Posts Tagged ‘ YouTube ’

Industrial Equipment Sales via Social Media

A shorter version of this article appeared in the American Machine Tool Distributor’s AssociationToolTalk” newsletter in October 2010 starting on Page 4

This article on social media is going to be a bit different than previous articles that have appeared in Tool Talk.  We’re going to address some of the core questions that the AMTDA membership has been asking:

  • “Is this just a fad? Should I just wait until the dust settles to get in?”
  • “What are the best Social Media places to be? Where are my customers?”
  • “I don’t have enough time to respond to emails, how am I going to manage these marketing efforts”
  • “How do I know what my ROI is? How do I measure it?”

Flashback 1993:

Q: “What’s your email address?”

A: “We don’t have one. We do everything by fax, That’s too new. We’re going to wait and see if people use it”

Is it a Fad?

Pew Study US Internet Users 2010

Social media is generating the same conversations today.  The big difference is that the “tools” to use and manage social media are expanding exponentially and will continue to expand.  The pace of change in the last 18 months in Social Media would be like moving from NC Tape Machines to full integration of MT Connect in the same time period.

“While social media use has grown dramatically across all age groups, older users have been especially enthusiastic over the past year about embracing new networking tools. Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.

  • Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%.
  • During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.
  • By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.”

-“Older Adults & Social Media”, Mary Madden, PEW Internet, August 27, 2010

….It’s not a fad.

Should I just wait to “get in?”

Customer: “Ok, So our first new 6 pallet Horizontal CNC hits my floor in 5 days, That’s going to be perfect. We want to move our two families of 10,000 parts/month onto them and ship 20,000 at the end of the month in 15 days before our competitor gets the work”

You already know that that is not realistic.  But that is the same kind of thinking that is taking place in Social Media.

“Hey, we can just set up a Twitter account in a few minutes”

Well, yes you can, but, just like the first time buyer of a machine tool, there’s still an awful lot to learn. The sooner you start learning, the farther in front of your competitors you’ll be.  This is a pro-active approach.  Too many b-to-b companies, particularly exhibitors at IMTS, took a reactive approach. They jumped in and created their “social media brand names” without first having personal accounts so they understood how it works.

So the best way to learn is to set up some social media personal accounts.

Start with your LinkedIn Profile.

  1. Does your profile web link say “My Company”  or contain your actual company name?
  2. Create a Company Page – it’s that little document icon next some people’s company name.

…get in now. Be Sure to read the article Social Media 101 for Mfg, part 1: LinkedIn for more details.

What are the best Social Media places to be as a Machine Tool Distributor?

  1. YouTube – It’s the simplest way to enable your sales force to have all of their product videos in one place.  You don’t need to re-create the wheel or even upload any videos.  You can go in and “favorite” your builder’s videos after you create your own channel.
  2. Twitter “Twitter’s like snack food: it tastes good, it’s fun to eat but there’s no nutritional value” In some sense, the above statement is true.  But with two  BIG caveats: It’s all in what you make of it, and, most importantly, it s FOUNDATION level application.  Without going into a lot of detail about API’s and tech jargon, what you need to know is that Twitter connects to almost everything. It’s like the junction box in an electrical system.
  3. 43% of U.S. companies will be blogging by 2012

    Blog“I don’t know what to write about, I don’t have content” Press releases, news articles, technical information…. Cut and paste.  There is lots of content available. Obviously, clear all of this with the content owners.  Actually a Blog is one of the very best things you can create. Think about this for a moment. When you type a search into Google, you don’t type just “CNC” you type what you are looking for: “cnc swiss screw machine multi axis.” You have learned over the years that by typing more information you are more likely to find exactly what you are looking for in a topic.  This is called a “long tail search.” That’s very important to know because it’s how your customers find out about your company and your products. It becomes even more important because the new algorithms used by search engines are location based.  You’ve probably noticed that when you use a “long tail search” and you’re in Chicago you don’t get listings for many places in Europe.  That’s not because there aren’t places in Europe it’s because they are NOT near Chicago.

  4. Facebook“That’s for kids.” Step back from any preconceived notions and think about this from a business standpoint.  There is a war going on.  Two data collection monoliths, Facebook & Google, are each trying to outdo each other.  In April 2010 Facebook announced at their annual “F8” conference the “Open Graph”: That’s why you are seeing the “LIKE” button appear everywhere. Here’s why that’s important:  If you recall the first time you got a day planner you learned that you should not only put your business appointments down but also soccer games, weddings and personal events. Time management 101. Your life is 24 hours a day. Facebook at it’s core is personal. But your personal life affects your business and vice-versa. Facebook collects personal data and associates it with your interests. If your title is “CNC machinist,” it permits advertisers to target that. Although Google has a massive database, they have not “aggregated” demographics as deep down as Facebook. They are both competing for ad space. If you were at IMTS in Chicago and logged into Facebook, you may have seen some ads running.  But you would have only seen them if you were with in 5 miles of McCormick Place, between 7pm -10pm, were male, between 35-55, and had some keyword in your profile indicating you were in our industry. The “pay-per-click” cost .60 cents each and had a cap on the amount spent by the advertiser. Yes, you can do that level of targeted advertising. Creating a Facebook Page is a way to become “engaged’ and be in front of your customer when they get home from work.  The busiest time on Facebook is Wednesday and Friday evening, but we’ll talk about that more later…

Where are my Customers?

They are “IN” all for the above digital spaces and probably another 1,000 more.

Have you ever purchased something online?  Have you looked down at the product reviews and decided against the purchase of something because of the reviews?  Then, did you think  “Wow, I wonder why that manufacturer isn’t reading that and fixing it? They’re getting really bad press”  The problem is that the manufacturer may not even know about the comments to address them. But B-to-B  consumers ARE researching and engaging each other.

There are a number of free products out there to use to search for who’s talking about what.  I would recommend going to Social Mention and type in your company name and brands and see what appears.  You will find that you can drill down and drill down more and then drill down even more into exactly who is talking about what where.

“How do I manage all of these marketing efforts?”

“There’s an APP for that!”  Well, actually, there are a multitude of application dashboards so that you can see ALL of your social media sites.

Realize that the heavy users of Social Media are NOT online every minute.  They have done several things, which are very important to be aware of, as you ponder social media marketing:

1. They have “wired” their social media sites together.  In all reality you can only be in one place at a time.  Different users will be using different channels at the same moment.  You notice that when you channel surf on TV that you see the same commercials sometimes?  It’s just like that. In order to maximize your exposure you “connect” the sites to each other so you don’t have to post the same thing over and over again.

Remember when I explained that Twitter was a “junction box”? This is how it “connects” Twitter

permits the sharing between sites better than most any other social media site.

Here are a couple of examples of dashboard app’s:

2. They have Pre-programmed “Tweets” and announcements. If you already do a newsletter email or product announcements electronically, you have content to use.

Two very good examples of how this can be done is to take a look at Criterion Machine Works or TechniksUSA Blog sites.  Once a blog is posted it is automatically tweeted, posted on their Facebook page and appears in a number of social media outlets.

………………Automatically

The Blogs can be programmed to post at a given time and, once the switch is flipped on the timer, everything else happens seamlessly.

That however, is not where it ends.  Unlike just sending it out there and hoping people read it, now your customer can interact back with you.

Think of social media like your cell phone. You should check it a couple times a day with your dashboard application and see if you have messages, comments, or questions and then “engage” the customer in some “conversation.”

Measuring ROI

Just as there are a number of dashboard app’s there are an innumerable number of “analytics” to gage and measure success in real time.

In fact, some of the dashboard applications I mentioned earlier have the measurement tools built right into them. Measuring is actually pretty easy.

Without going into a tremendous amount of detail on measurement tools, be aware that the list of measurement tools practically exceeds the number of social media outlets that exist.  Just for Twitter there are sites like Analytic.lyTwifficiency and Twitteranalyzer. Facebook has built-in analysis tools for their Page.  Your ROI is really going to be determined by what you put into the effort.  Just like a salesperson, the more you engage, the more return.  If you sit in the office and just send out emails and don’t follow up to engage into the conversation not much is going to happen.  “Engaging” is the key to ROI and the analysis tool sets are all going to measure this kind of activity and report on it.

Where to Start

“I’ve gotta interpolate down and then ramp into this corner with a ½” tool at an 8 thou chip load and I need a 32 finish. Which is better Linear guides vs. box ways? How’s your look ahead on that?”

Learn by Doing (National Training Laboratories)

The first time you heard that it would have been like a foreign language.  Social Media also has it’s own language:

“I put the hashtag in the summary blog post & the metatag to increase my SEO”

So where do you start?  You can’t arrive in our industry green and expect to know everything. Same thing applies for social media.

Start with a personal account on:

  • Twitter –  Set up Twitter account and follow some people. You can follow @RPMconsultants where we tweet about social media or my personal Twitter account, @bernardtmartin where I tweet about Education, STEM, F1, Economics and Foreign Affairs. You can then check out who we follow, learn some basics, ask some questions.
  • Facebook – Set up a personal account, be sure to set your account settings to “friends only” across all categories and then search for “International Manufacturing Technology Show” or “AMTDA” on Facebook.  Look at whom they have made favorites on their Company page.  Hit the “LIKE” button.

The first step is really about “learning” about how to use these tools for your business.

What NOT to do & Where to begin

  • DON”T go out and set up accounts in YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for your company right this minute! That’s would be like a customer saying “I want to buy the CNC with the Green Paint, I like that color.”
  • Set up your personal accounts and then go to “Knowem” Search for some available names.  I’ve talked to many machinery distributor owners and employees over the years and heard “Yea, our website name is WAY too long, but it’s what we’re stuck with.”

Unlike registering your web address, your URL, with a service that reports to one central agency for verification, called ICANN, there is no single service registration of your “Social Media Brand name”

Places like Knowem allow you to search for brand names.

You want to use the same Brand name in ALL of your social media spaces.

There are several considerations in the selection of THAT name:

  • Shorter is better. Remember Twitter on permits 140 characters in “tweets” You don’t want to eat up half of it with your company name and be limited on your message.
  • Use the same name in all social media spaces. That bears worth repeating. Remember that long tail search discussion?

Comments and questions are always welcome.  If you would like more information on what we do at Rapid Production Marketing be sure and check out our website or you can drop us an email bernie@rpmconsultants.us



Social Media Marketing: Getting Started

There’s a big difference between watching Golf and playing Golf at a professional level. Social Media is no different that other professional efforts: Once you become in engaged in it you learn that it’s probably not as simple as you first thought.

In the course of talking to prospective clients I’ve found a mixed bag of comments that all go something like “I got plenty of people who are on Facebook all the time, you can create an account in 5 minutes”

Selecting your Social Media Brand NAME

Social Media Mess

Unlike when you registered your website with a registrar for your unique URL, which was all overseen via ICANN, there is NO single place that you can register all of your SOCIAL MEDIA brand name. The key to words there are “Brand NAME” and not “Brand NAMEs”.  You have to create a profile in each SM space you want to present your brand individually.

As a marketer you already know the importance of using consistent images and names.  It becomes even more important in social media because you want people to find you when they use a search engine.  If you have a mixed bag of names your message may not reach the people you want to reach and, like two ships passing in the night, you will never engage in conversation. One very good service to use to begin the process is Knowem. However, Knowem doesn’t help you establish your brand in your industry specific niche forums.

Read the “Terms of Service” (TOS)

I’ve talked to some very well-known major companies about their Social Media efforts.  When we sit and look at their SM spaces we discover that they’ve “jumped into” social media “Oh yea, we’re there!” But then we dig into it only to find that they have set up their company name as personal account and not created a COMPANY profile at all.  They at risk with not only with the loss of the SM account but also the loss of all of the conversations that they are engaged in already.

Just like entering a new foreign market there are cultural “rules” that should be followed.  By not showing respect for the local culture, and taking the time to understand it in advance, you risk creating a negative brand image that could take years to recover from to get back to zero.  Don’t burn your bridges and not even realize that you’re doing it.  Social Media spaces have their own culture. You are entering a cyber world.  Be sure to have a good understanding of how things work before you make the trip.

Linking your Social Media

Once you have selected a brand NAME in your various spaces, you will need to have a good understanding of how the various “Status Updates”, “Wall Posts”, “Tweets”, “Blog Posts”, etc all connect together.  The people you want to reach may be in one SM space while you’re posting, at that moment, in another. Determining which posts are shared and which are not becomes a very important decision.

There’s quite bit more to think about that I’ve put into the slide show below. Take a peek at it:

The above slideshow presentation should give you an overview of how to start your social media efforts.  It outlines the reach and scope of social media (SM) for those new to the space.

Getting in & Staying IN the Space

Once you have gotten into the new cyber world to market your brand, stay acutely aware that the landscape in social media is changing.  I’ve compared it to the 1849 Gold Rush in San Francisco.  Everyone is new, Everyone is from somewhere else.  What was the “best place” last week is not the “best space” this week.  That’s led some to say “Let’s wait, and not be on the bleeding edge”  The Bleeding Edge was several years ago and it was yesterday. The onslaught of new users hourly entering the social media cyber world is beyond compare.

Here’s an example, when I started using Slideshare as an add-in app on my LinkedIn profile it was NOT a social network.  It was a place to put slideshows to pull up on customer & client computers.  NOW, it’s a social network…. and the added functionality is expanding weekly it seems.  Every social media site is doing the same.  As they grow, they are becoming more and more niche, more and more industry specific, more and more topic specific.  Getting IN is critical at this point so that you, and your company, can establish your brand as a thought leader and engage and develop relationships…. but, you MUST stay engaged and continue to drill down as the individual spaces evolve.

I recently had a conversation with a client about YouTube and how it has evolved.  I showed them Don Fitchett‘s YouTube Channel Business Industrial Network. Don has been in that space (and many many others) for some time. He has over 430,000 upload views, has 1500 subscribers staying current with his latest news and he has over 5,000 friends.  That didn’t happen overnight.  Don is continuously engaged with his clients and potential clients.  Now ask yourself two questions:

  • If I wait for the dust to settle how many customers might my competitors pick up and I won’t know about it?
  • If I jump into the space and don’t understand the culture, or have a plan, what will it cost me?

Conclusion and Take-Aways

The conclusion that should be drawn after reviewing this is that developing a structured Social Media Strategy and Tactical implementation plan is crucial to your company’s success.

Without a plan you may find yourself creating a negative brand image within the space and end up spending more money trying to undo what you created and start over.

I look forward to your comments and questions.

– Special Thanks to @RonDavies for blogging about “Knowem”
– “Social Mess” infographic by Tom Cuniff

Social Media for Mfg: Part 2: YouTube

In this installment of Social Media 101 we’re going to explore YouTube in some detail.  In this posting you’ll find out the following:

  • Why – Why should you post it
  • How – How you can create your own YouTube Channel

think out of the box

After you’ve got the basics down from this posting  I’ll talk about  “How – You can maximize your YouTube channel” if you’re a

  1. Manufacturer
  2. Agent
  3. Distributor

in future postings.

But first, the basics….

In the beginning we’re going to review some  information, then you can watch some video’s.  Again, it’s best to open a new screen to use the video and pause it as you begin to create your channel later on.  FIrst take a peek at what’s here.

In case you have not read What’s all this about Social Media & where do I start, in an earlier blog post, the following is an excerpt.

Creating a YouTube channel was really driven out of necessity. Below is an excerpt of an email I sent to everyone in our company when we launched our YouTube channel:
“I wanted to make you aware that this weekend I worked on finally getting a central place where you can show customer’s product videos from their computer while visiting their facility.

I’ve found out that trying to find video’s of products to further explain them to customers while at their desk can be a problem just finding them on the web. I’ve gathered many of them on our own YouTube channel for Highlander Tool.

Please take a look at it when you get some time”

Some products just need to be seen….

A Note about NLP
Why is television such a great medium compared to radio? It has to do with something called Neuro-Linguistic Programming. According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming Model people learn in different ways. This is often called the VAK Model (visual / auditory / kinesthetic). According to this model the general population learns according to the following percentages:
Visual – 75%
Auditory – 6%
Kinesthetic – 19%

Since 81% of people learn via visual and auditory ques, as the theory goes, video is the best method of communicating a message.

Since this is a basic tutorial about YouTube it just makes sense to use YouTube Video’s to explain it:

I realize that this isn’t the greatest video you have ever seen.  BUT, this is the only video I have found that takes you through the set up step by step setup.

You might also want to check this video out:

Subscribers & Subscribing & Friends

Ok, now let’s remember that YouTube IS a social media outlet.  Probably THE most powerful outlet that you have at hand to get your message out in a clear and succinct fashion.

Remember when we talked about Search Engine Optimization in a previous posting?  Creating a YouTube channel and not subscribing to other video channels or not making another  a “favorite” is not following those simple words of wisdom on the sugar packets: Advertising: Shout it from the mountaintops.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site or aweb page (such as a blog) from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results as opposed to other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) which may deal with paid inclusion. The theory is that the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image searchlocal searchvideo search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence.

Ok, Now the plain English: The more sites your site is connected to, the more chances you have of being higher in the rankings. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot more to it. But the basics remain the same. The more sites your site is connected to, the more chances you have of being higher in the rankings.

Now, Here’s the next important thing: What happens when you go to an industry event or reception?  The first thing you do is look around for people you know.  This is a very very common human trait.  You want to be comfortable.  You want to find who else you know that is there.  Pretty simple eh?

Social Media is THE SAME WAY! Just like we talked about on the LinkedIn posting:

  • SHOW YOUR CONNECTIONS!
  • SHOW YOUR FRIENDS!

This is all under MODULES. In order for people to participate they want to know who you know, and who they might be introduced to.  THAT is the very essence of networking and social media is ALL ABOUT NETWORKING.

Here’s how you subscribe:

Here’s some more detailed info on customizing your youtube channel

You may have noticed, if you’ve watched all the videos here, that some of the information is repeated.  I learned many years ago as a consultant that people only remember a message after they hear it 3-5 times.  (Wow, I really do miss the Cahner’s Advertising Research Reports! “Back in those days everything was simpler and more confused”)

Maximize your Effort

In the future postings we’ll talk about how to maximize your effort as a

  1. Manufacturer
  2. Agent
  3. Distributor

You may have realized that in the last blog post I explained that Twitter was the next subject to be discussed.   Obviously, this one has been about YouTube.  The rationale: after your  working on your LinkedIn profile you’re going to have a better understanding of Social Media. YouTube is THE next thing you should concentrate on as a business..  Twitter is still evolving and there are some changes taking place as I write this which may make aspects of the topic moot.

I’ll leave you with the final thought:

“I have treated this game in great detail because I think it is important for the student to see what he’s up against, and how he ought to go about solving the problem of practical play. You may not be able to play the defense and counterattack this well, but the game sets a worthwhile goal for you to achieve: how to fight back in a position where your opponent has greater mobility and better prospects.”  -Fred Reinfeld , The Complete Chess Course

Or, perhaps, this is better…

The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down,
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on,
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still,
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.

Won’t you try just a little bit harder,
Couldn’t you try just a little bit more?
Won’t you try just a little bit harder,
Couldn’t you try just a little bit more?

What’s all this about Social Media and where do I start?

We recently created a Twitter and YouTube channel for our distributor and I’ve been getting calls and talking to several people in our industry about all of this “social media” hype. Rather than continue to have the phone conversations, trying to explain the nuances, and sending the emails from my iPhone I thought it might be best to put all the information in one place.

Last evening I put together some information that I have been collecting with regard to Social Media. In the last 45-60 days, the manufacturing sector is jumping into it with both feet. But not everyone seems to know, exactly WHAT they are jumping into and they’re making some mistakes.

I hope you find this informative. I have tried to give credit to the original articles when possible, as much of this was cut/pasted into emails. First, I’m going to take you through a cursory overview and give you some background. Then I’ll list some recommendations.

Ironically, I just received a notification from Norm Wright on his new Blog posting at Wright-to-Know. Perhaps this is the better place to start…
————————————-
Digital Marketing For Manufacturers: Are You S.O.L. When It Comes To S.E.O., S.E.M. and S.M.O.?

Helps for the new marketing terminology for manufacturing marketers.
I hate to say it but we all know it’s true to some extent… the manufacturing industry is way behind the curve when it comes to using digital marketing. I believe it can be very intimidating to those of you who haven’t tried to keep up with the times.

You don’t have to be S.O.L. when it comes to the new marketing lingo.

You just gotta’ love the new “high-tech” sounding marketing acronyms. Not only do you have to learn a whole new way to communicate with your market but now you also have to learn a new language.

Well, to help get you on your way to learning this new “lingo”, I have put together a little list of links using Wikepida.com. Obviously, Wikepedia is the most popular website using Wiki technology… which is, in part, used in the new realm of Social Media. (More on Wiki’s another time)

So, below you will find some very informative links to help you with the new terminology… Happy reading

SM Social Media
SME Social Media Optimization
SEO Search Engine Optimization
SEM Search Engine Marketing
Blogging
RSS Feeds
Podcasting
Mobile Marketing
Social Bookmarks
Tagging
I hope this little bit of reading helped you to understand a little more about the new world of Social Marketing.

————————————-
There can be no doubt the the next paradigm shift is taking place on the internet. It’s called Social Media. Right now, it’s like the Gold Rush in 1849: You just stepped off the boat and now you are faced with the decision to buy the “Secret Hidden Gold Map” from the guy at the bottom of the gangplank. There are many many people coming out of the woodwork as an “authority”. However, it’s my opinion that the medium is still early in it’s evolution and it’s adoption. Let’s keep in mind “Moore’s Law“: Social Media is going to change as it grows; probably at the same rate as microprocessors.

Again, many people are jumping in with both feet:
————————————-
“Nearly 20% of Marketing Dollars Will Go to Social Marketing in 5 Years”
In just the last 6 months, marketers have shifted their attitudes toward social media marketing spending. This was recently affirmed in the new study, “The CMO Survey” from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association. (“what’s a CMO?“)

A key finding: Social media marketing budgets continue to rise. According to the results, businesses currently allocate 6% of their marketing budgets to social media, an allotment they expect to increase to 10% during the next year and 18% over the next 5 years.

Back in August 2009, marketers had already planned on devoting more money to social media.  However, in February 2010, marketers reported that they plan to allocate one-fifth of their marketing budgets to social media marketing in the next 5 years.  This is a definite increase from the 2009 projections.  The study features the following comparison from August 2009 to February 2010:

Current marketing budget spending on social media:
August 2009: 3.5%
February 2010: 5.6%

Marketing budget spending on social media in the next 12 months:
August 2009: 6.1%
February 2010: 9.9%

Marketing budget spending on social media in the next 5 years:
August 2009: 13.7%
February 2010: 17.7%

————————————-

Who’s adopting Social Media faster than everyone else? Small Business.

————————————-
“Small Business Doubles Social Media Adoption”

A recent study, “The State of Small Business Report,” sponsored by Network Solutions, LLC and the University of Maryland’sRobert H. Smith School of Business, points to economic struggles as the catalyst for social media’s rapid popularity.
The study results show that social media usage by small business owners increased from 12% to 24% in just the last year, and almost 1 out of 5 actively uses social media as part of his or her marketing strategy.
Here’s a breakdown of what the small businesses reported as the main uses of social media marketing:
75% have a company page on a social networking site
69% post status updates or articles of interest on social media sites
57% build a network through a site such as LinkedIn
54% monitor feedback about the business
39% maintain a blog
26% tweet about areas of expertise
16% use Twitter as a service channel
According to the study, different industries are adopting social media marketing at different rates, and while many industries have started using social media marketing in their efforts to reach more customers, many still have not positioned it as their top priority.

————————————-

According to GlobalSpec’s social media survey of engineers, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals, usage of social media varies by platform.

42% have a Facebook account, although it is not used much for work-related purposes.
32% have a LinkedIn account
82% of those belonging to at least one group in LinkedIn.
12% of individuals have a Twitter account
9% of companies have a Twitter account

Of those that do use social media, the majority of users are passive: they are much more likely to read and watch content than to actively participate by creating content such as commenting or posting.

Many of them are probably holding back and evaluating the usefulness of social media platforms, which means that suppliers who engage in social media must, above all else, be useful and relevant to their audience in order to build a network of followers.
————————————-
Why is it going to be very hard to get a handle on what’s going to happen? Well, in short, because small business and individual people are difficult to predict when it comes to Herd Mentality. (remember the Nietzsche stuff you read in college?0

Let’s not forget that in the metalcutting sector of manufacturing it’s primarily made up of small business and they are adopting SM pretty quickly. Everywhere you turn you’re now seeing “Follow us on….twitter, facebook, youtube” so the thinking seems to be “Well, I better get on here and do it”. Coming out of 2009 the manufacturing sector is grasping at ANY way to make money.

The reality is you can set up all three sites for free and have a pretty decent looking presence on each in about 2 hours. Yes, that’s right, all three of them in under 2 hours time and yes, it’s FREE.

Ok, so now you have some information but which one of the social media outlets should you choose?

Just hang on a minute. You should know about the 4 C’s of Social Media:
1. Communities
2. Content
3. Conversations
4. Conversion

1. Communities
Traditional advertising is about interrupting.
Social media is about sharing and interacting.
78% of social media users interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools, an increase of 32% from 2008.
95% of new media users also believe companies or brands should have a social media presence.
89% believe that they should interact with their consumers using social media.

2. Content
No hard selling
DO NOT communicate a sales message
DO IMPLY a sales message
Consumers want entertained, informed, and educated.
If they like your content they will probably like you.
If you share good content consistently over time they will likely begin to trust you

3. Conversations
Traditional Advertising: Talking AT someone
Social Media: Talking WITH someone

What are “Conversations?”
A comment on a blog post,
A retweet
A comment on your LinkedIn or Facebook
A “Thumbs Up” on a Facebook wall
Yes, it’s going to take some time. Interesting that I recently had a conversation about Twitter. it was compared to snack food: “It tastes good, takes alot of time to eat, but has no nutritional value” At this point in time in the manufacturing sector, that is probably a true statement. In 6 months….?

THE KEY: You put out a message or content and someone chooses to respond.
These conversations and those among others will have an impact.
51% of respondents say that social media has influenced their online transactions.
78% of consumers trust peer recommendations

4. Conversion
All of the pieces should work together to lead to Conversion.
Common mistake: Send people to the home page. It builds traffic but may not help build DIALOGUE.

Remember when we talked about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Did you click that the link at the beginning? You probably should. It’s pretty important. In fact, if you haven’t read it here’s the synopsis:
The time was when the search engines looked for key words to rank you via a formula. Now part of that formula is whom you are LINKED to from your website. The more links you have to someone who also has alot of links is a good thing and will drive searches to you. In fact, I recall a conversation back in 2003 with a principal of mine, when I was an agent, and he said that HIS company name and website appeared 2nd on a google search while my website appeared above it. I explained then that it had to do with understanding the links and how the formula works.

Ok, back to Conversion. in order to convert you have to move the potential customer through the buying phase:
————————————-
How the Buy Cycle has Changed
The four stages of the industrial buy cycle have remained constant over time. What’s changed, however, is how buyers go through the four stages.

Today, online methods dominate the four stages of the buy cycle. Buyers conduct
Research on the Internet
Contact suppliers
Request quotes online
Compare supplier offerings using content found online
Submit purchase orders online

Buyers use
Search engines,
Online catalogs,
Supplier Web sites,
Portal sites

They gather data, review product specifications, view drawings and more—all online. They often bookmark Web pages, download content, and print out information to share with other decision makers. Even traditional sales through offline channels such as purchase orders often are the result of buyers using online methods to move through the stages of the buy cycle.

Get Found Early in the Buy Cycle
In order to make the final short list of potential vendors, suppliers must get found in the early Needs Awareness and Research stages of the buy cycle.

A GlobalSpec survey found that 42% of buyers evaluate four or more suppliers during the Research stage, but only 26% of buyers get quotes from four or more suppliers during the later Procurement stage.

The conclusion is that as buyers move through the buy cycle, they eliminate suppliers from contention, as opposed to adding new potential suppliers to their short list. That’s why it’s so important to be found early

70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content for purchases greater than $10,000
17% of buyers review that much content for purchases under $1,000.

“Suppliers must create a robust library of content and make it available online to buyers. The content should be targeted to multiple different decision makers, such as the economic buyer seeking ROI and value vs. the end user seeking features and functionality.

Your content should include specification sheets, white papers, Webinars, e-newsletters, application notes and more. Only with this breadth and depth of content can you help build confidence in the buyer that your brand and solutions can meet their needs, and at the same time, distinguish your company from your competitors.”
-GlobalSpec newsletter, March 23, 2010
————————————-
One they go through the buying phase they have to LAND somewhere.

5 Actions of the Landing Page:
Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else’s)
Get a visitor to buy
Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.
Get a visitor to tell a friend (all the more subtle)
Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback

Ok, Now let’s take a look at your options:

Do you have any idea how MANY social media sites there are?!??!
Take a Look at this link on a List of Social Media Sites

Now let’s dig a bit into the Big names;
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube

Facebook
Top Insights:
January 5th, 2009
The 35-54 year old demo is growing fastest, with a 276.4% growth rate in over the approximate 6 months since we last produced this report
The 55+ demo is not far behind with a 194.3% growth rate
The 25-34 year population on Facebook is doubling every 6 months
For those interested in advertising alcohol on Facebook, there are 27,912,480 users 21+, representing 66.3% of all users
Miami is the fastest growing metropolitan area (88.5%) and Atlanta (6.4%) is the slowest
There are more females (55.7%) than males (42.2%) on Facebook – 2.2% are of unknown gender.
The largest demographic concentration remains the college crowd of 18-24 year olds (40.8%) which is down from (53.8%) six months ago.
Take away? Parents and professionals are rapidly adopting Facebook.

A sidebar note worth thinking about:
The real interesting thing happening with FACEBOOK is the bleed of the Gen Z and Gen Y demographic. As the older folks have embraced FB the younger folks have begun moving to more specialized sites that meet there unique individual needs and interests. This is typically a footnote in most of the analysis.

“Facebook has just gotten too big & too commercial, I won’t “friend” a company and let them see all my info, but I’ll still Fan a page, You just gotta watch” I recently heard a 20-something say to me.

Remember when I said earlier that the whole concept of social media is evolving?

Ok, so you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a PAGE, a Group, and a Community on FB. You may want to check out Marketing Your Business on Facebook: Group or Page?

We have elected NOT to use Facebook as the demographic we are looking at, industrial buyers, are not using FB for research.

Twitter
Twitter is a free social networking (micro-blogging) service that allows users to send and read messages known as “Tweets”
“Tweets” are text based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the authors subscribers “Followers”

We are using Twitter. Why? Remember the search engine optimization stuff?

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is fast becoming THE business tool of social networking. Rather than summarize why just click this link to find the 33 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business

At a minimum create a company profile page for your company. You can take a look at our company profile here: Highlander Tool Company Profile It’s pretty simple to create. One thing you will notice is that we have taken our brand message very seriously. The message we set up is to communicate what we do and who we are. …and we’ve used essentially the same message for every social media profile. (So once you create ONE you can cut and paste, albiet with some editing, for all of your SM sites.

YouTube
Creating a YouTube channel was really driven out of necessity. Below is an excerpt of an email I sent to everyone in our company when we launched our YouTube channel:
“I wanted to make you aware that this weekend I worked on finally getting a central place where you can show customer’s product videos from their computer while visiting their facility.

I’ve found out that trying to find video’s of products to further explain them to customers while at their desk can be a problem just finding them on the web. I’ve gathered many of them on our own YouTube channel for Highlander Tool.

Please take a look at it when you get some time”

Some products just need to be seen….

A Note about NLP
Why is television such a great medium compared to radio? It has to do with something called Neuro-Linguistic Programming. According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming Model people learn in different ways. This is often called the VAK Model (visual / auditory / kinesthetic). According to this model the general population learns according to the following percentages:
Visual – 75%
Auditory – 6%
Kinesthetic – 19%

Since 81% of people learn via visual and auditory ques, as the theory goes, video is the best method of communicating a message.

Summary Suggestions

Until the advent of YouTube, where you are creating your own video channels, there was no way to utilize this in marketing for the manufacturing sector.

This social media is probably the BEST one that we have found for communicating with our customers about new products AND for our salesforce to learn more about the product. Here’s why:

1. Statistically, knowledge retention from a sales meeting is about 20% at the termination of the meeting. Without “refreshment” and “review” this tracks down to a 5% after 14 days. (That’s why it’s important to have simple bullet point sell sheets, but that’s a topic for another time)

2. The more the salespeople show the video, the more they learn about the product. Kind of like my old college friend who saw Monty Python’s the Holy Grail so many times that now, 20+ years later, he can still recite the lines verbatim.

3. At the distributor level, creating a YouTube channel and “favoriting” your vendor’s video’s allows the salesperson to cross-sell other products because of the “wow, what’s this?” factor

4. SEO! Again, you are cross-linking by “subscribing” or “friending” others. Hence you are creating broad cross-links which raises YOUR profile in searching.

Do’s and Don’ts for YouTube:
DO look at several other channels within our industry before creating your own channel if you have not created one before. Yes, my 11 year old created his own channel for his stop motion videos he makes but you want to observe what others are doing, what you like, and what you don’t like.

DO add every video of every product that you still make and stock. Even if the video is 12 years old, load it. Our industry is disconnected enough that someone may be seeing it for the first time.

DO add different versions of the same video. You may have an old video and you’ve since redone it with some other language but you deleted some sections that you know longer felt where important.

DO add a link and and Icon to your company website.

DO create “tags” for your videos. Remember the meta-tagging section up top?

DON’T let your marketing person make it part of his or her own personal youtube page: it shouldn’t contain a picture of the family dog in the profile.

DON’T assume that “we already have that video embedded in our own website so we shouldn’t load it on YouTube”. YouTube let’s you enlarge to a full screen, provides embed code (so people can add it to their blogs, etc) and it’s ON the NETWORK.

IF you take a look at the left here on the blog you will see the most viewed videos on the Highlander Tool YouTube page

Final Thoughts

Ok, so now you’ve spend about an hour to create a Twitter and a YouTube site.  You’re ready to roll.  Well, maybe not.  You’ve got to put a link on my main website so that it says “Hey Follow us!”  You may have already thought about that.  Now, how much do you know about how the eyeball works?  Where do people see and what do they see?

There’s an absolutely GREAT video on StomperNET called

Click Fu: How to Double Your Conversion

Click on the link above and check it out.

Here’s a bit of a different take on it.  Take a few minutes and watch the video