Social Media and the SME
A few months ago I was talking to the Chair of Leeds University Business School Advisory Board and we got on to the topic of #social media and how our business was exploiting this marketing channel. She went on to ask @polymerman to write a short blog on our experience of exploiting this important new channel of communication.
What do we do?
Our business plastribution.co.uk is a Supply Chain Management and Added Value Services business that happens to be primarily involved in the supply of plastic raw materials to UK processors. It is perhaps surprising to most that this niche B2B business area is highly competitive and therefore much of our efforts go into persuading customers that we should be their preferred supplier. Furthermore as the largest player in the market we also strongly believe that we can, should and will show thought leadership in the sector, and given that competitors are all too eager to copy what we do then this is most definitely a journey without destination.
What have we done?
First of all we have appointed a first class marketing agency to work in partnership with us so that we do our utmost to continuously deliver high quality content. Whilst at the heart of what we do lies our website we also understand that in an era where there is evermore competition for everybody’s attention we also have to be proactive in terms of taking the message to our target audience. Also as part of a customer satisfaction survey we took the opportunity to get feedback on both our current marketing activity and importantly on the communication preferences of our audience.
How have we done it?
Obviously the creation of relevant content, which appeals to the target audience, is a necessity, but trying to expand the breadth of the audience requires investment. In addition to developing a database within our CRM system we have also invested in using industry media to provide custom e-shots to their database to engage with a broader audience. We have also ensured that the creation of content is shared and that where particular expertise exists in terms of technical or commercial knowledge that these individuals are encouraged to provide personalized insights and these diffusion channels are proving ever more popular.
Is it working?
Most definitely. Along with positive feedback we have seen increased business activity and new business opportunities from our efforts.
What is the cost?
Whilst the cost of distribution is nil in the case of our own database, there is a real need to produce quality content and there is an obvious cost to ‘renting databases’ of target audiences. However these cost are competitive compared to traditional print advertising or website banners and clearly there is the opportunity to deliver much more content.
What is the future?
With ever increasing competition for time the need to deliver relevant content becomes ever more important. Furthermore compared to traditional print media the internet provides the opportunity to provide media rich and interactive content and here at Plastribution we are busy developing our marketing strategy to make use of these interesting opportunities.