I’ve been talking about the benefits of social media in the B-to-B space now for almost 18 months and yet there are some companies out there that still don’t “get it.”
I wanted to share a success story with you of a traditional trade association, the PMPA (Precision Machined Products Association) and their results from starting a social program a little over a year ago (disclosure: they are a client of ours). These types of associations aren’t very sexy and they have plenty of competition out there for members to help them run their business better.
To better position themselves within the metalworking world as a thought leader and as part of a new business strategy, we recommended they jump on the social media bandwagon.
They did, and the following is an article written by Miles Free (Director of Industry Research and Technology, and principal contributor to their blog, Speaking of Precision) in their monthly magazine to members and potentials advocating they too jump on the social media bus.
PMPA content has been before people who are interested in it over 1,500,000 times in just one year at next to no out-of-pocket cost…
In just one year, we can document over 65,000 page views on PMPA’s Blog, SPEAKINGOFPRECISION.COM.
We’ve used Twitter to help connect people to our Blog content, and we’ve made hundreds of thousands of contacts using that tool. Once a week, one of our selected Blog topics gets uploaded to LinkedIn, where it is seen and shared by over 25,000 people in the machining, medical defense, and aerospace markets that belong to groups on LinkedIn. We can conservatively say that PMPA content has been before people who are interested in it over 1,500,000 times since we started our social networking program a year ago.
And on our blog we’ve posted some pretty good content – our posts on austenitic grain size, welding resulfurized steels, bar straightness, temper color, and material impacts – these all come up on page 1 of Google search results. Often in the top handful of non-paid links.
Page one on Google is the gold standard for information in the information age of today.
These social networking tools have helped us connect with members, potential members, your potential customers, suppliers, and the larger market for Precision Machining. The out-of-pocket expense was very small, trivial really. And the staff time required once we set it up is just a few hours a week.
So why haven’t you picked up these Social Networking Tools You Can Use? We’ve demonstrated that they can create connection, start a conversation, and introduce us to new clientele. Our getting topical page one rankings on Google shows that the knowledge that your shop has is just as likely to command attention in the Marketplace of Ideas online. Certainly you have special capabilities and expertise that when properly shared and targeted can help those people (and companies) who need and want to find you, to connect.
For several years, we’ve been working on the idea of connecting. Our member surveys always show Networking as a highly valued PMPA deliverable. Networking is done by connecting.
We’ve just had a one-year demonstration of what social media tools can do for an industry association. The numbers are as impressive as the costs are low. We hope that you will follow our experience by using these new tools to connect with tomorrow’s buyers who haven’t yet figured out that you can help them, and won’t take your salesman’s call if he finds them.
Social Media tools make you bigger in your market. The 30,000 people who see a message from us weekly are larger than the few thousands of people who were already in the PMPA “tent.” And they have conversations and network with people with similar wants and needs. Of course you want to reach them!
Consider social networking. Not just an email blats of a newsletter. A blog perhaps or enhancements to your website. At the very least, you need to be on LinkedIn. Join relevant groups. CUSTOMER GROUPS. Industry groups, any group that might conceivably be related to your business. Develop content. Share it weekly with your new Network. Do it now.
From PMPA’s first-year experience, there may be a million and a half or so of your potential followers, customers, and maybe even potential employees out there waiting to find you. And, perhaps, 60,000 or so opportunities to teach those who are really interested in what you might have to say – the stuff that makes you an expert and that they really need to know.
Social networking. It’s not about selling. It’s about cultivating your market. Connecting. Establishing your expertise. Finding your voice. Being found. Connecting.
Social Networking – it’s Tools You Can Use. Pick your tool. Give it a try.