Tag Archives: Social Media

How social are good suppliers?

We are now all well acquainted by now with Social media, with all age groups using or experimenting  in using social media  to various extents.

Lots of companies who operate in a B2B market are using social media but are they using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin to engage customers?

Are they using social media successfully for sales, product or service development or customer service?

Can a buyer use the social media presence of a company to help qualify this company as an future potential supplier?

Ask yourself the following questions as you review social media channels:

  • What type of information is being posted? Either out of date employee news or competitions? or is it  interesting and current news of product developments or company performance?
  • Do the Social Media activities engage their customers as opposed to just being a on-line general PR activities?
  • Has a company made any genuine attempts to gain feedback from customers on their products or services?

I suppose the first and quickest way you will judge anything on social media is by the quality of information being posted. Has it any value to you in your buying decision process  whether it be for social or business purposes.

 

Companies using a combination of social media channels should pay equal attention to making sure quality is the same for each channel. Just focus on specific channels you intend and can keep updated on a regular basis rather than covering all bases with mediocre content.

 

Having a consistent message through all your social media whether it be customer engagement or PR gives a clear and quality message to the viewer. Try not to mix your objectives in any one social media channel.

 

The nature of the content is also important. News on actual product or manufacturing developments and performance of the company make a better impact to a potential buyer than news on lighter or non-critical PR events taking place around the company.

 

Good relevant authentic content (sourced from the companies own activities) can strengthen your company’s position as a reliable supplier. Poor content or abandoned channels at best do not enhance your reputation and at worse can give an impression of negativity.

 

Some good examples of B2B companies in manufacturing using social media are

 

Graphicast ( a company producing precision engineered metal parts)

https://www.facebook.com/Graphicast/timeline

 

Essentra Packaging

https://www.facebook.com/PackagingResolved

 

Steripack Packaging Company

https://www.facebook.com/SteriPack

 

Bronway (a company specialisation in automation solutions) use of Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNsl9wJR1XBr5zTYqv4RILA

 

Lonza: Supplier of speciality chemicals and custom manufacturer

https://twitter.com/LonzaGroup

 

Catalent Pharma: Drug Development

https://twitter.com/CatalentPharma

Anyone for Social Media?

 

social media logos

What are scientific based companies doing on social media? Are popular services such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ been used in successfully promoting and selling scientific services? These are the questions I set out to answer in a small piece or research involving 10 well-known companies.

I selected a mix of  companies (please see tha table of results at the end of this blog) that are providing development. manufacturing or packaging services. I then reviewed their use (if any) of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I tried to identify the official site for the company rather than for a company subsidiary or third-party activity on behalf of a company.

For the purpose of this research I didn’t include LinkedIn, as companies seem to have now, as a default,  some type of listing on Linkedin. This service tends to be very recruitment orientated, good for networking, but lacks the graphical and interactive features of the other social media sites.

Also I didn’t look this time at YouTube. The use of video and therefore YouTube  to promote a company’s products and services, though individual videos and also now through ‘channels’ is becoming more popular. But a company needs good video content to support this and may companies have been slow to develop this particular forum maybe due to the cost of making good quality video. I will however look at this medium as I extend this study for future blogs.

What is Social Media been used for?

The main categories of use of all social media by the companies included in the research were (in no order of importance)

  • Updates on general company news
  • Employee news and activities (charitable, company days out e,t,c)
  • Recruitment, individual job notifications or background to working in the company.
  • Product or service details or information
  • Notification of exhibition/seminar attendance and reporting

What I found…….

What was very interesting from the research was the overall popularity of Twitter over Facebook and Google+. It is been used broadly over the all the categories given above. This could be for the reason that it is still a quick way to post information due to the brevity demanded by the service. It is the nearest to a traditional ticker news service of the past but is also now allowing graphics to improve its visual impact.

Facebook and Google+ offer text, graphic and interactive features but are only used for limited purposes with companies opting out of the interactive features. Both services are used  for similar tasks with content been duplicated and used on both channels. Facebook has still a good lead on Google+ in overall terms of uptake by companies. Google+ is only been used in a small number of cases by companies and was much more likely than Facebook just to have just an address and nothing else. I am not sure why companies establish a Facebook,Google+ or twitter account and presence and then abandon them with no content or updating.  I think that this can be counter-productive as users start judging your company simply by the lack of activity on your social media accounts!

Some of the companies that were surveyed that are  using social media are not providing information or links to their Twitter, Facebook, Google+ sites from their own company websites! A reason maybe that company websites tend to be updated only from time to time and maybe not been updated with the relevant links. But a good social media strategy should have the different mediums complimenting each other and be integrated allowing a user to flow between them plugging into the strengths of each activity/chanel.

What I didn’t see in the survey was the use of social media for customer service or support. This is proving to be a very popular use of social media among other industrial sectors especially in a B2C context. But in this small piece of research I didn’t see evidence of social media been used to interact with customers for customer services actions i.e. recording customer issues, complaints, feedback e.t.c.

Also I didn’t see the use of social media to gain sales leads through requests for information from users (contact forms e.t.c) when accessing information available through the channels. This can be done through so-called   ‘calls for actions’. In return for access to content such as white papers,slides or new/old webinars the details of individuals and companies can be recorded and followed up on. So I would conclude that social media is not actively employed in direct sales activities or information gathering and gaining customer/user feedback but more extending the reach and purpose of existing company websites and linkedin activities.

Below is a table of results for the companies covered in the research.

 Company  Type of  Services             Facebook (activities)          Twitter (activities)         Google+ (activities)
   Lonza Manufacturing
  • Employee News
  • Social news
  • Product/Service Information
  • Company News
  • Careers
  • Product/service information
  • Basic  company details (address, website url)
  Covance Development
  • General company information
  • Events
  • Product/service information
  • exhibitions/seminars
  • Basic company details
  SGS Life  Science Development
  • Basic  company details
  • Basic company  details
  • Basic company details
 Haupt   Pharma Manufacturing
  • None
  • None
  • None
 Recipharm Manufacturing
  • None
  • None
  • None
  Aesica Manufacturing
  • Product/service information
  • Employee news
  • Company news
  • Exhibitions/seminars/webcasts
  • None
  • None
  Eurofins Laboratory
  • None
  • Limited (USA only)
  • Basic(company details)
  Patheon Development
  • None
  • Product/service information
  • Employee information
  • Company news
  • Exhibitions/seminar attendance
  • None
  Metrics Inc Development
  • None
  • Product/service information
  • Exhibition/seminar attendance
  • Company information
  • None
CapsCanada Manufacturing
  • None
  • Product/service information
  • Product/service information
Chesapeake Packaging
  • Product/service information
  • Company news
  • employee news
  • None
  • Product/service information
  • Company news
  • employee news