How can companies generate a return from using social media? That’s the million dollar question for catering equipment companies keen to broaden their marketing horizons by deploying the latest digital platforms available to them.
One company with bags of experience in this field is AC Media, a Surrey-based company that provides web solutions for large and small businesses. As well as specialising in content management, website design and search engine optimisation, the firm has designed and implemented many custom Facebook and Twitter business pages.
Managing director, Chris Hope, describes social media as “today’s most engaging, transparent and interactive form of public relations”, but warns that it is plagued by misconceptions in the B2B arena.
“Social media must not be looked at as a pure lead generation and conversion medium, companies must realise that their entire brand perception can be affected by not following the modern day trends including all avenues of social media,” he says. “Active engagement with their new and existing customer base can be very beneficial to the overall reputation of the company as a whole.”
Correctly implemented, a social media strategy for a catering equipment company can have an immensely positive effect by providing feedback and support to the users of the equipment, according to Hope.
Planned properly, a whole day, week or even month of updates can be created in advance to build the exposure and following of any company without using up valuable resources. Furthermore, he says, there are many tools available that make the job of managing a social media campaign easier.
One catering equipment company that AC Media carries out work for is Unox, the combi and bakery oven manufacturer. It has been the driving force behind the promotion of Unox’s new end-user website, myunox.com, using social media to implement a series of unique features and snippets that followers can easily engage in.
This has included recipes specially created for use in Unox equipment, updates on features that some of the users might not be aware of and the use of online polls to actively engage the audience.
The good news, says Hope, is that it is able to measure the engagement and interaction of the social media strategy through various mediums.
“The most effective measuring tools that we use are the analytics that each social media outlet provides, from conversation statistics to the number of ‘re-tweets’ and ‘mentions’ Unox are in,” he explains. “It is also important to measure if any visitors to the website have come from social media. We do this by implementing goal tracking. This is an extremely effective way of seeing direct conversion from a social media platform to say a contact form or recipe submission.”
He adds that one important highlight is the updates that Unox is now able to implement when it is exhibiting at a trade show.
“Whilst at the show, Unox is able to update its social media in real time by providing photos, news and updates. This has proved really effective as there is a parallel marketing channel being implemented using real face-to-face communication with an online presence,” says Hope.