Fluid Powered Social Media
By Josh CosfordFluid Power CFPA
Twitter, Facebook and the like can prove a powerful marketing tool and, best part, it’s free.
We at the Canadian Fluid Power Association provide value to our members through our Four Pillars. Market Insights provides statistical and economic data specifically for the Canadian fluid power industry. The Careers & Education pillar promotes fluid power careers to students, parents and educators, and provides fluid power education through our Fluid Power Challenge. Industrial Relations provides fluid power regulations and certifications information to our membership. Finally, through the Communications pillar, we promote the CFPA and fluid power industry through media outreach, website content and social media platforms.
The value of social media to industrial manufacturers and distributors has been previously unclear, and the effort to promote your company through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. seemed too exhaustive to be worthwhile. If you can relate to the previous sentence, then perhaps you should reconsider your stance, because it’s now clear social media provides the highest value for your marketing buck, and that even applies to our mature fluid power industry.
Through the various social media channels, you can leverage your brand, create business connections and attract the industry’s top talent. LinkedIn is often regarded as the most effective B2B social network, able to position you and your business as a leader in the industry. It also allows you to connect with industry colleagues to provide your value message through company white papers, discussion groups and cross-promotion. LinkedIn is now the single best resource for securing the world’s top talent, and every career-minded professional knows it, posting what is essentially their online resume for the world to see.
Twitter is rapidly climbing in popularity as a dynamic and collaborative tool for connecting with your customers daily, allowing you to discuss hot industry topics and share company marketing material. You can gain customer feedback during product development and search for pertinent and specific topics to your company and industry through hashtags. Twitter requires daily usage and interaction to be effective, but instead of hiring dedicated social media marketers, you could be employing Millennials who find social media intuitive, even if their daily duties are anything from inside sales to hose assembler.
YouTube is the most effective B2B platform next to LinkedIn, and allows you to tell your brand’s story and provide educational content via video. You could include advertisements, product demonstrations, how-to clips or newsreels. Just like all social media, the service is free, and when combined with other platforms, videos are easily shared and promoted.
Here’s the most important thing you should know about social media: It’s free! Sure, it will take time…daily time, to be effective.
But what is your marketing budget? What did it cost to make your last line card or brochure – you know, the one your customers throw in the trash after a cold call? You don’t even need a dedicated social media or marketing team. It only takes your acceptance that social media is no longer optional, but a requirement. That acceptance must also apply to your team’s activity on social media. Instead of monitoring your employees’ online usage, encourage them to take part in your social media plan during work hours.
If you don’t believe that social media is now important for industrial and manufacturing businesses, go on LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, and then search for your biggest competitors. Do you think Parker, with 97,000 LinkedIn followers, 11,200 Twitter followers and 344,041 video views on YouTube, might know something you do not? Or how about Bosch Rexroth, with 59,523 LinkedIn followers, 5,500 Twitter followers and a whopping 549,500 views on YouTube? Get on social media, and get active now.
In other CFPA news, this past Fluid Power Challenge was a huge success. Students from 21 West Toronto middle schools were asked to design and build fluid power devices, actuated by water-filled syringes to pick up a wooden cylinder and place it on one of two target zones. They were evaluated on a set of criteria, including the number of cycles completed and the quality of their design portfolios.
The overall winner for this year’s challenge was Hodgson Senior Public School, based on how well their device performed and the quality of their portfolio. Also, Islington Junior Middle School won for best portfolio. CFPA strongly believes that we need to encourage the next generation to plan early for careers in fluid power and to create enthusiasm for the field in students, teachers and parents.
Josh Cosford serves as CFPA Communication Committee Chair and is the Operations Manager at Higginson Equipment.