Constructive criticism is defined by Wikipedia as “the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.” So in my recent attempts to peer further into my companies social media marketing strategies, the next thing I need to do is provide suggestions as to how they can improve what they are currently doing.

I will recommend upon 5 areas that will strengthen their social media marketing strategy and explain each in detail.

Industrial Finishes

1.  Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan

First and foremost, Industrial Finishes needs to reestablish their marketing goals and develop a social media marketing plan. This plan will not only guide them to where they want to end up, but it will give them benchmarks to reach along the way. Each benchmark being Brand-Strategy-And-Social-Mediaaccomplished will then allow Industrial Finishes to readjust their plan if need be. They should be able to see which types of content and the social media platforms that are receiving the most engagement and having the most conversations, allowing them continue or change their strategy.

They should also be asking the question of, “What do we want to see happen once we implement a social media marketing plan?” I think for them, brand recognition and industrial thought leadership are two main things they should be striving for. They do have a strong brand, but the audience who receives it are their current customers. They need to be able to expand their influence throughout the rest of the paint application industry, so that others who do not know them begin to recognize the quality and expertise that they provide.

2.  Eye-Catching Visuals

Again, content is being addressed for Industrial Finishes. Without engaging content, no one is going to want to read it, nor will they participate in the conversation. In order to assure they see it, Industrial Finishes needs to provide a solid mix of content that is visually appealing, yet offers something of use for their audience.

Industrial Finishes’ YouTube channel does have some eye catching video icons, but they could definitely improve upon it by providing more videos that are engaging, and that allows the audience to participate.   This could mean offering more How-To videos, or creating a series of videos that they could release on a weekly basis. For example, they could begin the series by showing the beginning steps of a custom paint job, techniques used, and anything they deem relevant. They could end the video series with the finished project. This video would not only show their expertise and quality work craftsmanship within the industry, but it would allow others to being seeing their brand, creating brand awareness, eventually leading to brand recognition.

However, in order to be successful in their video production, they should invest in better audio equipment. As I stated before, they have made videos in the past that lacked quality audio, which made the video difficult to watch. The results of the poor quality could lead to an instant closing of the video, which automatically disengages their audience, resulting in a loss of a follower. They should improve their audio when producing videos.

3.  More Cross-Platform Company Interaction

Because Industrial Finishes is currently only using Facebook and YouTube to broadcast their content, I believe that if they were to begin utilizing other platforms, such as LinkedIn, they could expand their brand awareness, capturing more of their target audience.socialmedia3

LinkedIn is another great social media tool to use for B2B interactions. Because Industrial Finishes works alongside by partnering with other companies, it only makes sense to be providing content and having a presence on LinkedIn. This platform allows for a professional connection and a demonstration of their knowledge. They could create a company page and have their employees participate by providing a Q & A section, whitepapers describing techniques of paint application, or by simply posting job opportunities and new positions. This would allow them to again, show their knowledge of the industry, while at the same time, creating brand presence.

4.  Get on Twitter

According to the folks at Social Caffeine, Twitter generated $716 million in Auto Sales in 2013. Even though these sales were for cars, their automotive target market is obviously using Twitter. And considering that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket, Twitter is obviously where one of their main target markets is hanging out!

In addition to establishing a Twitter account, they should link all of their other platforms from Twitter. This means linking their blog, Facebook posts, and especially their YouTube videos. With YouTube being the most popular brand on Twitter, with 46.5 million followers, it again only makes sense to add this platform to their marketing plan.

5.  Use Google Analytics (if not being used already)

Having a social media marketing strategy is only as good as being able to measure how effective it really is. By utilizing Google Analytics, or some other form of metric performance measurability application, Industrial Finishes will be able to see how effective their content is. By obtaining metrics from their Facebook, YouTube, and newly created Twitter account, they can begin to see where their efforts are being seen, interacted with, and hopefully create some sort of conversion for them.

The types of conversions that Industrial Finishes should be looking at is the ability to create new leads. These new leads need to be taken care of in the form of giving them content rich information that they will continually seek, week after week. And finally, these leads will then hopefully turn into customers, resulting in a profitable conversion.

Territorial Seed Company

1.  Increase Amount of High Quality Visuals

Territorial Seed Company’s Pinterest and Instagram accounts should be one of their primary focus areas in their social media marketing strategy. Besides Facebook and Twitter, both Pinterest and Instagram provide a platform designed specifically for displaying pictures. Considering that Territorial is a vegetable and fruit seed distribution company, it makes sense to show off what the seeds grow in to. Humans are visual beings, so by offering their audience a picture of what seeds look like when they are fully grown is something they should be providing.

This type of content is what the audience is looking for when they are deciding which variety of seed they want. By giving the audience a visual and a full description on these two platforms, and then linking that picture back to their main website, increases their chance for a conversion to happen. It may be that the new lead only looks through their online catalogue, or sign up for a newsletter, but now Territorial Seed has a lead that they can continue providing informational and useful content to.

2.  Increase Frequency of Posts to Facebook and Twitter

By increasing the amount of times they post throughout the day, they should be able to increase viewership, which should allow for more dialogue to happen between them and their audience. (See suggestion 5).

They could easily incorporate current and future video posts from YouTube to help direct conversation, post a new variety of plant and give suggestions or tips as to prepare a dish from the harvest, or simply provide a humorous gardening meme.

Currently, Territorial Seed Company posts on average, about 3-4 times per week on Facebook and Twitter. They have a mix between their newly started blog, informational posts regarding what’s happening at the “Farm,” and posts that recognize some of their customers.

3.  Create New and Interesting Videos

This type of content allows for their target audience to begin thinking immediately towards Territorial Seed Company as a knowledgeable source for ideas and information in the garden.

They currently have a small collection of How-To videos, but by offering short (< 2 mins.) videos, they could quickly gain more audience members attention and create a larger following. These videos could show simple suggestions that their audience could use in the garden, kitchen, or anywhere else they seem fit. They could link gardening ideas from Pinterest, which then shows how to make the suggestion step-by-step.

new-clipartTerritorial Seed’s YouTube channel is definitely one of their marketing strengths. But just like any muscle in one’s body, if you don’t work it out, it gets weak. As of this post, their most recent video was upload nearly five months ago. Territorial should at the very least, produce one video a month per type of content. Not only does this grow their current library of videos, but it keeps fresh content flowing to their subscribers.

4.  Provide More Promotional Offers

By offering a discount or promotion to a particular platform, they could gain the attention of more audience members. By offering this type of exclusivity to one or more platforms, Territorial Seed Company could see a larger amount of followers, subscribers, and likes, which are more engaged with the company, and have more interaction with dialogue that is being generated.

Obviously the benefit here is, the more that people are talking about the company, the more likely they will have audience members that are converting to actual sales.

5.  Improve Ratio of “Likes” to Active Audience Members

With over 86k Facebook “Likes,” Territorial Seed Company should have an Like Thumbenormous amount of dialogue being generated. However, this is not the case. I believe that this is because there is lack of engagement opportunities being provided to them. If Territorial Seed Company provided more opportunities, I think that both their Facebook and Twitter accounts would see more traffic, and have more active participants interacting with the company.

Simple ideas could be:

  • Ask regular questions or advice from followers, so that the audience members can participate in.
  • Run a competition to see who can harvest the most in one week.
  • Offer something of value for free, if they can answer a question.

These are only but a few ideas, but the overall idea, is to get their audience engaged and talking. By doing this, Territorial Seed Company should see an increase in click-through rates (CTR), more exposure to potential new customers, more leads, an increase in brand awareness and web traffic, and lower marketing costs. Again, the key is creating content that can be interacted with.