For the past year or two, social media has been all the rage. Companies are choosing to get involved in social media and users are growing exponentially. It doesn't seem to be slowing down today, instead it continues to grow. So why are companies getting involved anyways? What is social media?
As it was defined in Industrial Email Marketing: Dead or Reaching New Heights, social media is the art of attracting your customers and prospects without selling to them. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information and educating your buyer, creating a welcoming environment where they feel comfortable to interact with you. Social media is especially about holding conversations.
Now we have to ask ourselves, how does this apply to business? Or even better, can social media for industrial marketing work?
Social Media Benefits Industrial Companies
Social media benefits industrial companies by providing opportunities in three primary ways. With social media companies can:
- Reach a broader audience
- Become an industry thought leader
- Maintain an ongoing relationship with clients
In getting involved in social media, companies expose themselves to new potential clients, perhaps a different demographic or a tech savvy one. In addition, sharing information and knowledge on your expertise helps establish your company as an industry thought leader; people will look to you for updates on your industry and potential trends. Finally, maintaining an ongoing relationship with clients is possible with posts on company updates, answering questions, and/or sharing comments made by customers. It lets your clients know you're listening and open to easing their concerns.
Social Media Channels
The benefits listed above are possible through six primary social media channels that have changed the course of how people communicate and share information.
The six channels are:
- Facebook: an online community for people to connect or re-connect with others. Enables people to share videos, pictures and information about themselves.
- Twitter: a micro-blogging site where users are limited to 140 characters per post; answers the simple question: What is on your mind?
- LinkedIn: a professional networking site for business professionals and companies to connect and share insight on their industries and expertise
- Google+: Similar to Facebook, Google + is a social network that allows people to communicate and collaborate. Includes personal pages for individuals and brand pages for companies.
- Wordpress: a blogging tool that allow users to host and publish blogs on their expertise
- YouTube: an online site for uploading and discussing videos; videos can also be embedded from YouTube onto other social media sites such as blogs or social networks, websites.
Social Media Channel Opportunities for Industrial Companies
Each channel has capabilities that provide unique opportunities for businesses to take advantage of. All of these opportunities revolve around the three social media benefits previously discussed.
The opportunities are:Facebook
- Photos are widely appreciated on Facebook, which allow companies to showcase their persona. Every company is different and has traditions of its own. Facebook makes it easy to share what makes your company unique with followers through photo albums.
- Ex. Photo album of the annual company picnic or involvement in a tradeshow
- With Twitter's 140 characters limitation, companies can take advantage of tweeting quick company updates or asking questionsto its followers to gather opinion/information
- Ex. Company X will be at ABC Tradeshow! Who else will be there?
- Through LinkedIn's company pages, companies are given the option to list and explain their products and its features. In addition, LinkedIn allow companies to participate or create groups on particular topics and establish thought leadership.
- Google has connected Google+ to its search engine providing companies with the opportunity to potentially rank higher in related searches. The odds of ranking higher are better if followers +1 your posts.
- Ex. Jane Doe +1d Company X's picture.
- With a blogging platform companies can create weekly or monthly blog posts on their expertise reinforcing their credibility and knowledge
- On YouTube, companies can upload videos supporting the persona they are embodying on Facebookor show their products in action.
- Ex. Message from Company X President
- Ex. Video Client Testimonials
With social media there are plenty more opportunities for companies to take advantage of. The time to reach a broader audience, establish thought leadership, and maintain a relationship with your clients is now. Get involved in social media and show everyone what you're really about.
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