The pros and cons of materials handling providers using social media

Are you asking yourself if social media is worth the time and effort for your materials handling business?

In our experience, many professionals in the materials handling industry just don’t have a strong opinion of social media, and few see the value it can add to a business to business approach. Here are five reasons to make you think twice next time Facebook catches you snooping and asks you to sign up.

Pros

  1. Everyone’s heard of it

These days, most people have heard of social media. For some, it is part of daily life, but even for those that have decided to stay away, it regularly gets mentioned in newspapers, on TV and anywhere else on the internet. It’s hard to not have some knowledge on tweets, likes and pokes. If a potential customer has seen your website, but wants to read how you operate day to day, it is possible your business name will appear in Twitter’s search bar.

  1. It’s free

What most people don’t realise is that social media is essentially a free marketing tool. You might be using up all your marketing budget trying to optimise your website so potential customers find it easier on search engines, without realising that active social media channels can also boost your organic search ranking.

  1. If your competitors are signed up…

Just like brochures and websites – if your competitors are doing it, you might want to jump on the bandwagon too. Not that a Facebook profile instantly changes the mind of your potential customers, but if they spot a post on something they can relate to, your chances might slip.

  1. Content is king

If you are telling people you never formed an opinion on a business based on something you read online or in a newspaper, you are probably lying. Good content is one of the best ways to boost your reputation and make future potential customers remember your business name. Even if none of your followers are currently in the market for your product or service, something you share on Twitter could stick in their minds and help them form a decision further down the line.

  1. Your website becomes more accessible

Even if none of the above points have swayed you, remember that whether it is defined as social media or not, they are very popular websites. Regularly posting with good imagery, insightful videos, offers and relevant links could see your website traffic increase, boosting your chance at winning new customers.

  1. Teens of today are tomorrow’s managers

Some of you might be mature enough to remember the days before email existed (calm down, I said some). Even though it has only been a handful of decades since the first email was sent, we now live in a world where life without it is unimaginable. Think of social media in exactly the same way – it is just a new form of communication, and eventually it is going to become the norm.

Cons

Now, after reading the pros, you might not think it possible that there are downsides to this wondrous creation.  As it turns out, there are just as many cons as there are pros to having using social media account for your materials handling business.

  1. Is it worth the effort?

There’s no denying that social media platforms have a common goal with any other website: to be popular. Channels like Facebook use algorithms to guess what information people would like to see based on information about the user. It’s a technique to keep people coming back, because they are likely to be delivered content they agree with. So, what does that mean for businesses trying to reach out to new customers? It could mean your messages are only being seen by people who are already aware of your product or service offering, or even already working with you.

  1. Content is king, but also a royal pain

Once you have a social media account set up, the challenge is figuring out what to post. Ensuring your communications are on message and relevant to your potential customers is a gruelling task, which is why many channels are abandoned a short time after being set up. This opens your business up to the risk of potential customers finding your profile gathering dust, and making decisions based on the lack of social media activity.

  1. Do people trust social media content or consider it spam?

Even when you do have a good idea of the message you want to get across and a regular stream of content is ticking along, do people consider it to be annoying advertising spam? There’s a fine line between healthy regular posting and the outright spamming of your followers’ news feeds, so if you are completely new to social media it might be tricky to find the right balance.

  1. Maybe your audience isn’t on social media…

Truth be told, social media isn’t for every business. As a fairly new form of media, a large proportion of its users are teens or young adults that aren’t likely to be decision makers for potential customers! As with every new form of media, as time goes by it is likely to become more popular as people come to accept it as the norm, but if your audience isn’t there yet, maybe you shouldn’t be.

  1. Does it distract from more worthwhile activity?

Especially for MHE providers, it can be difficult to measure return on investment in social media. Did those ten tweets contribute to the trucks you sold last month? Who knows. Depending on who has ownership of the profiles, a lot of time, money or both can be spent on the various social media channels. If it’s unlikely to make a positive difference to your business’s reputation or sales, maybe spend that time and/or money on something more worthwhile.

  1. Celebs, pets, trolls, Donald Trump.

Need we say any more?