According to a recent study by Thomas Industrial Network, industrial companies that aren’t embracing social media, in a belief that competitors are doing the same, risk losing business opportunities. At present, 68% of small to midsized industrial suppliers are engaging with customers via social media, affording themselves an advantage over other firms who have yet to start.
Thomas says that more than 3,000 companies surveyed regularly use social media to market their products, generate leads, answer questions, conduct research, and gain new business – utilizing LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, industry forums and blogs. Thomas incorporated its Industrial Marketer survey to query manufacturers and distributors, and surveyed buyers with its Industrial Purchasing Barometer. The studies have shown that buyers research distributors and rely on social proofing in making purchases, and 56% of those surveyed stated that suppliers need to establish a social media presence if they want their business. As for the supply end, 41% use social media to provide product information, 27% go on social networks to find new customers and prospects and 20% use networks to gauge what their customers think of them.
Susan Orr, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing at Thomas Industrial Network states that “the industrial sector is awakening to the fact that social media isn’t just a passing consumer fancy, but an essential part of any branding and marketing program – Savvy suppliers also understand that the most effective social media programs need constant care and feeding. To influence prospective buyers, suppliers need to continually update their social media content, and to be actively engaging in and initiating conversations.”
Still, many industrial suppliers don’t possess the in-house segment dedicated to manage social media. Thomas Industrial Network has just launched a new channel in response to this – The Social Media Program, which helps industrial suppliers get connected on LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, Facebook and Google+. Thomas handles all aspects of social media participation, from strategy sessions, goal-setting, and generating and posting unique content for each outfit.
Phil Paranicas, Director of Digital Media, Thomas Industrial Network, says, “we’re thrilled to offer a turn-key and affordable program that leverages Thomas’ 115 years of experience bringing buyers and suppliers of industrial products and services together. – We have made it easy for any supplier to participate in social networking, and to begin reaching and influencing those prospects who regularly use these platforms.”