How to use social media to help define your company’s image

I’ve made a few comments recently which suggest that when it comes to industrial marketing, I don’t think much of the “social media” stuff which is exciting so many people at the moment. I was really just trying to say that you shouldn’t invest time or money in (say) setting up a Twitter feed if your main marketing aim at the moment is to find new ways to generate sales enquiries. But as I’ve also written, social media doesn’t necessarily require substantial investment in time or money, and in terms of positioning and branding your organisation, it can play a really important role.

Here’s an example (for which I’m grateful to the Small Company Big Image blog) of an industrial supplier in the US which is really using social media to support the image it has decided to create for itself as a “problem solver” in its field, temperature sensing. I’m sure you’ll agree from a look around the Burns Engineering site that it does this really well. Note the way that instead of a link saying “email”, it says “email a temp expert”. There’s a blog which is getting a post every week or two – nothing too demanding for either the company or its readers – and the site is bright, modern and attractive. Everything contributes to the desired image of the company being an approachable bunch of informed folks. However, there’s more going on behind the scenes to support the brand, including regular emails, polls and even a fledgling Twitter community for temperature measurement. Small Company Big Image has a case study on what Burns is doing (Part 1Part 2Part 3) if you’d like to read more.

There are plenty of companies doing this sort of thing at the moment, but this is just a particularly nice example. I’ve helped two companies set up blogs in the past month, and they’re both on the same course. When they write a blog entry, it’s sent out by email automatically to anyone who’s subscribed; it appears automatically on an RSS feed; and it gets posted to a Twitter stream and a Facebook page. In addition, the blog entries can be sent out in a group as a company newsletter at whatever interval is appropriate. We’re providing the information in whatever format the customer wants, and the cost is minimal (or nothing). It all gets done without anybody needing to lift a finger after hitting “publish” on the blog entry. If you’re interested in finding out more about getting a company blog created and written, details are on our website.

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