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Social Media

What we learned at AHR 2020

 February 19, 2020

By  Madelyn Young

FAQs from exhibitors

AHR Expo, the world’s premier HVACR event, attracted thousands of attendees from across the globe, with more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring everything that is new in the industry. This year the GreenHouse Digital + PR team walked the show floor looking to connect with other marketing professionals and find our favorite booths to highlight in our “AHR Top Picks” series on social media.

We engaged in three full days of innovation and learning and took an exciting look into the future of HVACR. With every booth visit, our team was ready and willing to answer any questions HVAC professionals have about how social media marketing can work in the industry. 

 

Here’s a look at FAQs from exhibitors, as well as  our answers and suggestions: 

 

1. As a B2B company, how can we use social media?

 

A social media presence can benefit any business. Social media is good for your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). It can be an extension of your customer service, where you can provide valuable information for your customers or potential customers. You can expand your prospect universe by offering informative content and thought leadership (e-books, whitepapers, how-to-buy guides, troubleshooting videos, etc.); promotions (coupons, loyalty campaigns, refer-a-friend programs, etc.); and even ask-the-expert forms.

Social media can be used to build your brand’s community. It also helps you stay relevant in your industry and keep tabs on your competitors. Social media will allow you to respond to customers faster than your competitor does. Getting closer to customer prospects helps inform and fuel enhancements to products or new-product development. 

 

 

2. If we do not sell online, how can we measure success?

 

Determining key performance indicators (KPIs) without selling directly online is challenging, but not impossible. If your company doesn’t sell online, you can measure the success of your ads and social media by establishing nonsales, key performance indicators that provide value to your company. Examples include sell and spec sheet downloads, leads, product-locator requests, information requests, webinar sign-ups, and more. 

 

 

3. Which social channels should we be on?

 

Determining which channels your business should be on will depend on where your customers are and who they are. Each platform offers a unique set of benefits and has a particular set of users with their own ways of responding to content. You have to focus on your core target audience and determine which channels they use.

This will require some research. You should already know your basic customer and target audience demographic. Once you know who you need to target, you will have to research which channels they are active on. For example, TikTok’s user base is teens and young adults. That most likely will not be an appropriate channel for you to use. But if your target audience is HVAC engineers in the commercial and residential space, you should consider LinkedIn. 

Read more here to learn about the social media channels we believe brands in the design and construction industry should leverage for advertising and why.

 

 

4. Isn’t advertising online expensive?

 

Yes and no. The great thing about social media advertising is the cost per result is still relatively low compared to traditional forms of advertising such as television and print. You could run into higher costs when you begin creating more complex ads and visuals (these still are lower in cost than you may think). The cost  depends on the type of campaign you choose whether it is an awareness campaign, a consideration campaign or a conversion campaign . There are many factors to determine the cost per ad. However, the great thing about search and social ads is that a little can go a long way when your ads are set up correctly.

 

 

5. We already have a marketing/digital department. Do we need to be doing more?

 

You can never have too much help. Even if you have a full marketing team in place, partnering with an agency can help you with a new-product launch, a special campaign, social media engagement, brand development, lead generation, promotional contests, social media advertising, and so much more. Companies of all sizes still put social media on the back burners or do not have a solid plan. This is where agencies can help!

 

 

6. How do we spread our message to specifying engineers?

 

Engineers are turning to social media channels like LinkedIn and YouTube when it comes to research. These channels are a great place to share product videos, testimonials, how-to’s, troubleshooting videos, whitepapers, spec sheets, etc. LinkedIn is especially great for this, because unlike other social media platforms, this one is business-focused.

Currently, there are 660 million LinkedIn members worldwide. According to LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a content distribution channel. That makes LinkedIn the number one channel B2B marketers use to distribute content. LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs. Additionally, LinkedIn advertising’s targeting is extremely accurate, due to the type of information people put in their profiles: industry, employer, location, and job title.

 

 

7. Do you see a large installer/HVAC technician user base online?

 

Absolutely! Installers love to share their work and engage with others. Instagram is huge for this demographic. We see installers using Instastories, videos, posts, and IGTV to share their work, talk about their favorite products and materials to use onsite, and help others. They also turn to Facebook for research, case studies, and updates from their favorite product suppliers and manufacturers.

 

What we observed at the AHR Expo: 

 

  • Although a lot of the big-name brands accomplished the following, many companies did not promote their AHR booths online. Promoting your booth could include tactics such as giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look as you planned for your trade show; or teasing an upcoming product to be launched at AHR. Another tactic many exhibitors didn’t leverage was live streaming to introduce their products and services to people unable to attend the show. 

 

  • Sales managers, brand managers, and some marketers have no idea how social media can help with their brands’ messaging.

 

  • Many brands do not think social media or online advertising would be effective.

 

  • Many social media channels repeat the same content without changing the message to speak to their specific audiences.

 

  • In the last 30 days, #AHREXPO reached 120,648 users and garnered 200,351 impressions. #AHR2020 reached 197,925 users and 336,974 impressions. Did your company use these hashtags during the show?

Between the exhibitor booths, educational sessions, and product and technology presentations, the AHR Expo 2020 presented a number of changes and immense growth within the HVACR industry. 

The trends exhibited at this year’s show point indicate an equally successful show for AHR Expo 2021. We believe social media marketing is an essential part of the marketing mix for every HVAC company and the success of their trade-show efforts and business overall. Social media marketing helps enlarge the contact base, drives traffic to websites and product offers, creates a platform to assist customers, and helps build and protect brand reputation.

Stay Informed!