As construction companies begin to embrace social media, some are finding it harder than others. So to encourage using social media, I am sharing with you construction companies who have already had success with it. Today’s interview is with Josh Brottlund of Brush Masters Painting, Drywall, and Pr-Finishing.

The Tools: Social media tools that are used and how they are utilized

Q: Please introduce yourself Josh, the company, and tell us about your responsibilities.

A: Hello, my name is Josh Brottlund, Business Development at Brush Masters Painting, Drywall, and Pre-Finishing. I have been with the company for over 6 years and am responsible for identifying new business opportunities and social media marketing

Q: When did your company start using social media?

A: After a quick dip and retraction, we fully jumped in March 2009.

Q: What social media tools are you currently using?

A: Initially we chose Facebook for its professional feel, security options, active user base, and high growth rates. Theoretically, more customers would be on this medium. Then we began to use Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Flicker.

Twitter allowed us to, easily connect with people that normally were hard get in touch with. Communication snippets are short, which is nice, and usually packed with good information. Since Video and photos are the most widely viewed content on the web; we wanted to engage customers visually; YouTube and Flicker are the places to be to do that.

As a professional platform, LinkedIn helps us stay connected to our business relationships (via status updates), up-to-date on news and business interests through Groups. Our blog allows us to create longer communication pieces. It’s a great place to have a rich communication experience because it allows us to combine the written word with pictures and videos all in one place.

Q: How did you learn to use the tools effectively?

A: I learned from a variety of offline and online resources blended with a good dose of trial and error that I think everyone needs to experience. I attended the Twin Cities Chapter of “Social Media Breakfast” http://smbmsp.ning.com/, networked (online and offline) with people who use the tools effectively to learn from their experience as well. I also read several books and magazines, like Dave Evans “Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day”; Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company Magazine. Chris Brogan and Darren Rowse of “ProBlogger” are also great resources.

Q: What results or outcomes has the business received from using social media?

A: Over the past year, in a down economy, our sales are up 24% which we can, in part, attribute to social media along with several other strategic initiatives. In addition, our website traffic has grown upwards of 47% without any major updates; with a majority of that traffic coming as a result of social media

Q: Tell me about how you use social media to help your business?

A: On a monthly basis we offer a social media class called “Get Social” at our offices. This class has reached over 200 people. The class gives attendees a high-level overview of social media and several of the platforms; ideas on how they can use social media to run their business effectively. Our main focus is to reach out to the construction industry in hopes of leaving people with a better idea of who Brush Masters is, how we support the construction industry, and how we can help their businesses succeed.

In addition to the classes, we offer affordable and flexible consulting services arrangements to help others avoid our mistakes. In terms of social media content, people tend to “like” and share updates that support their interests and companies. We get a lot of response to posts on award announcements and various updates that hit an interest of one or several readers.

Q: Are there other tools, websites or communities that you utilize as well? If so, what value do they provide you?

A: Yes! We use Hootsuite to aggregates updates and to efficiently post to one or all of the following social media tools: Twitter, Facebook personal page(s), Facebook company page(s), and Blogs. Google Alerts is a great tool for monitoring online reputation management of our company name and/or brands using keyword alerts. TwinBox for Microsoft Outlook is invaluable! It allows us to get Twitter updates “tweets” directly into our Outlook Inbox and EventBrite allows us to set-up events, communicate our various events, and track attendees.

Q: Where can we find you?

A: Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BrushMasters
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/BrushMasters
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/BrushMasters
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/companies/brush-masters
Blog – http://BrushMasters.wordpress.com
Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/BrushMasters
Website – http://www.BrushMasters.com

Part 2 of my interview with Josh is available here!