This podcast interview is with Rick Short, Marketing Communications Director at Indium Corp. The interview is an excerpt from my forthcoming social media marketing book and covers the history and success of Indium’s social media marketing strategy.
Indium is a 75 year old manufacturer of electronics assembly materials. Rick has been there 25 years and has seen many evolutions in marketing during this time at Indium.
Rick started at Indium as a tech support specialist. He quickly learned that their customer is extremely educated, passionate and concerned with details. Indium’s experience with social media is about four years old. He emphasizes that social media allows us to be social with people. Indium’s culture has always been about helping people understand how to use their products in relevant ways.
Rick needed to help people at Indium understand that the tools in social media are available….No blog communication was strategy needed. This would violate social culture…Rather, they implemented a social media policy. But, they needed to convince the CEO that social media is real in B2B. To do that, Rick used this simple logic.
People talk on the phone…People email customers…People send faxes..People speak at conferences…People write in magazines…And, there are no formal policies for these methods of communication.
But blogging can live forever! Yes, but, so can the other media…It’s not a reason to inhibit the use of blogging.
Blogging is the most prevalent social media platform at Indium. The ultimate goal is to produce face to face contacts and relationships. Blogging is a version of communication that is close to face to face. It advances close contact. You can include video, photos, invite comments, post emails and phone numbers to invite customers to engage in conversations offline.
Indium now has 10 blogs with 15 people hosting them. The blogs are comprised of specific market segments to address the needs of these market segments. The bloggers write about the nuances of each market segment.
Rick has a very creative way of motivating engineers to blog. He provides inspiration them inspiration. The effectiveness of blogging has proved itself at Indium over the last four years. Blogging has actually replaced some tasks that are no longer good use of time or effective. As results have become self evident the time management and the way you structure staff has also evolved.
At the annual attendance of the biggest trade show of the year in North America, Indium’s content was the primary focus. The content is asset which drives sales opportunities. Indium no longer spends a lot of money with big trade show booths. They actually cut trade show spending by 75%. Instead they sent more people to the technical sessions to engage in human conversations. Although trade show attendance was down 30% Indium generated as many leads as in years past!
Rick’s mantra: Rick receives content and hands off contacts. The sales team builds the relationships that produces sales.
Rick measures traffic, and other traditional web metrics. But the primary metric is how many contacts (leads) he produces for the sales department.
Rick’s advice to executives who have not yet implemented a social media marketing strategy.
- Don’t rush to do it just because others have told you to do it. Your heart must be in it!
- It’s ok to make some mistakes. Fail forward.
- Begin at the end. What does your situation look like two years from now? Write it down.
- Build confidence through education, support, relationships. Cultivate skills.
- Refresh frequently. Challenge status quo. Are there newer/better tools?
- Measure results.
- Be very trasnparent. You’ll get a lot of help and support from others.
- Be committed. Start small by listening and commit resources to taking some action.
Indium also creates videos, both educational and humorous videos. They get tons of positive feedback for poking fun at themselves. Rick say’s “people feel respected when we poke fun at ourselves.”
Indium Corp’s successes using social media are an inspiration to any business who thinks that social media marketing is only for big brands or only for B2C brands. If a 75 year old electronics assembly manufacturer with a very technical customer can have success with social media, chances are you can too.
If you haven’t listened to the podcast interview for the full story, click the play button above. Enjoy.