Social media can help you engage with your aerospace customers in an interactive sales process. It allows you to meet new customers in an informal and interactive environment. Social media also allows you to encounter many more people than you would ever meet through traditional channels.
How to Use Social Media
Your success with social media depends to a great extent on how you use it. You should treat a social media audience as you would the attendees at a reception at your favorite aerospace trade show. You walk into the room and see if there is anyone you know. You see someone that you know by reputation talking with others so you approach and listen to what they are taking about for a minute or two. Then, assuming that you are familiar with the subject (whether its the latest industry trend, a new government regulation or last weekend’s game), you introduce yourself and start participating in the conversation. At some point, you will get an opening to talk about your company and what it is that you do. That is the time for your 30-second “elevator pitch”. Assuming you are at the right reception, you will probably get some traction and an opportunity to continue the discussion, either right there, or at a later time. Either way, you’ve got a new potential customer.
If, on the other hand, you enter the reception room and immediately start broadcasting in a loud voice about your most recent accomplishments, you will find yourself standing alone talking to no one. So it is with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
Twitter is a great way to keep your community up-to-date with what’s going on in your environment. It is a great source for breaking news. I have found out about a number of significant events in the aerospace world first through Twitter. Most members of the press tweet live from the various events at the shows, for example. As discussed above, you can’t use it just as a soap-box to shout your accomplishments. You must also have compelling content on your website and then you can share it with your community. The ideal way to use Twitter to share news is to create content on your website and then tweet an enticing snippet along with a link to that content. This will draw new visitors. If, for example, you want to share a whitepaper, you may want to offer it through a landing page that captures the visitors email address before downloading the item.
LinkedIn is another useful tool for businesses. There are many relevant, focused groups that host discussions. Like Twitter, you can join discussions and share posts. Unlike Twitter, you are not limited to 140 characters.
Direct Email Subscription
As opposed to email blasts from the past, which typically had very low response rates, direct email sent on a subscription basis can be very effective (assuming appropriate content). To support this communications channel, you need to have sign-up forms on your website and, most importantly, you must have information that your intended recipient wants to receive (see Compelling On-Line Content).