Dispatch from #SMMW14: Social Media is for YOU!

… yes, even you!

Right now I am at the wonderful Social Media Marketing World conference to learn how AMT can better improve its advocacy efforts through the use of social media. My big takeaway from just the first day: No matter what business you’re in, no matter how big (or small) your staff, EVERYONE who wants to make their voice heard absolutely needs to embrace social media.

When it comes to social media around the manufacturing industry, my experience is that we’re on two very different sides of the street: Some companies have gone all in and embraced a variety of channels in their marketing and communications strategy. Others have taken a much more resistant path and choose to stay away.

“I (or we) don’t have time.” “Isn’t that just a fad?” “Oh, my kid is on there – I just don’t get it.” “Complete waste of time!” “It’s just so confusing – all these different sites come up and I don’t know which ones to use.”

And yet, I think that anyone who explores what’s really going on in this space will be very surprised to see the level of conversation that’s happening – especially in manufacturing! It goes from conversational to deeply technical. It’s passionate and engaged. It’s an amazing way to make connections with like-minded people who want to tell the world that manufacturing is great!

One session I attended this morning was all about using employees as your best social media advocates. After all, they work there, and they likely understand your company and products far better than anyone else. They are passionate about your brand. (And as the presenter noted, if your employees want to post bad things about you on social media, you don’t have a social media problem – you have a company culture problem, or a staffing problem.)

That’s why it makes good sense to allow your employees to be your very best advocates over social media. If you have policies that discourage your employees from posting about your company, what is the motive behind that? Have you actually been burned, or are you just afraid of the unknown? Social media guidelines are great, but they just need to follow common sense – take responsibility for what you post. Identify yourself and your role and the company. Ask permission before posting about vendors and partners.

Different channels lend themselves to different types of content, but that’s a discussion for an entirely separate post (or several). If you don’t have an active strategy already, there are a host of resources to help you get started. I would encourage you to explore them.

Social media isn’t a fad, and it isn’t going away. It isn’t just noise or a means of wasting time. It’s where real conversation and real engagement is taking place – even in manufacturing! Leave a comment here … let’s get the ball rolling!

Categories: Executive Corner

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