Twitter Crash Course for Industrial Companies
Are you a small to mid-size industrial company: a manufacturer, an industrial service company, a manufacturers’ rep firm, or any type of business providing products to the industrial complex in the U.S.? Do you keep hearing about social media and how it’s “all that” right now in marketing, but don’t really have the time or motivation to figure out how it all works and if it can really help your business? If so, you’re in good company. Even so, I just read the results of a survey in the Forbes article, “Social Media Has Scorching Impact on Small Biz,” which states that “fifty-four percent of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are using social media to promote their businesses, double the number using these sites in December 2009, with 35% posting daily updates to sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.” Are you in the forty-six percent who are not?
If you’re in that forty-six percent, the articles I’ve written over the past few months related specifically to Twitter are for you! I’ve worked in marketing communications in the industrial sector for over twenty-eight years: first, within large manufacturing companies and then as a consultant to hundreds of companies just like yours. I wrote these articles with your company in mind. I understand the unique challenges and pressures that industrial businesses deal with that are quite different from businesses that sell to the general consumer market. I know the social media “cookie cutter how-to’s” don’t necessarily apply to a business selling to oil and gas engineers , or operations personnel in a refinery, or R&D folks in OEM companies.
Here is a list of articles that can help you understand what Twitter is (and is not,) how it can benefit your industrial business, and tips and tools to make it easier for you. If you read them all and try to implement the strategies and techniques they contain, you’ll be well on your way to growing a Twitter “presence” for your business.
This article is for the Twitter virgin. In plain English, and with no tech talk, it explains how to set up your Twitter account and things to keep in mind as you do it. It may be the briefest “how to” you’ll ever encounter on setting up a Twitter page! (It’s really not rocket science.)
Twitter is soooo misunderstood. Sometimes I find that explaining a complex subject in the context of what it is NOT helps to make things more clear. That’s what this article contains: all the misperceptions about Twitter, and why they simply aren’t valid.
What is Twitter – REALLY? (I get that a lot.) It’s many things, but one of my favorite explanations likened Twitter to “friend ESP,” letting you know not what people are physically doing, but what they’re thinking about, planning, reading, watching, and paying attention to. This article explains all of Twitter’s functionality – in a nut shell.
Twitter skeptics in the industrial world abound. I don’t completely write off skeptics, because there are some industrial companies who will be hard pressed to find their customers and prospects on Twitter – TODAY. I know that can be discouraging; but it will only dissuade those who think that the only thing social media is good for is sales. Social media – and especially Twitter – are SO much more than sales and marketing tools. Read this article to spark your creativity and figure out ways your company can use Twitter.
Very simply, this article tells you how not to offend or annoy people on Twitter, and how to be someone that others would want to follow. This is very important, because Twitter is nothing to you without quality followers. The etiquette is unique to Twitter, and etiquette from the real world of sales and marketing does not necessarily apply!
Once a company has a Twitter account, the next big hurdle is building a group of quality followers. There will be plenty of people who follow you that are a total waste of time and you can immediately block them. Don’t clutter up your Twitter stream with tweets from people who are spamming and only there to make a fast buck. This article explains how to find the followers who will educate you, or who are in your industry or field and not only share common interests but also hold potential for future business opportunities.
After the initial elation of getting that Twitter page up and starting to see some activity as your following grows, you’ll realize you’re spending quite a bit of time managing your Twitter account. It is SOCIAL media, after all. It requires regular, consistent, “on brand” tweets and that takes some planning and strategy. There are literally hundreds of mostly free web based and desktop applications to help you manage, automate, and monitor your Twitter account. I’ve reviewed a lot of them. This is my top ten list for the small to mid-size industrial company.
The social media “gurus” and techies try to make Twitter (and social media in general) much more complicated than it needs to be. I think that’s why so many industrial companies just shrug their shoulders and say, “not for us.” It IS for you! Read these articles and take action! I don’t have a crystal ball to see what the future holds for social media, and I certainly can’t guarantee you’ll be successful (and I use that word loosely;) but I can guarantee that if you do nothing and the social media marketing model continues to evolve, one day you’ll be so far behind that it will be like looking up and realizing you’re still using a typewriter and everyone else is computer-savvy. I hate excessive learning curves . . . don’t you?