While 2011 was the year where social media finally hit critical mass for manufacturers and distributors, it’s use is certainly exploding this year. Social icons and pages for the industrial market are popping up everywhere.
Many have already plotted and executed (or at least considered) strategies for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogging. (If you haven’t yet – stop reading, get these set up, then come back when you’re done. This will still be here.) Assuming you do have the essentials in place – now what?
Google+ – As If You Had a Choice
While Google+ was off to a rough start, Google’s power and plans are too huge to be ignored. Its usage experienced an unprecedented rate of growth for a social site, with over 600,000 people signing up daily in December 2011 alone! Now that brand pages have been up and running for a while, allowing companies to have their own presence, there’s no excuse to avoid this platform.
Still not convinced? Google, the undisputed leader in search, is also integrating Google+ data as part of its search algorithm. Simply put – a strong presence will boost exposure through improved search results. Think of this as that “contact at Google” you’ve been looking for.
Further, it’s shaping up to be a lot more than a marketing and traffic driving tool, Google is looking to change how businesses perform essential tasks – communication, collaboration and much more. Features such as Docs allow for document sharing across an office, the country or world. The Huddles function allows people to meet virtually and get business done. What do these tools mean? Save time, money, and increase efficiency. No wonder it’s taking off so quickly! Not to mention, Google has invested a fortune into this and needs it to pay off. So why not get your share?
Pinterest – More Addictive Than Crack?
This is the new kid on the block that suddenly everyone wants to hang out with. Cool, fun, sophisticated yet simple; and unbelievably habit forming. Essentially, Pinterest is an online bulletin board (yes, the cork kind!) Users share clickable images of “the things they love” on their boards, arranged by topic, with links to their source pages. Not sure how this public refrigerator concept applies to your business? I know it’s a bit of a stretch – but I’m thinking sexy product shots, application examples, machines in motion, or just about any image that raises an eyebrow. While the current demographic is primarily females sharing fashion, travel or design ideas along with sumptuous recipes and hunky men – exposure for retail products is firmly taking hold. Keep in mind that industrial companies are always last to the marketing party – it’s likely just a matter of time before this hits critical mass for manufacturing and distribution companies. Smells like opportunity to me. So why not get there early?
YouTube – ‘Cause We’re All Lazy
You might be thinking – really, Flip? Isn’t this old news? Yes and no. YouTube has been around for a while, but most don’t realize that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which gives YouTube content priority in searches. As we get more passive, begging “don’t make me read this, just inject it into my head”, it’s no wonder. Reading or talking about manufacturing processes can be dull – but watching them? Different story… Robots expeditiously doing the work of humans (sorry, humans), sparks flying, raw material in – finished parts out. Exciting stuff! (If you are not intrigued by such things, you either made a bad career move or you’re reading the wrong blog.)
So, What’s on The Horizon?
If I were a gambling man, which I am on occasion, I’d throw a few chips down on Quora. Tumblr is growing in popularity too, and the list will grow as time ticks by. If you are thinking – wait, this is too much – I agree. But keep in mind that social channels emerge and go viral based on a need – and they appeal to different interests and behaviors from various angles. Yet, I don’t imagine all of the sites will be viable forever (remember MySpace?). It only makes sense to put your billboard up on the well travelled highways for now, and get ready to move them as the traffic patterns evolve.
Go stake your claim, and remember to enjoy the journey!