Future Implications

ImageWhen we think of social media, most of us envision Facebook or Twitter right? Remember Bebo or Myspace?  Myspace, at one time, dominated more web traffic than Google and Bebo was known as the largest social networking site in the world. (Bennett, 2014)  Both reminders of how fast things can change within a decade.

Our world has increasingly become digital, that’s a fact.  Everyone seems to be connected in some digitized form or another.  Advances in areas such as mobile technology as well as social media have made way for big modifications in the way we interact with our friends and family and even how we conduct business.

Social media is a crucial part of business success.  This is why we, as marketers, need to keep up with social trends now more than ever.

Changes in human behavior

People love to share whether to demonstrate expertise, to persuade or a number of other reasons.  Social media gives us the venue to share our posts and get our message out.  Widgets make it easier for others to share our information.  Because social media users listen to each other more than they listen to brands, offering them the right thing within the right venue is critical.  We must change the way we think and think more like the customer.

The influence of technology on our behavior is growing. Today while sitting in a restaurant, I noticed several tables filled with families – not engaged in conversation but looking at screens while some typed feverously with their thumbs. How much of your day is spent looking at screens, reading and responding? We do more and more of that every day. Certaintly, a new behavior for me.

Changes in Technology

Many of us have experienced the evolution of social media as part of the digital explosion. Image

Just check out the amazing stats in the infographic designed by the company, Leverage Along with this evolution, improved methods for metrics need to and will evolve. With the growth of social media, brands will require more detailed social insight into performance.  We have seen new cutting edge CRM platforms emerge that can provide brands with “Sentiment Metrics.” Being able to tune into social networking, as well as to the whole expanding universe of blogs and online news media will lead a company’s CRM efforts. This new technology affords the ability to analyze how people generally feel about your brand through a rating system of each mention within a category of positive, negative or neutral.  We see it now in political polling and brands are demanding this same type of metrics.

Getting the right information to the right people at the right time and fast is driving technology change.  The new socially tech savvy consumers are making buying decisions online through research at an ever increasing rate and mobile will be in the forefront of devices they use.  According to Cisco’s State of the Internet Report released on June 10, 2014, mobile devices are projected to put over half the world’s population online by 2018 – some 3.9 billion internet users.  They also claim that mobile web traffic will surge to 57% by 2018 up from 33% in 2013. (Colt, 2014)

This spring, Facebook bought a company, Oculus Rift, from a teenager who built Riftthe first prototype at age 16.   Palmer Luckey, now 21 created a product that makes immersive video game play a reality.  The users feel that they are actually inside the game.  All reports indicate that while the video game is the target, the technology has possibilities for architecture and emergency response training, (Bleiberg, 2014) but I feel there will be no limit to the possibilities if executed correctly. How about you, what are your thoughts?

Bennett, S. (2014, March 06). Past present and future social media. Retrieved from http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/past-present-future-social_b55531

(2014, April 24). Social Media Stats 2014 [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from https://leveragenewagemedia.com/blog/social-media-infographic/

Colt, S. (2014, June 10). By 2018, 3.9 billion people will be online thanks to smartphones. The Business Journal. Retrieved from http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2018-3-9-billion-people-175023386.html?soc_src=mediacontentsharebuttons

Bleiberg, J. (2014). 10 new innovations that could change the world. Tech Tank, Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2014/06/10-mit-techreview-2014

Viral Marketing Initiative

viral buttonWhere is the button for creating a winning viral marketing campaign?  Well, I wish I could share one with you but, there is just not one campaign/message button that fits all.  A better question to ask might be what content will make someone want to see it, share it and then see it again?   There are no guarantees of going viral but there are things we can do to help our chances.  Certain characteristics of our content can indeed help the odds for sharing and going viral.

One such way is through humor. Geico’s Hump Day Camel, is a great example of providing humor inside of their content. “Each time Wednesday rolled around during the first few weeks of the video launching online, there was a massive increase in sharing and searches for insurance information.” (Berger, 2014)Image

Videos are very valuable at communicating and informing quickly.  There is also a much higher likelihood of being shared across social media channels.    That is, if they contain the content people understand and can relate to as well as evoking an emotional response.  In this instance, humor.

A second way to increase the likelihood of a viral campaign is being quick and responsive.    Within minutes of the Superbowl blackout, Oreo tweeted their ad with the caption “Power out? No problem.”  It has been retweeted more than 14,000 times and the image on Facebook had more than 20,000 likes – “meaning that the most powerful bit of marketing during the advertising industry’s most expensive day may have been free. “ (Sanders, 2013) The Oreo team was prepared to act quickly and it paid off.  It is imperative that your company’s social media team can make swift decisions with good content.

A third characteristic of content, that is my personal favorite, which helps a campaign to go viral is cuteness.  Babies and animal, who can resist? A cute example is the dancing Shetland pony named Socks by a UK mobile company called Three.  The campaign has over 7 million views on YouTube.

A great feature about this campaign is the fact that they incorporated sharable widgets Social widgets to enable the video to easily be shared across social media.  “The company even added an interactive component where you could create and share you own Shetland pony video” (Herbert, 2013) which brings us to a fourth content characteristic that helps increase the odds of going viral, the participation with engagement style of content.

Contests and gamification are fun and participating ways to share content.  Everyone likes to win free stuff or be recognized in their social circles.  For example, when fans complete a form to enter or play a game it helps in usefulness of CRM, voice of the customer or in gathering feedback about a potential new product research and even a new logo creation as with the 30 Days of Change Yahoo campaign.

Consumers love to be involved so, every day for a month, Yahoo unveiled a Yahoodifferent variation of its logo with slight changes.  This created hype and Yahoo followers came back each day to see and comment on the newest version leading up to the final announcement.   “The campaign was incredibly smart and turned a standard logo redo into an exciting marketing and social event, creating a buzz amongst Yahoo fans and critics alike.” (Ferguson, 2014)  They successfully harnessed the power of co-creation and social media.

Lastly, a fifth characteristic of content to help  viral potential is mixing a social cause component with any of the four characteristics above.  Such a case is with Westjet.

In December 2013 a Christmas Miracle campaign happened where passengers were greeted at the Calgary luggage carousel with individually wrapped gifts matching their Christmas wish expressed only hours before in the Toronto departure lounge. View video here.

Westjet promised to give away free flights to families in need, in partnership with Ronald McDonald House, once the video views had reached 200,000 which easily happened within a day.”  With well over 36 million views to date, this gesture makes a company likeable and special.  Over the long term, the company has very successfully reinforced their brand positioning as the fun and caring airline in Canada. I think that’s a smart investment.

So what makes us want to share content?  Well I think the majority of us want to connect with each other by way of sharing.  But we must remember that the key component is content crafted with our targeted audience in mind.  Great content that is easy to share through social buttons with links to our website and blogs.  A great free social button to try is Addthis.   Don’t forget to feature your campaignshare on your website and promote on your Facebook, Google+ Twitter and other social media platforms you utilize.  Post to Youtube and then Stumble or Tumble it on aggregator sites such as StumbleUpon and Tumblr.  These are all great ways to generate awareness.

“So, what’s the answer to success in viral marketing? It starts with the right question: Is this something that people will connect to so quickly and viscerally they’ll want to see it again and again? If so, they’ll likely share it. And, as for the subject at hand, that’s a blockbuster.”(Adamson, 2014)

References:

Berger, J. (2014, May). Interview by Amber Mac [Audio Tape Recording]. Jonah berger on the science behind why things go viral. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3030997/bottom-line/jonah-berger-on-the-science-behind-why-things-go-viral

Sanders, R. (2013, February 3). How oreo got that twitter ad up so fast. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/how-oreo-got-that-twitter-ad-up-so-fast

Herbert, D. (2013, November 29). Watch: Dancing shetland pony socks is back for hilarious new christmas tv advert . Retrieved from http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/445884/Three-brings-back-dancing-Shetland-pony-for-Christmas-TV-advert-Watch-video-now

Ferguson, D. (2014, May 27). 5 successful campaigns to remember [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/226472/5-successful-campaigns-to-remember.html

Choyeski , R. (2013, August 29). 5 principles of a successful viral marketing campaign – see more at: http://zocalogroup.com/2013/5-principles-of-a-successful-viral-marketing-campaign/

Adamson, A. (2014, March 24). The secret behind a viral marketing hit [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/allenadamson/2014/03/26/the-secret-behind-a-viral-marketing-hit/

 

Differentiation – Industrial Manufacturers Get It !

Like many other businesses, manufacturing companies are using social media to build relationships and connect with current and potential customers via the Internet.  Increasing brand awareness is another important goal. However, many manufacturing companies start off by developing a robust social media program that they feel really sets them apart from their competition only to find that the excitement of a new program has stalled.

Belts & Sheaves

Belts & Sheaves

Let’s examine two manufacturers, Browning and Gates who both manufacture Belt Drive components for air conditioning units.

They both participate in the most popular social channels, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as YouTube. What Gates does well, which helps to increase influence, is maintaining an active and informative blog. Through their semi-weekly blogs, they promote and use call to actions from other social networks they manage.

Klout

This is no doubt one reason why their Klout score is at 48 whereas Browning’s score is 31.

Adding networks adds to your ability to share your expertise, and in turn,  that helps your Klout Score. “If you remove networks and then add them back later it could take a few days for your Klout Score to readjust.” (“Why earned media,” 2014)

Many brands are moving away from metrics that purport to measure social media as a direct sales driver.

Instead, they’re moving toward new metrics that evaluate social media strategies in terms of audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations.  Browning excels over Gates for customer relations when it comes to YouTube. Browning gives to their customers in way of providing valuable information on products, services, instructions and “how to” videos.  They have received numerous positive comments and encouragement to continue with professional and informative video content.  In comparison, Gates shares corporate videos and event videos.  Important information but not really adding any value to customers or potential customers.  This social sharing sets the brands apart.    In the comparison chart, you can see very different focuses for each brand.

("Gates social," 2014)   ("Get connected," 2014)

(“Gates social,” 2014) (“Get connected,” 2014)

Facebook is another channel that each brand approaches very differently.  Browning, with the lower following does not promote actively as they do with Twitter.  Their posts are mostly based around traditional marketing events such as trade shows and events.  Gates on the other hand, has built a community consisting of both employees and customers.  They actively promote as well as add a more human elements such as the example below. Great way to market the humanistic side of  the company.

("Welcome," 2014)

(“Welcome,” 2014)

 

Building a following with target audiences and developing content that they will find interesting are two of the biggest challenges for manufacturing companies who are involved in social media.  Both Browning and Gates have managed to get through the initial hurdles and establish a presence in the B2B, manufacurers’ realm.  Both exceling in different social platforms.

HVAC-R Rep. Emily Iwankovitsch, SRC Refrigeration summarizes it best, “Selling to another business usually involves building and maintaining a relationship with them. Their purchases are more rationally-based (increase productivity, reduce costs, etc.) whereas consumer purchases are often more emotion-driven.  But excellent customer service is very important in both situations, as well as pure engagement, online and off.” (Iwankovitsch, 2013)  

References:

Why earned media matters. (2014). Retrieved from http://klout.com/s/business

Gates social. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.gates.com/utility/gates-social

Get connected. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.emersonindustrial.com/en-US/powertransmissionsolutions/about-us/Pages/connect.aspx

Welcome. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/GatesCorporation

Iwankovitsch, E. (2013). Manufacturing companies using social media. Retrieved from http://www.e-tplastics.com/blog/how-manufacturing-companies-are-using-social-media/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Manufacturing Business Can Reap Rewards From Using LinkedIn

linkedin-logo-300x300   LinkedIn is many different things to many different people, over 200 million as a matter of fact.  It is the world’s largest professional network.  To some it’s a social networking site, others a job placement site, and yet some see it as a media channel.  Whichever it is to you, for sure it has become an integral part of how we do business today.  LinkedIn represents a large demographic for user to easily discover key influencers by company or various types of businesses.  You have the ability to connect with the specific industry professionals that can lead to generating sales for your company by:

  • Helping to build key contacts and relationships
  • Connecting with the press to secure PR coverage in target publications
  • Helping your sales group to stay in touch and nurture prospects
  • Staying in touch with event attendees and leads.

Last year, LinkedIn rolled out it new Company Pages.  Now your #manufacturing business can place a visual emphasis along with relevant content for a more complete set of tools to use in your marketing efforts.

Emr

Want help in setting up your new Company Page LinkedIn account?  I found this free white paper helpful last year when we set up our company page on Linkedin.

It gets even better.  Just this month LinkedIn announced a new series in beta now, LinkedIn Contacts.  LinkedIn Contacts brings together all your address books, emails, and calendars, and keeps them up to date in one place.  It will allow you to get alerts when your contacts change jobs or someone has an anniversary etc.  You can even add notes and set reminders.  This gives you a great opportunity to stay in touch.  Best of all, it will be available on the iPhone.

With the many personal and professional contacts and relationships we all keep track of, this new tool can be a very important way to organize, maintain and nurture these contacts.

With LinkedIn accepting 8 new members every second, its no wonder it’s the largest professional social network in the world.  Are you using LinkedIn for your business?

References:

Vaughan, P. (2013, April 27). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/topic/linkedin

Eridon, C. (2012, oCT 4). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33682/New-LinkedIn-Company-Pages-Are-Finally-Rolled-Out-to-EVERYONE.aspx

Great Content, Authentic Engagement, Must be a Successful Social Marketing Campaign

Effective Social Business with Facebook

I’ve heard many times that business to business marketing cannot be successful using Facebook in their social media mix. Well, all I have to say is there has to be something to it, (using Facebook for business), because 70% of local businesses would not be using today.  ( Bullas, 2012)

According to Hubspot, 85% of internet users have Facebook accounts and remember, we  communicate and do business with people, not companies.  In addition, 42% of these people have mentioned a brand in their Facebook status update.  So there must be something to it, right?

In my last couple of blogs I mentioned I would supply you with a manufacturer’s success in using Facebook.  Well I have two for this week.  The first represents a Building Manufacturer which I read about several years ago.  At the time I was debating using a Facebook account in the marketing mix for a large manufacturer.  The second is an example from a division of the company at which I work, Climate Technologies.

With the building manufacturer, they took the leap into the Facebook world with picture postings.  They found that posting photos of customers’ buildings demonstrated a range of uses for the buildings and the customers were sharing the photos with others on their accounts.  The ideas started rolling in.  The company had stated that most people such as wood workers or auto mechanics had not thought of using their buildings for their business until seeing the photos on Facebook from their friends and linking to the manufacturers website.  Hence, Facebook is an integral part of their marketing strategy.

Another success with Facebook worth sharing is one orchestrated from the sister company I mentioned before, a manufacturer of compressors.   They created great buzz around the launch of a new product by incorporating a Facebook campaign where customers were invited to paint their compressors and post those photos on Facebook.

facebook_like_button_big1Participants then encouraged others to vote by liking their entry.  The entry with the highest likes was presented with a new iPad.  The campaign generated more publicity both online and in industry trade publications than any other product launch.  Within the 6 month time frame of the product launch, they gained over 700 new followers and utilized the campaign as a focal point in a major annual trade show.  The total likes on the compressor photos surpassed 130,000, they enjoyed over 80 free press pickups and attribute Facebook for surpassing their forecasted 1st and 2nd quarter sales.

grouped

So there they are.  Two successfully implemented plans, slightly different in tactics but obtaining great results in return on objectives (ROO) and return on investment (ROI).  They focused on one social site, drove traffic to their website, allowed for feedback, provided the type of content for great  engagement and obtained measurable results.

What are some of your ideas for launching your next Facebook campaign?  I would enjoy hearing your ideas.

Ballus, J. (2012). Social media marketing and blogging. Retrieved from http://www.jeffballus.com

All the marketing statistics you need to know. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-resources/marketing-statistics

Digital Experience for the Manufacturing Industry – But Are Manufacturing Businesses Ready to Pay?

Last week I mentioned we would take a look at a success story within the manufacturing industry using Facebook.  However, after reading in the Wall Street Journal about YouTube’s launch of a paid subscription service, I decided to save the experience for next week.

On Thursday, the YouTube team launched a pilot program that offers paid channels with subscription fees on YouTubepaid youtube.  The small fee of $.99 to $7.99 per month comes with a 14 day free trail.  Right now these channel partners are geared toward entertainment and the consumer but as we have seen with many of the social platforms today, they have far reaching arms and undoubtedly reach a more business to business focus.  The paid to subscribe program will allow you to watch video from phone, tablet, computer or TV.

I am interested to hear what your thoughts are on this new pilot roll out.  Social Media is all about giving and for the manufacturing industry, it has proven to be a great tool to provide that extra “give”.

From my experience in the manufacturing industry, it has been the most beneficial social platform.  Videos are powerful for businesses and for manufacturing they can give you an advantage to show and share your expertise.  Some tips for using YouTube in your manufacturing business range from branding to demonstrating your manufacturing expertise as long as your channel is used the correct way.

  1. Branding and Relevance:  Make sure your content is relevant and represents your company by customizing your channel with your company’s standards such as logo, colors and industry messaging.  Categorize your videos into specific interests, groups or focus to enable your customers to experience your brand with ease.  This will keep them from leaving in frustration due to searching and will help to keep them coming back.
  2. Optimize:   Provide videos that are quick, professional and engaging. Pay attention to your video descriptions, tags and title.  Do your research, what are your customers in your industry searching for and tag appropriately to the content of your video.  I have found that a video which is relevant, and quick, 2-4 minutes is best. Page views, subscribers, positive comments and likes all help your video’s visibility. With all the new technology, great videos can be produced at little to no expense.
  3. Interact and share:  Take some time exploring other videos especially your competitors.  Evaluate what is working and how they engage. Engage with others on YouTube, share and follow and invite them to your channel.   Share your videos in other places such as twitter, within blogs, hyperlinked in emails or on SlideShare (Slideshare is to Powerpoint as YouTube to videos).
  4. Create a call to action and measure: colored-call-to-action-all-buttonsCreate an additional way for your viewers to gain information by directing them or offering incentive to go to your website such as a free white paper or promotional item.  Create reasons for your existing and potential customers to engage.  Be sure to measure your success.  YouTube has great analytics to give you a snapshot of the results of your videos.  Be sure to access each and make adjustments in your social media strategy in the content you provide if necessary

you tubeAll of these actions can help make your YouTube Channel successful in promoting your brand and products in the manufacturing industry.  Offering video instruction manuals has proven to be the most successful in the manufacturing business I work.  For example, of the 12 videos in a recently created new channel, 4 videos are instructional, installation and usage tips for our product. The remaining 8 are of promotional type.  Total video views currently exceed 50,000 of which 32,000 views are for the 4 instructional type videos.  This is a big signal to us as to what our customers most want.

With that being said along with tips and tricks on how to create a successful channel, what would happen if a paid channel in the manufacturing industry where introduced?  YouTube will be rolling out paid channels more frequently for specific partners in the coming weeks. YouTube considers this taking it to the next level of reaching fans, I wonder if this will turn customers off. Even though paid channel plans give YouTube a new revenue source I doubt that people or other businesses would be willing to pay for a channel in the industrial manufacturing industry.

EFRATI , A. (2013, May 9). Youtube unveils paid subscription channels . Retrieved from http://on.wsj.com/175LBHL

How can manufactures cut advertising budgets with the use of Twitter. . . . . . .

twitterAs promised in my previous blog “Manufacturers cut advertising budgets not customer engagement” I mentioned that we would explore more examples of how to participate in our social media world.  Well here we go with this week’s topic, Twitter.

As many of you probably are aware, Twitter can be a powerful influencer if done right.  Here are some basic must have first steps to get your business account up and running quickly.

  1. Your Profile:  Do not underestimate the importance of a great profile.  You want your company portrayed in the best possible light and you want to be very transparent.  Be sure to upload a clear representative photo of your business that differentiates your business from your competition.
  2. Follow like people:  Follow experts in your industry. Re-tweet essential information and post daily.  Don’t forget to watch what your competitors are doing and who they are following for additional insight.
  3.  Get into the conversation and create buzz:  Get out there.SpamTweetinThreadsShows2inProfileButNoneVisible-738x1024  Reply if the conversations are relevant.  If someone asks a question relative to your business or products, show your stuff, be helpful and provide solutions.  This is a great way to show your expertise in your manufacturing fieldCaution: Don’t spam as this may cause un-follows.
  4. Help people out and create relationships:  As with many social media platforms, giving is vital.  Give your targeted audience what they are looking for.  Provide specific information to your focused audience.  Re-tweet helpful information from your followers and those you follow.  Hashtag # streams to get more involved and get noticed.  Soon you’ll be recognized and you’ll get follows.
  5. Integrate: Twitter is perfectly suited for integration into your blog account but stay away from live feeds on your website as they are seen as one sided converstaions and can prove dangerous.   Creating links on your website to your tweeter feed can help provide your viewers with more information about you, your company and your expertise.  It can also help you build relationships that can branch out to other social networks too.

We have just covered the basics of establishing a Twitter account, however it is important to note that you should not lose sight of why you are here and what you want to accomplish.  Having a well thought out strategy and plan for moving forward is key to creating and maintaining a valuable account.  Be sure to include measurements for success such as a return on your objectives. In many cases, it might be the number of followers, types of followers or even leads generated from your participation.  Whatever your measurements might be, you should always be flexible and ready to change strategies when necessary.

Stay tuned for more tips on the use of social media in a manufacturing business.  Next week we will cover a specific campaign success using Facebook.   Got suggestions or questions, let me know, all are welcome!

[Print Photo]. http://bit.ly/WX1hHF   – [Print Photo].  http://bit.ly/10Y8MAm

 

Manufacturers cut advertising budgets not customer engagement

The economy is still slow for manufacturers and the advertising budget is typically the first place where cuts are made.  As we are seeing, manufacturers are cutting their advertising budgets by dropping industry trade advertisements and reducing their participation at trade show events. As silly as this decision, especially if you are trying to grow market share as the majority of us want, it does not mean customer engagement has to decrease.

If your marketing message can show your target audience how your product can save them money or time, or impact an environmental cause such as saving energy or water usage, customers will be willing to pay even if your offering is not the lowest in price.  So while your advertising budget may be at the mercy of the accountants, increasing customer engagement digitally can still be accomplished.

Manufacturers can try or improve upon social marketing methods by first researching and planning accordingly.  Some ideas to research and explore with little or no cost for customer engagement:

manufacturingImage[1]

  1. Create a Twitter account to share industry information and inform about your company’s events, new products and product capabilities.  Follow customers and others who have similar interests.  Post at least four relative items a day and remember no heavy promotion or selling or you risk losing your followers.
  2. Add a Facebook profile.   Be sure to create a business fan page.  Offer video, photos and links to relative industry information.
  3. Create a LinkedIn profile and join group pages specific to your business.  Join the conversation and contribute with helpful information geared toward your product.
  4. Create a Hootsuite or similar dashboard program to manage your social accounts.
  5. Try out Google Adwords (online advertising) and Google Analytics (free stats).
  6. Check all your advertising for ROI (return on investment) and shift the budget to higher performing methods
  7. Formalize your word of mouth marketing plans.  A favorite book of mine to consider is No Bullshit Social Media – 12th edition by Jason Falls.Picture2

Watch for my next blog post as we will explore more specifics about each of these accounts and how you can use these social accounts as well as additional social marketing ideas in your own manufacturing marketing efforts.

Lake, L. (n.d.). Should you cut your marketing budget during a recession? Retrieved from http://marketing.about.com/od/marketingtipsandadvice/a/mrktrecession.htm

Falls, J. F., & Deckers, E. D. (2011). No bullshit social media. (12 ed.). Indianapolis, IN: que publishing.