Participating in social media is no longer an option in today’s business environment; it is as necessary to a marketing strategy as business cards and a Website. With so many options available, it can become overwhelming to decipher which social media platforms are worth their salt, and which...
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Participating in social media is no longer an option in today’s business environment; it is as necessary to a marketing strategy as business cards and a Website. With so many options available, it can become overwhelming to decipher which social media platforms are worth their salt, and which are best left to the teenagers.
Social media needs to be treated like any other marketing platform, with clear objectives applied, and an understanding of which platform works best for your company—based on your client base, marketing objectives, etc. Find out which social media platforms your clients are using for direction on where to invest your energy. Make sure your messaging is consistent across all the social media platforms you deploy—speak to the world at large in clear voice.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, look at social media as an opportunity to tell your company’s story. More than anything, social media is about engaging with the customer. Yes, you’ll want to talk about the new technology you’ve brought in, but anyone can go and buy new equipment. Share photos on the charity event you hosted, boast about your production manager’s 25th year with the company, post educational blogs that can help your customer.
Social media requires a different marketing approach than traditional marketing, says Jill Davis, vice president of marketing and business development for The MATLET Group, headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. “You have to get out of the old advertising-marketing mindset and not think of social media as a sales opportunity, but as a way to help your customer. The content you develop from that approach will carry further.”
The MATLET Group is fairly new to the social media arena, having just dived into the fray with Linkedin a few months ago. “For a long time we were very cautious—social media was something that showed up in the last few years, but it seemed to be a better fit for consumer brands,” explains Davis. “I wasn’t sure if it was the right place for B2B conversations.”
Of the various social media platforms out there, Linkedin seemed like it offered more of a gather of professionals, as opposed to Facebook, says Davis. “Facebook often seems like a family album gone wild; I wasn’t sure that our message would resonate.”
However, Facebook could work as part of a company’s marketing plan if it was used more like a movie b-roll; not as a corporate branding site but as a way to highlight other activities—such as charity event. “As a way for putting your brand front and center, leading to someone buying from you, I don’t think Facebook works,” says Davis.
As for Linkedin’s professional networking opportunities, MATLET, a leader in printing, packaging and fulfillment with two manufacturing facilities, has just scratched the surface, having only been on the network a few months. “It’s much broader and deeper than I realized,” says Davis. “There are a lot of approaches you can take, different groups you can become involved in—such as print buying groups, marketing groups.”
Davis posts content that is informative and unique, and links back to stories on MATLET’s Website—so customers are being driven to the company’s Website.
Whichever social platform you get involved in, its key to note that social media is a living breathing thing, says Davis. “It is a hungry child that needs to fed content consistently. But it has to be content that is useful and relevant. You are trying to get people to trust your brand, and to see you as an expert in what you do.”
Don’t stop with the handshake—go for the hug.
PacBlue Printing, a FSC-certified printer based in Vancouver, is a believer in the importance of social media to its ongoing success. “We use social media as a natural extension of our marketing efforts. Social media plays a central role in our strategic planning and works in conjunction with our offline marketing activities,” says Nicolas Slobinsky, CSE, director of sales & marketing.