Does social media marketing matter for B2B? Part III: Have you had your Tweet today?
Published: August 1st, 2011
MAPI members said that Twitter was most effective for connecting with current customers and potential customers, and for addressing service issues. Other uses include keeping customers informed of "relevant company information and production information," and other companies use Twitter as a "crisis communications" tool.
Mold component supplier DME Company recently expanded its technical resources for molders and moldmakers through two new channels - a Twitter account and the use of Quick Response (QR) codes in several print advertisements. DME's Twitter account provides brief, timely updates to customers, prospects and the industry on DME products as well as company and industry news. The Twitter account aligns with two of DME's existing social media channels - its YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Bob Starr, director of global marketing for Milacron, DME's parent company, believes that while social media is "somewhat new," it's the way younger people like to communicate. "As time goes on, with younger people so ingrained in social media, it will become part of the fabric of business," Starr commented. "We in the B2B area need to be early adapters and understand how it works and how to use it more effectively as a marketing tool."
Starr added that a Facebook "like" is actually an endorsement. "We have "friends," he said. "Still, we struggle with how much effort to put into social media. It's small audience and a small part of our overall marketing budget, but we definitely want to keep up with this as a part of our overall marketing efforts. We're definitely getting responses."
Another company, SelfLube a Coopersville, MI, company that has been around for more than 20 years serving the mold, die and special components markets, is gaining awareness of its products through social media. While SelfLube recognizes that social media hasn't been fully adopted by its customers in the mold and die industries, the company has been able to generate "fans" and "followers" they couldn't reach by phone or e-mail. SelfLube manufactures mold components such as bushings, gibs, wear strips, parting line locks, lifter slides, and related items - about 7000 standard part numbers in all, many of which are self-lubricating.
According to SelfLube, the company hopes to interact with not only the people within the industry that need its products, but also with students who will become future engineers and business owners. "These days people prefer to communicate electronically and if we have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, the more we are being seen and establishing a presence," explained Kris Prisecaru, head of inside sales for SelfLube. "The purpose of using social media is to get word out quickly to fans and followers about upcoming events and news about the company. It's also a great way for SelfLube to evolve and reach out to their customers and enforce the importance of service and products."
Jordan Bock, marketing manager for SelfLube, said that when it comes to communicating in the mold industry, quotes and orders continue to be one-on-one by phone or email. "It's a tool for companies out there who don't know what we do," said Bock. "It gives us better visibility and shows that we have more than one tool available for people to gain knowledge about who we are and what we do. People who don't know us can see what others are saying about us. It legitimizes us as a company."
SelfLube is on Facebook, but they're actually doing more with Twitter. "With Facebook you have to be a 'friend,'" explained Bock. "With Twitter, even if you're not following SelfLube you can see our posts and read what others say about us. With Facebook, it's only our fans that see us. It really surprised us how effective Twitter can be."
As a way of generating new customers, Bock believes it is not really there for this industry. "The older generation moldmakers are not really used to this," she said. "But I'm seeing more moldmakers on Twitter than Facebook because Twitter is faster paced."
MAPI's survey bears this out: "Members told us that they find Twitter the most effective vehicle for two purposes: connecting with current and potential customers, and addressing service issues. Although no social media vehicles scored particularly well for addressing service issues, Twitter was the best of the bunch.
While the goal of marketing for companies is to develop their brand, drive demand for their services and ultimately make sales, the MAPI survey analysis noted that "worrying too much about being able to tie social media efforts to increased sales misses the point. When starting out with social media, focus on listening and building an engaged audience. Next, share content with them that will drive them towards your website to learn more. Only then can you use social media to drive sales and resolve service issues."