Probably one of the biggest debates in PR & Marketing is the effectiveness – or otherwise – of social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In a previous post, I noted that research seems to indicate that 48% of private businesses are, if not actually users themselves, then at least ambivalent to the usefulness of social media in promoting their businesses. But what about in a more tightly defined demographic such as manufacturing? Two things that have happened over the last week have bought this topic to the fore.
The first was a survey by Lee Anne Orange from the International Machine Tool Show 2012 which we wrote about on our Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2012 blog. In her informal survey of exhibitors, she found that the rate of adoption of social media channels in manufacturing is accelerating, yet is still a relatively small number in absolute terms. In total, around 20% of firms at the show use one or more forms of social media. So while that seems to indicate that there is still room for significant growth, their are many that remain unconvinced. One can only speculate what factors are inhibiting growth, but personally I suspect there are two main reasons: Effectiveness i.e. does it actually work? and Production i.e. who is actually going to write this stuff? For us, the question of effectiveness was answered quite conclusively this week in the second of our “social media happenings”
One of the hardest areas for PR to break into is the national media. This is particularly true for specialists like us who tend to work with b2b brands which are relatively unknown to the general public. Getting journalists from the national media interested in engineering and manufacturing stories is very hard work; that’s not a criticism as they have a completely different agenda to trade publications. But it’s none the less frustrating when our overtures concerning stories of genuine editorial value get passed-over because they are deemed too “niche” to be of interest. But we were surprised this week when a slightly sarcastic (oops!)Tweet from us concerning the BBC’s lack of interest in grassroots manufacturing was answered in person by a well-known TV personality. This has led to a dialogue, which may well result in BBC TV covering Southern Manufacturing 2012! Hugely exciting for us and something we’ve been trying to achieve for the last 6 years. Time will tell, of course, but if there were any doubts remaining about the effectiveness of Twitter in reaching key journalists, they have now completely evaporated.