about 60% – spend between an hour and more than five hours on social media. And, a couple hours stretched over a 50- or 60-hour week isn’t that much.

But, if your blog has one post dated in the winter of 2009 that reads: “Just started a blog! Excited to share more about our company with you!” or if the timestamp on your last tweet is measured in days, consider the value it’s bringing your followers.

My point is this: Doing social media well takes time and attention, just like maintaining successful relationships in real life. If you don’t have the time to update, post and generally manage your online presence, it looks bad. It looks worse, even, than not being on there in the first place.

I’m a firm believer in doing fewer things, but doing them all better. That’s why you’ll find L&L in quite a few places online, but not on Pinterest, Google+ or Tumblr. I like all those platforms, but we just don’t have the time to knock them out of the park.

So, do I really think you shouldn’t be on social media? No. You absolutely should. But not because I say so.

You should do it because it validates you as a professional business to customers and potential employees. You should do it because it humanizes your company and can help focus your attention.

You should be on social media because you believe it improves your company and is another example of something you do really well.

And doing social media well is exactly what we’ll cover this month, starting on page 42.


– Chuck Bowen