By Jon Minnick
In today’s economy it’s not enough to have a great product or service, sales team and website. Companies also need to network, engage and interact with clients, potential clients and the industry as a whole. One of the best ways to reach those people is through social media. Whether just getting started or looking to focus your efforts, here are a list of tips to help the industrial sector get more out of social media.
1. Create Business Accounts And Assign Ownership
For the sake of simplicity, it may be easiest to begin social media efforts by focusing on three of the biggest outlets — Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are the simplest platforms to start with and each offers something a little different.
Don’t use a personal account to engage in social media on behalf of the company. No one wants to see photos from a family vacation or a great-aunt’s 90th birthday party when trying to be professional. Create company profile pages that makes it clear what company it is, what it offers and how to contact the company for more information. If you have a well-known company spokesperson or mascot, you may consider making a profile for them as well.
Next, you’ll want to assign someone in-house ownership of your social media efforts. This person should be in charge of posting content, as well as monitoring interactions with followers, approving friend requests and handling any issues that might arise. You should also map out a plan on when, how often and what types of sharing and content your company plans to focus on. It should be determined if social media will be used to discuss the industry as a whole or if it will narrow in on just the company’s news and press releases.
2. Reach Out To Peers And Build A Following
Once you’ve got your social media profiles set up and have started sharing, you’ll want to make sure that other people and companies in the industrial sector actually see your efforts. You’ll need to cultivate a following.
Look up industry leaders, associations and trade publications on your social media platforms and friend them — while encouraging them to friend and follow you. They’ll most likely already have a big following, in turn becoming a great source of potential followers and customers for you. The more you interact with these groups, the more likely their followers will take notice of you.
To organically build your own following, encourage employees to include social media buttons in their email signatures that direct customers to the company’s social media pages, as well as the company website. Also, consider sending out an announcement to current clients telling them about the new social media pages and encourage them to follow or friend the company.
Don’t forget to use the company website to tell visitors about the social media efforts. It’s an easy way for website visitors to check out the company’s social media pages and join the community.
3. Share And Encourage Sharing
For being a loyal fan, followers will expect to hear from you regularly. Be sure to share something at least every week to keep your outgoing content fresh.
It’s a good idea to include content sharing buttons on the company website and position them clearly on each page. This makes it easy for visitors to share blogs, news, press releases and products with their friends and peers. The easier it is for visitors to share your content, the more likely they are to do it.
You can also use your social media to run raffles or contests. It gets your followers excited, and by asking them to share your content with their friends to enter your contest, it has the potential to bring in more followers.
You may also consider boosting your social media efforts with marketing, too. Social media platforms offer ad options that help companies promote their content postings, allowing a larger audience to see them.
4. Optimize Your Postings
When sharing news and other content with your social media followers, make sure you’re doing so at the right times. No one is going to catch your press release at 3 a.m. unless you’re trying to reach third shifters on a break. You’re a business, so do business during business hours. There are even social media management services like HootSuite and Tweetdeck that make it easy to schedule postings ahead of time.
While a majority of content is published to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in the morning, the majority of clicks happen in the afternoon. People tend to be too busy in the mornings to pay attention to social media. It’s the afternoons, as work winds down, when social media gets the traffic you’re looking for. People also catch up on their social media feeds while commuting home or relaxing in the evening. If your content is more recent, it’s more likely to be seen by your followers.
5. Make Some Sales
While social media can be a great and inexpensive way for a company to build goodwill and be part of a bigger community, it’s really about marketing and increasing sales. Social media can be a great way to let followers know about any deals or specials — not only advertised sales, but secret sales exclusive to social media followers that last a matter of hours to a few days. But be careful not to flood followers with secret sales, or make them too confusing. Not everyone is following the company just for information on special deals.
Don’t be afraid to play around with social media. Try posting at different times, with different content, to different platforms to see what works best for you. You should also make it a point to analyze your social media efforts every few months. That way you can make sure you’re getting out of it what you intend to, or make a new plan of attack going forward.