Picture this: Someone is thumbing through yellow pages. Their fingertips are sliding down, slowing down. They’ve stopped on an ad —money well spent — the phone will be ringing any minute now. Only, this is not really happening here and now — the DeLorean has taken us back to the past.
In the here and now, end-users want and need more information than ever. Although the information has changed — it is now slick, lean and coming at warp-speed — one thing remains the same: It is still being delivered to people’s doorsteps. It is being delivered to LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, because most consumers have moved to this neighborhood: Social media.
It’s true that social media can feel more like a maze than a neighborhood. But when advertising in print, businesses are not involved in every step of laying out, printing, binding and delivery. And the same is true for social media; businesses are not expected to be experts at every stage of the process. Reliable marketing companies know the new neighborhood like the back of their hands. It is their job to consider and develop the best strategy for the ways and messages you want to communicate and who you want to communicate with. You can depend on them to make sure you are navigating these streets efficiently and effectively. A valuable social media presence means you will be getting more mileage from each decision and investment you are already making. Jessica Kolaitis, VP of Operations at TMI, says: “We recognized our need for a more organized and consistent approach to social media. Working with a seasoned professional like Bran Marketing has helped us best leverage the benefits of these channels. Bran has helped us better communicate the advantages of working with our Agency and the manufacturers we represent.”
When done effectively, social media communications improve your customer service. It’s natural for customers to look for the information they need in the same way they are searching for every other kind of information. And they continue to need accurate and updated information so they can make solid business decisions. The form and content of the information you provide should be driven by the same principles you are already applying to every decision you make; having your client’s best interests at heart and ensuring your company thrives.
“Over the past several years, we have seen a need to be more present online, especially on social media,” says Dean Corrigan, principal of Minnesota-based FourMation Sales. “We knew that in order to grow our audience, we needed to engage with the younger generation of plumbers coming up the ranks – and that age group is all online. We wanted to connect and communicate with others on the expertise of our agency, as well as to support the marketing efforts of the manufacturers we represent.”
As you continue to invest key resources to build stronger bonds through technical support, lunch and learns, setting up counter days, attending local industry events, trade shows and more, you can use social media to expand and strengthen your networking efforts. Sharing on these channels does not substitute these forms of interaction you are so carefully cultivating, but it does multiply the number of people you reach. It gives the people who were there with you a chance to remember the great time spent together (and share it with others, in an extension of traditional word-of-mouth), and it should also make sure those who weren’t present can’t wait to join you next time. Your teams have worked hard to develop their body of knowledge and experience, which together with their work ethic, has been key in earning them a well-deserved reputation for excellent service. They can be relied on to rise up to all kinds of challenges, exceeding expectations when troubleshooting, developing solutions to ensure clients are operating at full capacity, presenting new lines with game-changing technology innovation, providing reliable after-sales service. By proudly celebrating their wins and achievements online you are not only honoring their efforts, but you also give businesses that are not your clients yet a chance to seek out your great people and profit from their service.
“Investing in cutting edge technology has been key to our success,” says Charlie Parham, CEO, principal at Texas-based Pepco Sales and Marketing. “And our investment in Social Media follows the same principle. Just like in all areas of business, it takes time, consistency, and a team effort to succeed. Our team, led by Rachel Edens, Pepco’s Marketing Manager, works hard to have a fine-tuned, strong online presence so we continue to be at the forefront of the industries we serve.”
More and more manufacturers are watching closely how their products appear on social media channels. Having a strong and steady presence on these channels provides an effective way for them to appreciate how you are professionally and creatively showcasing the quality lines you represent. How are you actively working and investing in making sure that each one of them is shining to their best advantage, in full view of its target markets?
A good social media presence may operate at high speed, but that does not mean it is driving all over the place. It can only do strong legwork for you if it is fully aligned with the way you are already doing business; if it is loyal to your values and your true priorities. It should be planned, designed and rolled out thoughtfully, smoothly and consistently. The social channels you use will be strategically chosen and used to tell your company’s story, from its very foundation to the constant dedication and hard work it has taken to build up your brand and grow your business over the years. Recognizing your brand and immediately associating it with your areas of expertise, your commitment to this industry, your qualities, the value you continue to add every step of the way should at all times come first and foremost, so every client and potential client knows you are tuned in to help them achieve their top performance.
Because the objective is still the same: Instead of fingertips landing on the Yellow pages, you want eyeballs stopping on a screen, and fingers clicking on your content. You want people to choose to do business with you.
So, let’s bring the DeLorean back. And drive the present into the future, on all cylinders.