Core Sector industries – steel, coal, power, petroleum and the like are serious, no nonsense ones. They are well aware of the role they play in Nation building and go about their jobs with a kind of steadfastness that it deserves. Being essential service providers and utilities, their advertisement budgets have traditionally been low, insignificant in fact, as a percentage of their revenue flows. Some are even terribly media shy, preferring to work and let the performance figures do the talking.
It is highly unlikely that these sectors will warm up to the merging world of social media on their own. To them, social media activity will look like a misdirected move into the world of teenagers who neither have the inclination, nor have the understanding of blast furnaces and plant load factors. What is more, hard pressed as they are, it will seem like a lot of wasted time.
But here too, there is a compelling counter argument:
01. Today, the first thing people do when searching / researching / studying about any entity / product or service, is look for it in the net. If your name does not feature near the top, someone who does will grab the eyeball. Chances are that someone will be a competitor.
02. Social media is not for teenagers and bored housewives playing angry bird games. There are a lot of serious people out there, holding serious conversations, negotiations, transactions. The advantage of social media lies in the fact that it is absolutely direct – only people interested in boilers will look, browse and banter on your facebook wall if you chose to have a page on your boiler making business. This is one of the prime advantages over traditional media and is a great cost cutter by reducing wastage and arresting the right eyeballs.
03. Social media is not restricted by physical boundaries. At one fell sweep, you can reach out to potential markets and customers from Somalia to Siberia. That too, at a fraction of the cost and efforts your marketing team would have had to incur to achieve even a fraction of what effective social media efforts can do for you.
04. Contrary to popular belief, most people are already wired albeit with different levels of social media integration. Your employees too are there. By not being there, you are abrogating an excellent chance to connect with your employees on a social platform. The conversations that you could have had with your employees may have worked as a catharsis, or even a morale booster, enhancing their performance. You could even have put a stem on your attrition rate, leave alone using your employees to create a favourable image for your products or services.
05. To attract the best talents to your company too will require social media synchronization. It is one thing to be the best pay master. It is a completely different thing, to have your employees endorse the fact in and around the job sites, or in conversations with the head hunters. Imagine, free testimonials from end users, customers and employees to potential associates. Third party endorsement at no cost.
06. The other side of the coin too is an equally important reason to be present. Today disgruntled employees and dissatisfied customers are increasingly venting their ire and anger in the social platforms. If you are not present, you will not even be aware of the dangers of such vitriolic comments against you which may be quietly corroding your brand value, eating at the millions you spend on traditional advertising.
07. For listed companies or for a utility like a power supplier with a large consumer base, the efficacies of being in the social media cannot but be overemphasised. It offers an excellent, efficient and cost effective way of connecting and engaging the shareholders, subscribers or both in meaningful dialogues and helps arrest many a problem in its infancy.
08. As an adjunct to your Corporate Communications, Public Relations and Brand building exercise, Social Media can synergize the entire process by adding the boosters that you were looking for.
09. Social media can also strengthen the traditional advertising efforts and can greatly help reduce costs, which in itself can be a reason to embrace it, especially in these days of hardship.
10. For those out there who still think that social media is frivolous, consider this. Top bosses around the world are early initiators into the world of smart phones and blackberries. An overwhelming number of them access news from their hand held devices. Now imagine being there, in the boss’ hand, attracting his attention with your message. Social media can take you there.
- - Chawm Ganguly