There has been a rather big deal made of social media tools, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, causing some amount of concern about whether or not to belong and participate in them. Some people believe these to be invaluable to hawking one’s product and services, whichapplies to every industry, including our LIMS and Laboratory Informatics industry.

Early on, there seemed to be the general thought that everyone should join every one of these social media tools. After having these tools around for some time, things began to settle into place. People realized these were just marketing tools like any other marketing tool. They have their place in your company’s marketing mix, but cannot be the only thing in there. Nor is it important to join each of these, but to focus on those that work for your business and its style and that you will truly participate in.

I will speak about where GeoMetrick Enterprises has gone with these merely to share my thoughts with those of you reading who are thinking about how you do or want to use these tools. Obviously, what works for GeoMetrick Enterprises is not a template for how to use social media for the next company.

I tried it out and I can see how it works well for certain types of information. However, there is nothing happening in our industry that I don’t get from other sources that I need to know about, immediately.

Just for laughs, I have just entered my Twitter account, actually with the idea of finally just deleting it, and it tells me that the three people it suggests I follow are: Tim Hardaway, Jr. (baseketball star), Stephen Colbert (comedian), and Kim Kardashian (media personality). Maybe Kim wants help buying an ELN? No, I’m just kidding, but I’m underwhelmed with these suggestions, except for Colbert, because I could sure use a good laugh.

Also, there is an interesting tweet from Thermo regarding how to use your Nalgene water bottle as a French press coffee pot. While I’m certainly always interested in hearing more about coffee, I don’t need to belong to Twitter to get lots of coffee news.

Actually, I think I will hold-off on deleting my Twitter profile. Every once in awhile, I do enjoy seeing the comedians’ tweets, as I do enjoy the occasional one-liner. But, still, it’s not something I’m going to use for my company.

GeoMetrick Enterprises used to have a FaceBook profile, but I ended up deleting it. It felt strange for my company to “friend” people and it didn’t seem to be a useful place to meet industry people.

In the past, customers have asked my opinion on whether or not they should have a FaceBook page and should “friend” people they work with. My opinion is that, whomever is in there will see much of what you’re posting. While there are some controls on that, put it in your mind that the presence you create is the impression you leave with those employers and co-workers. If that presence is copacetic with that, then that’s fine. If it’s not, then don’t include those people.

On that note, I was just yesterday reading a marketing manual for authors, written by an author who is also a marketing professional, and who does self-promote her own books. She tells authors to link everything together that you use and include all people you know in every avenue that you have. She’s telling authors to cross-promote themselves. This means you would Tweet your FaceBook updates and such, and most of these tools have relatively easy ways to do this.

But she also says what I said, which is that you should focus only on those that you can manage to keep active. She also says that you should make sure every one of these shows that you’re a professional author and, as such, you should not hesitate to cross-promote with them. So, if you can keep each of your social media tools professional, then don’t hesitate to link them together, even in our industry. Great marketing advice often transcends an industry and hers was an example of that, so I’m passing this along.

I have set my focus on LinkedIn because I can commit to keeping up-to-date on what’s going on in there, accepting link requests, looking for others to link with, and other such activities. I have found this to be the best place to find others in our industry to link with and, quite often, if I’ve lost contact with someone, this is the place I find them, and vice versa.

On the other hand, I would not say it’s been a good place for new business leads, necessarily. It seems to be a great place for people looking for jobs and recruiters to get together, even though those people I know looking for jobs still don’t seem to land positions based on these connections. However, I seldom get customers coming to me through this tool. Yet, one other good purpose for it has been to help cross-promote with my articles from my blog and newsletter, as well as to publicize where I might be speaking, visiting, and that type of thing. When I have “news” about myself or my company, I send it here instead of Twitter, although I realize some companies do both.

Other Marketing
Before we all forget, there are other types of marketing we need to do for our businesses. While it’s nice to get out there and get back in-touch with old customers and colleagues, or to go read the one-liners of all the comedians in Twitter…oops…I mean to say that we’d go read the tweets of those companies with great new discoveries and information (cough, cough), at this point, the world has come to realize that these tools aren’t the be-all-end-all of marketing. It’s called a “marketing mix” because, well, because it’s supposed to be a mix of things.

And, for those people who are truly great marketers, they seem to find all types of ways to make themselves stand out. I think I’d previously mentioned someone in our industry who is doing well with printed newsletters to make his company stand out. He found a way to stand out and he made it work for his company. That’s what good marketing is all about and it’s not something we set and let go forever, but something we have to constantly revisit and adjust.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

7 Thoughts to “Social Media Marketing Comments”

  1. Nancy Ridenhour

    I have been telling people to remember that it is social media. That means relationships. Think about the relationship you want to have and then determine the ones for you. I like Facebook for some people and info, I like LinkedIn for the ones that I want to stay in contact with from my business world. I haven’t used Twitter in a long time. Never could get on when I wanted to and I am just not tweeting during live performance and TV shows.

  2. Well, I logged in with my twitter account in order to post a comment here. Frankly, I use twitter more for logging into things than anything else. When I post stuff on Linkedin or my blog, it ends up showing up on twitter. Past that, I do not understand the value of Twitter to LIMS.

    Facebook, I don’t get it at all. It seems to me that it is consumer to consumer and business to consumer oriented. Consumer is its focus. Again, no use to LIMS.

    Linkedin, well, what can I say…. I love it. It works at so many levels. I have found great consultants that help my company daily with our projects. We have gained a lot of new customers through it because they are part of the group that I run. The group has NO SPAM period. It truly is a case of members helping members. That attracts a lot of new users and free and open information is the key.

    Now we are just starting local chapters of our Linkedin Group so that we have a physical meetup place in strategic cities throughout the world. For local groups I am using Meetup. I am currently using my main Linkedin group to invite new members to our Atlanta Meetup group. Claude Goldzsmidt is using Meetup to create the local LIMSforum chapter in the Netherlands. I think Linkedin and Meetup make a natural combo.

  3. MeetUp is a particularly interesting concept as an on-line tool that actually gets people together in-person. It just goes to show that there can be an on-line tool that not only doesn’t tend to prevent people from meeting face-to-face, but whose main purpose is to get them face-to-face.

  4. Gloria, do you have a physical group in your kneck of the woods currently? While you may not find many classic labware, thermo type peers in your area or enough of them to create a local group, if you are willing to go beyond classic LIMS and include LIS, it might be fun and interesting.

    The LIS world is much, much larger than the LIMS world. For instance there are over 200,000 CLIA certified labs in the US. In my area alone (GA) there are over 8,000. This gives a huge market for members in the local groups.

  5. Cleveland is truly the place for a group that includes LIS people. Yet, even considering a large percentage of people I ran across there were healthcare-related, the group we started there couldn’t sustain itself.

    Here in Ann Arbor, LIMS, LIS and ELN appear to be completely unimportant to people except for NSF, whose system is so mature they appear uninterested in these matters, especially with the exit of Pfizer. In Michigan, on the whole, there are systems around, but not any kind of concentration or interest that would cause me to try to start a group here as I did in every other city.

    So, no, I’m not planning to spend any of my time working to start a group here as I had in all the other cities I’d lived in. If anyone around here reads this and wants to start a group around here, I’d work to support that and show up at meetings, but I’m not going to start it, myself.

  6. With Ann Arbor being somewhat close to the Detroit area, it might not be too bad. I just did a quick search of members in my Linkedin Group who live in that area and there are 299. I may be able to get some folks I know to start building up a Meetup Group around your area. Who knows, it might work. I know this much it is a LOT OF WORK to make a local group “work”. I will certainly let you know if we actually make one there.

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