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.
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.