Getting Into Social Media for Industrial SMEs

There has been much skepticism about the use of Social Media in the industrial market place – even late in 2012 I see that a recent paper suggested that 30% of engineers did not use social media in their work – with the implication that this was a poor result but nonetheless also implying that 70% do use them. I myself was very skeptical for a long time until I carried out a 2 year survey and realized the possibilities – after 6 months of operating a social media plan for our major clients we found almost an 80% increase in their webprofiles – and I knew the time was right – now nearly 2 years on it is just automatic for us to propose a social media program for any client in the knowledge that we would creator community not be doing our best for them if we did not.

Even so I still think that the approach needed to be cost-effective with industrial B2B companies is different from B2C mainstream/retail activities – because it is some years behind the mass market – but I believe it will change as younger engineers come through with their greater awareness of, and comfort with, social media and the mobile devices they are best suited to work with.

Given this situation how can an industrial SME benefit from a Social Media program while keeping an eye on the budget? Let us first appreciate that in my experience few industrial SMEs have much in the way of effective promotion – few have PR (the most cost-effective promotion available) and those that do promote at all often rely overly on expensive advertising and exhibitions without taking advantage of the other low-cost opportunities available.

Developing a Social Media campaign is then quite an advanced approach for an industrial SME and is best done in conjunction with other activities where suitable content may be created and reused across the marketing mix. Given that, if you haven’t done so already then dip a toe in the water – social media is the fastest growing promotional activity in the Industrial sector – but do not go overboard. Experiment, learn and when you understand then commit.

Before you begin check that your website is attractive and functional – full of useful information which is easily found – otherwise any money spent elsewhere is likely suffer a high degree of wastage – which is likely to be unfairly attributed to the new activity whatever it is.

Begin by creating ideally an independent blog site(or if you must save yourself the small hosting cost, you can add a blog page to your website) and commit to update it regularly with content that’s interesting and engaging. Disable “comments” – if you want conversation use other appropriate social media.

To get things going and ensure there is plenty of information for the search engines you can pre-populate the blog with your past 12 months Press Releases. An excellent reason to have started a PR program 12 months ago!

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