Mitchell Lumber is a full service lumberyard in Belfair, Wash., that has been family owned and operated since 1971. LBM Journal asked Andy Mitchell, company President and self-described “third-generation lumber kid” how his company has navigated the world of social media.
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Q: What social media platforms do you use?
A: We are mostly active on Instagram, a little bit on Facebook.
Q: Who handles social media posts and marketing at your company?
A: I do.
Q: How much time do you spend on social media each month?
A: I probably spend less than three hours each month. I am constantly taking photos and saving them for future postings. Ideally, I would like to post every day, however I don’t want to overload people with photos that don’t reach out and grab their interest.
Q: What is your monthly social media marketing budget? How does it differ between platforms?
A: As of yet we haven’t spent money to promote anything. It is on my to do list, but as a small family-owned company, it falls low on the priority list during the busy months.
Q: Many of our readers are pro dealers selling primarily to contractors. How has social media helped you reach that audience?
A: In my region very few contractors seem to be using social media. The benefit for me is networking with dealers and builders across the country, finding new products for my store to carry, and becoming relevant to a younger generation of DIYers and homeowners who plan and design their own projects based off what they see on Instagram or Pinterest. Approximately 70% of our sales are to contractors with the remaining being to owner-builders.
If the LBM industry learned anything from the recession it is this: Don’t neglect homeowners and walk-in business during the good years, they are the customers who will carry the company through the rough years. Hashtags on social media are a powerful and free tool that can present your business to a limitless audience when used correctly. I also find that most social media is a good platform to share ideas and methods between other dealers and vendors.
Q: What other advice do you have for dealers using social media?
A: I never began using social media expecting to see a sale directly related to a post. For me it is more about networking and constant exposure. We don’t spend much on traditional marketing such as mailers, newspaper or magazine ads. I don’t think we are even in the local phonebook anymore. It is all about online and social media presence today.