Words: Brandon Hartsell and Imani Brodie

Social media is helping to shape the way the masonry industry reaches and interacts with our audience. What is social media? Let’s define it. Simply put, social media is the collective of online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Now, I’ll be honest. If you were trying to sell me on using social media, the above definition would put me to sleep. When asked to write this article, I thought, “How would I sell it?”

To begin with, the MCAA and Masonry Magazine have an enormous presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The MCAA and Masonry Magazine use the “Big 3” as I call them, to help promote Masonry on a national level. In North Carolina, which is my home state, masonry is tradition. We enjoy covering meetings, special events, and other happenings in a new format.

As an example, The Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 Qualifier was recently held in October. We uploaded the start of competition to Facebook. The video has over 1,900 views to date. People from all across the United States and even Australia tuned in for a look at how special this industry is. Without Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, it simply would have been another event known only by those in the business. It is, for lack of a better term, a digital revolution which will help to inform those who may not have a direct connection to the business.

Moving forward, MCAA’s South of 40 Committee is dedicated to reinforcing the foundation of the masonry industry in the digital age, which will define who we are as an organization. Whether our platform is Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, information is easily broadcast to millions with a single click. How can we afford not to embrace the movement?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks are fundamentally changing how we reach and interact with customers, offer products and services, and communicate with employees. In a nutshell, it’s changing how we do business. Social media is the next wave of the digital transformation which started with the web. Its bottom-line impact is proving to be just as huge. For businesses today, the best way to keep your company successful is to fully embrace social media. Not incorporating Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels is roughly the equivalent of insisting the web was just a fad.

What is the value of social media? As an example, the 2016 North Carolina Masonry Contractors Directory is available online in digital format for the first time in history. Originally, the only way to obtain a directory was by mail or direct handout. Today, the directory uses the same platform as Masonry. We took a booklet available to a few, uploaded the contents in five minutes, and now the directory is available to anyone. We broadcast the upload on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. MCAA shared our post on the “Big 3,” and once again we reach an audience that was once unattainable. Again, all it took was five minutes and a few clicks.

All this talk about Social Media should make you ask the following. How can you find us aside from US mail or email? Log on to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and find us at the following “handles.” Wait Brandon, what is a handle? For example, if you want to find Brandon Hartsell on Twitter, simply type @Hartsell79. So, @Hartsell79 is my handle. Ms. Imani Brodie can be found @ImaniBrodieEI.

Please find the handle list below for more information on how to connect to the masonry industry:

Mason Contractors Association of America: Facebook- @masoncontractors, Twitter- @mcaa, LinkedIn- Mason Contractors

Masonry:
Facebook – @masonrymagazine, Twitter- @masonrymagazine, LinkedIn- Masonry Magazine

In closing, we can clearly see social networking does not just benefit individuals, but businesses as well. In order to truly build our industry and take it to the next level, we must embrace the social media outlets available. I know it can be overwhelming to be faced with so much information at one time.

The MCAA, Masonry, The South of 40 Committee, Imani Brodie, and myself are all committed to promoting Social Media as a positive means of communication within the masonry industry.