Social Media for Brands and Builders Todd Vendituoli

Posted on December 9, 2011 by Nora DePalma4 Comments

Todd VendituoliBuilder and blogger Todd Vendituoli notes that first dates can be hard. Especially between bloggers and brands.

The owner of both Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C. based out of West Burke, VT and KV Construction Company Ltd, based out of Eleuthera, Bahamas, has taken a deep dive into social media, blogging for his own company at The Building Blox, and helping builders learn social media through the new blog:  SocialMedia4Builders.

“I’ve heard of some friction between brands and bloggers, and this really should not be the case,” Vendituoli told us. “The reason, it seems, is that some brands want to control the message put out by bloggers and this isn’t how social media works at its best.

Vendituoli notes that a true return on relationships between brands and bloggers works much like any good dialogue.  “The relationship should be a give and take,” he says, and one of mutual benefit. Before the “first date” between bloggers and brands, Vendituoli said brands need to plan for a mutually beneficial relationship. “Remember, if you have a great product or service, it will come out as such, but not by blasting it.”

The Mating Game Between Bloggers and Brands

How does that first date get started and progress beyond the awkward first hello so that everyone is still smiling? Vendituoli’s tips for brands:

1. Send out a promotional kit or letter showing what you have to offer.  What are the benefits of your product or service?

2. Offer to send product samples that can be seen and touched, if that’s applicable.

3. Even better, arrange a factory tour.

4. Set up a meeting or call via Skype to discuss what you are hoping to accomplish.

5. Enable interviews with customers and employees that will offer another glimpse of how you operate towards others.

What criteria does Vendituoli use in deciding what brand information to report on his blogs and through his social network?

1. Is it going to be interesting to my readers? What does the brand offer? How does the brand treat its community and employees? What products/initiatives does the brand have in the pipeline?

2. Will it be informative?

3. Is there potential for a conversation to develop around the topic?

4. Would I want to read this topic?

“Readers want good, clean informative topics that aren’t biased,” Vendituoli says.

“Brands have unique products or services that could be highlighted by bloggers for their mutual benefit. Now I said could because if your brand is 100 percent what you say it is, it will be a wonderful relationship. However if it isn’t, there is a problem right off. I can’t and won’t tell people what I don’t honestly know and believe to be truthful about a brand, product or service. Just not happening, so don’t even ask. No spin.”

Is There a Cost?

At a minimum, brands need to invest time in building a relationship with Vendituoli.  Blasting out useless news has been the bane of journalists since the craft of public relations has existed. Bloggers feel no differently. Get to know them. Read and subscribe to their blog, and react to their posts. Follow them on social media and have discussions.  Focus more on what the blogger—or journalist wants—rather than on what you want in return (That’s relationships 101, right?).

There is a time investment on the blogger’s side to build their social community. Vendituoli is an active engager on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.  “Bloggers’ spend a great amount of time developing content, connecting with contacts and resources, and promoting their work across the various social media platforms to make sure content is read,” Venditouli said. “That has a monetary value in my opinion.”

No publisher or producer would say otherwise. No brand could either, having financially supported content-based communities for years with a tactic called advertising.  This is simply a new model of reaching an audience, but even better in some ways. Bloggers such as Venditouli are forming tight new communities where personal recommendations offer highly sought after credibility and endorsement.

Follow Venditouli on any of these platforms:

On Twitter @TALV58

On Facebook at Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C.

On Google+

On his blogs, The Building Blox and SocialMedia4Builders.

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  • Tim Carter

    December 9, 2011 — 9:46 am

    Bravo! Todd is right on the money.

    The 100,000 subscribers on my newsletter list echo his sentiments. Each week they reply to me just after each newsletter is sent to them.

    They tell me they love the truth and they relish the personal aspect of a blog or personalized newsletter.

    Brands need to recognize that a few of us bloggers get fantastic and immediate response from our followers when we talk about a new product. Why? Because we’ve built that trust relationship with our followers.

    I wrote a white paper in August of 2011 that expands on Todd’s last two quotes and your point about how brands have “invested” tens of millions of dollars in print over the past decades. You can read it here:

  • jb @BuildingMoxie

    December 9, 2011 — 10:31 am

    some great mind stirring thoughts here. Thanks for putting it out Nora, Todd and Tim …

  • Todd Vendituoli

    December 9, 2011 — 10:32 am

    Tim -First thank you very much for your comments, they are much appreciated.
    I feel very strongly as you do and others that brands need to do a re-think. I’m not saying that conventional advertising should be thrown out the window by any means. However I do think that brands need to add social media, bloggers and the relationship factor to their marketing mix. If those are all factored together they will have increased their presence and influence by more than they could have imagined.

  • Nora DePalma

    December 10, 2011 — 7:32 am

    Brands need and want cost-effective solutions for reaching their best customer prospects; always have, always will. It’s just a steep learning curve right now in making the shift to grassroots marketing. The more we can help educate brand executives through forums such as this, the better for everyone. Thanks for commenting, guys!

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