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Building an Industrial Social Media Community


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Presented by Brian Joosse, Symmetri Marketing

Customer research found that there was no clear centralized industry resource for engineers in the oil/gas and petrochemical industries for news and advice on industrial facilities and their electrical system requirements, or a forum for asking/answering questions and contributing expertise. Now, EGS Electrical Group is providing these resources through its Power Panel Community site. is an online community for specifying engineers who design, build and maintain oil, gas, petrochemical and other industrial facilities that operate heavy equipment in adverse and hazardous locations. The site aggregates global news from trade sources and general media, provides insights from industry experts and guest writers in a blog that invites member commentary, and gives engineers a moderated discussion forum for asking questions and engaging in conversation.
In this presentation we will show how:
• Inspiration for the community was rooted in customer research
• Strategy was developed to generate real business value
• Negotiating Emerson corporate support was key to project approval
• Community launch was orchestrated to maximize internal product team support
• High value content is developed and deployed monthly
• Social Media channel management is key to broader community success
• How you can apply this approach across other industrial automation markets

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Building an Industrial Social Media Community

  1. 1. Building an Industrial Social Media Community ISA Marketing and Sales Summit
  2. 2. Introduction.
  3. 3. Welcome. Presenters: • Brian Joosse o VP, Digital and Social Media Strategy at Symmetri Marketing Group o 15+ years in digital strategy and social media strategy development and implementation • Elena Smith o Marketing Manager, EGS Electrical Group, Emerson Corporation September 18, 2013 3
  4. 4. About Symmetri Marketing Group. Marketing for the selling organization. Whether deployed through direct or indirect channels, our goal is to leverage communications across all phases of the customer’s buying process to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the selling organization. • Established September 2003 • Based in Chicago, IL • Formed out of Leo Burnett Technology Group • Named to BtoB Magazine, Top Agency List (2008 – 2012) • Named to Inc. Magazine, Inc. 5000 List (2008 – 2012) • Annual award winner in national and regional business-to-business competitions September 18, 2013 4
  5. 5. EGS Electrical Group. As a global manufacturer of electrical products for commercial, industrial, hazardous and adverse environments, EGS Electrical Group, a business of Emerson, offers the industry’s best known and most highly regarded brands. From the latest innovations to familiar products that have led the industry for decades, the brands of EGS Electrical Group offer durability, safety, quality, easy installation and global availability. September 18, 2013 5
  6. 6. Appleton. Since 1903, the Appleton brand has been the hallmark for electrical products designed to protect people and equipment while delivering reliable power. All products are manufactured with the highest quality materials and finishes. With the addition of ATX product lines and ongoing new product introductions, Appleton offers certified protection for any environment, from ordinary commercial settings to hazardous locations (NEC, CEC, IEC, ATEX, and more) and the harshest industrial conditions – onshore or offshore, in any region of the world. September 18, 2013 6
  7. 7. Appleton: Target Audiences & Selling Strategies. Appleton’s primary target audiences are specifying engineers, electrical engineers and maintenance engineers within hazardous and industrial facilities, including oil and gas facilities, refineries, wastewater treatment plants and manufacturing facilities. They also focus on developing relationships with Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) firms as a direct influencer of products that get specified into a facility. Appleton goes to market through distribution channels in global locations. Their marketing efforts focus primarily on awareness building to end-users through traditional advertising efforts as well as education and maintaining share of mind with their distribution sales representatives. September 18, 2013 7
  8. 8. Genesis.
  9. 9. Emerson’s commitment to social media. Emerson Corporation has committed to developing social media across all brands (more to come) September 18, 2013 9
  10. 10. Developing the market strategy. In 2011, Symmetri developed a go-to-market strategy for the Appleton brand, focused primarily on the oil and gas market. As part of the research, Symmetri completed several one-on-one interviews with engineers within the oil and gas industry. These interviews proved invaluable in understanding the customer and the category. Symmetri determined that to gain greater traction with end-user customers, especially upstream with corporate engineers, EGS Electrical Group needed to better communicate their understanding the problems end-users face, and that EGS Electrical Group havs the products and expertise to solve them. It was also identified that EGS Electrical Group needed to focus on educating emerging markets on the importance of quality, safety, reliability and ease-of-use. September 18, 2013 10
  11. 11. Social media audit. • In 2011, audit showed a low number of resources for learning about new technologies and solving problems in electrical industry • 68% of industry social chatter occurred on blogs or forums • Competitors were building awareness through integrated PR and social media communications September 18, 2013 11 Online Share of Voice (SOV)Social Chatter by Media
  12. 12. Identified opportunity. From the positioning research and social media audi, Symmetri discovered an unmet need in the marketplace: an information-driven, knowledge sharing platform for engineers in hazardous locations. Insight. Interviews with end-customers led to a realization of an unmet need for content on industry – customers did not have a central source of knowledge for information on their industry. Discovery also showed a decrease in Appleton brand recognition for areas outside of North America. Strategy. Develop and manage a community website dedicated to the interests and concerns of specifying engineers in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of oil, gas, chemical processing or other hazardous location facilities. September 18, 2013 12
  13. 13. Strategy.
  14. 14. Our strategy: reach multiple audience types. September 18, 2013 14 PRODUCT BRANDED BRAND NEUTRAL SOLUTIONS company websites white papers, articles, company blogs forums trade media advertising email committed customers product questers brand committed problem solvers, innovators independent problem solvers, competitor customers We had two gaps that could be filled via social media and content marketing. We are unlikely to reach competitor loyalists without neutral, solutions- based content. Power Panel Appleton Blog EGS website
  15. 15. Our initial social media strategy was two-fold. September 18, 2013 15 Build relationships Build awareness globally Establish leadership position Purpose: Provide a non-branded resource where engineers can learn about new technologies and engage in discussion and collaborative problem solving Purpose: Create a branded platform and channels to demonstrate Appleton expertise and breadth of product solutions
  16. 16. Objectives. Show expertise, innovation and leadership by authoring high-value content Build equity and mindshare with our target audience through the curation and distribution of high-value content Foster community growth and encourage peer-to-peer interaction as a way of bringing value to participants and monitoring industry activity to uncover actionable business intelligence Position EGS Electrical Group brands (primarily Appleton) as sponsors, hosts, participants, and editors of the community September 18, 2013 16
  17. 17. Use the community to meet objectives. Content is king. In order to showcase EGS Electrical Group as an innovative thought leader, Symmetri worked in conjunction with internal subject mater experts and representatives in the field to develop highly relevant, timely and informative blog posts that showcased expertise into the challenges and solutions the industry was facing. Find the right audience. The messaging of the community and the content generated was focused at a very niche market – one that is vital to the Appleton brand business but also difficult to reach. Listen. To provide products that meet the industry’s needs, EGS Electrical Group used the community to listen to the conversations occurring between end-users to better understand trends and needs for future product development as well as market development. September 18, 2013 17
  18. 18. Formation.
  19. 19. Technical requirements: Telligent platform. Emerson had purchased a corporate program to utilize the Telligent platform. Telligent specializes in developing online communities, providing a turnkey system for large corporations, such as Emerson. Symmetri was required to use the Telligent platform rather than build a proprietary program. Thus, significant investigation was required to fully understand the platform, the customization options and technical limitations of the platform. September 18, 2013 19
  20. 20. Process: Operating Plan. To ensure all parties (both agency-side and client-side) were versed in the online community, it’s planning and maintenance requirements, Symmetri developed an Operating Plan that provided the roadmap for the community. Items such as site elements, tone and style notes, content planning and social media strategy were included in the Operating Plan. September 18, 2013 20
  21. 21. Process: Editorial Calendar. As part of the content planning process, Symmetri developed an Editorial Calendar that would serve as the guide for an integrated content strategy. Symmetri would pre-plan topics for each month based on input from subject matter experts. Content was planned three months in advance to ensure adequate time for interviewing thought leaders, developing the content and receiving approval. The Editorial Calendar provided information on relevant industry information, such as upcoming events, as well as pre-scheduled social media posts for Twitter and Facebook. September 18, 2013 21
  22. 22. Resourcing. Symmetri. To actively manage two social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook) as well as moderate active on the blog/discussion forum, Symmetri utilized an internal social media manager and copywriter. Tasks included: • Researching recent news articles • Commenting/posting in the voice of the Power Panel Admin • Moderating activity • Interview subject matter experts • Write weekly blog post September 18, 2013 22 EGS Electrical Group. Although Symmetri actively managed the Power Panel Community, it was important to ensure members of the EGS Electrical Group business and Appleton brand were involved in the community. Requested tasks included: • Posting and asking questions on a regular interval • Reading and reviewing comments for community members • Providing input on key topics from subject matter experts • Reviewing all written content prior to posting
  23. 23. Social channels. To help build the brand, Symmetri utilized social media channels to promote content and post to a larger audience. Symmetri utilized appropriate Twitter search functionality, including the use of relevant hashtags, shortened links for tracking and updated content daily/weekly. The process also called for design and description development of each social media channel. Symmetri kept a similar look/feel across all social channels to maintain brand recognition of the newly formed Power Panel Community. September 18, 2013 23
  24. 24. Launch.
  25. 25. Internal engagement. To support the launch of the new Power Panel Community, Symmetri needed to encourage participation from the internal EGS Electrical Group thought leaders. This included: • Hosted webinars to announce the new community and provide direct channels for participation • Created an incentive program for activity, including a random-drawing winner for an Apple iPad • Developed one-sheet handouts for quick tips on participation and links • Sent weekly/monthly reminders as a call-to-action for participation September 18, 2013 25
  26. 26. External audience generation. One of the Power Panel Community’s main objectives was to provide a forum for end-users to ask questions and discuss industry trends and challenges. Keeping this objective in mind, Symmetri completed several external promotional activities to encourage participation, including: • Sent promotional emails through Electrical Construction & Maintenance publication (3 email blasts) promoting the new online community • Developed hand-outs and short presentations for the sales team to use when meeting with end- customers • Partnered with key distributors to promote through their social channels and website, including banner ads and pre-developed posts September 18, 2013 26
  27. 27. Community and social growth. The Power Panel Community launched July 2012. Utilizing social media as the primary continued growth driver, the community saw growth through the remainder of 2012: September 18, 2013 27 285 members 118 internal (Emerson) members 167 external members 266 Twitter followers 1,225 tweets sent – 228,195 impressions 112 retweets to content on Twitter 34,155 extended impressions 4,700+ visits 18,200+ pages viewed 3.84 average pages per visit 3:35 average time on site 73 discussion questions 96 responses 73 blog posts 31 comments/responses
  28. 28. However, 2013 Power Panel growth is stagnant. September 18, 2013 28 Gained 120 Gained 31 Gained 26 Little outside promotion and exposure to audiences beyond social hindered growth and brand awareness. • Social follower growth on Twitter for Power Panel tapered off through first half of 2013; Appleton growth during the same time is 4x that of Power Panel • Despite similar outreach and calls to actions, Power Panel Facebook has generated a limited audience (Power Panel Likes: 28; Appleton Likes: 67) Gained 145 Gained 112
  29. 29. And the community lacked engagement. September 18, 2013 29 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 External Internal From July ‒ December 2012: 203 new members; January ‒ May 2013: 76 new members • Surge in January and February was due to promotion push at external events/conferences • No new replies in the discussions since February 2013 • Last blog comment was from an internal person in May 2013 Membership Growth
  30. 30. Lessons Learned.
  31. 31. Our target utilizes social media. • Our target audience is solution-driven • They are more likely to respond to content that solves a specific purpose or problem • They recognize companies, brands and products and are more likely to talk about and/or follow them on social September 18, 2013 31
  32. 32. Engineers are using LinkedIn more than other channels. 32September 18, 2013 Electrical Engineer & Instrumentation Group 25,000+ members, 500+ last week Hazardous Area Equipment & Installation Forum 2,668 members • LinkedIn has exploded in growth in the last year: 1,000,000+ Oil & Energy and Mechanical & Industrial engineers across companies like Schlumberger, BP, Baker Hughes, Haliburton, Shell • Social is now the “community”: people are using LinkedIn and other social channels for news, discussions and opinions instead of more traditional community websites • LinkedIn provides easier entry to social media for our target because it provides them company info, peer networking, jobs and focused conversation • Competitors all have page presence, with a total following of 6,000+; no sponsored groups or targeted statuses gives Appleton an opportunity to better reach and engage with the audience
  33. 33. Brand assets & culture drive engagement. • Brand helps drive exposure: branded videos and content (case studies, byline articles) help further extend the brand name and positioning on social channels and in traditional media outlets • Personality works: people and company culture/history content generates interest because it connects people on a deeper level with the brand September 18, 2013 33 Healthcare Facilities Today article
  34. 34. Projects are discussed in social media. September 18, 2013 34 $3-million boost for new oil research lab at MUN
  35. 35. Analysis. September 18, 2013 35 Social is the new community site. Traditional community sites are decreasing in use because of the growth of the broader social web. Big opportunity on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is growing more rapidly than other channels for the engineer audience and oil/gas, industrial sectors. Despite decent followings, competitors are not reaching target audience through content or conversation. Brand matters. Strong brand presence and assets drive more value than third-party sites; Power Panel as a brand is not recognizable, so value is diminished. Companies and projects can drive insight. Focus should be on more than just engineers: companies and projects are just as important. Content needs to be narrow and solution-driven. Engineers respond to specifics: what products to use, why they are useful and how they help solve their problems.
  36. 36. What you can do to launch a social community. Understand your target audience • How do they find information? • Is peer engagement important to them? Understand the environment • Do communities already exist? • Can your audience get what they need from other sources? Build internal support • How can we profit from this? • Are stakeholders excited? Plan properly • Do we have enough funding and bandwidth to manage? • How do I get content and participation? September 18, 2013 36
  37. 37. Thank you! September 18, 2013 37