By Linda Anlauf
I’ve tried my best to learn as much as possible about the variety of social networks available for business such as Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. And I’ve been asked many times by customers, coworkers and even friends outside of the Material Handling industry about why I stay connected on these platforms. The answer is easy…to build and maintain business relationships, to share information and to learn.
Some people may call me an odd egg, but I thoroughly enjoy the Material Handling Industry and am thrilled when I learn something new. I work for a company, Wholesale Pallet Rack Products, that provides me all the opportunities to learn as much as possible and allows me to share this information. And what better way than the social platforms! Hence the journey began….
When I started my social media journey, I was like a baby that didn’t even know how to crawl yet. It took time and patience to learn the differences between the networks and what worked best for each. For example, #hashtags are a plus on Twitter, but not typically used on LinkedIn. Facebook is geared more towards end users, and Google+ can be customized for the Material Handling Industry. Also, consistency is key. Learning the differences helped me to expand my network and reach out to those individuals that share similar interests and business goals.
The social networks also allow me to create my online brand which is a personal business profile. One’s brand lets the people around you find out who you are, what you do and why that is valuable to them. People who know you learn more about you and people you’ve never met can find out all about you. The engagements that follow strengthen current relationships and create new ones.
I never truly realized the impact of the social networks until more recently. After being established on social platforms, I found that the number of engagements with people from our industry and outside our industry began to grow exponentially. Not only was I engaging on different topics posted on the networks, but I was receiving personal messages asking Material Handling questions, requesting quotes and more information on our company. On the flip side, I’ve been able to send personal messages to my networks asking for help or suggestions on different projects. The social platforms have expanded my network beyond what I ever would have imagined.
You might be skeptical about social media or have had experiences very different than mine. In fact, I am sure everyone’s experience is unique. But I do believe that if you are honest and passionate about your brand, truly want to share quality information about your industry and are willing to genuinely help others, you will find the social networks to be a beneficial way to communicate, build new business relationships and strengthen current ones.