When Göran Fredrik Göransson founded Sandvik in 1862, he knew nothing about web based social collaboration. He was an innovator with ideas and solutions that turned the industry up side down though, and as he was constantly visiting customers around the world, he definitely knew what important ingredient social collaboration was for success.
Those two ingredients are still the most important foundations of Sandvik Coromant. Innovation and customer collaboration. We decided to enter the world of social media with that in mind. Yes, we already had Twitter and Facebook profiles in a number of markets, but when looking at the European market, we wanted to do more than use social media as another megaphone channel. Dialogue and real value is what we aimed for.
With that in mind – dialogue and real value - we picked composite machining where we have a lot of competence and where the target group is limited. We’ve received a lot of questions and comments about this. -Why limit the blogging to composite machining? Most customers are not interested in composte machining. Why leave such a large portion of customers out?
The answer is that social media is new to us and we want to be able to try, evaluate, make it better and expand when we know what our customers want and what we can handle.
With new ways of working, challenges will always follow. One of the most obvious challenges is internal commitment. How do we make our experts understand that it is valuable for them to spend time on blogging and communicate with people on Facebook and Twitter? They are already working long hours with real life customer collaboration and are of course very hesitant to spend additional hours on writing blog posts. They don’t have the time and writing blog posts takes time. And, they don’t see the actual value in doing it.
We started a blog about Composite Machining in three languages – English, French and German. To support these blogs, we have Twitter and Facebook profiles in all three languages where updates on the blogs are posted, as well as questions and comments with the aim to get the dialogue going. We want to know what people are interested in reading about. That’s the reason for the blog. Readers can comment on posts of course, but also give us input on what they want to read more about.
So how are we doing so far? The blog was released first of February and there is already a lot of traffic to the blogs. As composite machining is such a limited area, we were amazed to see that more than 1,000 visitors had found their way there the first month, and that they are actually staying on site for quite some time – around five pages on average and that a lot of comments and questions are already coming in.
Evaluation and planning is the next step. We now have to translate the activity into business value. What does 1,000 visitors mean and how can we provide them with value month to month? Do we have the capacity to run several blogs simultanously and how can we do that with unchanged crew? A lot of questions are yet to be answered. From a marketing perspective, it’s easy to see the value of social media, but there is still a lot to prove internally.
I would love to hear your social media stories. How do you fit social media into the marketing mix? What values have you seen and have you been able to get social media into the day to day way of working in your organizations?