Getting involved in a social media network is a rather easy exercise but knowing how to best leverage their power and reach for the benefit of your business requires knowledge, appreciation, diligence and persistence.
We researched over 100 powder coating websites of which only seven (7) had Twitter and Facebook profile links (Twitter and Facebook are the two most prominent social networks today). The results were alarming. It is difficult to understand why powder coating businesses would be averse to taking advantage of a proven marketing approach that is so cost effective (free). So, we dug deeper.
Why Companies Have Not Yet Adopted Social Media as a Marketing Strategy
According to the MarketingProfs, the Top Five reasons that companies do not adopt social media are:
- “Our target audience is not on Facebook and Twitter.”
- “I would like my staff to concentrate on more important things than playing on Facebook all day.”
- “We tried it; it didn’t work.”
- “We are just too busy.”
- “Could you do it for us?”
The aforementioned Top 5 Reasons are, in fact, ill-conceived and unfortunately, based on a view held by a narrow demographic. Further, it lends credence to our belief that Facebook and Twitter, in particular, are misunderstood. Initially, the buzz about Twitter was the ability to tweet from your PC, laptop, and smartphone. Common tweets centered around where one was and what one was doing at a given moment in time. We’ve heard so many customers and clients tell us that they don’t see the point in using a platform where you get to tell the world “that you’re sitting on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother“. This is their perception of Twitter – that it is something for people to do who have nothing to do. But, look beyond even the way some people use social media and hone in on the genius: its ability to communicate one-to-one and one-to-many quickly and with complete transparency. No longer do we have to wait for the morning paper to inform us of the previous days news. When news happens, we know instantly. When the dictator of Egypt falls, it’s not only CNN that’s on the ground sending reports and images; it’s also the people of Egypt using Twitter and Facebook to communicate their feelings, images and video. One day after Mubarek of Egypt was deposed, graffiti on the side of a prominent building read “Thank You Facebook”. No one was thanking the New York Times or CNN. If a pro athlete wants to communicate with fans and press directly about a game played, another player or a contract negotiation, he circumvents the interview process by tweeting and/or posting to his Facebook page. tweets . Even CNN – the TV network that got you your news before all others – communicates with the world through Twitter (and Facebook).
Facebook fan pages, as opposed to a personal page, are intended for use by businesses, organizations and groups. Facebook should serve as a complement to your website or blog. If you make the analogy that your website is like someone with a nicely pressed shirt tucked neatly inside of dress slacks then Facebook is the brother, also presentable, but with the shirt worn outside of a pair of jeans. Facebook let’s you let your hair down and present a fun and yet educational/informative side of yourself and your business. Facebook not only allows you to communicate textually with your fans, it also allows you to post photos, videos, and custom marketing collateral. And when you add custom applications to the mix, Facebook becomes a place to “hang out”. Custom Facebook application developers now offer all sorts of Facebook-specific tools to help your “page” come alive and speak in relevant terms with your fans and demographic in a way that is fun yet intended to help you increase website visitors and sales: product tools, shopping carts, contests, polls, sweepstakes, games, and visitor capture tools.
Given the quick and transparent one-to-one and one-to-many nature of Twitter and Facebook, it has become a useful marketing tool for businesses. And, it should be utilized to a greater extent than it is by powder coaters.
According to Social Media Today,
- In a recent study of high-level marketing executives, 70% plan new social media initiatives in 2010. 92% said they personally use LinkedIn, 56% use Facebook. While 28% planned to use internal resources to launch new initiatives, 25% turn to social media marketing consultants.
- Twitter is the best place to share news: 47% of the outbound traffic from Twitter goes to news sites, vs. 28% from Facebook, 18% from Digg and an imperceptible share from MySpace. Digg is the most technical; 12% of its outbound traffic goes to technology sites, vs. 10% from Twitter and 7% from Facebook.
- Nearly 50% of all Americans are now members of at least one social network… While social network use is highest among the young, 66% of people 25-34 years old and 50% of those aged 35-44 years have personal profile pages. 30% of social media users access a social media site “several times a day,” up from 18% in 2009.
- 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices
- YouTube now hosts more than 100 million videos and is the second largest search engine.
- 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations when making purchase decisions; just 14% trust advertising. (peer offer recommendations on social media, blogs and review sites)
- More than 1.5 million pieces of content (videos, photos, blog posts, links etc.) are shared on Facebook daily.
- Twitter demographic: 44% are between the ages of 18-34 years. 31% are 35-49 years old. 74% of twitterers have no kids at home. 50% are college graduates and 17% have post-grad degrees. A slight majority are female.
- A HubSpot study of more than 2,000 companies showed that, for businesses of all sizes, companies that have blogs have 79% more Twitter followers than those that don’t. Blogging “increases Twitter reach by 113% for B2B companies and 30% for B2C companies.”
- While many executives still dismiss Twitter as a waste of time, recent research suggests it is one of the most valuable social networks for business.
- A recent study concluded that almost 7% of all business web traffic goes to Facebook, twice as much as Google (3.4%) and well ahead of Yahoo! at 2.4 percent.
- Facebook demographic: Men are more likely to be single while women using Facebook are more likely to be married, engaged or in a relationship. The fastest growing segment in Facebook are FEMALES, aged 55-65 years.
- 68% of small to midsized business plan larger expenditures for social media. According to a HubSpot study, “not only can inbound marketing bring leads for less money but it can also double average monthly leads for small and medium-sized businesses.” Twitter reach is critical for increased lead generation: “Companies with 100 to 500 followers generated 146% more median monthly leads than those with 21 to 100 followers.”
How Can Powder Coaters Leverage the Power of Twitter?
It is time for powder coaters to adopt and embrace the power and reach of social media marketing. Over 500 million people worldwide use social media. Included in those numbers are businesses, organizations and groups because of the realization that social media has eliminated barriers to entry and leveled the playing field.
The first step is to devise a plan of action for Twitter and/or Facebook: what do you want to communicate with your demographic, your potential customers; how do you want to communicate (text, images, video) and, as importantly, who’s going to manage the accounts? Open free accounts with Twitter and Facebook. If you have video or are thinking of producing compelling video about your brand or message, open a YouTube account (channel). The primary objective is simply to get started. After you begin, use these social media platforms to express thoughts, ideas and opinions about your industry and the demographic that you serve.
“Among companies who say they are using social media in a recent Digital Brand Expressions survey, only 41% said they had a strategic plan in place to guide activities, and only 69% of those (28% of all social media-using companies) have set up metrics to measure the ROI of social media activities. Worse, on 29% of firms with a plan in place (12% of the total) had written social media policies in place for employees.” – Social Media Today
Talk to your followers on Twitter and your fans on Facebook as if they’re sitting across the table from you waiting to be sold on the benefits of powder coating. Do they want to know what household items can be powder coated? Talk to them about the benefits of restoring their metal front entry gate or their outdoor patio furniture sets. Most homeowners are going to either dispose of their patio sets or spray paint them. Begin educating them and how do you do that? Acquire followers and fans from your website by posting “Follow Us” notices in the header.
Engage the reader. Even if you only have one follower on Twitter, fan on Facebook or connection on LinkedIn, more will come if you stay with it. You must be persistent. If you want overnight success, then pay for it elsewhere. If you want sustained success, maintained a diligent attitude regarding your use of social media. Offer personal information or information about your brand. Briefly explain that which sets you apart from your powder coating competitors; talk about your PCI3000 certification; upload before/after pictures of your powder coated items with descriptions and a bit of content explaining the process; ask followers to vote on their favorite powder coated items; ask them what their favorite patio furniture colors are, and so on. The topics do not need to be profound but they do need to interest your followers or fans. That’s the hook. Don’t bore the consumer with dissertations on polymers and resins – that’s the job for the powder manufacturers. Instead, offer ideas and topics of discussion. This is the stage where many of the more sophisticated companies find themselves right now. They actively manage their social presence, test creative ideas, track quantitative metrics (visitors, sales) and analyze qualitative data (types of visitors, demographic info).
Is Social Media a One-time Effort?
By now, you understand that social media marketing requires a sustained effort. Engage with fun, entertaining, educational and informative content (text, images, video, contests, etc.). There are always more homeowners that need to know that their outdoor patio furniture set can be powder coated, not spray painted or thrown away.
If you want an idea of how to manage aspects of social media marketing, take a look at how we engage our Twitter powder coating followers. If you need help setting up and managing your social media marketing, contact Lancer Media. They helped us ignite our social media efforts. They can locate your potential customers, engage them and convert them.