Getting Started on Social Networks: A Guide for the Process Industry

Getting Started on Social Networks: A Guide for the Process Industry

Have you ever looked at a celebrities Twitter account and thought, ‘I wish my company had that many followers!’ I certainly have.

(Justin Bieber is followed by 40,000,000 people on Twitter.) 

As someone who looks after the social media accounts for Process Industry Forum, I look forward to the day when I stroll into work on a Tuesday morning and see that we have just acquired 39,000,000 Twitter followers.

The idea that you could reach almost 40,000,000 people in a few clicks is absolutely mind-boggling.

Of course, your business is unlikely to acquire 40,000,000 followers (unless of course, you start recording some cheesy pop music aimed at young girls), but what if you could reach a few thousand people relevant to your industry in a single ‘tweet’ or ‘post’?

No need for those time-consuming email campaigns or costly mail shots with a lowly 2% open rate. These people want to know what your company has to say – they have decided to follow you.

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Here is our step-by-step guide on how to establish your company on Social Networks:

Step 1: Choose Your Social Networks

This is the most important stage and one you must think about, I’ve given a little explanation on each social network…

If you feel that you will be posting short/ frequent messages, then Twitter is the Social Network for you. It is easy to engage with your followers as well as being able to reach out to a larger audience by putting a #(hash tag) within your tweet.

LinkedIn is a professional network where you can connect with other people from your industry. It is possible to set a page up for your company so that professionals can follow updates, but be careful as LinkedIn isn’t really seen as the place for posting up lots and lots of frequent updates (see Twitter for that).

Facebook is the biggest of any Social Media channel, however, I have found that it is much harder to acquire a ‘like’ to your Facebook page than it is for someone to ‘follow’ your Twitter account. Facebook is great in a B2C environment but, because of people’s habits, B2B is nowhere near as popular. Sure, create a page for your business so that you have a presence, but don’t focus all of your time here.

Google+ is the one that I feel could really work for companies within the Process Industry; however, more companies need to get on board and use it properly. The functionalities of Google+ are far superior to those of Facebook and Twitter. The ability to easily create circles for different groups of people so that you can push out your notifications to a certain demographic is ideal. ‘Communities’ are great if you want to generate discussion. ‘Hangouts’ could be the future of conference calls as it encourages video calls between multiple people at the same time right from your computer.

There are other channels that could be utilised such as YouTube, Vimeo or Pinterest but if you are just setting out on your Social Media adventure make sure you get the first ones right (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook) before you expand into other channels.

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Step 2: Register on the Social Networks

Assuming you’ve chosen your desired Social Networks, now you have to register. Remember to create usernames that are relevant to your company, if the desired username is taken then think outside the box. We went for @PIFalert on Twitter as we intend to use Twitter as a vehicle for communicating updates on the PIF website. If registering on LinkedIn or Google+, you will first have to create a personal account before you can create a company page.

Click on the following links to register:

Twitter: Click Here    Facebook: Click Here    Google+: Click Here    LinkedIn: Click Here

YouTube: Click Here    Vimeo: Click Here    Pinterest: Click Here

 *Please note, if you have signed up for Google+ then you do not need to register again for YouTube as they both work off the same Google account*

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Step 3: Designing your Profile Pages

Ok, so you’ve registered on the social networks, you will then be prompted to create your profiles. This is important, as first impressions are key.

If choosing multiple social networks make sure your profiles are in-line. You don’t want the ‘General Info’ sections reading differently across your Social Networks as it might look messy and unprofessional.

Choose a profile picture and cover photo for your page, these help with the visual aesthetics and create a little bit of initial engagement. How about your companies logo as the profile picture? People will automatically be put off if they see that you don’t have any pictures on your pages.

Have a look at our Social Network pages for a little inspiration on how to go about making your pages look professional…

Twitter: Click Here    Facebook: Click Here    Google+: Click Here    LinkedIn: Click Here

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Step 4: Introducing Yourself in that first Post or Tweet

This, I find is a great way to get your page started in terms of content. Write a short paragraph introducing your business to the social network.

Example – ‘Hello Twitter, we’re new here, follow us for the latest updates from [insertcompanyname]! #followus #[insertcompanynamehere]’

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Step 5 – Promote Your Account

Bring your business cards into the 21st century by including the links to your Social Network accounts so that people can find and follow you after you’ve finished that important business meeting.

Send out an email to your contacts informing them of your presence on the Social Networks, this will almost certainly get you a few follows or likes.

If using Twitter or Google+, include # (hashtags) in your posts. These make it easy for people who aren’t following you to search for your tweets using that keyword.

Get peoples attention! Following users, posting directly at users and including users in your posts will most certainly attract their attention. You then have to ensure that when they click through onto your profile, you have posts and stories relevant to what they are posting about to ensure that they follow you back, there’s no point contacting people who will have no interest in what you’re talking about!

TOP TIP: If you find a relevant user, have a look in their ‘followers’ or ‘following’ tabs on their accounts, 9 times out of 10 you will find more and more relevant users by using this method.

If scrawling through peoples follower lists isn’t your thing, then maybe you should look into advertising your page on the social networks themselves. It is possible to target a specific audience so that your advert only appears on relevant users’ homepage.

Don’t be put off if the followers don’t come flying in, the first few followers are always the hardest to gather.

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Step 6 – Maintain Your Page

Users are automatically put off following someone if they haven’t posted for over a week. It makes it look as though your company has abandoned the account and people will avoid it.

Hootsuite is a great Social Networking tool that enables you to keep on top of your pages. You can connect all your different accounts and schedule updates on specific times and/or dates. This tool can be a lifesaver and is great if you want to dedicate maybe an hour of your day to schedule the posts that will be published for the remainder of the week.

If you are the owner of a smartphone then it is easy to stay up-to-date with the activity on your pages. Make sure you reply to people right away if they ask you a question or follow you as this can encourage engagement. Why not thank somebody if they follow you? Let them know that you have taken note of their appreciation and that they aren’t just another of your 40,000,000 followers!!

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Step 7 – Make Sure You Follow us…

Hopefully this has helped you on your quest to conquer Social Media. If you have any further questions then feel free to get in touch with us here at Process Industry Forum and don’t forget to follow us:

Twitter: Click Here    Facebook: Click Here    Google+: Click Here    LinkedIn: Click Here

Ps. if you do happen to acquire 40,000,000 followers then feel free to give us a mention!

Process Industry Forum

www.processindustryforum.com

 

Alex Wall

Engineering & Manufacturing Blogger & Writer.

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