Social Media and Video Can Help New Customers Find You

Piedmont Paving Inc, the winners of this year's Best Marketing Video Award 2024, started recording and publishing videos without knowing exactly what they were doing. Now? It's a ket part of how they engage with customers.

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Still taken from Piedmont's award winning video.

What started in 1991, has quickly grown and established itself as a major force to be reckoned with in North Carolina. Not content to just be a paving contractor, founder and owner David McGee expanded the business with sister-companies that could manage other essential aspects of the work like concrete, curb work, and, eventually, a recycling yard for reclaimed asphalt and concrete to be reincorporated.

“Piedmont Paving Concrete and Piedmont Recycling have helped us continue to grow and open up more avenues for different things that we're doing." McGee's brother and two sisters all work alongside their dad in the family run business.

Where Matt says they really like to spend their time, however, is on the pavement maintenance side. Focusing less time and energy on new construction, and more on the milling and repaving existing sites.

Getting Into Video Production

As many contractors have already come to realize, the importance of having some form of a social media presence cannot be underestimated. More and more, platforms like Instagram, Tik-Tok, and even LinkedIn are places where contractors are not just able to show off their current projects to other people in the industry. They are able to connect with the potential customers and clients in their area looking for more than a website and a phone number.

Increasingly, the role of videos like Piedmont Paving’s award winning entry this year, provide a virtual window for a customer into who the contractors are. What do they look like when they're out working on your property? What are their personalities like? It may sound strange, but it's valuable to people.

When McGee started full-time at the family business, he mostly engaged with social media as a source of fun, posting job site pictures. However, he began to see the potential of what it could be.

"I went and got a little GoPro camera," Matt said. "The first few videos [still up to see on their company YouTube channel] were just shot by me and put together on one of our shop computers, trying to figure things out. But, I'm completely illiterate when it comes to this type of thing, I don't mind telling you. I played with it, best as I could, posting things here and there."

The turning point was when McGee saw some content created by a friend who had just started his own media company, CDS Visuals, and he decided to reach out and see if he would be willing to come do a shoot for them.

 "In the end, I just asked if would be willing to let us book him, to come out and just shoot some milling and paving, make a little promo video." However, there was a lot of uncertainty still, at that point.

"He came out and shot it, and I really didn't know what to expect," said McGee. "But after he sent the first one back to me, I was in total shock. It was awesome!" McGee recognized just how quickly things have changed in the relatively short time since they produced that first piece of video content and published it.

"From then to now, people are catching on, and you're seeing more companies do it." he noted. "When we posted those first few, I feel like, no one was doing it at that quality, yet, and I believed from the start that there was something here, something to this."

Since that time, their video producer went on to launch his own independent company called CD Visuals, and they've continued working together, filming bigger and more complex jobs, making better content as they go. McGee, also, believes that in the future, it's this type of content that will be sought after by the customer pool.

"The new people coming, the new generation [of property managers], that's what they're going to be looking at for credibility," Matt said. "It's a whole lot easier for them to look at you. When you can look us up on Instagram, Facebook ,and YouTube, and see what kind of work we're doing and how we're performing. Having these avenues of social media is just another way for future customers to check our reputation.

It's Not All For Show

Something that many of the social media generation of contractors are likely familiar with, is the difficulty of juggling the nature of the work they are actually there to get done in a day, and the content creation side of the job. It can be tough to balance the two, but Piedmont Paving has slowly worked out a system that works for them.

"It can be difficult sometimes," said McGee. "Because we'll be paving, or something, and then we have to stop the process for a second, so I can get down and explain what we are doing, or shoot a little thing. Sometimes, especially with the shorter stuff, I'm just throwing my phone somewhere, just to make something, and then I have to post it and get right back up on the machine and finish the job." 

When they aren't employing the skills of CD Visuals for the long-form jobsite videos, like this year's award winning project, the video content for social media posts falls on Matt to accomplish. 

All the hard work has paid off in some fairly tangible ways, however, as McGee relayed a story of a recent job they won the bid for with a company almost an hour away from their primary location. He was initially surprised that they won the bid, but, as it turned out, they had access to some of their YouTube content and that played a role in their decision making.

"They hadn't heard of us before," he said. "We were able to say here's our YouTube account, here's our Instagram. Check that out. You can see the kind  of work that we are able to perform. I'm definitely seeing that more, because of the social media side, that we got the job. This puts us at the forefront, and I think that's what's going help set us apart, and continue to build a reputation that sets us apart."