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A voice on every platform?

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.


  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.


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?

Public Relations Swisslog


With around 1.7 billion social network users in the world, SOCIAL MEDIA is one of the most popular ways for people to share their opinions. could this be the future of customer service?

Although social networking has only taken off in the last 10 years, more and more businesses are using it as a platform to offer customer service in new and different ways.

Social media makes it much easier to complain, and not only complain directly to a business, but to broadcast the complaint publicly. More and more businesses today are taking this opportunity and are using social networking as a platform for offering customer service in a different way.

The search functions of Facebook and Twitter, combined with the use of hashtags, make it easier than ever for people to “tag” and direct their complaint to the company while allowing everyone else to see it.

However, these functions also allow companies to monitor what has been said and respond quickly and publicly. This is where social media can be used advantageously for customer service, underscoring that companies are interested in the complaint and are looking to make the customer happy.

The leading exponents can turn a complaint and bad word-of-mouth into something positive, showing the company is listening to the customer and, in trying to help customers, it can work wonders for the reputation of the business. A good example of social media customer service is what airline JetBlue provides on Twitter.

An unhappy JetBlue customer, Cassidy Quinn, took to Twitter to complain about her flight, tweeting: “Dear @JetBlue, next time can you fix the plane before we all get on it?! Fingers crossed I do not miss my next connecting flight…”

JetBlue replied quickly, offering a sincere apology and confirming that the flight would be on its way very shortly. Not only was JetBlue efficient and reassuring in its response, it turned Cassidy’s complaint into a positive by way of good customer service. She later thanked JetBlue, tweeting: “@JetBlue Thanks for the super quick response! Luckily I made my connecting flight! #happy #phew”

Social media customer service may be more common, but that doesn’t mean that every company is doing it well. Many provide worse customer service via social media.

British Airways’ poor customer service was broadcast to thousands of people on Twitter when, annoyed by BA’s failure to locate his father’s lost baggage, Hassan Syed paid for his tweet rebuking BA to be promoted on its public newsfeed. Hassan tweeted: “Don’t fly @British_Airways their customer service is horrendous.”

British Airways not only then failed to reply for 8 hours, but when they did eventually respond, it was of no help to the customer at all: The airline blamed “Twitter opening hours” for the late reply. A furious Hassan replied with a witty tweet, criticizing British Airways further: “@British_Airways how does a billion dollar corp only have a 9-5 social media support for a business that operates 24/7? DM me yourselves.”

The tweets went viral, with around 76 000 people seeing Hassan’s tweet and hundreds re-tweeting and favoriting them, publically shaming British Airways’ customer service.

The best customer service is not all about complaints. By searching social media platforms, businesses can find other generic and subtle comments that may relate to them. This gives them an opportunity to create conversations directly with customers.

It may be that someone is commenting on needing smaller sizes to be stocked in a certain product, allowing the business to create a conversation with them and ensure them that they will look into the matter.

Having conversations with customers, responding to complaints and generally answering customers queries highlights how social media can be utilized as a platform for good customer service and is a great way to grow as a business and actually deliver what people want to see.

Engage with the Swisslog Inspiration team on Twitter via @swisslogInspire.

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