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Friday, January 15, 2010

McKay Flooring Ltd Director Richard McKay

Richard McKay, McKay Flooring Ltd

Are you familiar with McKay Flooring Ltd and its Director, Richard McKay?

McKay Flooring Ltd is a UK based hardwood flooring company. Established in 1973 in Glasgow, Scotland, it is now one of the largest UK companies of its kind and has recently opened a showroom in London. Its Director is Richard McKay.

If you spend time on the McKay Flooring website, you'll notice many customer-centric elements: sharing/bookmarking tools, contact us options that include Twitter and Facebook in addition to phone and email, and the McKay Flooring Blog - a visual feast for the eyes, although the newly launched posterous blog Floorcrunch is even moreso! McKay Flooring Ltd. features prominently in the Social Flooring Index.

Definitely not your typical flooring retail experience! You can understand why I consider McKay Flooring to be Flooring It Differently.

Richard McKay shares his insights in the following interview.

C.B.: Richard, tell me about yourself and your company.

R.M.: McKay Flooring were formed in 1973 by my father Archie McKay. The company were originally a general floor coverings contractor for soft floor finishes and wood flooring. Over time the company concentrated on the wood flooring side of the business especially Junckers sports flooring installation and renovation.

We now have two retail showrooms and supply, install, refinish wood floors on both domestic and commercial contracts. Our commercial division undertakes work across the UK and have been involved in projects for Microsoft, Turnberry Hotel and Golf Club (where the Open was held this year), McDonald's European HQ (to be completed in Feb 2010) and numerous schools, sports centres across the nation. Our online store was launched in November 2009 and has already made an impact on our sales.

I graduated with a degree in Quantity Surveying and worked for two construction companies before starting my career with the family business in 1998. I now run the company on a day to day basis.

Whilst studying for my degree I had a feeling that I may end up working for the family business but wanted more experience doing my own thing first. My degree helped me with the commercial contract side of the business but now I'm learning new skills to help us build up the online and retail divisions.

C.B.: How did you get involved in social media?

R.M.: Back in 2008 my friend recommended that I look at blogging, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube,Twitter etc. to help our online marketing efforts. We were keen to organically increase hits to our website and decided to jump right in and see what worked for us. We were also inspired by BuildDirect who are leading the way in leveraging the web to market their business using blogs and video.

C.B.: How do you personally and your organization use social media for business?

R.M.: My personal Twitter account (http://twitter.com/richardmckay) is used for sharing both work and non-work related links. When I first started tweeting I thought of Twitter as a broadcast medium like TV where we could pump out flooring deals, company news and other promotional tweets.

However as I started using it I soon realised that this wasn't the way to leverage Twitter - it is much more powerful for building up relationships and awareness of yourself and/or your company and for listening in to the conversation. Having direct access to industry thought leaders via Twitter and blog commenting is a great way to foster meaningful relationships.

My personal tweets are usually shared tech links that I find interesting, local Scottish news, retweets of people I follow, updates from my Posterous blog and news snippets about my soccer team (Celtic FC). I'm also on Facebook which is primarily for people I know in 'real life'. LinkedIn is becoming another important online destination although I need to spend more time there and work out a way of using it more effectively.

One of my most enjoyable daily tasks is reading through Google Reader to catch up on all the blogs I follow in feed format. In the last 18 months I've learned more about social media, flooring news and our competitors than I could have ever imagined. It's my killer app!

McKay Flooring's use of social media revolves around our blog. We auto update our Twitter and Facebook accounts every time we post on the blog. This increases the exposure of each post with minimal effort. We also track industry keywords being used on Twitter using CoTweet and Tweetdeck. Another social media site we are using more is Flickr where we are building up a library of flooring photos. In 2010 we have also launched a new Posterous blog - Floorcrunch - for flooring products we discover online and which we'd like to share. Another area we need to develop is our online video presence which we'll tackle in a few months time.

McKay Flooring Ltd.

C.B.: What do you like most and least about flooring?

R.M.: I like the ever changing range of products in the flooring business and also the effect a new floor can have on someone's living or work space.

I don't really have a dislike but I suppose that flooring is harder to sell online than other products. We see this as a challenge rather than a problem.

C.B.: What suggestions do you have for improving the flooring retail experience?

R.M.: I think it's always important to be improving all aspects of the customer experience from properly trained and knowledgeable staff, an easy to navigate and informative website and a well lit showroom which is continuously being updated with new products.

C.B.: What do you like most about social media?

R.M.: From a personal viewpoint I like the direct access social media gives you to people. On a business level it's an effective yet inexpensive way to build your brand online.

C.B.: Is everyone in your business involved on social networks?

R.M.: Not yet! We'll be working on this during the first quarter of 2010. Power to the tweets!

C.B.: How do you manage all of the different channels?

R.M.: We use auto updates so that an status update on one service will automatically update our other social media channels. There's also a few staff who are now primed in social media and here to lend a hand.

C.B.: What advice do you have for others wanting to get involved with social media for their business?

R.M.: Allocate an hour per day and open up a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account to start with. If you've not got a blog then get one started using Wordpress or Blogger and schedule a weekly update on any business news, views or case studies. Start linking your blog posts on your social media accounts. Search for interesting people in your industry and follow them and get chatting. Use a feed reader (I recommend Google Reader) and subscribe to blogs, news, Google alerts to discover what's going on in your industry.

Thank you, Richard!

Comments? Questions? Reactions?

What do you think about McKay's online presence? What about how they use images to bring the wood flooring category to life?

How would you apply these insights to your flooring or other business?

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