A shorter version of this article appeared in the American Machine Tool Distributor’s Association “ToolTalk” newsletter in October 2010 starting on Page 4.
This article on social media is going to be a bit different than previous articles that have appeared in Tool Talk.
We’re going to address some of the core questions that the AMTDA membership has been asking about Social Media:
Is Social Media a Fad?
“While social media use has grown dramatically across all age groups, older users have been especially enthusiastic over the past year about embracing new networking tools.
Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.
Should I just wait to “get in?”
“Hey, we can just set up a Twitter account in a few minutes”
Well, yes you can, but, just like the first time buyer of a machine tool, there’s still an awful lot to learn. The sooner you start learning, the farther in front of your competitors you’ll be. This is a pro-active approach. Too many b-to-b companies, particularly exhibitors at IMTS, took a reactive approach. They jumped in and created their “social media brand names” without first having personal accounts so they understood how it works.
So the best way to learn is to set up some social media personal accounts.
- Does your profile web link say “My Company” or contain your actual company name?
- Create a Company Page – it’s that little document icon next some people’s company name.
Be Sure to read the article Social Media for Industrial Marketing, Part 1: LinkedIn for more details.
What are the best Social Media places to be as a Machine Tool Distributor?
You can go in and “favorite” your builder’s videos after you create your own channel.
You can read more about this here: Social Media for Industrial Marketing, Part 2: YouTube
Without going into a lot of detail about API’s and tech jargon, what you need to know is that Twitter connects to almost everything.
It’s like the junction box in an electrical system.
Want to learn more? Click here: Social Media for Industrial Marketing, Part 3: Twitter
Obviously, clear all of this with the content owners. Actually a Blog is one of the very best things you can create. Think about this for a moment. When you type a search into Google, you don’t type just “CNC” you type what you are looking for: “cnc swiss screw machine multi axis.”
You have learned over the years that by typing more information you are more likely to find exactly what you are looking for in a topic.
This is called a “long tail search.” That’s very important to know because it’s how your customers find out about your company and your products. It becomes even more important because the new algorithms used by search engines are location based.
You’ve probably noticed that when you use a “long tail search” and you’re in Chicago you don’t get listings for many places in Europe.
That’s not because there aren’t places in Europe it’s because they are NOT near Chicago.
In April 2010 Facebook announced at their annual “F8” conference the “Open Graph”: That’s why you are seeing the “LIKE” button appear everywhere. Here’s why that’s important: If you recall the first time you got a day planner you learned that you should not only put your business appointments down but also soccer games, weddings and personal events.
Time management 101. Your life is 24 hours a day. Facebook at it’s core is personal. But your personal life affects your business and vice-versa. Facebook collects personal data and associates it with your interests. If your title is “CNC machinist,” it permits advertisers to target that.
Although Google has a massive database, they have not “aggregated” demographics as deep down as Facebook. They are both competing for ad space. If you were at IMTS in Chicago and logged into Facebook, you may have seen some ads running. But you would have only seen them if you were with in 5 miles of McCormick Place, between 7pm -10pm, were male, between 35-55, and had some keyword in your profile indicating you were in our industry.
The “pay-per-click” cost .60 cents each and had a cap on the amount spent by the advertiser. Yes, you can do that level of targeted advertising. Creating a Facebook Page is a way to become “engaged’ and be in front of your customer when they get home from work. The busiest time on Facebook is Wednesday and Friday evening, but we’ll talk about that more later…
Where are my Customers?
Have you ever purchased something online? Have you looked down at the product reviews and decided against the purchase of something because of the reviews? Then, did you think “Wow, I wonder why that manufacturer isn’t reading that and fixing it? They’re getting really bad press” The problem is that the manufacturer may not even know about the comments to address them. But B-to-B consumers ARE researching and engaging each other.
There are a number of free products out there to use to search for who’s talking about what. I would recommend going to Social Mention and type in your company name and brands and see what appears. You will find that you can drill down and drill down more and then drill down even more into exactly who is talking about what where.
Where to Start
So where do you start? You can’t arrive in our industry green and expect to know everything. Same thing applies for social media.
- Twitter – Set up Twitter account and follow some people. You can follow @RPMconsultants where we tweet about social media or my personal Twitter account, @bernardtmartin where I tweet about Education, STEM, F1, Economics and Foreign Affairs. You can then check out who we follow, learn some basics, ask some questions.
- Facebook – Set up a personal account, be sure to set your account settings to “friends only” across all categories and then search for “International Manufacturing Technology Show” or “AMTDA” on Facebook. Look at whom they have made favorites on their Company page. Hit the “LIKE” button.
What NOT to do & Where to begin
- DON”T go out and set up accounts in YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for your company right this minute! That’s would be like a customer saying “I want to buy the CNC with the Green Paint, I like that color.”
- Set up your personal accounts and then go to “Knowem” Search for some available names. I’ve talked to many machinery distributor owners and employees over the years and heard “Yea, our website name is WAY too long, but it’s what we’re stuck with.”
Places like Knowem allow you to search for brand names.
You want to use the same Brand name in ALL of your social media spaces.
There are several considerations in the selection of THAT name:
- Shorter is better. Remember Twitter on permits 140 characters in “tweets” You don’t want to eat up half of it with your company name and be limited on your message.
- Use the same name in all social media spaces. That bears worth repeating. Remember that long tail search discussion?