‘Using social media? There aren’t enough hours in the day!’

Is that what you’re thinking? Well, yes, social media does require effort but, used effectively, it is time well spent as others have found.

Back in 2015, a LinkedIn survey of over 450 SMEs found 93% used social media for growth. Nearly 70% felt it was important for marketing their business, plus gaining and retaining their customers. Imagine what those figures could be now.

So, before you reject the idea, why not invest the next 2 minutes checking out our 7 top tips for social media success in promoting your welding business:

1.     Be strategic – have clear business reasons and goals for your social media activity. Don’t just ‘do’ social media for the sake of it. Having a Facebook page because ‘everyone else has’ will not unlock the full potential of that platform.

2.     Integrate it with other promotional activity – social media will bring you more value if it is a part of your overall marketing effort. For example it can be used to increase participation in planned events.

3.     Understand your potential audience – your choice of social media (see below) and the messages you share must be informed by clear decisions on, and an understanding of, who you are trying to reach. Is your primary audience potential clients, influencers or other stakeholders?

4.     Choose your channels – people often lump together the many different social media platforms but there are significant differences between, for example, Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is about connecting with people and establishing relationships before sharing content. Twitter, on the other hand, is all about the actual information shared, the tweets. Content shared on Twitter is more instantaneous but its shelf life is shorter. You must consider who you wish to reach, with what message, and then make your social media channel choices.

5.     Engage, don’t sell – hard marketing on social media simply doesn’t work. Consider the 1 in 7 rule – only 1 in 7 posts should overtly promote your business. The others should add value to your audience through information, advice and tips like these!

6.     Personalise your message – it’s important that your social media content is credible and authentic. You have great stories to tell – so share them. Syndicated content which is mass produced by external agencies should be avoided. Its topics may relate to your audience but (a) it will not contain your perspective, advice or comment and (b) people scanning competitor websites may see it there as well.

7.     Be patient – it will take time to gain traction with your audience but, when you do if you follow the above steps, it will be based on their genuine interest in what you offer and their belief that it provides value to them. That’s gold dust and creates an engaged social media following.

So whether you use YouTube to demonstrate your welding expertise, Twitter to share news of a business success or Facebook to celebrate your team’s achievements, social media has the potential to reach entirely new audiences and potential customers who also engage in social media and can’t see you at present.

Can you afford to ignore it?

Are you looking to develop the skills your business needs to remain competitive?  The Welders’ Toolkit from BOC provides a range of practical advice and guidance on skills, process efficiencies and technologies to make your welding business more profitable. Download it here.

Alexandra Jenkinson

BOC