Best practices: Getting the quarry involved on social media

By |  March 23, 2016

For almost a year, a Lehigh Hanson quarry near New Windsor, Md., has been working to build a 4.5-mile overland belt conveyor to connect a new quarry and its cement plant to transport limestone between the two facilities. Although the project has created some changes to traffic patterns in the community, the company built a website and posts to social media regularly on project updates.

Kent Martin, a Lehigh Hanson plant manager, says the company has been proactive in posting to social media and reaching out to local media to keep the community informed on the project, which is expected to be complete in November 2017. Lehigh Hanson partnered with an outside company to develop the website and assist with posting to social media. He adds that its website and posts to social media have helped to deter negative feedback from the community.

“The website and social media have been tremendous tools for us,” Martin says. “I’ve learned in the 12 years of being a plant manager that if the community understands what’s happening, there’s more acceptance of our projects. Everyone so far has been impressed with our posts. The community members might not all like what we’re doing, but if they understand the project better, they accept it.”

While Lehigh Hanson has had victories in reaching out to the community on social media, the majority of the aggregates industry still faces opposition on social media sites, especially in regard to blasting. Chrissi Douglas, a marketing and sales administrator with Sauls Seismic, says community members in an area close to a blasting job will often form opposition groups to blasts on social media sites.

“Many opponents to a blasting job will express their complaint using social media tools to reach larger audiences to gain support for their claims,” Douglas says. “This is why it’s important the aggregates industry gets involved in social media.”

The aggregates industry doesn’t have the best reputation on social media, but Douglas says the industry can change its approach to social media to reverse some of the perceptions.

“We need to change fundamentally our approach to be proactive rather than reactive with the challenges we face on social media,” she says.

Douglas shared some best social media practices for aggregates producers and blasting companies during an educational session at AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo in Nashville, Tenn. The following are a few tips she offered:

Identify social media channels to follow. For the producer or blasting company that lacks any type of social media presence, it’s not a good idea to first get involved by joining all the social media sites. Douglas suggests starting with one or two platforms to gain followers. She adds that Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube tend to work best for aggregates producers and blasting companies.

Hire someone to monitor your social media accounts. Douglas says social media accounts need to be monitored regularly to check for feedback from followers.“You don’t want to wait a few weeks to check back to your social media pages,” she says. “People can easily post negative comments on your page quickly – maybe 50 at a time.”

Douglas adds that having one person to check social media pages can help an aggregates producer or blasting company boost engagement levels on social media.

Post meaningful content to the pages regularly. To be noticed on social media requires consistent posting and monitoring. However, Douglas says posts need to be well thought out and relevant to the page’s followers. She suggest posting about projects going on at the company or issues affecting the industry. She adds that including photos or videos with posts also garners more attention from followers than posts without them.

Respond to negative comments quickly. A calm approach works best in handling negative comments on social media. Douglas says producers should never ignore or delete negative comments. Instead, she says producers should apologize to the follower for having had a negative experience, offer to help that person, investigate the issue and then follow up with the upset follower.

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