Time to read 3 minutes. Is social media relevant to the thermal processing industry? Or how about appliance manufacturing? Pollution engineering? Biotech, biofuels or energy? How about plumbing or pest control? Do Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs matter to technical or industrial businesses? If you are hoping to sell something in these fields then the answer is yes. Yet most marketers of technical products and services are failing to generate business leads with social media marketing. Here’s why and how to avoid being one of them.
Doug Glenn, publisher of Industrial Heating magazine recently asked if social media is relevant. A fair question. But in his article Mr. Glenn seems pro, con and indifferent to social media all at the same time.
As a professional speaker, I see industrial businesses dipping toes in social media marketing’s waters but not experiencing a clearer, focused understanding of it. They’re enthusiastic about advances like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn but not seeing them in a useful, practical way. They understand that social media provides the ability to instantly observe and react to customer behavior like never before. Industrial technologists can shoot and upload an educational video to YouTube but for what distinct purpose and under what plan to create a sale?
Ignore Popular “Wisdom”
After completing a year’s worth of research on today’s best industrial and technical “social sellers” an exciting opportunity revealed itself. There is a way for energy, manufacturing and engineering businesses to generate tangible business leads and sales using social media platforms. Here’s how.
Today, selling with social media requires ignoring the over-hyped “wisdom” of popular business gurus and returning to basic marketing principles.
Follow the Real Leaders
It took me a while but I found, Amanda Kinsella of Cincinnati-based Logan Services who is selling dozens of heating and air conditioning systems each month on Facebook. Then I met entrepreneur, Marcus Sheridan who is busy selling more in-ground, fiberglass swimming pools than any business in North America using a blog—and who’s being courted by manufacturers clamoring to buy it.
What’s their secret sauce?
Form 3 Simple Habits
I’ve come to learn that fundamental concepts powering effective social marketing programs are rooted in a return to marketing basics. Successful social sellers understand the difference between fooling around on social media and selling with it relies on developing three habits:
- Getting back to basics, trusting instincts and solving customers problems
- Designing to sell, planning social experiences to induce behavior/response
- Translating, discovering customer need and feeding it back into marketing design
Your business can immediately begin selling using social media by applying these 3 success principles. And it’s not as difficult as you may think. Why? Because the social aspects of attracting, nurturing and successfully earning a purchase are already known to your marketing team and sales force.
This isn’t a revolution of how marketing is done. This is simply evolution. Don’t buy into the hype and buy into the easy answers.
Join the Evolution
“What’s working” is what has always worked. Successful social sellers are merely designing digital interactions (“conversations”) in ways that solve customers’ problems. This makes it easier to help guide customers toward technically-oriented products and services. That’s how social media can deliver sales to your business.
It’s true: social media rarely reveals a clearer path forward. For most businesses Facebook, blogs and such are just confusing them more. Even more perplexing, experts keep claiming social media’s arrival represents a revolution. Yet in practice most of us are experiencing the same, mediocre results from social marketing that traditional advertising has produced—customers’ fleeting attention. And that’s why I’ve decided to research, write and speak on this subject and bring needed information into the hands of people like you.
Photo credit: Caveman Chuck Coker