Can social media work for industrial customers? In some cases, yes it can. In fact, some aspects of social media make perfect sense for companies selling industrial products to industrial buyers. We do, however, admit to a considerable level of frustration with many of the claims and broad, sweeping assertions being made about social media by its proponents. The following articles present our thoughts and opinions on theory and practice of social media.
Most industrial companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years carefully crafting their public image. Through corporate logos and style manuals, public relations, advertising, and community service programs. Yet many of these companies suddenly seem all too willing to surrender control over these images to the whims of a capricious public.
Assuming that the companies to which you wish to sell your products actually allow their employees to visit social media sites during work hours, why would you choose to sell through such an ineffective channel?
Every company screws up at one time or another. No matter how good it is, no matter how hard it tries, sooner or later every company gives its customers reasons to be angry. Only the most self-righteous among us would fault a company for getting it wrong.
If the name of the game in social media is thought leadership and the influence over consumer or corporate purchasing decisions that comes with it, shouldn't companies choose their best, brightest, and most knowledgeable people to engage the public?
Celebrities, sports teams, and news outlets aside, most of those involved in social media have fewer than 125 friends on Facebook and 130 followers on Twitter. Yet, they revel in magnitude of their audience. They regularly broadcast their likes, dislikes, opinions, and musings to individuals who are like-minded enough to accept and read them.
Lest we be labeled haters of all things electronic, we would like to go on record by saying that we firmly believe blogging can be a useful tool in industrial selling. Its value, however, lies far less in the area of social media than in that of search engine optimization.